Friday, April 15, 2011

A Pleasant Surprise - Race Report : 2011 Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run

What a blast we all had!  We assembled an impressive, fun, and laid-back group of people to crew, pace and hang out.  Eric, Tani, Isla, Ginette, Meredith, Eddie, Zoe, Iman, Jason, Danielle, Chuck, Yvonne, Brett, and my two amazing pacers, Brenda and Tina.  We shared drinks on Friday, the trails on Saturday (and a short part of Sunday), and more drinks on Sunday.  It was simply an awesome time with awesome people.  From a race perspective, I didn't have much of a goal, with the plan being to see where things stood at mile 50 and figure it all out from there (see, "Carolina In My Mind").

Umstead 100 has been "very, very good to me" in the past, producing my two best 100-mile performances (time-wise) with a 21:39:37 in 2009 and 19:24:48 in 2010.  Now, we can add a third.  Surprisingly, things went extremely well.  Straying from his race plan, Eric stuck with me for the first 50 miles, as we logged 4 fairly consistent 12.5-mile loops (see 2011 Umstead 100 Splits chart below) and hitting the half-way point in 9:03:00.  Last year, in order to go sub-20 hours, I set a 50-mile goal of 9:15:00.  With Iman ready to pace Eric, and Brenda and Tina set to drag my ass for 50 miles, things were looking great.

There are many factors that can determine success and/or failure in a 100-mile race (injury, nutrition, etc...).  One of my most important concepts - keep moving...avoid spending too much time in a stationary position and in aid stations...relentless forward progress, which, ironically is in the title of Bryon Powell's new book, "Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons".  The data from my Garmin 310XT would show a moving time vs elapsed time difference of a mere 9 minutes.  Perfect.  Brenda and Tina employed a great pacing strategy - Brenda kicked my ass on loop #5, Tina took loop #6, then another ass-beating by Bredna for loop #7, and Tina to wind it up for loop #8.  The alternating of pacers actually worked psychological wonders, helping to insure that we took things one loop at a time.  The first 75 miles were eerily similar to last year's race, and the last 25 miles were only 15 minutes slower.  I had some stomach-related issues at some point in the second half, worked through the anterior tibial tendinitis issue as best as I could (I could feel it every now and then), but in the end we finished strong for a 25th place finish in 19:29:43.

Eric's performance was amazing - a new PR and a 29th place finish in 20:18:38.  Jason threw down an 18:29:05!  How cool is it to have him on my Badwater crew?  Chuck, a 22:59:12 first 100!  Meredith, yet another Umstead 100 finish (her 4th)!  Peter, or, "UK Pete" as we called him, came all the way from the UK to run his first 100-miler in 18:53:48.  Of course, there were many, many others...too many to name, but congrats to them all!

Jason and Me Post-Race
 I owe my success to three amazing people - Ginette, Brenda and Tina.  Ginette kept me moving at the main aid station, having things set for me each and every time I came around.  Brenda kicked my ass, literally, making sure that I was always moving forward, never letting me slow to a walk too often.  Tina was a breath of fresh air, an excellent, encouraging pacer.  Huge, huge, huge, giant thanks to the three of them for making this such a great run.


  1. Congrats on a solid run, you are set for BW, man!

  2. That soundslike a lot of fun. I run to run this course someday.