I ran with Mike Warren at Rim to River 100 a few weeks ago and he then invited me to speak on his podcast “Master Runner”. He focuses on those of us between the ages of 40 and 49. He takes a deep dive into the stories behind these fellow master, grandmaster (50-59), and senior grandmaster (60+) athletes, along with their successes, struggles, and favorite mistakes they’ve made along the way.
As a child, Patrick, a newly minted master runner at the age of 41, remembers countless days accompanying his dad on his track workouts. While running up and down the bleachers as his dad sped around the track, his father’s dedication, hard work, and enjoyment were never lost on him, and those attributes became the foundation for the man he is today.
Now a father himself, Patrick continues instilling these values in his own children through his constant dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm toward running. While his family shares some of his love for running, he also wants them to know the more important part is to just enjoy this stint down here called life.
I kept the clothing light because I had been reading about the effects of overdressing can hold too much heat in. I wore a new singlet that really worked well and didn’t cause any chafing. I changed tops later at night because the temps dropped. I switch my pack at mile 83 to my waist belt. The only issue with this was I forgot some key items in a transfer like butt wipes and battery chargers for devices. I think I made the right decision, I wanted to travel light and with no vest for the last section. I saw that I was using aid stations effectively so I didn’t need all the extra stuff.
It’s OK to not have a pacer. I had made different attempts to get a pacer, but in the end, it just didn’t work out. I didn’t need a pacer, I made friends and I talked to the right people exactly like I have done in the past. Sometimes you hear the voice of someone or have a few words with them and you know they are the type of person to spend a few miles with. I knew I could count on myself to make friends. It happened organically and was great! Mixing in with just the right people at the right time.
I used my water on my back vs bottles in my vest. I could get lots of ice, have icy water, and hold way more than I needed. This will be the go-to setup for all races over 50K with aid stations over 8 miles apart. Distance between aid stations is critical for which setup to use. I also used pantyhose cut in half and filled with ice stretched over the neck. It worked really well at keeping me cool, but it wasn’t a really hot day. Then just dump the pack after the last drop bag and run it in!
2Toms foot powder for anti-blister seems to work well. I still had major issues with my feet swelling and soreness on the sole. Maybe thicker shoes? It was so much downhill I’m not sure it would matter. It was faster to pre-load socks with this stuff than trying to lube feet. Just throw a new pair of socks on and go.
PRELOAD YOUR WATCH COURSE WITH WAYPOINTS! I can’t stress this enough. Using the course feature on my watch saved myself and others around me. We knew instantly if we were going off course and how much was left to the next aid station. Yes, we did go off course once or twice but were quickly back on course with this feature. Note: disable Bluetooth, Inreach, and heart rate for my watch to make it over 30+ hours. Need to be mindful of that in a race of this length. Watch died at 100 miles, and this race was 103 in length.
I packed aid station bags at the beginning of the week. It took off so much pre-race anxiety before I left. I will always make sure to pack my bags WAAAAY before. I used super large zip lock bags as always and they were perfect.
Poles are now my new best friend for super technical climbs and descents. At first in the race, I was getting annoyed with them. After 30-40+ miles I got used to them and actually LOVED them. They really saved my race/life on some really technical stuff. I can’t count how many times I tripped and the poles caught me as they hit the ground first. I did remove the wrist straps and I had heard horror stories of people getting hurt if they fell with their arms in the straps. Warning: Do not leave it until race day to practice with them, they will do more harm than good. I actually broke a cheap pair in testing and got a better pair before race day because I tested them.
What went wrong
I had some type of butt rash I had to use vaseline on, not sure why, but I had it in my pack because this has happened before. Tailwind gives me so much gas, hence the name, and I had to use vaseline.
