Saturday, August 29, 2009

Medoc Meltdown 50K - race report

A beer and a mouthfull of Grilled Cheese and bacon sandwich was just what the Doctor ordered at the finish.

This was my first Fat Ass run (not my first 'fat ass', I have had one of them for a couple of decades at least). The whole day was a great experience.
The course - 4 laps of 8.7 miles. Each lap had 2 sections, a 3 mile loop, and 5+ mile loop. After each mini loop, we were back to the main picnic area aid station.

My goals were:

I feel as though "mission accomplished" is an appropriate statement.

The main talking point will be the weather. Humid, hot, thunderstorms. I shouldn't be suprised, I have lived in NC long enough to know that in August, the weather forecast is practically the same everyday, "Hot, humid, possibility of thunderstorms". We got it all.

Lap one - humid, very humid. The type of humidity that steamed up my glasses. The type of humidity that had condensation running down the outside of the windows at home. The type of humidity that clung to you. The type of humidity that even made my hair frizz. Oh yes, it was humid. The course wasn't marked, we were given turnsheets, and during that first lap, much of the time, I was on my own, and naturally thought I was going the wrong way - I wasn't, it just seemed that way. Towards the end of the first mini-loop, I was passed by some people, which at least told me I hadn't run 2.5 miles in the wrong direction. Did I say it was humid? The rest of the lap was pretty uneventful. I got into a good comfortable rythm of walk some (up hills), and jog some.

Lap two - Still humid, but the sun was getting stronger and the heat picked up. Ice filled bandanas, ice under my cap, and switching shirts from one that had been sitting in ice. All of this worked to help keep me cool. I went through over 80 oz of drink during this lap and was sweating buckets. This was also the lap of the killer deer fly. Holy crap - they were as big as pigeons, no really, they were. I was bitten by them probably half a dozen times. One of the bites went bad the next day - the top half of my arm was burning up, and I had a hand sized crimson area above my elbow. Just nasty.

Lap three. The heavens opened. I mean really opened, torrential downpours for practically the whole lap. On the one hand, yep, it cooled me down somewhat. On the other hand, my MP3 player crapped out - I learnt later that my phone did too. Eventually the music did come back, but only at full volume. Oh well - that ain't too bad. The rain also dampened the spirits of the deer fly. Towards the end of the loop, the trail was pretty flooded with ankle deep water. Initially, I was trying to avoid them to keep my feet dry. That didn't last long, I decided the best way was to just wade through it and be damned.

Towards the end of the lap, my head started saying "you know what Jimbo, you have ran a marathon, it's pissy miserable weather, why not give it up." For the last couple of miles of the lap, I had two voices in my head. "Quit Jimbo you fool". And, "You ain't done yet Jimbo - keep going". My decision was made easy by the Frank and the folks at the aid station after the end of the lap, who very politely suggested I get my butt back out there and complete the race. It was just the motivation I needed. If y'all ever read this, thank you!

Lap four. The wonder drug combo was used at the beginning of the lap. Coke and a caffiene pill. The rain had eased off to a steady downpour - the floods on the trail dissipated, and I felt good. I was the last person going out in the lap, and as I was running, I was writing this blog in my head, "DFL > DNF >DNS" being the main topic. ("Dead f---ing last" is better than "Did not finish" is better than "Did not start"). Once I was out on the lap, and the decision had been made, I was determined to finish, and finish well. I passed a few folks, and the thing that pleased me most was that I think that this was my fastest lap of the day. That was REALLY pleasing. The "Wonder drug combo" strikes again. It really works well for me.

To end - this was a lot of fun, it really was, and I would recommend it to anyone. Frank and his crew did an excellent job, and I really had an enjoyable 8 hours and 51 minutes. I'll be back next year. There were 42 starters I think, 6 finishers, and I believe I came home in third place.

Jimbo and Steven at the end. We came in right about the same time

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Medoc Meltdown 50K - quick update

More to come later in the week.

I really enjoyed the run - the weather was the main topic, humidity, heat, torrential rain. Not to mention a crapped out cell phone, mp3 player and camera, which all objected to getting drenched. Remember the Ziplocs Jimbo.

Oh - and deer flies as big as cattle. Nasty things.

Despite that, I did four 8.7 mile laps for the "Full Meltdown", time was around 8:51

Frank and his team put on a great event, and I will look forward to next time.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Medoc Meltdown 50K

I have been needing to get some long distance training runs in, but heat, humidity or any other excuse I can think of has prevented me from doing anything more than 15 miles. Mainly the humidity. You would think I know how hot and humid it gets here in August by now.

