First off major props to Karl and Amy for some amazing runs at MMT! Karl proving yet again when it comes to 100's he is the man. As for me what can I say:
2003, 2006, 2009 = MMT 100 DNF!
Yikes 3 strikes and I am out! I shoulda stopped in 2002 after my 3rd finish in 3 years at this tough race. Despite training mainly on roads and bike paths the last several months I wanted to run well at my VHTRC's premiere event. I gave it a good go, but the course (and weather) ate me for lunch so to speak.
Super Pacer and crew Bryon Powell had it right when he said "know thyself". For me in the 2000-2002 years I was a rock-hopping trail runner. I went hiking a lot and when given the chance I always chose a long slow trail run on death rocks over a quick road jaunt. "we are what we repeatedly do"....... In those days the trails of MMT were not that bad. They were what I ran on all the time. These days all my running is on roads, bike paths, and the C&O canal towpath....not the proper place to develop the muscles and specific strength needed for Masanutten. By 30 miles on Saturday I figured that out. Dead quads, shaking gluts and cramping calves were my undoing. And full disclosure the idea of walking all night in the cold pouring rain was something I could no longer stomach. I have walked in my far share of 100's (including the 2000 MMT 100 (injured - 15 hrs for last 35miles), and most recently my 46:45 Hardrock... but I am not a fan.
Since the first 24 miles of MMT is almost an even split of road and trail my legs felt pretty darn good. I started conservatively running thru the first crew access point (8.7 miles) feeling happy with 90 minutes of smooth running in the books. I was taking in 200 + cals and plenty of water each hour. (powergel, clif shot blocks, and sharkies)
Climbing up Habron gap my lack of "climber" legs really was showing and despite continuing to move up through the field and passing folks I just couldn't get over how bad my legs felt on all the climbs. The flats and descent were great and I was moving well there. As the day wore on and I rolled into Camp roos it really started to get hot. Leaving Camp Roos at noon and climbing into a burned out section of the forest (canopy-less) was a bit much and my stomach stopped draining. Energy and salt intake slacked and the pace slowed. By the time I had gotten along the ridge line that is Kerns mtn I had to stop and sit a few times just to have the strength to keep moving.
Then I hit the road and wa able to run sub 8:00 miles down to the visitor center. Once there the heavens opened up and huge rain and thunder soaked us all. Climbing up bird knob my calves and hamstrings were cramping and I began tossing down the salt tabs in an effort to get some balance back with my electrolytes. I passed the 52 miles point in 10:43 and had to sit on a rock for 6 minutes to let everything settle enough to continue. Good buddy Joe Clapper came upon me and together we made our way down to 211east.
A shoe and shirt change there did wonders for my comfort level but within 10 minutes the second huge down poor was upon me and my spirits hit the lowest low yet. These things are supposed to be fun! This is not! I struggled on and again ran okay on the downhill and road section heading into gap 2. There I let my crew know I wanted to drop but was convinced to "go one more" and made it to the next aid station with Bryon pacing me. I still felt like I had given all I wanted to give on this day and took off my number at the 15 hour mark. :-(
I have been at this game for a long time now and have many 100 dnf's to my name (16/28 finish rate) but honestly this one hurts the least 2 days post run. (mentally....physically I am sore as hell and could barely do my job today)
BUT! my app for the OD 100 goes in tomorrow. dirt road racing here I come!!!!!!!!!!