Warning: the following words and images will allow you to vicariously see the world with the eyes of Sultan. Read at your own risk. The name Sultan has many meanings, but derives from the peak Sultan Mountain in Silverton, CO!

Monday, April 02, 2007

75 miles only

The time was 5:55am. I was decked out in my running cloths at the start line. Friends and families of runners were huddled in and giving their last words of encouragements as all the runners began to line up. It was pitch black dark, and the temperature was in the mid 50's. The high for the day was expected to be 75 degrees and I was on my way to starting my first 100 mile run.

It was at this time I began to reminisce about my journey to this point. Last year, in mid March I promised myself I would run my first half marathon. I ran it in 1:59:29, beating my 2 hour goal by seconds. I wasn't a runner and I ran 13.1 miles, I was ecstatic. Never in my wildest imagination would have I thought I would be attempting a 100 mile run a year later.

Between last March and the Umstead I ran several half marathons, 8 marathons, two 40 mile runs, climbed Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Kilimanjaro. That's a lot. In the months prior to Umstead I ran an average of 192 miles a month. I put some serious training into this run. I wanted to finish, and I wanted it bad.

The race director shot the gun indicating the start and all the runners took off. Running long distance requires a strategy, you can’t go all out. This is difficult to do as I later learned in the run.

I'm a competitive guy, and sometimes that comes back to bite you. I wanted to finish in 24 hours. After all, this was considered to be one of the easier ultra marathons around, right? 8 loops, 12.5 miles each loop, and about 8,000 feet of elevation gain over the entire course. The park trails were mostly finely crushed gravel and not very technical at all (not rooty, rocky, leafy, etc).

I finished the first lap in 2:07, and I knew I had gone out too fast. I needed to adjust my pace. After finishing lap 4 (50 miles) I was 9:30 hours into the race. A little early for my 10 hour goal. I felt good a this point, and remember being excited that I had passed the 50 mile portion of the run. Many runners chose to stop running at mile 50. Umstead gives you the option of just running 50 if your not feeling up to it. I decided to keep pressing on.

Around the middle of my 5th loop is when I started to really feel nausea. I was taking electrolyte supplements every hour, and guzzling bottle of water at every water stop, 4 bottle per loop. This was not enough however to my body from dehydrating. I finished my fifth loop, and knew that I was not in the best of health at this point. I told myself that I only had 3 loops to go. I could literally walk this race and finish within the 30 hour cutoff time. Nausea had kicked in really bad at the start of the 6th loop. I want able to get water back into my system. I started walking a lot at this point. I could feel my muscles cramping really bad.

I walked into the finish of the 6th loop, 75 miles and decided that today wasn’t my day. I will be back for another 100 soon however. It took me 17 hours to finish 75 miles.

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