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Croom Zoom 100k Ultramarathon, Florida

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Location:

FL,United States

Member Since:

Feb 08, 2015

Gender:

Male

Goal Type:

Other

Running Accomplishments:

Certified course PR's:

Mile: 4:38.0 (Florida, May 2015)

5K: 15:33 (Florida, Jan. 2019)

10K: 34:31 (Florida, Sept. 2015)

15K: 50:07 (Florida, Feb. 2017)

1/2 Marathon: 1:12:33 (Florida, Feb. 2017)

Marathon: 2:26:57 (Washington, July 2019)

100k (63.3 miles, trail): 9:11:00 (Florida, Jan. 2019)

Personal:

I started running in 2010 and have (mostly) kept it a habit ever since!  

Miles:This week: 54.80 Month: 202.80 Year: 3001.27
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
312.4548.36360.81
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
0.000.000.00

No running- flying back to FL.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
8.000.008.00

PM: 8 miles solo.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
6.300.006.30

AM: 6.3 miles with the group at the track-nothing fast for me.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
2.100.002.10

AM: 2 miles.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
0.000.000.00

No running.

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Race: Croom Zoom 100k Ultramarathon, Florida (63.3 Miles) 09:11:00, Place overall: 1, Place in age division: 1
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
32.3031.0063.30

Race information

  • What? Croom Zoom 100k Ultramarathon, Florida
  • How far? 63.3 miles
  • Time Achieved? 9 hours, 11 minutes
  • Place? 1st overall

Goals

Goal

Description

Completed?

A

Set course record

      Yes

B

sub 10 hours

      Yes

C

Complete race

      Yes

Splits

First half (52k): 4 hours, 13 minutes.  Second half (50k): 4 hours 58 minutes.

Training

My first ever ultra-marathon!  I started this training block in the worst shape I have been in since about 2012.  I was overweight, not fast, didn’t run much for two months, and had no interest in running fast.  This was most evident in the half marathon I did in November where I earned- truly earned- my worst time since 2012, when I ran my first half marathon. 

Then I signed up for this race and it inspired me a bit: I started running a ton of miles, building up to 120 at my peak, with thirteen 20+ milers, and three runs of a marathon or longer with the longest being 31 miles.  The only thing I missed was a 40-miler I was hoping to accomplish, but I wasn’t too worried about that.  Physiologically there isn’t an advantage to that and mentally I’m hardened. 

Pre-race

I slept well two nights before the race, figuring I’d be nervous- thank goodness I did!  The sleep then night before was 4 hours max and was completely restless.  I woke up at 3:45am (race starts at 6:00) and decided to just get up.  I had a bagel with peanut butter, granola, water, electrolytes, and a banana.  I wanted coffee, but decided I’d rather avoid the restroom as much as possible before and during the race so I nixed the idea.  I had bought a headlamp the day before thinking a hand-held wasn’t enough, so I added that to my outfit.  I had a basic running belt, but no water bottles/camelbacks or anything.

Elia and I decided we’d both run our own races- whatever that may be- despite training together.  I think this was smart.  A lot of things can go right/wrong in such a long race, so it was best to just stay focused on ourselves.

Course

The course was completely on a beautiful single-file dirt/trail in the middle of nowhere with a 2.2 starter loop, followed by 6 ten-mile loops, allowing you to come back to the start point and get to your belongings.  There was one other water stop at the 5-mile mark that also offered junk food.  The course was 80% dry through grass/woods with some hills and 20% wet/mud and full of roots, but overall was easy, especially since you looped back to the start spot.

Race

I had decided to just run with whomever was in front.  The race had 3 categories with a max field of 250 runners total: a 25k (which started an hour later), a 50k, and a 100k (both of those started at 6am).  Three of us started off nice and fast, and I was thankful since it was impossible to see all the roots, race markers, mud, puddles, undulations, fallen trees, etc. since it was pitch black.  The head lamp and handheld flashlight I was making fun of having a day earlier ended up being completely necessary.

Starter short loop and 10-mile loop one

The first 2.2 was through some sugar/beach sand which was tough, but thankfully it was only on that part of the course.  We ran through camp to cheers from the crews and volunteers which was cool.  Then about a quarter of a mile- although we didn’t know at the time- we made our mistake: we went straight instead of making a hard right onto a side trail.  Since the “course” had just started, the three of us weren’t too sure what to be looking for (reflective blue tape), so we just followed the marked trees (that we eventually learned were for a longer loop).  Lucky for the three of us, it loops back to the regular course, but instead of being ahead of the rest of the other 100 runners in the 50k/100k, we were behind them!

We were all heart-broken, and the guy who had been right in front of me noticeably dropped back and I never saw him again.  I struck up a conversation with the lead guy, Josh whom was running the 50k, and we decided to just let it be and continue.  Although frustrated, we eventually caught up and passed the entire field (again) which was challenging on a single-file path.  I felt great but was disheartened about the 1.1-mile mistake.

