Friday, October 9, 2009

Arkansas Traveller 100

On Oct 3rd and 4Th I ran in the Arkansas Traveller 100. It takes place in the Ouachita (sounds sort of like Witchita) National Forest. This was my first Trail 100finish after having DNF'd on my first trail attempt at Mcnaughton (mile 73 drop) this past April.
I traveled by car last Thursday and Friday with my sister in Law Nancy. Her and my brother Pat were my "crew" for the previous year's Mother Road 100 so it was good to have her come with me. We took the scenic route down thanks to AAA directions. We both had different directions so thought the AAA would be better.
We arrived at Camp Ouachita mid day on Friday, after picking up the packet we went 1/2 mile down the road to the Lake Sylvia Campground -they had free camping in group campsites so I set up my tend and met some really great people. Benny from Indiana, who was attempting his first 100. Janet from Ohio who has attempting to finish her first 100. She had tried the two previous years at AT100 and was back to try it a 3rd time. And Claude from Texas who was doing like his 4Th 100 of the year.
The rest of the day was spent at the 2PM race briefing where my Sis-in-Law kept meeting lots of people to introduce me to, the free pasta dinner which was very good and just getting everything ready. I was in my tent before 8PM. Nancy slept in the mini van.
The race started at 6am -we were in the dark for about an hour. The course sounds like it would be easy- mostly gravel roads with only 8 miles on the single track of the Ouahita trail. However the roads varied a lot. Some were very very rocky and there were a lot of hills. Someone the day before said series of rolling hills. I wouldn't call them rolling hills, there were long climbs some pretty steep, funny there did not seems like that many downs- well there never does in any race.
I felt extremely well through about 50 miles, I may have taken this too fast(for my ability) finished 50 in under 12 hours.
About the same time it started to get dark I started to get very nauseous and sleepy, despite taking no-doZ, those two have been going hand in hand for me. I look a spill somewhere before mile 57 had to get my cuts cleaned up. It would have been worth it however if would just wake me up.
At mile 63 aid station which was a crew station, someone told the aid station guy I was having problems, and they told me I was probably dehydrated from what I told them I was taking, my nausea and my lack of peeing. I am sure I was. The gave me some S caps (they didn't like the amount of sodium in the e-caps) and some rock salt which is absolutely horrible and off I went.
The next 20 miles were somewhat of a blur. I was so sick and sleepy, I did pee alot though and I would stop by the road a few times and just sit- I did not lay down and officially nap I am happy to say. I cannot tell you how I made it through this part. During this part it also started to rain and it continued till the end of the race.
At mile 84 with 16 miles left I got to a crew station. My sis in law had been asking everyone if they saw me and had everybody there looking for me so when I got in to that station there were all these people saying it's 79 it's 79. I am sure they would all be happy to have to not hear from Nancy anymore once I was out of there. Nancy tells me I looked horrible, she gave me a cup of soup I tried a noodle and got very sick in the grass, I sat down and just needed to close my eyes!! She said I should probably drop. No way I told her I did not come this far to DNF. This old runner guy was great he told Nancy I would make it and I asked him to just let me sit there under the canopy till I had just enough time to walk it in. I changed my upper half clothes- put on a fresh garbage bag under my rain poncho and fell asleep. I don't know how long it was that I sat there, probably a 1/2 hour before I was woke up to finish the race. I got up felt horrible and campy but started on my long walk in. It was still an hour and 1/2 or so till there would be daylight.
I did not eat or drink much in the last 16 miles but just kept on going taking tiny bits of water and food hopping to not get sick again. I was getting so tired again and daylight came right in time, I trudged on another 4 hours in the rain, My quads and ankle prevented me from breaking into any run. I was glad to have the layers on I did as it got colder as the morning progressed. I finally got to the finish, It felt so good to be done. I had an hour to spare.
I found out Benny finished his first 100, he had passed my about mile 73 looking great. Janet DNF's again when it started to rain in the middle of the night, bu came back to see me finish. Claude came in 5Th place, he had never told us he was so fast.
I know I have alot to figure out I am going to work on something new because what I have been doing lately has not been working well. I think I had some pretty good arguments back there in the middle of the night why I should give up Ultra running but I can't think of what they could possibly be right now. I am anxious to do it again to do better, or really just to feel better while doing it.
I want to go back next year, The free jacket has the name of the finishers of the previous year on it so it would be nice to get that. The volunteer for this race were fantastic and very knowledgeable. The race director Chrissy Furgeson was fantastic and quite entertaining. I recommend this race highly.