Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Indiana Trail 100

The Indiana Trail 100 was my first 100 mile race since the Florida Keys 100 in May of 2012.  In preparation for running some obstacle course races in 2014, over the winter I added 3-4 days of week of Crossfit or Spartan WOD's (Workout Of the Day) to my workout routine.  Going into the race, I was happy with my training and managed to not get injured.  Below was my basic training plan.  I wasn't able to get in every workout each week due to work and social life but most weeks was close to the below.  Maybe I need more social life.

Monday: AM: 4 mile run to work, Midday: 30-40 minutes variety of weights, PM: WOD + 8 miles

Tues: AM: 4M, Midday: 30-40mins weights, PM: WOD+8-15M

Wednesday: AM: 4M, Midday: 30-40mins weights, PM: 10-25M

Thursday: AM: 4M, Midday: 30-40mins weights, PM: WOD+ Speed/Track

Friday: AM: 4M, Midday: 30-40mins weights, PM: WOD+8-12M

Saturday: 30-60M

Sunday: Off (Sunday Funday!)

It was high volume training for sure at 80-140 miles per week, and the WOD's definitely added muscle, especially in my shoulders and around my legs.  I estimate I added 10 pounds of muscle compared to the fall.  It was enough that there are several shirts and pants in my closet that I can't fit into any more.  I was happy with this, but from a practical standpoint I didn't know if this extra weight would help or hurt my 100 mile racing.  My hope was that the extra leg strength would protect from all the pounding in the second half of the race, but the proof is in the pudding!

Our race weekend plan was to wake up at 12:30am Saturday morning, drive 3 hours to Indiana from Chicago for the 6:00am Eastern race start, run the race, chill out for a couple hours, drive 3 hours back to Chicago and somehow make it to work Monday morning.  This would not have been possible without the badass help from my crew chief and pacer, Loli.  Loli went two nights in a row with almost no sleep, drove for hours, ran almost 30 miles and was wonderful at keeping my pace and spirits up.  This is her out running when it was -16F this winter:

Isn't she beautiful?
Race day was perfect weather, 50 at the start, mid 60's during the day.  The course was 6 17ish mile loops of rolling hills, very pleasant.  I started off in the front pack of about 8 people but I was not sure who was running the 50 or 100 mile versions.  My plan was to take it relatively easy and try to land soft while keeping my pace up enough to keep the adrenaline pumping.  I didn't bring a watch or pay attention to my place during the first half of the race to keep myself from going out too hard.

The first lap went by nice and easy in 2hrs 33mins, well ahead of my goal pace of 18 hours.  The second lap also felt great, best I have felt in the first third of a 100.  The second lap I floated in around 2 hours, 34 mins. 

Feeling fine on the first loop

The 3rd lap was also going smooth and I was starting to think I was going to breeze through this thing when reality came crashing.  Somewhere around mile 40 I tripped hard going downhill, rolled off the trail and slammed my left knee into a tree.  I screamed in pain and surprise, got my bearings, and gingerly stood up to inspect the damage.  The tree got me squarely on the side of the knee.  I could barely walk for several steps and seriously thought my day was done.  I kept at it though and after a while I was able to get a limping stride going over the next 10 miles.  I finished the third lap in 2 hours and 48 minutes with a 50 mile time of 7 hours and 56 minutes.  I was well ahead of my goal time, but I was banged up and the problems were just getting started. 

Starting the 4th loop I realized I was in first place!  I had had a hunch I was leading but I wasn't sure until the 50 milers were off the course.  Loli now joined me for a few miles, which was nice, I had hardly seen anybody the first 8 hours of the race.  In addition to my knee trouble, my stomach now started to bother me.  I couldn't eat and could hardly keep water down.  I had a long pit stop in a porta potty and I lost first place, I think to John Trout.  I struggled through lap 4 in 3 hours and 2 minutes and was actually pleasantly surprised by my lap time considering how awful I felt.

Lap 5 started out as a slog but as the sun was setting and the air started to cool, I started feeling better!  I put my head down, turned my brain off and just went, zenning out as best I could.  I found that if I went faster and kept my adrenaline pumping, I felt better than if I slowed down.  So away I went.  I finished the lap in 3 hours and 11 minutes, back in first place and feeling fine.

Starting the final lap I knew I had a substantial lead, probably at least 30 minutes so my plan was to keep my head down and the pace up but not too crazy as the sun went down.  The loop was relatively uneventful except for a few face plants in the dark.  I think I fell a total of 15 times over the course of the race, I was completely filthy and beat up by the end.  I really am clumsy at these things.  Damn nature.  Loli joined me again for the last 5 miles and we came in to finish with the win in 17 hours and 42 minutes.  My first 100 mile win and 100 mile PR by more than 2.5 hours!  Hot Damn!

Except for the bang in the knee and the relatively short amount of time with GI problems, this race was comfortable from beginning to end.  The first time I have ever felt so comfortable at this long of a distance.  I thought 100's were supposed to hurt!  I guess I should have gone faster.  There is always next time I suppose.  Thank you to everyone who made it possible, I will see you out on the trails!