10-mile loop two

I stopped and grabbed food and water before crossing the mat at base and shed my lights and winter hat and switched them out for sunglasses and a regular cap.  Anthony surprised me and joined for this second loop and we caught back up with Josh.  We got to the point where we made our error and there was a guy sticking a sign into the ground with “RACE à” in big giant lettering at the exact spot we made our error: gee, that would have been helpful the first time around.  Other than that, this loop was a blur.  We flew, relatively speaking with a 7:30/mile average and had some fun conversation.  I felt great.

10-mile loop three

I thanked Anthony for running the last loop with me, stopped and fueled up again and switched into a pair of dry shoes.  I am very happy I had planned on doing some stopping- it became an easier way to make small mental goals to get to my “stopping points” even if it did make me lose 4-5 minutes at a time.  It was also nice to talk to Jenni and Eva who were nice enough to “crew” both of us.  This loop also breezed by with just a pee stop and a water stop at the 5-mile mark.  My overall average was at about a 7:50/mile pace when I came into base camp again.  Josh sped up at the end since it was the end of his race (the 50k) and I was now on my own for the rest of the race.  I felt great, minus some sharp pains in my right knee. 

10-mile loop four

Now things were getting serious.  I did not want to eat more, however ate everything I had planned except for one baggie of nuts which I tucked into my belt.  I started taking some electrolytes and packed one for the mid-point.  This was helpful, as I was feeling a bit dizzy and off.  

Josh had finished his 50k on the last loop, so now I was on my own, which made it tough.  Passing runners on the single-path had started to get truly annoying.  I think I was most surprised with them not realizing I was behind them- how do you not hear footsteps crashing in the middle of a forest of nothingness?  I guess I will take it as a compliment! 

This loop is the first time I felt it was time to focus.  The run became a mental struggle, and the desire to walk was intense and increasingly challenging to subdue. 

10-mile loop five

I had given up on the nuts I had packed and stuck with my other items.  I just didn’t want to eat them.  Now I understood why they had so many random food options- you will have no idea what food you will want to eat on the run, but it certainly will not be anything you expected to want to eat!  I also switched into now my third pair of shoes, so I'd have dry feet and changed my shirt which was soaked with sweat from the first 43 miles.  Mentally, I struggled to keep my mindset in “run” mode as opposed to “walk” mode.  The thought of walking was just so pervasive.  I wasn't out of breath, I wasn't hurting much, I wasn't incoherent- I just had an incredible desire to walk.  This loop also was responsible for my only fall of the race- I tripped over a root going up a hill and ate it close to the base camp.  The thing came out of nowhere, I swear!

10-mile loop six

The final loop!  Mike an Alan had showed up prior to this loop to cheer me on, so I took some pictures, videos, and thanked them before eating/drinking/heading out.  I had secretly hoped one of them wanted to run with me, but unfortunately I was on my own!  I suppose it is better that way.  I wanted to do this for me and see if I could accomplish it solo, particularly at the end.  This loop saw the most walking, which was surprising given the end was so close. 

The final loop was the only time I jumped into every puddle, splashed every mud spot, and launched through the course without trying to avoid certain obstacles.  I wanted to enjoy the experience.  I was dirty, my shoes were muddy, and I had water spraying on me.  I loved it.  I cruised through the last half mile, my legs suddenly regaining their strength and crossed the line first overall with a new course record for this particular course.  I was shocked to see the contingent there: Mike, Eva, and Jenni I knew would be there, but Ali, Jenn, Chris, and Gail had surprised Elia and I and had showed up to watch the finish!  I hung around thanking them all and taking pictures and then was lucky enough to watch Elia roll in about 25 minutes later in second place!  I am not surprised- he had outworked me in every way to prepare for this race and truly earned his success today.

Post-race

What a euphoric feeling.  I felt accomplished.  I struggled but showed resilience.  I felt pain and ran through it.  I had doubt yet persevered.  I wanted to throw out my race plan, however kept my discipline.  I knew there was a risk of failing to finish a race for the first time in my life, but never let those thoughts creep into my confidence.  This race changed me as a runner.  I could not rely on my speed or talent at all during this race at all.  It really was me this time and just the qualities I have been building in my personality that got me through this endeavor.  I am sincerely proud of myself completing my first ever ultra-marathon.

 

This report was generated using race reportr, a tool built by /u/BBQLays for making great looking and informative race reports.

Finish lineFinish line

 

At 53.3 miles inAt 52.2 miles

Comments(7)
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
4.000.004.00

PM: 4 miles at 11:40/mile pace

Add Comment
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
10.500.0010.50

AM: 5.5 miles at 10:20/mile pace.

PM: 5 miles  at a  9:30/mile pace.  Slowly but surely feeling better.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
10.500.0010.50

PM: 10.5 miles  at a  8:30/mile pace.  Felt much better.

