Jingle Bell 2 Mile and Ancient Oaks 100 Results
- There was a choice of races this weekend. You could either run the Candy Cane 5K
in Cocoa on Saturday morning (no results yet) and the Jingle Bell 2 Miler in the
evening in Satellite Beach (results http://runningzone.com/results/2500?type=a )
or the Ancient Oaks 100 in Titusville FL
Ancient Oaks was a 3.459 mile trail loop repeated 29 times. I made a GPS map of
the first 13 loops before the battery died. http://goo.gl/maps/wKiT
The course is about 95% trail, 4% boardwalk, and 1% paved. The trail is either
soft sand or lots of roots under the deep forest canopy of the Enchanted Forest
park. I took a few photos
The race started at 7:00 AM Saturday with a 32 cutoff at 3:00 PM Sunday. On
Saturday temperatures were in the mid 60's with steady rain from 9 AM to 3 PM.
It cleared at night with lows about 50 and a full moon. Sunday was overcast and
damp with temperatures in the 50's.
There were 45 starters and 23 finishers. My plan was to run competitively in the
22-24 hour range, but due to my poor preparation and planning mistakes, I was
the last finisher in 31:48. I was in first place after the first lap with the
eventual winner Joe Ninke right behind me at what seemed like a very easy 32
minutes (9:00/mile pace) at the time. The lap was 10 minutes slower than I had
run a 3.5 mile race just a month ago. I had beaten Joe 3 times in the last 2
months at the John Holmes (Croom trail) 50K, Daytona half marathon, and Space
Coast marathon where I ran a PR of 3:15. But I was mistaken to believe this
speed would help me for 100 miles. All of my training over the last few months
had been focused on the marathon 3 weeks ago. It included 15-18 mile tempo runs
at marathon race pace, long runs up to 31 miles, and lots of shorter races and
interval workouts, often barefoot on grass. I had lost several pounds and
learned to run midfoot rather than heel strike so that I could do all of my
running in racing flats or in Vibrams or barefoot. In August I had run the
Leadville 100 wearing 3.9 ounce Adidas Adizero PR flats without socks and had no
foot problems or blisters, so I felt ready.
But Joe excels at the longer distances. He won here in 2007, has won the LOST
118 mile race around Lake Okeechobee, has twice won the Wickham Park 200 mile,
and was second (first unsupported) at the Vol State 310 mile race across
Tennessee. He eventually won here in 20:30, lapping me 7 times and beating me by
over 11 hours. It doesn't help that he is 41, 14 years younger than me.
I understand that there is a running budget that must be followed by all but the
most elite runners at this distance. There is a longest distance that one can
run either continuously or broken up by walking. I estimated that to be around
50 miles based on my Leadville result where I ran all of the descents and half
of the flat sections. But at Leadville my goal was only to finish within the 30
hour cutoff and take some pictures. When I finished there, I could still run.
But when you race competitively you have to take risks. As it turned out, I had
used up my budget at mile 70. When that happens, running degrades to a pathetic
shuffle barely faster than walking that you can only hold for a few steps. The
muscles simply refuse to obey the commands from your brain. Then it simply
becomes a 15 hour chore through the night and following day to grind out the
last 30 miles.
The deterioration of the body over 100 miles would be a fascinating topic if it
were happening to someone else. I had some Achilles soreness around 15 miles
where the Velcro timing strap went around my ankle. I don't know if that was the
cause, but I moved it to my other ankle and by mile 40 I noticed that it had
stopped hurting. Meanwhile the pain forced me into a slower and energy wasting
stride where I landed on my left forefoot and right heel. This may have forced
me to deplete my mileage budget early. But I was still making good progress. I
went through a marathon in about 5 hours, 50K in 6:15, 50 miles in about 11
hours and 100K in about 14. I was still on pace for 22-24 hours and I was still
running OK using a flashlight after 50 miles.
But there were signs of trouble. From about 6 PM on, I had to urinate every 15
minutes. Was I getting enough salt? Too much? A diuretic effect from the
caffeine in Mt. Dew? I put an S-cap (mostly salt) on a McDonalds quarter pounder
with cheese and 2 more in a cup of water. But I was never hot or sweating much.
I was thirsty but not craving salty food. By midnight I was going every 10
minutes and someone noticed that my speech was slurred. It was here that my
running budget was exhausted and I slept an hour in my car. I just put the seat
down and was asleep instantly. I started hallucinating at 5 AM and slept another
At sunrise the prospect of taking 8 hours to walk the last 20 miles had me
asking why I was doing this. I could run it in 2 1/2 hours. My urine had
returned to normal, but blisters on the back of my heels forced me to walk with
a slow, short stride so I could bring my feet straight down. I took ibuprofen in
an unsuccessful attempt to relieve the pain. My hands swelled up so that I could
not close them. I wore two shirts, a jacket, and a hat to keep warm even though
the temperature was in the mid 50's, warm enough that I would usually run
without a shirt. I thought about never running any more races over 50 miles.
This is meaningless suffering without a point. I kept looking at my watch
because I was only a few minutes ahead of cutoff pace.
-- Matt Mahoney, matmahoney@...