Tuesday, February 28, 2012

SAGE Umstead100 advice from ultra guru, Bill Gentry

above are pictures from my presidents day AT run in the snow with beth, dennett, joey and maverick. :)

I'm still training for umstead 100. I ran holiday lake 50k as a long training run on feb 12th. had near perfect conditions. Ran most of the race with Marc Guzzi :) ended up running 5:24 18 min PR and I never was really in a hurry all day. so I am pleased with where I am right now fitness wise as opposed to this time last year. and it was SO great to see all my friends and make new friends at this year's holiday lake. I love going to LUS series races because they really are like a family reunion to me now. :)

I've had ALOT of adversity thrown in my way the past couple months in the form of sick kiddos ( walking pneumonia, pink eye, ear infections, strep) and saturday I had a crazy sinus/inner ear infection episode. SO training for umstead itself has been a challenge. but on the days I couldn't get out in the mtns, my relatives helped watch the kids for me to run the roads, I did the spin bike, insanity, p90x.. in short if I couldn't go run.. I worked out hard. I really hope that pays off in the long run. but that being said, I sure have ran a whole heck of alot since january. :)

I have been imploring my good friend, Bill Gentry to share all his pearls of wisdom regarding Umstead 100. He has ran this race more times than any other ultra runner I know of. He was SO nice to type out his advice and sent it to me today, and I just felt it was selfish to keep this to myself. I feel that most of this advice can apply to ANY ultra distance. esp the bold face DO NOT QUIT ( and the start slow!! advice) I hope everyone enjoys it and I really feel all my readers who run can take something away from this. THANK YOU BILL GENTRY. YOU'RE MY HERO!! I'm so excited I get to run my first 100 with bill, rick grey and so many of my other friends. and so thankful for my dialed in crew who has volunteered to help get me to the finish line. :) without further ado:

U100 is a temptress. Seems so easy, this loop. Lotsa flat stretches in the first 3 miles. No significant uphills. Not a rock in sight. And so much energy at that start, thanks to some 275 runners all gracing that still-in-the-dark starting line. Note: The largest finishing field in race history was last year's 130. Very nearly everybody goes out way too fast. So hard not to get caught up in that. Suggestion: Every mile is marked with a pie plate. Have a pacing plan. Stick to your plan.

There is only one reason to DNF at U100: injury. Adam Bookspan walked the entire U100 in 27:11 one year. Every step. That's faster than two of my finishes. Here's a thing about U100: The fun factor takes a serious dip once the lights go out. Most of the 50-mile people are done. And lots of the other first-timers quit a lap later. That start-finish aid station feels like a M*A*S*H unit after dark. If possible, stay the hell out of that lodge unless you are rocking this thing. I have taken naps at the outbound manned aid station most years. One year, I slept 1 hour. Another year, I slept THREE hours. And one other year after blitzing the 9:25 first 50 in 91F heat, I walked from 70M to 80M, slept 2 hours, walked to 85M, slept 30 minutes, then shuffled in and STILL did 27:30. Message: This is not as hard as Grindstone or MMT, but it is still 100 miles. If you are not injured, there is no good reason to quit. Do. Not. Quit.

Front Nine and Back Nine: I divide U100 into two parts. The Front Nine is pretty daggone flat. The Back Nine has some rollers and then one fairly long downhill (Mile 10) followed by a short, fairly steep uphill. The Front Nine features the pancake-flat Spur, an water/goo stop at about 3.5M, unmanned water stop at about 5.5M and then the manned, fully stocked aid station at 6.75M. That's where your drop bag can be. Dunno what you have in mind with Brock and the kiddos, but I would suggest throwing some warm clothes in a bag for here just in case. Maybe some spare batteries, too. Better safe than not. Back Nine includes water at about 8.5M and then at the crest of the "big" hill at just before 11M (the same stop as the one at 3.5M). Perspective on the "hill": you can see all the way to the top of it from the bottom; and it takes less than 4 minutes to run up it. From the unmanned water/goo stop, it's 1.5M or so back to the start-finish. The the start of the race, we go out the gravel road and skip the single-track and other gravel road. On the return and every loop after that, we do the gravel road/single-track option. You'll feel right at home on this stretch. :)

U100 is the sneakiest one around. I have 11 100-mile finishes here. I also have 4 other times when I have bagged it after at least 50. Except for the Hurricane Year when I got as close to hypothermia as I ever want to come, I have quit because I went out way too fast, totally cratered and then was feeling really, really bad at exactly the wrong time ... when my car was within sight. Whew! It's the hardest thing about a 12.5-mile loop: those 2-3 times late in the game when you come past your car, your kids, that raging fire in the lodge, the showers, and all those lonely looking people who have given up. Suggestion: The local North Carolina Road Runners chapter has a plethora of volunteer pacers. Most are there itching to do one loop just to get a feel for what it's like out there. If you are hurting, take one. Jenny, taking a pacer for Lap 6 or Lap 7 has saved my *** three or four times.