The Goal: 12 buckles in 12 months in 2012 - to celebrate the milestone of my 50th year!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

It's been to long - New Jersey Recap

Good Evening Everyone:
It's been a really long time since I've had some time to sit down and document the last two phases in 12in12. Sorry for the wait but I'm flattered by the few people who have been asking me to update my blog. It feels pretty cool, thanks. Tonight (if time permits) I'll try to write two blogs here, one for each of the last two events.

New Jersey Trail Series: Augusta New Jersey - March 23/24, 2012

This was an event that I attended with one of my training buddies Mary Lou Corino and my co-worker and good friend Aaron Maksym. Mary Lou provided the services as crew as pacers were not allowed and Aaron participated in his first 100 km event. The entire weekend was supposed to get underway at 8:00 Friday morning from Mary Lou's house in Georgetown. Yes, it was supposed to. I spent the night before in Newmarket to reduce the travel time and ease of packing, getting organized etc. Well at least that was the plan. I knew it was about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Newmarket to Mare's house so when the alarm went off I was quick out of bed, shower, pack the last few times and was on the road by 6:30, a quick stop at Tim's for my morning Tea and a bagel and off to Georgetown. All good right! WRONG. 7:15 am I was on the 407 at Mississauga Road and Michelle called me to let me know that I left my food bin on the stair beside the front door. Great start, very excited to be heading back to Newmarket to get the food. I slowed down and took the next exit off the 407. Did I really need that bin? Let's do a quick review: All my gels, organic chews, stinger waffles, head light, hand held, Advil, sport beans, batteries, extra head light, gloves, pop tarts....damn right, I needed that bin. Crap, reprogram the GPS, find any and all back roads and make my way back to 400 and Hwy 9. Thanks for meeting me there Mich, saved me valuable time for sure. This 3rd hundred miler is off to a marvelous start.
At this time I'd like to thank Aaron and Mare for not making fun of me.......much! Well I made it to Mare's house around 9:45, Dan was nice enough to let us take their Volkswagen Station Wagon to New Jersey. This meant extra room to pack all of my stuff, including my food. Thanks Dan, you're a great guy.
So we left Mare's house and in true 100 miler fashion, followed my GPS, down the first street or two, following the turn by turn directions, forgot to set it to New Jersey, it took me right back to Mare's house. Nice trip around the city block near her house. Ok, try no. 2, program GPS for New Jersey and off we went, flawlessly the rest of the way I might add.
We arrived in New Jersey on Friday evening just around 5:00 and the trip was great. We had a great time in the car trading stories of our runs, our experiences and just good fun. We checked into our hotel and then  went off to the race site to pick up our race kits and enjoy a pasta dinner before returned for a good nights sleep.
All went very well Friday night, the people in New Jersey were fun to be around and we met some other ultra runners who shared their stories about Vermount and Potawatomi, thanks to all of you for scaring the crap out of us before we participate in those events this summer :)
After dinner we returned to our hotel and enjoyed a beer, picked up a pizza (race food for Saturday) and went to sleep. Our wake up call came at 4:30 am and after a quick shower, some breakfast and last minute gear check we were off to the race start......after we fixed the flat tire on the Volkswagon. This wasn't one of the items we had actually planned for so I put on my Mario Andretti gloves, got behind the wheel and proceeded to the race start with lots of time to spare. I think Aaron jumped out of the car before it stopped and made it to the start line with 6 minutes to spare. Despite what he says, this was perfect, he didn't have time to worry about anything, like say....running his first 100 kms. The gun sounded and Aaron was off.
My 100 miler started at 7:00 so I had lots of time, 21 minutes more than Aaron as a matter of fact. You know, just enough time to take care of those last minute details, luckily the line wasn't to long.
I was nervous at the start line, I had told Mare about my goal and also shared my goal with the staff at my office but hadn't told many others I was really hoping to go under 21 hours. Standing there gettting ready I sort of wondered if I could do it, I'd never gone nearly that low before, was I setting the bar to high? Well, lets get this thing going and find out.
