One Month – Two Races

The two races I ran in December and some friendly prodding have motivated me return to the blog. Since it has been a year since I last posted anything, the 2011 year in review post, this will serve as a year in review post as well.

The 2012 Tecumseh Trail Marathon was run on December 1st. This would be my fifth time to run this race. It would have been my sixth but last year I pulled my calf muscle two days before the race and couldn’t run it. The weather in December in Indiana can vary greatly from year to year or even from week to week as was the case this year. I’ve run Tecumseh in freezing cold and in more moderate temps. This year was by far the warmest ever. I believe the high in Bloomington that day was in the low 70’s. It wasn’t quite that warm in the morning. As I was waiting for the bus to take me to the start, I was shivering in my long sleeve shirt and gloves. At the start it was noticeably warmer but I was still wearing the gloves but they came off only a few miles into the run. Somewhere between 5 and 10 miles I couldn’t take the heat anymore and the shirt came off. It was a brand new shirt too. No way I was not going to discard it so I rolled it up and tied it around my waist.

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Around mile 12 of Tecumseh, still feeling great.

I was attempting a PR for Tecumseh and was doing fairly well with that goal until the aid station at 22-1/4 miles. That is when the excessive warmth had taken its toll. I was dehydrated andĀ nauseous, sodium level too low. Those last few miles were a struggle but I think I ran more than I walked. Finally hit the finish line at 4:37:16. Not bad, but not a record. I missed by less than 5 minutes.

Fast forward to December 29th and the HUFF 50k. Here is the 2011 HUFF report. Just 28 days after the Tecumseh heat wave, the HUFF started with temps in the mid 20’s. Not sure what the high temp reached but guessing it was low 30’s, very low, like 31 or 32 maybe. The HUFF 50k consists of two laps of a 15.6 mile course. Unlike the 2011 HUFF, the 2012 HUFF had no high water and no mud. It did have about 6 inches of snow. The snow was partially packed down for the first lap and completely packed down for the second lap.

I probably ran the first lap too fast. Actually my time for the first lap was about right but unfortunately that time included a little excursion I made. Somewhere around 13 miles or so I missed a turn and wound up running an extra quarter mile or so. That doesn’t sound like much but once I got back on course I foolishly ran a little too fast thinking I was going to make up for the lost time. Dumb. Right after getting back on course I passed some of my friends. If I had just stayed behind them the whole time I would have reached that point sooner and been fresher. Dumb.

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HUFF 50k somewhere late in the race. You can tell from my “smile” that I am suffering just a little.

I felt ok until about five or six miles into the second loop. From then on it was a challenge. The thought of beating 6 hours was my only motivation. I almost gave up on that but kept pushing myself. This year they didn’t have the miles marked so I never knew where I was until around the 12 mile mark. I remembered that spot because that is where the really deep water was last year. I didn’t think I had enough time to beat 6 hours but did not give up on beating last year’s time so I kept pushing myself. From the last aid station you can see the finish. I didn’t think it was very far but I wasn’t moving very fast but didn’t stop at the aid station and I gave up walking, running all the way to the finish. Final time 5:56:04. Not quite as good as I had hoped but better than last year and under 6 hours.

Now for the year in review stuff. 2012 had some highs and some lows. I’ll start with a couple of the lows, two DNF’s. The first DNF was at the Planet Adventure Winter Marathon in January. It’s a night marathon so not only was it cold but it was also dark. Dark and muddy, wet sloppy mud. Anyway, the course was a 6.55 mile loop and after three trips through the mud and water I was finished. The temperature had dipped below freezing by this point and I had no desire to go through the mud and water again. This was the first and hopefully last time I ever DNF’ed a marathon. Just today I signed up for the 2013 event on January 26th. I plan to finish this year, mud and water or not. The other DNF was at the Planet Adventure Winona Lake 50 miler on April 14th. This was a 10 mile loop course. I ran the first three laps a little too fast. After a much slower fourth lap I lost the desire to go for another lap. Did I mention in was pouring rain for much of the first three laps. Anyway it was going to be dark soon and I was done. A DNF is never fun but rather than focus on not making it to the finish I will focus on the fact that I ran 40 miles in 8 hours 10 minutes.

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Greg with Angel’s Landing in the background.

Now for a couple of the highs. The first was the Howl at the Moon 8 hour run on August 11th in Illinois. For August it was relatively cool with low humidity so the conditions could not have been better. The course is a 3.29 mile loop. You run as many laps as you can in 8 hours. With 30 minutes to go you can switch to a .5 mile out and back course. I finished 12 laps (39.48 miles) with about 45 minutes to go, possible enough time to complete a full lap but was not willing to take the chance so I rested for 15 minutes. Then with 30 minutes to go I completed 5 of the short laps with just about 5 minutes left. In theory that was enough time for one more lap but I didn’t have another 5 minute half mile in me. Total distance in 8 hours 41.98 miles.

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Wall of Windows at Bryce Canyon.

The other high of 2012 was the trip out to Zion National Park the last weekend in October. The trip included a stop at the Hoover Dam, Bryce Canyon, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Coconino Overlook, North Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon.

Coconino Overlook, North Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon.

The plan for Zion was to run across the park, 48 miles. It was beautiful and much more challenging than I anticipated. We started at 5 am so it was dark for the first couple hours. I don’t think there was much to see in that initial section. It was light by the time we made the descent into the main canyon. What a beautiful place. God did some awesome work there. As the day wore on it got quite warm. I made the mistake of not filling my water bladder in the canyon. By the time I reached our stash of food and water I was already dehydrated. Plus I didn’t have the key to the car. The key was with Mike S. who was maybe 20 or 30 minutes behind me. Luckily for me Matt, from crewmyrun, was there and he gave me some food and a bottle of water. Matt is also the race director for the Zion 100

Moonrise, somewhere in southern Utah.

Moonrise, somewhere in southern Utah.

which Mike S. had run. After a long rest at the 27 mile mark, six of the original 11 runners headed out for the 9 mile trek to the next water drop where Mike D’s wife was waiting in her car. Tom was not feeling very good so I stayed back with him. We walked much of the 9 miles. By the time we reached the car,12 hours and 35 miles after starting I was finished. It would be dark again before I could finish the full 48 miles. Probably a smart decision, as bad as I felt I’m not sure I could have finished the last 13 miles and there really was not other option but to finish if you started. Still a fun, challenging, and beautiful run. Weather was postcard perfect.

Overall 2012 was a pretty good year, praise God. I finished up with 1215 miles which was down from last year but still a good total for me. In 2013 my only goal is to stay healthy and finish my first 100 miler on April 21st.

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3 responses to “One Month – Two Races

  1. Welcome back!

    Good to see you at Tecumseh — been so long I didn’t think you were going to recognize me.

    Those are great goals for this year. Remember, 100’s can become addictive . . . .

    You’re invited to LLTH once again. It’s an easier course this year w/less hills — come on down!

  2. Sounds like a great trip!

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