YABRR: Piney Woods 100k 2017 edition
As usual, thanks to DDR for the support needed to do this type of insanity, even that traitor Ginny (you know what you did :-) ). It was fun spending time with Shaheen, Matt, Nash and Jason on the course. Thanks to the nameless volunteers who staffed aid stations (it is always nice to see the DDR team as well), Shama for managing to get photos of me running with my eyes closed, and thanks to the Race Directors for letting us play on their course.
This past weekend, Ultra Expeditions hosted the Piney Woods 100k at Tyler State Park. TSP has some of my favorite trails, so of course we were there. Unlike the EBA Whisper Pines race, UE had us running in the clockwise direction, and on a shorter loop (7.75 miles). This will let both Piney Woods and TROT's Race For The Roses have different feels. I normally do not care for short loops, tending to get bored with the same section of trail, but on this course it worked. Instead of being bored, I was filled with dread thinking "great, I've got to run the wall 3 more times" or "ok, get ready for the long climb out to the aid station", and in my sickness yesterday I was thinking that next year they should offer a 100 mile version, so I could go through that 15 times instead of 8 (yes, I know the math should be 13 times, but ...)
Since I had not been doing anything other than maintenance miles since Tahoe Rim, and then tweaked my back two weeks earlier I knew I wasn't going to be in the best shape for this race (wasn't planning on it anyway, this race was to start my training, not end it). It was just a day to see what I actually had in me. I ran a pretty good 65k, able to keep my HR at a good point and my legs moving. On my first loop I was only passed by two runners (the two leaders from the 50k, having only a 30 minute head start wasn't enough), after that it was a slow trickle of shorter race runners going by.
As expected I started to pay for the race in my 6th lap. I knew Jason was closing with me, and there was no way I was going to hold him off (kids these days, no respect). We trotted together for about 1/2 the loop, and then he took off once I sat down for a break. At this point Nikki told me that I was looking fresh. That should have raised a red-flag in my mind, but didn't.
I started my 7th loop, and was only able to trot/walk (with more walking than trotting) without sweating heavily. I was asking myself why I was sweating so much, yet on previous (faster/running) laps I wasn't sweating nearly as much. That was the second red-flag that I missed. I got almost done with my 7th loop (still had the badly named "EZ" loop left), when I sat in a chair and seriously considered pulling the plug. Chelsea through a little fit about my not DNF'ing and then took off with two pacers (Ben had offered to pace me, he really wanted to run some more, but since I prefer to suffer alone, decided to run anyway). Someone commented about her having two pacers, so I looked up and said: "Great, my pacer just took off, now I have to chase them down." and away I went. Some days I just need a little mental motivation to keep moving.
Near the end of my final loop, I actually found myself in a race. It wasn't until about 1/2 mile to the finish that I had any idea that I was being stalked. I looked back, saw a headlamp and thought:
1. It's a DDR person going to pace me to the finish. 2. It's someone trying to beat the cut and start their last lap. 3. It's really going to fast for either of those, oh crap! I need to run.
I held Trevin off by under 2 minutes, and he was flying at the end.