Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hot to Trot – It lives up to its name

The description of the event…. 
     “8 hour run on a 1.1813 mile loop course. No wimps, no whiners. But lots of other stuff. PREVIOUS ULTRA/ENDURANCE EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED! This is NOT a good first ultra due to the potentially extreme heat. Sweetwater Creek State Park, Lithia Springs, Georgia.
Race HQ: Picnic shelter #7. The course is 1.1813 miles long, almost entirely trail. Being trail, you should expect roots, rocks, sand, and wildlife. There is also a very short section of pavement each loop, but you'll barely notice it!”

     These are the “rules” but I’m pretty sure every one of them was broken. Haha I would say that this really is not a good event for someone just starting out in ultras. Not because it was not well run but just because of how hot and sick a runner can get.

• Veteran ultra runners ONLY! If I do not know you, proof of worthiness is required. This is NOT a good first ultra due to the potentially extreme heat. Why? See WEATHER below.
• No dogs allowed on course (sorry, but leashes are a hazard on loop courses).
• Limited to 100 runners.

"At the Hot To Trot 8 Hour Race, our goal is to provide the race as advertised. As the name implies, you can count on it being HOT (we had a freak cold snap in 2004, but we're pretty sure that won't happen again). Temps are easily in the 90's this time of year in Georgia, with humidity off the scale. Hyponatremia and dehydration can be serious. Runners are expected to use proper electrolytes in order to stay alive! Ice is provided throughout the race for your use to keep that core body temperature down! The race director reserves the right to pull anyone whom he feels is putting themselves in danger. If you do not know how to manage your electrolytes, learn BEFORE this run, not during!"

     This was just a get back to moving run for me with a few great friends and some cool swag. I have only run 6 miles since Cremator and not all at once. "life" has taken hold and my stress level has made it hard to make time to get the miles in.  I have heard many good stories about this run and thought what the heck. I was not sure how I would feel about a about the 1 mile loop but it was not bad as far as boredom is concerned. Heck a day later I was looking at some of the pictures and thought (we ran over a bridge?) hummm.

     I went down to Beth’s house that Friday and a group of us all had dinner that Beth and her Husband cook. Top notch dinner and great to talk to everyone before an event. Kelley and Beth were talking about what their plans were and they were going for a win. I think everyone else was just looking to do better than what they did the year before. I was just planning on running a hard 20 miles and calling it a day.

Me, Kelley, Lisa, Beth, Pete
     Race morning Beth, Kelley, Andy and myself all loaded up in Beth’s car and headed to the start. After the first loop I was stoked. It starts out with this rolling fast downhill then some flat sections down by a creek then you cross a bridge and head back up this rocky, rooty climb. I was in heaven. I was able to hall butt down the hill and that speed would almost carry me all the way to the climb out. I call it a climb because after about an hour and hitting it every mile it gets to you. The race description is spot on. It’s not for wimps. It gets HOT even with the shade its bad and down by the river it is even worse. Rocks, roots, sand and wildlife yep it had all that too.

     I ran what I think was 20 miles it was hard to know because my Garmin was going in and out. There was a dead spot at some point on the loop and as we all know even on flat road with open cover a Garmin can be up to 25 feet per mile off so again what I thought was 20. This event was chipped timed but I never hold much stock in that crap working. When I saw the chips I made sure to ask if they were manually keeping track as well because if not I would have marked my arm every loop. People looked at me like I was crazy for not trusting the chips but guess what. They had problems so NANA NANA BOO BOO. They had to change computers and myself and some others had to get new chips during the run. Now this is in NO WAY a bad reflection on the event or the people putting the chip timing together sometimes that stuff just happens. It’s always good to have a back up when dealing with chips if you bend them just a little they won’t work right.

The Line of Tents
     It was hard for me to only run 20 miles after all it was an Ultra event. So once I did stop I thought hell I have four and a half hours I’ll just take a break and do 11 more miles latter. It was hard to stop running being there with the group I was with all of them being big time competitors pushing hard to get every mile they could but I was able to do what I needed to do and keep my plan of only 20 miles and help them in any way I could to keep them going. When I was running it only took 5 loops before the leaders would pass me. I thought Damn they are moving hard/fast to be running for 8 hours. After the heat hit I could tell they were trying to get what miles they could before it got to hot. Jim who was in the lead for I believe the whole day and was very kind and encouraging to everyone as he flew past heck everyone there was kind and encouraging until it got hot and then it got really quite. He was running by and asked if anyone would run with him. I jumped up and took off down the trail. Well I pulled my bib out of my bag and took off running. I thought hell if I’m going to do more laps better get them counted. I had taken everything off at this point but my shoes. He just needed someone to help him keep moving at the speed he was going. Not sure how much help I was. He was in front and I was just trying to keep him company. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Now I was feeling good the whole 20 miles I did but the two laps with Jim had my right side cramping like a mofo. I thought dang these guys and gals have been holding this pace out here in this heat all day. Just crazy. That “climb” gets harder and harder every loop as well. I’ve had a few runs where everything was spot on and just worked out my way every step and was able to finish smooth and happy but even with 8 hours I’m not sure on a good day out there if I would be able to make 40 miles which seemed to be a lot of people’s goal. At the 5 hour mark that heat really knocks you down and does not let up. 

Beth and her dad. 
Andy when I said I was done for the day
     I did those two laps with him and was done for sure. After it was all said and done and runners were licking their wounds Jim and Kelley were 1st male and female. Just amazing to see them and everyone there push it so hard. Maybe next year I will go back and try to hit 40 miles.
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     Now you want to talk about crazy try driving a car (not yours) with a jacked up GPS in ALT (where I know nothing) with 3 crazy people that just ran 8 hours.
Beth, Kelley, Andy, Me
This was a grate event that I really liked. It was nice to see old friends and make new ones. The 2nd SURGE Ultra Energy  all natural protein powered Gels they had i will never touch again unless i'm stopped up. Dear God they pack a mean punch.