Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run - April 5, 2008

I had a good run at Umstead. Here's my story.

Training - I did ok with training. As some of you know, I am a low mileage runner. Not really by choice; I don't have a lot of time to train, so I just do what I can. Since I started running ultras in 1999, I have averaged about 25 miles per week. That's it. I have had some high mileage weeks and some zero mileage weeks. But when I total everything up, my monthly mileage is usually about 100 miles, including all races. So, given my wimpy style, I did pretty good with my training leading up to the race.

Don't laugh... but here are the numbers:

January (I had just run 150 miles at Across the Years on New Years Eve)
Week 1 - 13
2 - 30
3 - 25
4 - 26 (Death Valley Marathon)
Total 94/4 = 23.5 mpw average

Week 1 - 13
2 - 17
3 - 42
4 - 37 (Centennial Trail Run)
Total 109/4 = 17.25 mpw average

Week 1 - 32
2 - 63 (Pacific Rim 24 hour Run)
3 - 14
4 - 19
Total 119/4 = 29.75 mpw average

So, as you can see, instead of my usual 25 mpw average, I ran 26.83. Therefore, I increased my average weekly mileage so far this year by 1.83 miles! Whew! Maybe that helped? :)

Rest - I think what helped most was that I got some rest before the race. I did not have other race responsibilities and I could focus on myself. I arrived in Raleigh Thursday after a full day of traveling and had all day Friday to chill. The best pre-race therapy opportunity arose when I discovered a Nine West Shoe Outlet store right across the street from the hotel. 5 pairs of shoes later, all at great discount prices, and I was free of my pre-race jitters.

Weather - Predictions were for "severe weather." Thunder and lightening kept me awake most of the night before the race. My sleep was fitful and short. I envisioned myself running through thunderstorms with cold icy rain (since that's what I am used to in the Pacific Northwest). I woke to rain but it was light...and most importantly, the temperature was warm. That was certainly doable. I was prepared with clothing for any possible weather (especially cold at night) and I was mentally prepared to be wet for the run. As it turned out, the weather was actually quite nice for running. True, the rain took its toll on all of us. Many suffered from blisters and chafing, and at night, those who were doing a lot of walking were cold. I didn't mind the weather much at all. I stayed warm in my shorts and tank. Instead of changing into dry clothes at night, I just added a short-sleeved shirt. Everything was just going to get wet anyway. I was a little nervous about getting cold, but I never did as long as I kept moving. So, I brought everything and needed very little in terms of clothing. Figures. Better safe than sorry always!

Gear - Very little. I consider my socks to be gear though. Feet are, of course, most important for the long run. I wore my Drymax socks because I haven't had a blister yet since I've been wearing them. They work best in wet conditions. I did apply a very small smear of Hydropel on the bottoms of my feet before putting on the socks, which worked well. I had not one blister! My feet looked the best they ever have after a long ultra. Despite that it rained the entire time, my feet never once felt wet. I wore gaiters to keep the grit out and I carried one water bottle (which had a pocket for some small emergency items like ginger), and well, that's all the gear needed to run Umstead! It was great to run light.

Pace - I went to Umstead because it touts an "easy" 100 mile course. I love to run on rocky single track trails, but my cranky ankle makes it too stressful for me. Umstead trails are like soft road, the perfect fast running surface. Smooth, even, wide, easy. There was only one 1 mile out-and-back section that was true trail with leaves, rocks and lots of mud. Despite not wanting to, I wore my ankle brace the entire race just because of that section. I'm glad I did. It didn't bother me except for a small blister on the front of my ankle were the brace rubbed the skin. Not bad at all.
Anyway, my goal was 22 hours. My 100-mile PR is from my first 100 at Rocky Racoon in 2000. I ran 23:51. Since 2000, however, I have run tougher courses, including 4 Western States, and I never broke that time...though I can't say I ever really tried to either. Umstead was actually my first 100-miler in 3 years, since I had ankle surgery after Western States 2005. I've run Badwater and a 48-hour race, but not 100-miler, so it had been a long time. So, I was at Umstead to break that time from long ago. I knew I could do it and I wanted to give some good effort this time and not have so much energy left at the end of the race like I usually do. I wanted to run faster, more consistently and not slow down more than 10% for the second half. I knew I could do 22 (barring any unforeseen adverse circumstance) and I expected to do better than that. I had a secret goal of sub 20 hours. Despite that it was 4 hours faster than my PR, I thought that was a reasonable goal too.