Incredible quad pain from the downhills to the point I could barely walk in the race. Not sure what you could do to eliminate that except TONs of downhill in training. That amount of force on the downhills was HORRIBLE. Like I didn’t want to take a step, and I noticed if I laid down and put my feel up it went away. Blood was pooling and I had some massive foot swelling. Changing shoes at aid stations worked really well. When we laid down for 12 minutes I was super refreshed. I was actually able to run again.
I killed my small camera by getting too much water in it. I record my runs and then do a video montage for those that want to relive the race. My small camera died and I couldn’t recharge it. I now know to put it in a zip lock bag. It wasn’t until after the race and it dried out did it come back to life.
What I would do differently
Stop being so scared going into these things. If anybody was willing to talk about it I would cry about how crazy the course was. Next time STFU and stop scaring yourself. I know enough now about how to handle these types of races. Yes, this was the granddad of them all, but it’s still just goddamn running not brain surgery. The only thing at stake if you fail is YOUR pride. I kept telling myself my new mantra, “I don’t mind what happens”, AND I actually believe it.
InReach died because Bluetooth and ant+ were enabled, they should be turned off for that long of a tracking event. Who cares if I can send it from my watch if the device is dead??? Just set it in track mode and pull it out at aid stations to send additional messages. My dad thought I actually dropped from the race because he didn’t see any additional points when the device died.
That’s it. That was everything I learned from this race, besides that it went very well. I felt great, didn’t get hurt, had fun, and made a really cool video people seemed to enjoy. Check it out below.
I made the fatal mistake of running someone else’s race. I was running too much with a 25K person vs a 50K pace in the heat. I was just having too much fun and not really thinking. I should have known better, I have had races in the heat before and knew this could happen. Basically, I didn’t save anything for the 2nd loop, where the true race began. I had put too much stress on the body early and created a debt I was unable to repay. I should have slowed down, but my ego got the best of me. I was under the false assumption it was going to stay cooler because there was good cloud coverage. On the 2nd loop, as expected, the heat/humidity shot up and I started to slow down drastically.
What went right
The first loop was good, I was running with TJ and it was nice to talk with him. The only issue was he wasn’t doing the 50K, he was doing the 25K. He was in 6th place for the 25K when he crossed the line and I was right behind him. Why in gods name did I think that was a good idea is beyond me… I wore compression sleeves and filled them with ice, I had an ice bag on my chest, and I took salt tablets. Once I started getting dizzy I knew I was in serious trouble, it was at this point that I tried to find shade and lay down. There was a nice person who ran a bag of ice back to me, I should find out who that was and thank him. He didn’t have to do that and sacrificed a huge amount of time from his race because of my stupidity. All I could do at that point was wait it out until I could get back on my feet. I tried to get up but my leg kept cramping. As I started to walk back near the stone wall I threw up all the water in my stomach. Once that happened I actually started to feel much better. I have to use the aid stations more effectively if it’s this hot. Stop, don’t rush, take your time and relax. It would have maybe saved my race and given my body time to absorb the water. I should have known I also missed the sign that I wasn’t peeing. That can be an indication your body is not processing the water.
What would I have done differently
Tips for my next hot race:
You should be peeing! If not drink more water!
No records broken that day.
Painfully slow start.
Don’t be stupid, you can’t bank time!
Heart rate is a window into how your body is managing the heat.
I went to this race with zero planning and it showed. The only item missing from my heat strategy was SLOWING DOWN. Thinking I could beat the heat was such a stupid idea that backfired. I am glad it did. I am two weeks away from my first 100 of the season and I would rather learn the lesson here than there. That’s the power of the weather and I never respected it. If you disrespect the heat, the rain, the cold, it will END you.
The longer the race the more you have to create a plan and stick to it. You can’t just POWER through longer races. The mistakes of the beginning catch up with you. If there is heat in the forecast, then you need to go out PAINFULLY SLOW. Meaning so slow you almost can’t stand it. Put yourself at the back of the pack and just wait.
On the plus side, I did get some good footage to remember this failure. Enjoy!