Monday, April 14, 2014

Blind Pig 100 Mile Endurance Run

The Blind Pig 100 was amongst South Carolina's 1st one hundred mile ultra marathon races.  Claude Sinclair put one on many years ago, but this has been the most recent as of late.

I helped Angela (Race Director) layout the course for the race which ended up being a 9 mile loop.  100 Mile runners did a half mile out-n-back for 1 mile at the beginning, then completed 11 loops for the 100 mile event.  There was also a 100K option with consisted of seven loops.

Since running 75 miles at The Delirium 24 hour race on 2/8/14, I've averaged about 13 miles per week in my training.  Burnt out, tired, mental, lazy, frustrated, crazy?  Maybe more problems than that, but those are for another blog.

After nine weeks of virtually no ultra training I decided to show up on my home course for this 100 mile challenge.  No crew or pacers -  I wanted to really know how much of a 100 mile event is "mental".  I've heard it said many times that you run the first 50 with your legs and the last 50 miles with your heart.  I planned to put that strategy to the test knowing that a DNF (did not finish) drop would probably sink me deeper into a slump.

As about 50 runners stood at the start line I felt like a gambler in Vegas.  I was pushing all of the chips in for a finish.  I had 32 hours to figure out how to get it done.  It didn't have to be graceful or pretty, just a finish.  Then again, I don't think any of my race finishes have ever been every eloquent.

I walked most of the 1st loop as nearly every runner took off at a fast pace from the start line.  I could see problems for many runners as soon as they started.   The temperatures were going to climb into the mid 80s with high humidity and this certainly wasn't the time in the race to try and gain ground against the clock.

I felt surprisingly strong for the first 50K (31 miles) which was over three loops.  I finished it in about 7 hours and that meant I was on about a 23 hour pace finish.  I realized that I would slow down a lot during the night, but felt lots of confidence with this cushion built in.

There were two aid stations on the loop.  One at the start/finish and another at the 3.8 mile mark on the loop.  I knew nearly everyone who was running the aid stations throughout the race and that was a tremendous boost.  Speaking of the aid stations, they had everything you would've wanted.  Burgers, pizza, homemade cookies, coffee, candy, chips, soda, fruit, bacon, jerky - it was all superb.

I ran a loop with Jonathan F. and Kiley around the halfway point and by 2:00 AM I was so sleepy I couldn't keep my head up.  I was over six hours ahead of the cutoff time so I decided to crawl in the car and get some sleep.  After a nearly three hour nap I woke up alert, but incredibly stiff.  It took me about 5 miles to get limbered up enough to run again.  This put me around the 80 mile mark and I knew with eight hours to finish I would make the final 20 miles.  Even if it nearly killed me.

Beth & the kids were out to help at the aid station around 10 AM and they met up with me at mile 91 before I headed out on the last loop.  I was prepared to face it alone, but since Beth offered to go with me I took her up on it.  We walked the entire loop in 2:30 which is about a 16:30 min/mile pace.  I was nearly at the point of sheer exhaustion and was slurring my words badly.  Luckily, she's seen me like this before so it didn't come as a surprise.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 28:55 which was nearly exactly what I had predicted at the start.  Finishing this race in my hometown of Spartanburg on my own training trails meant a great deal to me and once the word gets out, I believe this race will fill up to capacity next year.  It was really cool to have Angela hand me the finisher's buckle, even if I was reduced to sitting on the ground at that point.



My feet are a little sore from all of the roots today, but other than that I'm not extremely beat up.

I simply tried to take care of my body as much as possible during the first 50 miles and set myself up in decent shape for the 2nd half of the race.  Completing a 100 mile race really does require a lot of mental toughness.  After finishing this one I would agree that you can get one finished on minimal training, but you will enjoy it more if you're in better condition.

Either way I'm thrilled to have been a part of this event and can't wait to do it again next year.

Photo of Kelley (who also finished) and I at the finish.