Then I discovered
this for this coming weekend – the Medoc Meltdown 50K. Just the motivation I need to log some miles – sign up for a race. Even better that it is a Fat Ass – free to enter – no fee, no t-shirt, no aid, no whining. WOT NO T-SHIRT?? What have I let myself in for? ;-)

So, the course is relatively flat, 8.7 mile loops x 4 =34.8 miles. Hey, wait a minute, that’s more than 50K (oops, no whining). My aim will be to finish alive, do at least 3 laps (a marathon), and also test out Suceed’s S!Caps and the Amino and Clip drinks to see how my stomach handles that. Also, I am sure that I will bring a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich – just to experiment with, of course. Dark chocolate peanut M&M’s, trail mix and the wonder drug combo (coke and a caffeine pill) will also be tried out.

Weather prediction for Saturday – mid 80’s (woo hoo, a cold snap!), scattered thunder storms (there’s a shocker in August), and of course high humidity.

From the website:

Medoc attractions and highlights include (but are not limited to): heat, humidity, logs, rocks, poison ivy, snakes and perhaps even a bear or two

Can’t wait.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

B-17 Bomber

I am a real geek for machines - especially machines that fly. Even more so for flying machines that are old.

This weekend, Lee County airport has been visited by a B-17 bomber - I could have paid to go up for a loop or two, but at $439 it was a bit steep. We are so close to the airport (1.5 miles) that we could hear it take off. Our house was buzzed several times - one time the plane's shadow passed right over me.

One thing that struck me was the sound of the engines - I can't help feeling that had you heard that sound, plus the sound of hundreds of other planes some 65 years ago, you would have been filled with either unbridled awe, or sheer terror - depending on which side of the English Channel you were on......

So, out for a run this afternoon by Jordan Lake - the plane is obviously making a loop around the lake - I quickly got out my phone and pointed it in the general direction of the plane - when I downloaded the picture later, I was suprised to see I actually did get a picture of the plane.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The 5k I HAVE to do

I don't do many 5K runs, but this one is a must for me:

CARA, Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption, is where both Wilbur and Sarah came from as pups, and these folks run a wonderful no kill animal shelter, so I absolutely must support this cause.

Plus, I get a T-Shirt.

'bout time for an update

I have been an incredibly lazy blogger recently. My real job has kept me busy for a bit - which involved a 10 day 'tour' of California. In 10 days, I drove over 2000 miles.

Highlight of which was spending a weekend at Lake Tahoe with my friends Frankie and Doug, and also volunteering at the Tahoe Rim Trail 100. I was at the finish line, and one of my roles included taking the tags off of the race numbers. I am certain that the last thing somebody who has just finished a 100 mile run needs is someone groping around trying to undo safety pins! There has got to be an easier way!

It was fantastic seeing those brilliant athletes come in after a 100 mile run. Although we saw our fair share of people suffering, and looking like they had just ran 100 miles, I was suprised to see that there were quite a few people who looked really well. Apparently, out on the course during the day, the heat had got to many runners, and there were a lot of drops. Certainly my desire was fuelled to run the TRT one day - undoubtedly a 50. Whether 50K or 50M is yet to be determined.

While at Tahoe, I got to run a fantastic 5 mile trail by the lake - stunning scenery, and a really pleasant 10 mile run. I also got to run up some mountains. One of the mountains was 1850' of ascent in 3 miles. Although I felt it, and was sucking wind on some of the really steep bits, it wasn't as bad as I had imagined, and has given me some confidence for pacing at the Grand Tetons.

Being the idiot I am, I managed to leave my cell phone on the plane. Someone did find it and told me they would mail it, but I have yet to see it. I just wish I had thought to get her contact information. I'm not too bothered about the phone, but it was the only 'camera' I had, so I have lost a bunch of pictures from my weekend in the mountains. Fingers crossed that it will show up, but I am beginning to lose hope.

Back now at sea level in North Carolina. The weather has been terrible for running - the humidity over the last week has been way up there, and we have had storms just about everyday. The humidity has been so high that in an hour of running, I have been losing about 5 or 6 lbs - despite drinking 20-30 oz. As much as the heat and humidity of the south doesn't usually bother me, lately though, this has been something else.