Last night my wife "Well, I guess you are a fair weather runner."
Ouch! Where's the love? She happens to be right.
Yesterday can be summed up with that one word. OUCH.
Somehow, I am in more pain after yesterday than any other ultra I have done (this was #11). Although, Superior was about the same.
Long story short, I was fine until right before the power lines on the way back (30 something). I started getting massive leg cramps (something that almost never happens to me), and the mid day sun with a 65 dewpoint drained my body of electrolytes and fluids. This happened quickly. I red lined my heart rate going over the power lines. Once that starts happening, there is no turning back.
I ended up walking most of the last 10 miles to come in just under 10 hours. I battled Kevin Grabowski for the last 3 miles, mano a mano. It was a vicious back and forth. But I put the hammer on in the final stretch and crushed him. Here is a picture to prove it. We were moving so fast, the shot is blurred.
Voyageur also brought back the battle of the Matts.
There was Matt Aro
and me, the slowest Matt
At one point, 3 of us were together wondering who would be the fastest Matt. There was pretty much no question is would be Aro, but it was fun trying. I ran a majority of the race with Matt Ostrander, until he dropped me like a bag of sand after the power lines on the flip trip.
At the turnaround, I saw Matt Long was not far behind me. Knowing that he can maintain a solid pace forever, I knew I did not have enough distance on him. After I started walking at mile 40, I could feel him behind me (the 2 other Matt's had already passed). I finally heard someone off in the woods, and just knew. I said "Is that you Long?". He replied with a laugh "Is that you Patten?". I knew then I would be the slowest Matt on this race.
It's a good thing all of the Matts are good guys. And considering we were all under 10 hours, that aint' too bad. Right?
I went to Voyageur not 100% mentally prepared, and I paid the price. This report is not the standard play by play as I don't want to relive the last part. And..... I am not up to it. So instead, the highlights, the obstacles, and the lessons.
Getting through any ultra marathon is an achievement, so I can't sit here and whine about not running the race I wanted. I am grateful for the year I have had, and all of the friends who have supported me along the way. Any 50 mile finish is a highlight, and this is one bad ass course. It is hard to compare it to Superior, as it has some extreme sections I am not used to. I am happy to have made it under 10 hours (9 fifty something).
It's great to see fellow training friends/buddies do well. Zach Pierce shaved an hour off his time and passed me in the last 3 miles. I told him before the race that this was his chance to beat me, and he poo pood it (I even have the sent email draft to prove it). Great job Zach.
Of course, his awesome wife took over 200 pictures. The can be seen here.
Meeting a few people I only knew by name was great.
Opening my drop bag at the 25 mile turnaround to find a old animal trap stashed in there (thanks to mr. Quick). In return, I peed in one of his water bottles when he wasn't looking.
Finally getting to say I have run "The Power Lines". They are hard to describe, you just have to experience them..... on the way back.
Coming off the last big power line hill on the outbound leg, the course took a sharp turn into thick vegetation. No way this can be the trail. After some runners came bushwacking back towards us saying there was not trail ahead, we realized someone had sabotaged the trail course markings. There was a pack of about 5 of us standing there trying to decide where to go. The obvious course was before the sharp turn, but there were no flags. We ended up doing a fire line with runners spaced apart, so if someone 1/4 mile ahead eventually found a flag, they would yell back and tell us this was the way. Matt Ostrander and I hung back and told people "we think this is the way to go, but we are not sure yet". It wasn't long before we got the yell, affirming the correct direction. We remarked the course, and went on our way.
Warning to those who sabotaged the course. Next year I will volunteer, and camp out in that section. I will find you. You better start training now, because even if I am the slowest Matt, I will catch a saboteur.
I can't begin to imagine why someone would do such a thing. It's probably the "These are my trails" attitude.
When I got behind on electrolytes, I cramped like I have never cramped before. I got some serious chaffing too (worse I have ever had).
For me, once the dewpoint is in the 60's, my time is limited. I can handle heat, just not dewpoint. Oh well.
I decided with the cheaper grade trail shoe I have worn before, but not on races. Asics changed the tread pattern on the Gel Enduro last year, and it sucks. They must have designed it for "trails" being crushed dirt/limestone. I should have gone with the tried and true Asics Kahanas I have done well with.
I couldn't find the second sock of a pair, and went with a low cut sock. Bad choice.
I wore a different pair of shorts, and they hung down over the compression shorts and chaffed my thighs big time.
When I saw how much I was sweating, I should have slowed down or walked for 15 minutes/1/2 hour to bring my hear rate down. Sweat = dehydration = higher heart rate = loss of electrolytes = lactic acid build up.... Okay, the order is messed up, but there is a domino effect in there. Once I hit that threshold, I could not reverse the process.
But, It was great to be out there. It sort of took the will out of me to do another big race this year, but I am sure that will change tomorrow. I have days or so to make certain decisions.