Monday, October 14, 2013

Oil Creek 100K

This year has absolutely flown by. Seems like yesterday David and I were counting down the days, getting ready for our first 50 milers of the year: Glacier Ridge and Bear Mt. Soon after we were anxiously awaiting and planning our trip to Colorado. Before we knew it, that's over and Oil Creek is right around the corner. Where did my training time go? Was I ready? I snuck in good back to back long runs three weeks before at Dam Full. I had great ambitions of a fast time, but as every taper week goes, I was ridden with doubt and uncertainly.

David, Jeff, Becky and I arrived in Titusville on Friday evening, set up our tents under the same tree we have for the past two years, picked up our race packets, and got some dinner. We met up with Pat and Ted later when they arrived from Pittsburgh and I got to bed early. Actually being out at Oil Creek, I felt more relaxed. The years previous I ran the 100, but only two loops this year! Only 62 miles - warped way of thinking, I know - but it works.

I woke up at 5 for the 6 am start, got ready and ate my traditional bagel. Jeff was going to be running the 50K (his first!) and started an hour later than the 100K, but still everyone got up to see me off. I headed out into the foggy darkness with just a flashlight, hoping daylight would be soon upon us. Nick Hanson broke off immediately ahead of the rest and I followed, running a comfortable pace the mile+ to the trailhead. By the time I got there, I was already alone; Nick nowhere in sight ahead, and no lights anywhere behind. The day was already shaping up to be much different then last year, it had rained on and off during the night and was already unnaturally humid so early in morning. Other then a good fall on a slick rock, the first part of the loop was pretty uneventful. Soon I was rolling into Petroleum Center, past the best crewing/cheering section in the world. These guys make so much noise and are so encouraging - you can't not feel good when you see them! 

David handed me gels, filled my bottle and I was soon off. The second half of the loop was also uneventful and went by quick - traditionally it always seems like forever to get to the Miller Farm aid station about midway through the loop, but it seemed like no time before I was in and out of there. I'm usually never very detailed or dialed into my nutrition, I typically kind of just make it up as I go or as I need it. I don't mind gels, but I usually tend to put them off. From the beginning though, I decided to try to stay on a schedule and took them every 50 minutes. As it was pretty warm, I also took an S Cap every hour in the beginning - I usually don't have problems with muscle cramps, but had some really painful issues out at Bear Mt. (also a hot day) and was eager to not repeat the experience, so I played it safe. When I came into Miller Farm, I tried some boiled potatoes dipped in salt. For some reason, they really hit the spot all day!

Right at the end of trail section of the loop, I caught up on the leader, but he pulled ahead again on the road back to the school. Here Becky handed me my drop bag, I switched out bottles, smothered some potatoes in salt and moved out as quick as I could. Last loop already! Again - pretty uneventful and not much to write about here. The heat was really creeping in, as was some of the strain from the pace.

I was excited to reach Petroleum Center to pick up my pacer - David was going to be pacing his dad in the 50K, but I got lucky enough to secure Jeff Shanks as my pacer only a week notice from the race. He volunteered to drive out and run the last 15 miles with me. I probably didn't make it too interesting for him in the beginning, around 50ish miles I definitely moved slower then I should've and really struggled with overheating. We moved along though and after refueling on salted potatoes at Miller Farm again - I managed to get it together. I picked up the pace and ticked off the miles; before I knew it, I heard David yelling - he ran out the trail a bit to see us. And then I found the whole clan out at the bottom of the trail - these guys are so awesome, couldn't do it without them! Dave and Jeanne Hunter were even out on the road to cheer me in! As I began the Drake Well loop, I saw the leader Nick Hanson just finishing it - he ran a great race, shaved almost 20 minutes off his previous time and ran the second fastest 100K time ever.

I finished in 10:42, second overall and with the female course record. Guess I'm slated for the 50K next year!

 My awesome crew!
So, another success at Oil Creek; I really love this race. It has a superb set up, great volunteers and amazing support. Can't imagine a year not going back!

1 comment:

  1. If you put your race report up against mine, yours just says "REAL FAST" while mine details the suffering of someone out there for 5 and a half more hours! :-P Seriously, this is great! Your enthusiasm is contagious and I love the fact that you can put down a 100K without being "dialed in" to nutrition! :-D My brother and I really enjoy catching sight of you and David, following your adventures and occasionally sharing the trails with you. Congratulations!! Keep smiling, keep running, and God bless! You're a tremendous talent and fun to watch! Love the shot of you on the mountaintop, too!