Sunday, September 7, 2014

I Was the Last Man Standing!

Yesterday I ran my 94th ultra/marathon. It went well and I ended up winning the sucker! It helps if there aren't too many entrants and it's more of an informal fun run among friends. I think we had 13-15 starters for this "Last Man Standing" event. The idea was to run a 5-mile trail loop every 55 minutes. Keep going until only one runner is left. Everyone remaining must set off at that 55-minute mark each time. Run fast and you can rest. Run easy and there won't be rest for you. Too slow and you're out. Kind of odd to start a race and not know how long it will go. No pre-determined ending time or mileage. Hmmm...this could be fun.

I wanted 30 miles for the day, but was ready to go 35 or 40 if needed. Brought lots of fluids and food. Had spare shoes and socks. Even brought extra shirt and shorts. I was ready. Knowing my running buddies, I figured several would go for a 20 mile long run, then call it a day. Maybe one person would go 25. I didn't think anyone would do 30 or more. Well, no one except me! I was ready to go one more loop than anyone else. Still, I felt 30 miles was my sweet spot for the day.

My strategy was to stick toward the back of the pack and finish each 5-mile loop with about 2 minutes remaining to grab a drink, snack, and get ready to go again. This plan worked well for the first 25 miles. I actually ran just a little too fast each loop (often finishing with 3 minutes of rest between loops). I felt great for those first 5 loops. No stress, no problems, just smooth and steady. People dropped earlier than expected. After 15 miles, only two runners remained: John and me. After 20 miles, still John and me. After 25 miles, John and me. When we headed out on that 6th loop, I was starting to feel tired. It actually felt like an ultra! It was a great day weather-wise, but things were stating to heat up and the sun was now shining. I walked the hills much slower than the previous loops. I started to think it would be hard to do another loop. Maybe 30 was my limit. If John wanted a 7th loop, I'd try, but it wouldn't be pretty. I finished that 6th loop (30 miles) with about a 1:30 time cushion. John stopped short (doing 27.6 miles). I was relieved. It was over and I won.

Glad John kept pushing through the day. It would have been sad to "win" with only 20 miles under my belt. We both ended up with an "ultra distance" for the day. Good efforts for each of us. I was tired, but not injured. Perfect. A day later, I'm feeling sore, but good. I'm excited to start training for my next ultra...Tunnel Hill 50 miler on November 15. I think we have almost 20 buffalo runners doing that race. It'll be fun. Unfortunately, I have a half-marathon on October 19 in St Louis. Not looking forward to that "sprint race." I'm a trail ultra runner, not a road racer.

Thanks to Seth for making this unique event happen. A few of us had talked about this Last Man Standing idea, but no one made it past the talking stage. I enjoyed the day and would definitely do it again. Maybe we can have a summer and winter version? With all of the local ultra runners, I think we can easily double or triple the participants and really get some good competition going among friends. Next time it'll take more than 30 miles to win. I'll be ready to defend my title!

PS: My Skechers Go Run Ultra shoes worked great for this run. So did Tailwind Nutrition sports drink. I'll use both at Tunnel Hill 50.


John said...

I agree, LMS was a lot of fun! I'm surprised with myself that I could keep up with you as far as I did.
I'm intrigued with the Tailwind product you use. I was wondering if I could try some before committing to an order. Any way I could 'borrow' a serving, or two? I'll be at the trail tonight.

Chris Ⓥ said...


You made me work for that LMS run! We need to do it again.

I'll bring 2 flavors of tailwind powder to tonight's trail run. I need to try their new caffeine one (Razz Buzz).