Monday, June 02, 2014

Dirty 100

I ran the Santa Barbara 100 (née DRTE 100) this weekend. It took me just shy of 32 hours, which is my slowest 100 mile time of the eight I've attempted thus far. The website says the course had 21,000 feet of climbing, but the website says a lot of things--it certainly felt like more. I was a little worried that the race wouldn't be well-organized, as there were numerous last-minute changes as well as promised updates that never materialized, but in the end what really matters (course marking and aid stations) was all quite well done. There was one instance where maybe 10 of us made a wrong turn thanks to a vandal removing flagging (the adjacent private property owner being a turd?), but since I was going slower I didn't go that far off track before others came back in the opposite direction and corrected me. It was an out and back and the flagging was restored on the return leg. Also, the aid stations had plenty of ice, which is saying something given the heat. A few of them also provided drop-bag coolers, which I haven't seen before and is a pretty cool idea--big coolers with lots of ice the night before at the drop bag drop offs--so I put a couple cans of ginger ale in each of those. No aid stations had vegan soup, but pretty much no one ever does (though it's not that hard!) Soup and soda are basically the only thing my stomach can keep down when it's having trouble, so I drank a lot of these. (I drank so much soda, which I never do in real life, that my teeth felt weird through half of today as well. Ultras are weird.)

 I didn't particularly like the course, as it was mostly on hard dirt roads with big rocks and loose footing, and the single track was overgrown with thistle and/or poison oak. It will be a minor miracle if I end up with no poison oak rash. The ups and downs also felt a little arbitrary or forced instead of natural, but maybe I'm just out of shape and biased, and this is probably just what Santa Barbara trails are like in June.

As far as my run, I took it easy from the start, just doing 4 mph. I had a great run at States last year when I didn't overdo it in the first half, so I tried to repeat that (but failed). This worked fine through maybe 35 miles, but 35-50 is a huge sustained climb, and it was very hot, so I slowed to a crawl. I barfed a couple times, and then went to my regimen of only ginger ale (or Sprite) and soup broth. Once the sun set and the temperature went down, things started to improve. My buddy ZG paced me from 41-72 or so, then RA paced me from 85 to the end. 5AM to 8AM Sunday felt great and I made good time, but after that I was disappointed to be out there for the noonday heat for two days in a row. Regardless, I think we made decent time the last 15 miles, and I finished in just under 32 hours. 

Next up is the Bighorn 100 in Wyoming in three weeks. I'll be putting ginger ale and yellow Gatorade in all available drop bags, and I think I'll try foods less acidic than fruit and see if I can not vomit and keep running for a slightly larger portion of the race.

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