Sunday, October 9, 2011

Farmdale 2011 Race Report

I'm still pretty tired after yesterday's Farmdale 33+ mile trail race. I finished in 7:28:29. One of my slower ultra races. I don't feel like writing a real report. Instead of a full narrative race report, here are bits and pieces that hopefully sum up the race and my performance...

The basic statistics (from my Garmin GPS watch):
Distance: 33.7 miles  <= I'm sure it's actually 34-35 miles
Time: 7:29 (took me a minute to hit the stop button)
Finish Place: 11/35 finishers (plus 14 DNFs!)
Elevation Gain: 2,719 feet
HR Average: 142
HR Peak: 165
Calories: 4,124
Weather: 61=>82, sunny all day!

Farmdale is a great race.  I've run it every year (this was the 6th event) and the race directors (first Dave, now Mike and Adam) do an awesome job. The actual trail course changes just a bit every year.  Keeps things interesting!  You can always count on a well-supported race, with a well-marked course and volunteers that take care of the runners. Many of the vols are ultra runners themselves.  It was great seeing Dexter at the mid-way aid station---he had just finished the Arkansas Traveller 100 miler the week before! Farmdale is a wonderful fall race (usually with great weather) that let's me connect with running friends from around the Midwest. Too bad more Champaign, IL area runners don't do it.

Ran in my New Balance Trail Minimus shoes. They needed just a bit more protection on this course. The trail was hard and dry, plus it was covered with roots and acorns that were then covered with leaves.  Stepped on a  lot of "debris" that ended up causing some pretty sore feet.

When we started the race it was around 60 degrees and the sun was peaking out through the trees. By the end it was 82 degrees and the sun was fully beating down on us.  I was dehydrated for much of the day. One 20oz water bottle wasn't enough to make it to each aid station (a little over 4 miles apart).  The heat did me in.

My lack of training also did me in--I had run 6 times in 21 days prior to the race. That's a little TOO minimal.   My longest run in that 3 week period was 4 miles. Most of the down time was due to a cold. Nasty little common cold virus!  Knocked me out for about 12 days.

Stress at work has drained me of any emotional and psychological reserve.  I felt like giving up several times during the race. At some point I just decided to finish by slow jogging and walking. At least I finished.  I was on the precipice of a DNF several times. If I had entered the 50 miler, I would have dropped. I need to find a way to minimize stress at work and just do more running.

I need to experiment with running gels. If I can tolerate them (they've caused me problems in the past), I think they'd give me that extra energy to keep going strong. During this race I only drank water (no sports drink), and dabbled with sold food at each aid station (chips, pretzels, cookies). This worked well at the Howl at the Moon 8-Hour ultra, but they had aid every 1.5 miles. If nothing else, I need to drink Gatorade or another sports drink for the calories.

Thank goodness for Succeed S-caps.  I took quite a few of these electrolyte pills and they helped me survive and recover. If I had more fluids, in addition to the pills, I would have performed much better. At any future warm/hot races, I'll need to have more than 20oz per 4-5 miles.

No matter how bad I felt, there were other runners that felt worse.  When I was at a low point, I saw a stumbling and struggling runner ahead of me.  I thought to myself, "Geez, at least I'm doing better than that sad fella."  I caught up to him and it turned out to be Joshua, a runner from Iowa that I know from many previous ultras. We keep in tough via this blog and on DailyMile. We walked for a while and chatted about the day's current struggles, recent racing and training, and where we might meet up at a future race.  The talk with Joshua helped me regain focus and continue onward.  He DNF'd in the 50 miler...but still put in more miles than me (42+ compared to my 33+)!  Well done mister.  And my hat is off to anyone that finished the 50 miler.

My performance sucked yesterday, but I did finish.  I'm sore today, but uninjured.  I'm blaming my slowness on lack of training and the heat. I'll recover quickly and be back for McNotAgain 30 miler on October 29th. It better be cooler. If you are a runner in central Illinois, you should sign up for this 30 miler (they have a 10 miler too). And you should do the Farmdale race next year! Two great races in the Peoria, IL area (Farmdale is in East Peoria and McNotAgain is in Pekin).


Ragfield said...

Over the past year I've switched almost entirely from various brands of gels to Clif Shot Blocks. They're like a slightly solidified gel, but the taste really good (I would eat them as a snack frequently if they were cheaper). I can't take the chewing if I'm running/cycling really fast and breathing hard, but in those situations I will likely not be going far enough to need to eat. Target and REI have good deals on them.

Chris said...

Thanks Rob. I'll try those Shot Blocks on a couple training runs. I'll be going slow enough that I should be able to chew. No REIs in the area, but I can try Target.

Joshua said...

ha, happy to be your shambling muse chris! 10 out of 24 finishers for the 50 helps with my DNF. the main culprit for me was definitely my feet getting mashed up in the trail gloves. just wasn't enough shoe to protect from all the debris and the hard trail for that distance. i'm sore post-race but eager to get running again. great seeing you out there and next time, try catching up to me like 15 minutes sooner and stopping me from pulling the plug!

Chris said...


Yeah, my feet are still sore today (Monday) and I ran in the NB Trail Minimus. Still not enough protection for all the roots and acorns on that trail for 30+ miles. You must really be beat up!

Kevin said...

Great job finishing! I DNFd at 42. Heat, lack of training, overeating, lack of sleep, stress, ..... all did me in. I was ready to quit at 25, but my hardcore wife Robin dragged me back onto the trail and set me on my way. Eventually I started the dehydrated/puking/cramping/repeat spiral of death. I can't eat gels any more. I dry heave just looking at them. I have been eating Perpetuem solids with some success, although I even puked them up this time. I dunno - maybe it is just operant conditioning at work. I've also tried Vespa and not eating - tried Chia seeds and ginger - all to no avail at this point. I'm starting to run out of things I can look at and not get nauseated at the aid stations. Even the water (it was NASTY!) at Fardmdale came spewing back out. Let me know if you hit on anything that works. Maybe freeze dried chicken wings or concentrated Belgium Ale. Don't seem to have a problem eating either of those on a regular basis ;)

Chris said...


That aid station water was NASTY! I finally grabbed a bottled water on my last loop and it tasted great. Sorry about your DNF. You'll come back strong at the cooler (and shorter) McNotAgain.

Tina Roselle said...

Congrats on your finish. I did the 33 miles on Saturday, too. It was my first; I'm a total newbie and finished in 8 hours. I wrote about the race on my own blog in case you're interested (Check out

Jess said...

Such an inspiration! It's funny that you're talking about nutrition because that's exactly what my next post will be about!
If the regular Gus are upsetting your stomach try Stinger gus and chews and waffles. It's natural sugar and way easier on your stomach and so tasty! Especially the waffles!

Chris said...

Good job finishing the race on a tough, hot day!

I tried the Stinger Waffles--they are awesome! Not sure I could eat them all day, but I'll try to carry 1-2 with me and have them at my car if it's a loop course.