Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tour d'Esprit (Full)

I arrived at the race site a few hours early. I wanted to be sure to get a good spot for my tent and supplies. It was hot, but a stiff breeze kept us all from sweating too much. After setting my site up, I helped someone else with their very large tent (for the AOC running team). With all that complete, I decided to run a lap to check the course and get an idea of what lay ahead. The course can best be described as 1/3 blacktop, 1/3 loose gravel, and 1/3 dirt trail. There was plenty of room for passing slow runners/walkers.

At 3pm, we started without fanfare. My plan was to do 4-5 miles per hour and complete at least 20 miles before taking any break. Although my pace felt great and I was making good progress, my body decided multiple times that it needed a bathroom break. I chalked it up to nerves, but it really screwed up my first 20.

Blisters on the outside of both heels had to be tended to around mile 22. I wore Injinji mini socks and had no other problems. I never changed socks (even slept in them) and only changed shoes once. Besides the heel blisters, my feet were never an issue.

Supposedly there was to be food and water for the runners. I found the water without any problems, but never found the food! Email correspondance with the RD prior to the race informed me that there would be a runner's food tent, so I only brought a few Clif bars for solid food. Needless to say, I ran out of fuel early that evening. Gels, Clip2, Boost and water will only take you so far. By midnight, I was at 32 miles and up against the wall. I layed down in my tent for a stretch break that stretched out for the next six hours. I meant to get up at 4am, but reset the alarm for 4:30...then for 5...the for 6. I finally got back on the course at 7am.

I ran five miles and then decided I would pay the $5 for the pancake breakfast that they were serving. This gave me some much needed energy that would hopefully last for a while. This also took precious time away from being on the course. Back to running without any breaks longer than 5 minutes for the remaining hours. More gels and Clip2.

Lunch was to be free for everyone (runners and non). Leaving the course just to grab a hotdog consisted of my lunch break. I still had another three hours of running and I wanted to break 60 miles.

I ran into Kevin Dorsey many times during the race. His pace and form were very consistant...like a machine. He always had a smile and something nice to say to everyone. Kevin is a class act. He ended up with 120 miles! Unbelievable!

Although I didn't reach any of my goals, I could blame no one but myself. I should have run through the night (probably could have covered at least 25 more miles). I should have brought actual food (more energy = more miles). I should not have brought a tent (too tempting to crash). More lessons learned!

All in all, I had a great time and met some great people! Brian and Lorrie Williams both had PR's and Lorrie even won her age group. They kept me going many times throughout the race. Good to see them complete 40+ miles! This is what is different with ultras...the friends you make and meet!

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