HURT write up
Heavy legs, ghostly tweaks and most importantly tired brain… my body was not showing signs of being excited to embark on the HURT 100. Some might say I was “sand-bagging” or talking crap. But the truth is I really felt (and feel) over trained. In reading some information about high cortisol levels and the symptoms one might feel as a result on the First Endurance website, I had a few other points backing my theory. That said, maybe over-trained is an okay way to enter a tough 100 miler. At no point did I feel spunky or fresh and therefore ran a more even paced/consistent race.
Matt, Karl and I left the comfort of John and PJ’s (race directors) home 4:45am on the nose Saturday morning to make it to the Nature Center and start of the race. With each of us running there was no one there to haul our drop bags, give those last few “go get ‘em” words of encouragement or take care of the little things. Karl being the old hand at efficiency and taking care of himself at events Matt and I followed his lead and eventually found ourselves on the bridge with the 98 HURT starters listening to the sounds of the river and John’s last few trail reminders. A count down and blow of the conch shell signified the start as we worked our way up the first of many rooty climbs.
The race consists of five 20 mile clover like loops with the center of the clover at the rootiest section of all, Pauo Flats. It is bittersweet up on this mini-plateau as you get to see runners coming off other sections, yet if you take your eyes off your footing for one second to say hello you will more than likely find yourself looking at them from the ground. Other highlights from the trail include views of the city from beautiful ridge lines, helpful aid station workers, yummy food, passing by the Manoa Falls (you have to look over your left shoulder as you make the turn) and great support the whole way. All of the crews, race staff and volunteers made this solo 100 anything but solo. My drop bag was open at each aid station, I never filled a water bottle or my bladder and a local high school runner, Haley, paced me for 15 miles during the night. Matt, after finishing the 100k in second place and the 2nd fastest time for that race (in his first 100k!), stayed up all night to crew me for my final two loops. He was great and it was motivating and so nice to know he would be at each stop.
Another treat was teaming up with and running practically the whole race with Paul Hopwood of Maui. His first ultrarun (he comes from Ironman background and completed the Ultraman last year) Paul ran an amazing race and I still think he could have run significantly faster. But for his first he opted for the company and my pacing. Spending that much time with a perfect stranger is an interesting way to get to know someone. It is not as if we talked a lot, in fact our conversations were pretty minimal, but (as some of you that run ultras may know) enduring something like that together gives you an unexplainable bond. Going into the night section we were able to encourage each other along and get past the 100k decision point, we complimented the others weakness (he pulled me up the hills and I made him move on the downhill sections) and eventually reached the Nature Center for the 5th and final time to touch the sign. Quite an experience.
Enjoying the HURT 100 is to be a part of a family. The HURT committee puts their heart and souls (and soles) into making this event to be enjoyed by every runner, crew member, pacer and on-looker. Their attention to detail and concern for each aspect is very evident and makes for a race experience like no other. If you have even the slightest inkling, do your training and head to Hawaii for a race filled with Aloha.
For those curious, I honestly went into this race (like I said in the first paragraph) feeling very over trained and hesitant to even look at course record pace. But when I arrived John had printed out Bev’s splits from last year. Bev ran a tough race; she went out hard and hung on as long as she could. Her last two laps showed that she suffered a bit and from her race report you can see that was the case. In looking at her splits (about 3:50, 4:12, 5:10, 7:10, 7:06) and talking with Karl I opted for an easier paced start and only hoped I wouldn’t peter out by the end. By running more consistent I was able to maintain laps of about 5 ½ hours (guessing -4:30, 5:00, 5:30, 5:45, 5:40) which put me in under her time.
Hydration: first 2 laps Nathan Thermal Quickdraws, last 3 laps Nathan Intensity
Feet: Montrail Continental Divides, Smartwool Adrenaline socks (never changed shoes or socks)
Clothing: Patagonia airius tank, Patagonia Sage Burner shorts, Patagonia Active Sport Top, Patagonia Active Brief
Fuel: Clif Shot bloks (the new Margarita flavor with 3 times the sodium is awesome!), Clif shot, Clif bars, aid station food (pumpkin pie, soup & veggie sandwiches), Balanced drink, Hammer Endurolytes (additional electrolyte replacement)
Additional must haves: iPod shuffle, Arnica pills, chapstick
Recovery: First Endurance Ultragen (Fruit Punch Flavor)