Summary: I took a few huge risks and ran with reckless abandonment. And guess what-
It paid off!!!
Risk 1: I changed my entire pre-nutrition strategy in the days leading up to the race.
Risk 2: I almost completely ignored my heart rate and let my mile pace be my guide. (I
was not heat acclimated, my heart rate was averaging 166-171, but I knew I could
keep a solid 9:15 mile for the duration. )
Date: January 3, 2015
Start Time: 8:00 for the 100M/K, 7:55 for the 50K (which is really helpful as to not be
tempted to get whisked away by someone who is running 1/3 the distance.
Location: Alcoa, (Knoxville), Tennessee
Runners: 400 all together, 101 100 mile registrants; All have color coded bibs as well (so
you know who you are racing against!)
- Is run next to Pistol Creek (hence the name)
- Lit at night (only under the bridges did it get really dark)
- 8 foot asphault trail that curves its way from Alcoa to Maryville.
- While the middle sections of the course are pancake flat, the two ends of the courses throw many short, but steep hills. Personally, I loved hilly sections of the course- it was an adequate excuse to walk and change the muscle groups that I was using. No hill lasted longer than 30 seconds of brisk walking.
- The hill at the end of each loop coming back into the Aid station sucks- It’s the longest and everyone is watching 🙂
- You can easily run with a water bottle
- There were grassy areas next to the course to run on if your feet were tired of pounding pavement.
- Its in a flood zone, which this year meant running through ankle and shin deep water.
- 2 official ones,
- 1 aid station set up primarily for 50k runners for the day time only that guaranteed them aid every 2 miles ish. (they served all runners)
- Start Finish Aid station you saw at the 9.4 mile mark on the loop and then again at 11.1
- Woody’s aid station you saw about 4.5 miles into the loop, and again at 5.
- While I only took Mt. Dew/ Tailwind from the aid stations, they seemed well stocked and served real food.
- The start finish had a covered area- that proved valuable for runners to set up their own crew station.
Race Staff: 100% attentive to runners needs and emails.
Ever since I saw the Belt Buckle for this race, I wanted to run it. The revolver ACTUALLY spins!!!! I also was gunning for the course record of this race, which was set at 19:20. Something I knew on a good day that I could break. Kathy ran it in 17:03 the first year, but it was on a very different course. Last year, the race start was a frigid 9*, so I forced myself to train outside in order to acclimate- well, just my luck, we had a heat wave the Low was 55* and High was around 65*. I’m pretty sure that if it was that cold, I wouldn’t have run as fast/ strong. I also cut out caffeine 3 weeks before this race, and usually, within a week I feel fine. However, with all of the sugar I was exposed to and Late nights (Christmas Eve and New Years Eve), I felt exhausted all the time, and was worried that caffeine wouldn’t do its job in this race.
Loop 1: 1:34; I ran with the top men for the first 4 miles before I let them go and settled into my own pace. I realized that there were a few more hills on the course than I bargained for and made metal notes of where I would be walking the remaining laps.
Loop 2: 1:38; I came into the aid station at the end of the loop and Max looks at me and says, “Megan, your heart rate is 171!” I left running, promising that I would slow down.
Loop 3:1:42; By this loop, I had gotten so hot that I had to refill my water bottle 5 miles into the loop and I drained it by the time I got back to the start finish. I pulled up the sleeves on my shirt and hiked up the fabric that covered my stomach- I tend to be very self-conscious, but it was “so hot” that I just didn’t care. White, Pasty stomach be dammed.
Loop 4: 1:44; By this loop, most of the 50k runners were
finished, so the trail started to feel lonely. I always like to say Hi or Good Job to people that seeing; it’s a morale booster for myself and for them.
Loop 5: 1:44: Took my first cup of Mountain Dew! Man was that a good cup of soda!
Loop 6: 1:49; I grabbed my Ipod as these were the miles in which I typically hit my low point. I ran this loop on the way back mostly with Byron, the 3rd place 100K runner, he was the only person in this race in which I had a similar pace and carried a conversation with, otherwise, I ran alone.
Loop 7: 1:48; Changed my shirt before nightfall- A clean shirt will do wonders for the mental aspect. I also ran into 2nd overall! I felt strong and was just clipping away the miles.
Loop 8: 2:05: Grabbed my boyfriend Max and we were out of there! This loop was the perfect storm- literally. I started to feel a tad nauseous, so I started to incorporate a few walk breaks on the flat sections. Then about mile 85, Lightning, Thunder and torrential Downpour! IT sucked. I only had on a light longsleeve t-shirt and NO rain gear. Drenched doesn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling. The stream next to the course overflowed, the water from the street was coming crashing down into the course. It slowed me down considerably. And my iPod went eeeokrfdasdfkjl and shorted out. Before going on the 2 mile section to finish the loop, I changed into a tshirt and rain gear, then stood there for 5 minutes debating if I wanted to go back out into the storm. I left chanting “This sucks, This Sucks, This sucks”.
Loop 9: 2:14: Still walking because I didn’t want to anger the stomach monster- Max gave me a ginger chew and it helped immensely, I was able to run again! However, the rain was running downhill faster than I could- it seemed dangerous, so we took a few precautionary walk breaks because slipping and falling on an ashpault course would be no fun. I ran HARD the last 5 miles to the finish. I Sprinted up that last hill because 16:24 sounds SO MUCH cooler than 16:25 🙂
I was on pace to break 16 hours and know with a little more training and less crazy weather, I can accomplish that!
My motto usually is: I’m not fast, just consistent” However, with this race time- I FELT fast!
First place awards: Free pair of Altra’s, Injiji sock package, Free entry next year, Super cool looking picture frame/ plaque! AND I get a mug for the CR!
As Always much thanks to TSTAR RUNNING and making my skirts!
Pre race: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich on white bread, coffee (glorious caffeinated coffee), 2 immodium and 2 gas x.
29 scoops of Tailwind- 2,900 Calories. I LOVE Tailwind- it has changed my racing!
15 peanut butter crackers
25 honey stinger chews- individual, not packages (fruit smoothie)
4 cups Mt. Dew
1 ginger chew
11 mini pretzels
1 5Hr energy