Friday, June 14, 2013

Sulphur Springs 100 Mile Race Report

I've done the Sulphur Springs 100 mile for the past 5 years and this year was the first time that I was a bit nervous before the race. Since the cancellation of Irontrail 201 last July I haven't done any races and this was the first race in a year - a true test how well the tear in my meniscus has healed since December and a status quo about the level of shape I'm in for this year's Badwater Ultramarathon race in July.

The temperatures for race weekend were much cooler than I prefer. Like every year we camped the night before at the start/finish line. Wow, it was a very chilly night and I got so cold that I woke up at 1:30am and could not get back to sleep. I was freezing and my feet were completely numb when I put on my Hoka running shoes in the morning. 

Race start at 6:00pm
On the first two loops I was just trying to warm up. My feet were still feeling numb. I even sat down twice to take off my left shoe and sock because it felt like I had some small stones in my shoe. Wearing my colourful Dirty Girl gaiters I knew it was almost impossible but I didn't want to take any chances this early in the race.
Running through the Start/Finish area
After the second loop I started to get cramps in both my calves. Wow, this was way too early to get any kind of problems! I tried to figure out what could have caused the cramping when I caught up to my friend Monica. She suggested that I probably didn't take enough salt pills. Since I didn't sweat I've only taken a couple salt pills since the start. 

After taking a little more salt and getting a couple calf massages by my husband Jeff using his secret "poison" at the end of loop 3 and 4 my legs felt finally ok. 

Worked wonders for my leg cramps

Flying downhill in my Hokas

Usually I'm using liquid fuel (Peronin and Perpetuem as long as possible in long races because it is easier on my stomach. But since the temperatures were much cooler this year I found it very difficult to get enough calories in from liquids only and I started using solid food after my second loop. I'm not a fan of Mac & Cheese but as "ultra food" it worked great for me.

Chef Boyartdee's ultrarunner food

Wish it would be a lot warmer
Before heading out for the 5. loop I changed into some warmer clothes. All in all I felt pretty good and I tried to keep an even pace. The good thing about running on home turf is that I know the course inside and out and didn't have to worry about getting lost. I can just enjoy the run and relax. On the 6th loop it got dark. It was beautiful when the moon came out. I love running in the dark. It's very peaceful. 

Thinking of Badwater heat!
The 7. loop I always find the least enjoyable one and I was very happy my friend and amazing Badwater crew member Adam came out to pace me for one loop. We had a great time out there on the trails and Adam somehow always can make me run a little bit faster. We were just flying down on the downhill section in the lollipop loop when we suddenly stepped on a branch in the middle of the trail. The branch somehow got stuck between our legs and bam - I went down like someone tripped me with a hockey stick. Luckily I didn't hurt myself. Adam helped me to get up but it took me a while to get back into the running rhythm.

On the 8. loop the adrenaline kicked in and I even could pick up the pace a bit more. I didn't want to waste any time at the aid stations and went in and out as quick as possible. Walking up the last steep uphill on Martins Road I felt pretty good. I crossed the finish line very happy in a time of 20:35, more than one hour faster than last year, 4. woman and 15. overall. 
Since this race was a training run for Badwater, my plan was to run each of the 8 loops in less than 3 hours. It worked out great. My splits were pretty even:
Loop 1 - 2:15
Loop 2 - 2:28
Loop 3 - 2:32
Loop 4 - 2:32
Loop 5 - 2:42
Loop 6 - 2:47
Loop 7 - 2:40
Loop 8 - 2:36

Mission accomplished! Sulphur buckle #6 in the books

I want to thank my husband Jeff for crewing for me during the whole race. Thanks so much Adam for driving all the way from Thornhill to pace me for a loop. Thanks to all my friends and fans who cheered me on every time I came into the start/finish area. I heard from some of them that I would have won for cutest outfit :)

And a big thanks to my sponsors Hoka One One and Drymax socks Knowing that I won't have any problems with my feet gives me huge confidence going into every race and on all my runs.

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