Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lessons from Umstead 100

So let’s go over what went well first to make myself feel better. Pacing went well. With the issue of right leg, I would never know if I could hold up the pace in the second 50, but the first 50 even though was mentally draining, was not physically difficult. Eating went extremely well. I was never hungry or lack in energy. Mentally I was alert, no one saw me ever said I looked tired. I was able to talk and joke with people all the way up to mile 70 when the right leg self destructed. Hydration and electrolytes management went well. I averaged one tree watering per lap, and never felt thirsty or any sign of dehydration. The amount of salty food I was eating and Saltsticks kept me feeling good. Never any signs of cramps.

What did I not do well? Quite a few things.

First, I relied on myself too much rather than seeking help, before the race and during the race. I guess it’s just part of my nature, learning and researching things on my own and trying them out. I was happy with Jade cheering me on and ordering burgers from the aid stations, and fetching gears for me from the bags, and really nothing else was planned with her and my pacers. I didn’t even tell her which bag had what gear in it beforehand. I even told her to take Canyon for a walk, and take a nap here and there to not get too worn out, and don’t worry about if she misses my stops. I basically told my pacers that their job is to run with me, and keep me entertained. Nowhere did I tell them that they should also check my body, health, eating, drinking, gear, etc. I was too independent, and didn’t have the knowledge and experience to back up that up. I think I got this attitude when I paced Darryl last year and saw how he pretty much took care himself, and as a pacer my job was mainly to keep the conversation going.

Second, I did not know much about blisters and blister management. A small blister caused me to change my running mechanics, which led to strained hamstring and tendon that I ignored for too long, and led to my DNF. I did not realize just how much a 100 mile race will amplify even with the tiniest problems and weaknesses. I had a perfect race at Weymouth Woods, and it led to overconfidence.

Third: making that time table in hindsight was probably a huge mistake when I had no one else to back me up on my decisions throughout the race. Once I realized how close I was running to the schedule, I subconsciously did not want to stop to deal with what I thought at time small problems and get behind from the schedule. During lap 5 when I realized I was truly falling behind, I made the decision that I must stop to deal with the blister. It was too late.

So what I have learned? I know nothing about blisters and feet. Must address that issue. Changing running gait is a disaster waiting for happen, never do that even if that means making a blister worse, since you can fix a blister but cannot fix catastrophic muscle damages. If I have a crew, rely on them, make detailed plans, and don’t be too independent and assume I can take care of everything. Mostly, I have so much to learn about running long distances.


  1. Yay, you have a blog now! I think I would have to learn the 'don't be so independent' too if I were doing Ultra's. How's your leg doing? Will it take long to heal?

  2. I'm running slowly again, started this weekend after two weeks of rest. Hopefully nothing permanent is done.