Saturday, July 19, 2008

Lunar Trek Ultramarathon Done

so it started during one of the weekly "Man Dates" that a core group of us men gather for each Monday. there was beer, there was much talking and boasting and at the end of the night, there was my dad with a pen in one hand and a registration sheet in the other. i signed it, didn't think much of what i was doing and set about to recycle the damage of the evening.

what i signed was my reg for the Lunar Trek 50 K (31 mile) ultramarathon in Scandia, Kansas. i've never run farther than marathon distance, so tackling 31 miles was daunting. then throw in the fact that the race starts at 11 p.m. and you're not only battling mileage, but the fact that your body wants to be asleep. then, throw in mud - lots of good, slow, ankle-pranking mud - and you've got a heckuva race.

dad and i completed the Lunar Trek this morning...around 5:30, just as the sun was coming up. to say that was a weird experience is not doing it justice. i am, however, so pleased with our time (6:28 total - this included long stops at aid stations and some walking) and even more appreciative of the great couple of days I could spend with my parents.

i couldn't have done this without my dad's support. moreover, neither of us could have been so well prepared and taken care of without Ma Woo, who, as always, met us every five miles with everything from fruit to candy to a suite of Hammer Nutrition products to crazy stories of her own adventures throughout the night (see the state of the family SUV below).

the organizers deserve an incredible amount of praise. they did such a nice job not only welcoming us to their small Kansas town, but laying out a challenging course with ample support and fun. big thanks to the families along the route who opened their farms/barns/drives to us and provided everything from boiled potatoes to booming hip-hop to keep us going. i will be back next year.

the support vehicle. i used Hammer Perpeteum, Heed, Gel, Endurolytes, Gatorade, Sport Legs and some Twizzlers Nibs for my fueling regimen.

members of the Kansas City Trail Nerds showed up in force. we took a quick group shot before the start and then enjoyed seeing familiar faces at the aid stations and dark roads during the race.

sitting down at the mile-10 aid station. started the race with my Montrail trail shoes and Injinji socks. after completely caking the shoes with mud they were just too heavy and I opted for my Brooks road shoes. made all the difference. i also (again) cursed the Injinji's and threw them away. these socks have never performed for me, and now i'm done with them.

we came up to mile 25 feeling really good - we knew the end was in sight - but we were tired. seeing the evidence of mom's "muddin'" adventure was enough to keep our conversation going for the next six miles. she's truly amazing. got the car stuck, laughed it off and deftly maneuvered out of a pit to the rejoicing of the watching aid station crew. in all my 28 years, this is a top-5 moment on her cool meter.

I'm not sure where this is...late in the game I believe. headlamps were required, as was a reflective vest. i didn't like my vest, so it did not participate. finally got Dad to rock the do-rag.

i just noshed on a cheeseburger and am one Pale Ale into the "recovery" process. i feel great - not sore and just a bit tired. the blessing of running dirt and gravel roads is their forgiveness of joints.

here's a quick breakdown of my mental/physical state during the race...a bunch of folks have asked what parts were the hardest, etc. keep in mind this was an out and back, we made up our extra one mile at the turn-around point. thanks to all who provided encouraging Facebook posts/texts/e-mails/calls. really meant a lot to me.

Mile 1-5
Felt super tired, almost instantly. My body's way of saying, "It's midnight, dumbsh#t. What is this?" Rolling hills, lots of mud.

Mile 5-10
My favorite stretch of the race. Beautiful run near tree lines and on small dirt roads.

Mile 10-15.5
This was hard. We easily felt the extra half mile and the long, straight stretches were mind numbing. This was about 3 a.m. and my head was wandering and i got sleep-tired again.

Mile 15.5-21
After maybe my favorite aid station (mmm, boiled salted potatoes and hip-hop echoing through a barn), we booked it on this stretch. Felt great, but sort of stupid, as we hit the next aid station pretty beat. I got a good second wind here, but felt out of sorts.

Mile 21-25
Nothing sounded good at the last aid station, so I ate a peach and drank some water. this was a great stretch - we got our pace back and put our heads down. was seeing the end in sight and enjoying the upcoming ability to say, "This is the farthest distance I've ever run."

Mile 25-31
It was clear that at this point, we just wanted to finish. We kept up a good conversation, as we had the entire way, but our pace and our speed up hills increased slightly. We battled the mud pit again, which slowed us down and wore us out, but the focus was on the faint light of the Pike Valley High School on the horizon.

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Anonymous Dad said...

You are a true ultra-marathoner!You did an incredible job telling the story of our adventure last night. What an awesome experience! It was even more meaningful to share it with you. My running buddy.You also did an incredible job of taking on the challenge of the 31 miles, none of which were easy in the dark. You know, as I think back, it really WAS dark! We are a great running team! The next time I put a piece of paper in front of you to sign, who knows where we'll be running or how far.A great accomplishment Andy!Congrats! Dad

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey it's sophia!
great report and congrats on being an ultra runner.

funny I totally hated 21 to 25 then felt better... you just never know.

mud mud mud

8:44 PM  

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