Crew/Pacer - Tim Englund crewed for me and then paced me. The plan was for him to crew till 50 miles, which is when you can pick up a pacer. However, it took me a long time to "get my groove on" as I said at that point, so I ran an extra 12.5 mile loop before he joined me at about the 100k mark. Tim did a fabulous job at both and his altruistic attention helped me reach my goal. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

Nutrition - I love Sustained Energy. It works for me. I carried one bottle, which was refilled each loop. I started with Amino Vital and then alternated Tiger Gatorade (extra sodium) and Sustained Energy every loop after that. The SE has about 350 calories so I got some good fuel in me early in the race. I did take in a couple of 6 oz cups of Pepsi a couple of times, as well as another 10 ounces of water when I was feeling dehydrated mid race. I took 2 Endurolytes and about 6 Thermotabs (about 1/2 the sodium as Succeed!). I had two 1/2 potatoes and one egg dipped in salt and 1 cup of rice soup that was salty. In addition to liquid calories, I ate my own food, very little from the aid stations. I had a Pro Bar, a pop tart, about 6 gels, a JoJo bar, a 1/4 PB&J from the aid station, and a cashew chew bar. All in all, I'd say I got about 200 to 230 calories per hour in me. All went down good and stayed down, and I had no nausea at all. This was deliberately more than I usually take in and it really helped me stay fueled, warm and on task.

Splits - The website will eventually post our splits. I don't have my loop splits but I remember hitting the marathon mark in about 4:30 and the 50k mark in about 5:25. My 50 mile split was 9:04. My 6th loop was 2:30 or so, which is what I was shooting for, and my last 8th loop was around 2:40, bringing me in for a final time of 19:42. I'll take that!

What would I do differently - Nothing. That's a satisfying feeling! Of course, I should train more and cross train and core train, but as far as the race went, all went just fine.

Injuries - I didn't post about my pre-race injury. I always have one and I'm tired of hearing myself talk about them. So, I didn't mention it. But after Pacific Rim, 2 weeks before Umstead, I saw my podiatrist because I thought I either bruised a metatarsal or I had a neuroma. I had pain, swelling and numbness and tingling on the bottom of my right 2nd metatarsal. He diagnosed a tear (and "hopefully not a rupture") of what's called the plantar plate, some cartilage in that area that helps the tendons stay in place. It was very painful. I was limping. He gave me a 6-day methylprednisolone taper pack and I took that despite that it causes me to feel jittery and break out in acne and feel bloated... Yes! Just how I want to feel a couple weeks before a big race! It helped a bit, but the thing that helped the most was this cool taping job where you splint the toe into a bit of flexion, preventing the extension that provokes the pain. I experimented a bit before the race but was still worried that the tape would cause more problems than just leaving it alone. So, the night before, I taped up the foot with extra care not to leave any rough edges on the tape. I used KinesioTape, benzoin, and micropore. It worked like a charm, never came loose, and that together with a little extra metatarsal pad, got me through pain free....well, at least as far as the foot was concerned. I had some other usual aches and pains, like my chronic hamstring tightness, but really, I had no real problems.

Recovery - I rested. What a difference that makes! I slept, ate and ate some more. Massage has been exceedingly helpful. Today is 2 days post-run and I am feeling pretty good. I have no swelling in my feet despite the long plane ride home. I walked 2 miles today and will start slowly running again this weekend. I am registered for the Spokane River Run 50k in less than 2 weeks. I will be running it easy.

- It was great to see so many people I knew and wanted to meet. I was especially thrilled to see Jamie Huneycutt (who ran sub 23) and Kim Sergeant (who got the walking stick DFL award). These are two of the sweetest people in ultrarunning. It inspired me greatly to get to see Serge and Jamie Donaldson tear up the course for their wins and another course record for Jamie. And Ray K is a charmer as always. Great fun, great friends.

The higher-ups - Race management rocked. Blake and Joe did a phenomenal job. They made their difficult job look so easy and fun. I was impressed with everything. Not a glitch.

The preliminary results are on the website.

More pictures here.

Congrats to all the runners!

Thank you to all the race staff and volunteers!


TonyP said...

Congrats ! What a great performance in terrible conditions. I am amazed at what you can do on 25 mpw of training. It was nice to see you after the race at the hotel (sorry if Eddie Murphy and I held you up from getting a bite to eat). :)

Anonymous said...

Great job at Umstead!!! Congrats on another great finish. Thanks for all the advice and nice words. Look forward to seeing you at WS & BW this summer!

Runner Tammy said...



It was a pleasure to meet you and run on the same course as such an accomplished runner.

