May 12, 2012
....or in short the MMT 100 (aka toe breaker 100). Not really sure why I decided to run this race except for the fact that I didn't make the lottery pick for Western States again or Hardrock so Bob Ayers and I decided to enter the MMT 100 and both of us got in. For me a new race, for Bob another try to better his previous record. Road Trip!
Training for an early season 100 miler is usually a challenge. That means running many miles throughout the winter. Luckily in VT this year we had no winter so it was not such a big issue due to frigid running conditions. Then the mental aspect, am I ready to run 100 miles in early May? I did a 100K in January, a 50 mile in February, a 50K in April and many other long runs throughout in preparation. I also did my usual 500 in 30 during peak training time. That's 500 miles in 30 days concluding 3 weeks before race day. To make it more of a challenge were a few races thrown in so the final week of those 30 days was 135 miles. I remember those last few miles of the 135 mile week doing mile long hill repeats ready to start walking when I bumped into Norm Larson just heading out for a Sunday Run. Norm is one of the fastest in the country for marathon and below distances for us 50 year olds. So with Norm there, I was forced to move my butt a bit faster up this mile long hill and then another mile or two until I was done for the week. Afterwards I hit a 90 minute session of bikram yoga in 105 degrees which totally kicked my butt. I was so wiped out that I went home and took a nap. Yes, I was finally tired out but not hurt, there's that fine line. I never know if this training plan is totally insane or if this is what it takes to keep up with he young-ins. (And I have yet to try this on any of my running clients). Only time would tell if this was good...or not.
Taper time prior to MMT 100. Week one didn't go so well, I still logged near 90 miles. I guess that is tapering after 135 miles. The following week ended with what was supposed to be an easy 20 mile run a week before MMT. The easy 20 mile run started out with good intentions but I got in a funk and decided to run uphill for 11 miles on the Long Trail and then 11 miles downhill which turned into a 6 hour adventure tracking moose poop and running through snow and of course with only 20 ounces of fluid and 2 GU gels. Not the usual idea of tapering the week before a 100 mile race. But got her done in any event. Now it was race week. Time to prepare for race day.
I still hadn't done much research on the MMT race so finally looked into the course a bit. Yes it looked hilly and rocky. I quickly looked at the splits and came up with sort of a game plan, to be implemented later in the week, which meant the night before the race. To be determined! Shoes, I was waiting for the new Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel Trail II's which arrived Tuesday afternoon and looked sweet!
Bob and I starting our adventure driving down Thursday afternoon for a 2 day journey to break up the 10 hour trip. First leg getting us to northern PA. We went down in the F-150 and made it to somewhere near Elk Mtn. in PA. Bob noticed an official camping sign so we headed in that direction. A few miles off the beaten path and we arrived at the Shady Rest Campground. Bob was in heaven as the owner was a hunter. He and Bob would've chatted all night long about deer and turkey hunting but it was getting dark so I figured it was time to set up camp. For me, park the F-150 hotel, for Bob, setting up the tent. The temps were already dropping with the sun setting. Bob quickly set up the tent as I sat back and enjoyed a little R and R with a fresh Bud.
|Bob enjoying a cold one.|
Finally in Fort Valley, VA. We arrived at the start finish area/campsite and set ourselves up. For me, the F-150 hotel was ready to go. For Bob, a few extra minutes setting up his tent. Before long it was time for the race briefing. Bob had already set up his drop bags and was ready to go. For me, I still hadn't really thought it out. I had all kinds of provision with me but it was a matter of figuring out what and where during the race. I finally ran out of time with half thought out drop bags and we went over for the race briefing.
|Start/Finish of the MMT 100|
3:00 AM time to get up! I was sleeping so good, I hate to get up in the middle of the night. Temps were in the low 40's, chilly but not too bad. I got myself dressed including arm warmers and gloves, had a banana, half a bagel with peanut butter and Bob had the hot water boiling for my hot cup of tea. Finally it was time to head over to the start. One last trip to the port-o-let and I was ready to go. The start was actually quite reasonable without the occasional 5k race pace fast start. Right off we had a 4 mile gradual uphill on the road before we hit the trail uphills. I was running close to the front with Bob, Todd, Jason Lantz, Nick Pedatella and some others. Finally off the road we hit the rocky trails and yes, they were rocky and up we went.
The next section had some excellent single track and no major climbs that I recall. At mile 26 we pulled into Powell's Fort with Nick in the lead, Jason next and myself not far behind. At that point I realized I screwed up with my drink mixes. I didn't have another drop bag until mile 41 and was forced to drink straight water instead of the much needed GU Brew with electrolytes and extra sodium. I picked off some more ticks and then headed out. There was a good climb out of Powell's and then down to Elizabeth Furnace at mile 33. Still with no drink mix, I had to continue with water only. They had Gatorade but it doesn't usually agree with my stomach. Luckily I had enough electrolyte pills to keep me going. Nick was slightly ahead at this point but Jason and I were still running together. Out of Elizabeth Furnace was another climb and then downhill to Shawl Gap. Again more straight water for me. I was concerned on how this might affect me later in the race, especially since the temps were heating up. After a short road section Jason and I arrived at Veach Gap, mile 41.