As the race started the course turned out to be somewhat friendly. It was dry, it was flat and only one or two sections that would require any level of focus or attention. Of course after 50 or 60 miles even the simplest of sections can be more difficult. The course was well marked and getting lost wasn't an option either. The way it was set up you werer always seeing someone else on the course and rarely did you run for 10 or 15 minutes without seeing someone else on course.
As I made my way around the course a few times I began to set landmarks and benchmarks for myself. I remember running two loops at Sulphur in 2010 with Monica Sholtz and she taught me that she runs in the exact spot each time around that loop and walks in the exact same spots as well so I decided to adopt that stragety here promised myself at each road crossing I'd walk to a specific landmark then run to the next cross road, aid station, etc. As the night went on I found this to be working very well until the 9th loop.
The course was 10 -10 mile loops. The first time I'd done a hundred miler with this format and all was going as planned until the dreaded 9th loop. I began to get very tired and visions of Florida reared their ugly head again. Luckily I think I quickly was able to identify what was happening and knew that this was a sign to just find a good spot to sit down for a short time, collect myself and get back at it again. Well the sit down took until the out aid station at 6 miles. I'm not sure how long it took me to get out there but it felt like hours. When I arrived at the aid station a very nice lady there asked what she could do for me. I explained that I needed a 4 minute nap and not to let me stay there any longer than that or Ken Moon would kill me. She smiled, looked at me and said "well I don't know who Ken Moon is, but we wouldn't want that to happen".
Obvisously she hasn't been doing ultra's much if she doesn't know who Ken Moon is, doesn't everyone know who he is? Ultra Legend Lady, geezz, get with the program.
Needless to say the kind aid station worker yelled at me at 4 minutes and damn near pulled the chair out from under me, handed me my back pack and told me to get the Hell out of her aid station (man I hate Ken Moon). As I promised myself, after the 4 minute nap I would be back to the program I had laid out on the previous loops only this time, no walking out of the aid station and running all the way to the next bridge to make up the time. I did just that and the last 4 miles of loop nine seemed to go pretty well. Lesson learned.
When I got back to the home base Mare was waiting for me and she had salt and pizza ready for me before I went out for the last time. Sorry to report that those items only stayed down for a couple of minutes and I'm sorry to the person who had to clean up the sidewalk. My last loop was underway after a quick stop and off I went. Knowing it would take a great loop to break 21 hours I pushed as hard as I could early in the loop, maybe in hind site I should have saved some for the end of the race. When i got to the six mile aid station this time, I didn't stop, I checked my bib number and headed right back out knowing it would take all I had to make it back before 4:00 am. The loop went ok and nothing really went wrong but I was out of gas with about 2 miles to go and the only uphill on the course. Looking back it was hard to understand why I couldn't dig in and get it done but at the end of the day I ran 21:08, 81 minutes off my previous best time and not time to be sad or dissapointed about the effort. I finished, I got buckle no. 3 and I felt great.
Aaron also finished his 100 km in just under 13 hours and looked as fresh as a daisy as well. Congratulations Aaron and I can't wait for you to tackle your first 100 miler in August.
Mare was outstanding as crew. She stuck with me for the entire event. Never leaving the station, always there with lots of encouraging words, a great smile, food at the ready, thank you Mare, you are amazing and I couldn't have done it without you for sure. And just for the record, she did take some advise from Ken as well. There were a few times I wanted to sit down, Mare wouldn't let me, there were a few times I did sit down and Mare kicked me out of my chair after a minute or two and each time I began a new loop I could hear Mare behind me, "Ken would kill me if I let you sit there". Who is the guy anyway?
Our drive home was a bit more quite than the ride there I"m pretty sure but no. 3 is in the books and only a short 3 weeks before Potawatomi.
Race report no. 3, long overdue but now complete.

12in12 - 12 buckles, 1 goal.

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