You ran an awesome race at Umstead and always were smiling and cheerful. What an inspiration!

Keep up the great running and good luck in your future races!

Eric said...

Lisa, great run! And thanks for taking our picture in front of the Umstead banner Sunday morning. Btw, great choice in running partners (in addition to Tim). Our weimaraner and dobie make sure we get our miles in every morning!


Olga said...

Didn't I tell you 22 is too easy for you there???:) Lisa, dear, congratulations, I was so happy when saw email about your time and place! You did an awesome race there, very smart and efficient. Way to go, this is going to be a fun year!

Kendall K said...

Amazing time for such low miles in training. I will keep my mouth shut about my low miles from now on. Way to run smart!

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Lisa B!!!

You are amazing. I so agree with the less is better, it works for me to. Wonderful to be able to say you would not do anything different:)
You go girl

Lisa B said...

Hi Tony - Nice to meet you too. I'm glad everything worked out, and no, you didn't hold me up. :)

Meredith - Congratulations! Way to stick out the race under tough conditions for you. You are an inspiration. I will see you at WS and in Death Valley!

Thanks, Tammy. And a big congrats to you too. I checked out your race report on your blog. What a great job. I hope your recovery is swift.

Hi Eric - Congrats to you too! And thanks back at ya for taking our picture too. Seeing your beautiful Weimie on the course lifted my spirits more than you know. Please hug him for me.

Olga - You're the best. Thanks for the "go for it" encouragement at Pac Rim and after. It really helped me. ...Yep, it's going to be a good year.

Thanks, Kendall. It certainly is nice when things come together on race day despite the low training mileage. But it also makes it hard to convince myself to train more, which certainly I should do. :)

Hi sweet Lisa SB - I love your "can do" attitude. I've learned it's really the most important thing to go the distance. Of course training is important, but it also is what it is and sometimes less is more for sure. Congrats to all your MdS runners. I wish I had more time to follow the race this year. I did check the results and there are some mighty nice finish times among your students. Very cool. See you in DV!

anuday said...

That's awesome!!! I also have a low mileage average, mine is about 35 miles. Though I did a lot more when I was younger, but you are having great results doing it. So keep on keeping on.


Jamie Donaldson said...

It was so great to see you Lisa! You looked very strong everytime I saw you! See you in Badwater!

Larry L said...


What an awesome job at Umstead. Congratulations! Nice to see you knock down your goals and feel great doing it. Lower miles may be smarter miles.

Thanks for including info. on your "cranky ankle". I recently suffered a ATF lig. tear and will be rehabbing in Chicago for a while. Reading how you address your concerns gives me insight for the future.

Best of luck in your upcoming races!

Jon said...

Nice work at Umstead, but geez...you do low mileage the past few months and you knock out a 100 miler! I do low mileage the past few months and I drop after 30 miles in my 50 miler yesterday. I must be a wuss! :-(

Bob - BlogMYruns.com said...

Lisa B said: I increased my average weekly mileage so far this year by 1.83 miles!
ok from what I have read in this re-cap of Umstead this looks like the best advice to help me with my first 100 :-)

I am NOW Committed to increasing my weekly mileage to 1.83 miles and DANG IT Don't try and talk me out of it OK, my 100 is coming up soon and I really to up the miles... Thanks

Congrats on an awesome race, ur such a stud~ette !

King Arthur said...

Great Running. Maybe giving all that blood made you a little lighter and faster. ;*)

You could start a low mileage club, I'd join. I ran a PR at CCC last year on 30-35 mpw. I like to think that I'm just well rested for every race.

Marathoner in Training said...

Anthony introduced me to your blog. I met you at the Across the Years, this past Dec. I just wanted to say congrats on the the race. I hope to see you again at the ATY.

Deanna Stoppler said...

Hey Lisa! I love your blog. You have such an upbeat personality and always offer cool tidbits about medical stuff.

Do you have a post about your Badwater race? I want to do it one day and would love to read about your experience.

Lisa B said...

Thanks for all nice posts everyone. Low mileage works when it has to. I don't do it be choice but rather because of lack of time. I'm going to try to get those weekly miles up this year and we'll see how I do with my racing to injury ratio. :)

Deanna - Welcome! I never did write a Badwater report. I was too tired afterwards and, though I did try, I could never capture in words how awesome that race was. This is what I blogged: http://lisabliss.blogspot.com/2007/08/gooooodwater.html

Anonymous said...

Dear Favorite Doc...

Reading your blog is very relaxing and fun....I love it.

You did great there...

See you soon,