|Jack and Jason at Veach Gap.|
I had a drop bag at Veach and was finally able to refuel with my GU Brew drink with 2 x's the sodium, grab some more GU gels and grab an extra hand held bottle as there were some long sections coming up without aid stations. One treat at the aid station that I discovered, popsicles. They were incredible! I also grabbed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and off I went for the next major climb out. Nick was about 4 minutes ahead and Jason was in and out of the aid station so I was on my own heading up the next climb. It was also 9 miles to the next aid station and the heat was starting to kick in. The climb out seemed to go on forever and somewhere along the way, Adam Lint passed by looking strong. I was starting to get twinges in my legs from cramps so I had to back off a bit. On a steep downhill section my calf cramped and totally seized up which stopped me dead. Not good! I tried to get another electrolyte pill down but then the gag re-flux kicked in and I almost puked. Finally out of desperation I opened up the electrolyte capsule and poured it on my tongue. The taste was disgusting and it almost made me puke but I held it in. Finally after a long downhill I arrived at Indian Grave. After that it was 4 miles of mostly uneventful road to get to the next aid station, Habron Gap. From there it was another big climb out and would be another 2 hours plus before the next aid station. This section was probably the low point for me. I filled up one bottle with water and the other with Gatorade hoping to replenish some of the lost electrolytes. Soon I rediscovered my memories of Gatorade. It tasted like an old band aid and had me on the fence of puking. Little by little I would rotate between the water and the Gatorade as I knew I needed more than water. Along this section I also developed a sour stomach to the gels so I couldn't get any calories in except at the aid stations. James Blandford passed by looking strong. He was running scared of this section as he had DNF'd just after this section last year so he was on a mission to keep on moving, which he did.
Camp Roosevelt was the next aid station at mile 64. I ate some food, replenished the water and off I went. Another big climb out and then downhill. After almost 6 miles it was the Gap Creek Aid Station. I did have a drop bag there so I could finally replenish my bottles with some GU Brew. The best thing here again were the popsicles. A different variety from the previous popsicle station and I think I had three along with some noodles as I was a bit dizzy and knew I needed food. At this point I also grabbed the provisions for running at night. I put on a shirt, grabbed my headlamp and prepared for another climb as I headed out. Once on top of the ridge it was a really nice run for miles. There were some great views looking out and the temps were starting to drop. I was feeling better with good drink and food in the belly and only 30 or so miles to go. The end of this section had a rather steep road downhill which ended at the Visitor Center aid station, mile 78. I fueled up with real food, and did manage to have one GU Brew tab so I replenished one bottle with water, the other with the GU Fizz.
|Munching on some food at the Visitor Center|
At the finish I sat down and a volunteer brought me some coke to sip on. One sip and I stood right up looking for a place to puke. The stomach said not now to food or drink and was ready to purge. A volunteer brought over a 33 gallon barrel and I grabbed both sides. I felt like fellow ultra runner Joe Kulak from the classic North Face ads. I asked the volunteers if they wanted to get a picture of me but they didn't seem as excited as I was. After the stomach calmed down, I sat back down and wanted to see Bob come in and figured he was right behind me. Kevin Sayers then informed me that Bob had dropped after Camp Roosevelt at mile 64. I went over to the tent to check up on Bob hoping that this wasn't a repeat of 2 years ago which put Bob in the hospital with a broken toe. Luckily Bob was in the the tent. Apparently a cold kicked in half way through which really bothered his breathing so he did the smart thing and bailed. He'll be back!
|Solo Division Award|
In the end, I came in fourth place overall with a time of 21:07:36. I won my age group and set a new age group record by over 3 hours.
But the best was I won the Solo Division formerly called the "Jackson Division",(no crew, no pacer, no headphones). I renamed it the "I Don't Need No Stinkin Help" Award. A personal victory for me :)
|Overall Winner of MMT 100 Jason Lantz (center)|
Summary: For me I screwed up with my nutrition. If I only had planned it out better I would have realized that just a couple more aid station drop bags with fluids would have helped. Still, in any 100 you have highs and lows and as such I had to make adjustments. My legs felt great throughout the race so the high mileage training did help. Also for the last 2 months I've been going to bikram yoga which definitely helped me get through the heat. The rocks seemed no different than the trails I run on in the Green and White Mountains so a fun course. Overall I was pleased. The success of a race for me is more about how I feel at the end and how much I enjoyed the run rather than the overall placement. So far, recovery has been going well.
|Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel Trail II|
I also wore the Pearl Izumi Fly shorts in total comfort and the short sleeve tech shirt early morning and late night.
The DryMax Socks once again did the job. For this race I chose the lightweight hiker for a little bit more cushion to absorb the rocks. And again, total comfort and no blisters :)
When I was on board, I drank the GU Brew. Early on it was the Orange flavor with some liquid calories and electrolytes. For the mid day heat it was the GU Brew with 2x's the sodium. And the surprise was the refreshing taste of the GU Brew electrolyte tablets. The GU gels as usual for some additional calories until the stomach went sour.
The Headsweats Super Duty Race Cap with the extra wide COOLMAX sweatband was perfect for the warm conditions.
Once night set in I tried out a new lighting system by Light & Motion. I used the Solite. With three settings I was able to work the rechargeable battery to the max. For slower climbing the low setting was great. For most downhills I went to the medium setting. And for the most technical I turned up to high with 150 lumens.
One final note, it was a long ride back home. I started off the drive and within 30 minutes I was tired. I broke out a 5 hour energy drink. I got this at a race last year but have been afraid to drink it. I thought this would help. First off, the taste was horrible and with an already sour stomach, it took about 15 minutes to finish this. I had a short spell of I think I'm awake and then a major crash occurred. I was toast and Bob had to take over so I could sleep. Thankfully Bob did most of the driving to get us home with some great stories.
Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.