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!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jazz Fest 100k

We all met at Cooter Browns at 11am Saturday. The forecast for the day seemed life threatening, but I was down in New Orleans and wouldn’t miss this run because of a few tornadoes. Thankfully the forecast was wrong, and we didn’t see much of any rain. Out of the 12 people that signed up for this 100k, only 4 showed up!!

This was the first year of the The Jazz Fest 100k, and it was put on by Sam Landry. The race director pulled some of his magicness and brought out a few of his fine young students to help out with the first 10 miles of the course. The runners were: Mike Hopton, Kristel Liddle, Jerry Sullivan, and Sultan. This wasn’t really a race, and so we all decided to stick together in the beginning. I was ok with this, as I really didn’t know where I was going, and didn’t know how the heat/humidity and flatness would effect me. Meeting the local runners was also a great way to experience the adventure. So I decided to go with one hand-held bottle and not a pack as I knew we would have access to water along the route.

Sam said Go and we were off. This was Kristel’s first 100k, so we talked a little about ultra running and what it meant to us. Jerry just finished the Umstead 100m for the third time and was sharing stories of his bad-assness, Mike and I exchanged few words, and a volunteer on a bike was giving us a history tour of New Orleans every time we passed a statue or landmark.

I was consumed with the conversation and never really took notice of my pace. Kristel was carrying her laptop wristwatch and was calling out pace every now and then. After the first 6 miles I decided to push on at my own comfortable pace. I filled up water at a fountain in City Park and took off. The heat and humidity was certainly present, but I felt relaxed to push on at a healthy pace. I ran thru many historic area’s and fancy neighborhoods and headed North on the Wisner Bayou all the way to the Lakeshore Drive Levy.

My eyes lit up with excitement when I saw a hill! The levy is a moraine-like man-made land barrier. I ran up this levy in jubilation. I enjoyed seeing the water from a little higher above, and the breeze was ever so refreshing. I had to watch out for the fire ants, as they colonized this levy.

We had a mobile aid station, Sam’s mother and her RV. She was the sweetest lady, and both her an her sister were ever so inquisitive on why we run ultra’s. In the distance, I saw an RV and ran down the levy towards it. When I reached the RV no one was in sight, and I really didn’t need anything as I was getting close to our turn around, so I pushed on. After a few miles I reached GNO TRI Sports and Kona Café. I pulled in, bought a gu and a cold coke, and filled up my bottle twice with ice water. Rick was happy to help out, despite a very sweaty runner in his store.

I turned around and ran back towards Marconi. I saw the trio on my return and made sure they were all having as much fun as I was. I hung a right and moved South until I reached City Park again. City Park is the second largest metro park after Central Park in NYC. From there I hung a right and followed the lagoon down to Jeff Davis and retraced my steps back to posh hood of Fontainbleau, and left on Carrollton heading back to where I started. I saw a Burger King, and I couldn’t resist a stop for some ice and water. They were happy to let me snag some. I pulled into Cooter Browns in just under 4 hours, 20 miles into this 62 mile journey.

My body was speaking to me, and I listened. I took some time to rest here, and took off my shoes which were soaked in sweat. I ate salty chips, and drank as much water as I could. I was taking in electrolytes which is the only way to go on these hot runs. After resting for 10 minutes, I decided to wait for the entire gang, they surly were not that far behind. 35 minutes later I decided to push on when no one showed up.

The rest of the run was on a levy by the Mississippi River, 21 miles West, and 21 mile back. This was all on asphalt, and was pretty much uneventful. The sun was now out of the clouds and beat down on my body as I was fully exposed with no trees to shade me. I ran walked much of this section. 10 miles into I saw Sam and Kristel’s husband with coke and Pizza. I re-fueled. You guys are awesome, thank you so much for the calories, I was dying at that point. Mike had caught up to me by this point, and we ran walked together to the next aid station which was the turn around. Before reaching the turn around the sun went down, and cooler air filled my lungs. The damage was done however, and I could not get my heart rate down.

When I reached the aid station the mosquitoes punished my body even more, and didn’t let me stay for long. I downed more water and ate little as my appetite wasn’t having any of it. Mike and I pushed on, and soon saw both Jerry and Kristel. The next 10 miles or so I was in a low spot, and had a hard time keeping up with Mike even on the run 8 minute walk 2 minute system he had going for himself. His consistency amazed me.

We saw Sam yet again at the last aid station. Sam had coffee! Life saver for me as I was dozing off already. I knew I would finish well past midnight, and so the caffeine was something my body would appreciate. I was feeling a little better at this point and decided to just keep running without walking and told Mike I would see him soon.

I made it to the RV and back to Cooter Browns by 1:37am. Total time on the run 13:37, net elevation gain of 14 feet. This was more challenging that I anticipated, but I did get some heat/humidity acclimatization. Met some amazing people, and saw NOLA on foot. Sam, please thank your mother for all of her help, and thank your students for their time Saturday afternoon. Tell them Sultan gives them bonus points!

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