Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Race Report - Umstead 100

What a wonderful, although exasperating first 100 mile experience. The
morning started out warm and a bit humid and overcast. Perfect for me. With
reactive airway disorder,the humidity really helps my breathing. I thought, if
this can just stay like this and the rain holds off I'll be fine. With rain
and thunderstorms for 12 hours or more in the forecast, at least starting dry
would be a treat.

The first 12.5 mile loop was awesome. Running with my new friend Shawn
Tenace, we had great conversation and were pacing well together. We came in a
little too fast, under 24 hour pace, but knowing we'd slow down eventually,
we figured we'd capitalize on it while we felt good.

The second loop was just as productive. Shawn and I ran for quite a while
with Doug " The Boogieman" Dawkins for most of that loop. Doug kept the
conversation flowing with many stories from his years of running and directing
ultras. The miles flew by. Looking at my watch, I realize, oops still a
little too fast. Oh well...

We begin the third loop at mile 25 still feeling great. At the top of the
hill after the turn around I see my friends Steve and Ana Blackburn looking
for the parking lot. What a boost! I tell them where the closest parking
lot is and tell them I'll see them at mile 37. Being non-ultrarunners, they
don't realize it will be close to a three hour wait. Ultras are not really a
spectator sport. Shawn and I are still together and running well. All
systems still go. We ran for a while with Rick French and his friend who were
moving a little slower. I thought, perfect, just what I need to keep me in
check. But, when we got to the power line downhill I pulled ahead a little.
Meanwhile, Shawn ran on ahead to get to the start/finish to take care of his
feet. I see my friends Ana and Steve at the start/finish aid station, but I had
to keep moving. No time to chat.

I started the 4th loop alone as Shawn got a little behind at the aid st
ation for foot care. I was still running very strong at this point and chatted
with many people on the fourth loop, a super nice man from Tennessee, my new
friend Bill from Fredericksburg, VA and Lisa from San Francisco who was
running her 100th ultra. What an inspiration! I ran into Marcia who was running
her first 50 miler at, don't kill me Marcia, 61 years young. Marcia has a
ton of experience in endurance sports having raced Ironman Kona and
placing/winning her age group. She turned in a sub-12 hour finish at this race. Kudos
to her. I had mentioned to her that I needed to regroup at the turn around,
get the rocks out of my shoes and fuel up because the race really starts at
50, or so I've been told.

I get to the aid station,rip off my shoes and, lo and behold, no rocks at
all. It was just my feet feeling like there was rocks in my shoes. Uh oh,
was this a glimmer of what was yet to come?

At this point I can have a pacer so my ever supportive husband Fred gets
the nod. We start out running and I think he was amazed at how strong I was
still running. It felt as if that loop just flew by each of us telling
stories of the last 12 hours. I also think Fred couldn't wait to get out there.
He's not used to crewing and had run this race the past 2 years, but this was
my year and I felt great!

At mile 62.5, we arrive at the turn around still under 24 hour pace. My
friend Marie has come out to run a loop and we are ready to go. The weather
is now starting to change, however, with wind, rain, cold and dark and it's
time to put on a long sleeved shirt and some gloves. I'm feeling ok, but my
feet are starting to hurt. By the first aid station, I can feel the blisters
mushing around in my shoes. This is all new to me. Ordinarily, my feet are
invincible. But, I've never gone this far before and I'm starting to get
discouraged. As we continue on, Fred and Marie try hard to keep me motivated,
but now I'm starting to fall apart. I can barely run anymore and the cold and
rain are starting to take their toll. I can't generate enough heat to keep

We get to the aid station STILL sub-24 hour pace, but I'm wrecked up.
Fred starts to work on my feet, but they just HURT SO BAD! The blisters are
under callouses and really can't be popped. He tries everything to keep me
motivated to go back out there including the dreaded "bad cop" act thinking he's
going to make me mad enough to get me back out there, but nothing works. I'm
done. I burst into tears completely defeated. As we start to pack up the
gear to leave, I am really warming up. I think, maybe? I try walking around
the lodge, but my feet are now so swollen, I just can't walk. It's over.
A day has gone by now, and I'm still feeling down. I had the race in my
hands. I HAD THE RACE IN MY HANDS! However, I'm resilient and will come
back. I guess 75 miles is not too bad. I'm going to try some different
anti-blister methods in training and am already planning on coming back next year.
On a positive note, the Umstead 100 mile Endurance Run is a spectacular
event. The aid is outstanding! I told my non-running friends that they could
pay $12.95 and come out and enjoy it as a buffet. The volunteers are
amazing. They are there for your every need. From the pre-race meal, breakfast and
aid stations, you don't need to bring anything. It's eight, 12.5 mile
loops. The running surface is awesome, very forgiving crushed gravel. Nothing
really to trip on and plenty of rolling hills for walk breaks with beautiful
down hills to make up some time. It is a great first timers race as well as
an excellent race to get a PR.

I'd like to thank Blake Norwood, the race director, for making my first
100 mile attempt so great. You will see Blake at the start/finish, taking
pictures out on the course or just riding the course on his bike motivating
people along the way.

Thanks to Hanna and Joe Lugiano, Asst. RD and race statistician, Joey
Anderson, and all my friends who kept me motivated along the way. Trust me you
guys, I'll be back. This is not the end for me!

And to my wonderful husband. You have been a constant source of knowledge
and support. Fred, I love and appreciate everything you do.
Susan Dummar

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