Add Comment
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
10.000.0010.00

PM: 10 miles, 7:50/mile pace.  The pace is getting much better, I'd say my legs are still a bit tired, but I felt fine- no pain, just soreness.

Comments(1)
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
13.200.0013.20

PM: 13.2 miles @ 7:30/mile pace. Felt pretty good, definitely felt the tired legs at the end. Fun run.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
6.000.006.00

AM: 6 miles

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
23.300.0023.30

AM: 19 miles.  Wicked fun run- Drew made an appearance- it was great to see him of course, but I appreciated the conversation more than even the run.

PM: 4.3 miles

Add Comment
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
12.500.0012.50

PM: 12.5 miles.  Felt easy.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
15.854.0019.85

AM: 10.35 miles, one of them fast with the group to help pace.

PM: 9.5 miles, with 6x800 with 400 recoveries.  I was very conservative, but I did hit every goal that I passively made prior to every interval- increasing in speed/effort.  

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
0.000.000.00

Had to go in to work early, then had extra work after work, then dinner went long (to 10pm) so I took the L.  Not happy about it.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
18.000.0018.00

PM: Felt bad about the skip yesterday, so I ran an 18-miler today for no real reason.  7:30/mile average.  Felt easy until about 13, then I got a bit tired without any nutrition.

Add Comment
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
10.000.0010.00

PM: 10 miles at about 9:00pm.  

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
16.350.0016.35

AM: 13 miles at 7:20/mile pace.  Felt pretty easy.

PM: 3.35 miles to even it out.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
20.100.0020.10

AM: 20.1 miles with Elia, Anthony, Alan, Ali, Gretchen, and Rona.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
10.000.0010.00

AM: 10 miles.  Felt easy.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
13.105.5018.60

AM: 10 miles.  1x3000, 1x200, 8x100.

PM: 8.6 miles, then 3x1600 with half time (2:30) recovery jogs.  Splits- 5:07, 5:04, 5:03.

I felt really heavy in the afternoon, which I feel is mostly related to the sprinting I did in the AM.  I was worried after the first mile, since it was a bit slow (I was aiming for a 5:05), but I was pretty even throughout after that, and did not reach deep into the tank.  The feeling of lethargy never did leave, however when looking back at my heartrate it is pretty apparent it was mental fatigue more than physiological, although I would have argued otherwise without that information!

Add Comment
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
8.300.008.30

PM: 8.3 miles solo.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
5.100.005.10

PM: 5.1 miles easy.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
3.000.003.00

PM:3 miles easy

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Race: Belleair Sunset 5k (3.107 Miles) 00:15:33, Place overall: 1, Place in age division: 1
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
5.903.119.01

AM: 2.1 miles easy

PM: 3.8 easy, 5k hard

Race: Bellair Sunset 5k

Goal: A goal: sub 15:51 (PR for a road course), B goal: sub 16, C goal: 1st overall

Course: I really enjoy this course.  There are no points where it is congested, quite flat although very breezy, there are only a couple of hard turns, and there are no 180-degree pin-point turns, so this course is pretty great for a 5k.  

The race: There was no one running with me from the start unfortunately, and the footsteps were gone from behind me about 30 seconds into it, so I was on my own.  I felt great through mile one and was very relaxed, cognizant that I needed to maintain a high cadence (I ended up with a 196 average) while relaxing as much as possible- it has been quite a long time since I've taken a 5k seriously, but I generally seemed to remember what it takes to not fall apart, not drop the cadence, and to not lose form.  Mile one was a 5:02.

Mile two was shockingly easy.  I felt in control, relaxed, but I decided not to push it despite feeling great.  Mile two was a 5:02.

Mile three was tougher and the breathing changed the moment I tried to speed it up.  I relaxed back down, afraid I was going to blow it going too early. I knew I was about 5 seconds behind breaking 15:30, but I don't know, I just talked myself into thinking I was closer than I was.  Mile three was a 5:02.

The last turn is a hard 90-degree turn down to the finish.  Although the race is small (650-700 people), it is a great finish since you can see the clock and have literally 110 meters to sprint to your hearts desire.  I closed ridiculously fast (for me anyway), my cadence hitting a 205 and finishing in 27 seconds.  I have been working on my anaerobic capacity, but wow, I felt like a sprinter out there!

The finish time was a 15:33, 1st overall and it was a PR for a road course!  The 2nd overall guy crossed the finish in 17:35 and no one else broke 18, which saddens me a bit, since this race is usually a really fast one.

Splits- 5:02, 5:02, 5:02, 0:27

Final thoughts:  I just missed 15:30, but that's okay, it's right around the corner and I did hit my planned goal and a shiny new PR.  With hindsight bias, I suppose I should have amended my goal, but I had nothing to go by having just ran a 100k ultramarathon a couple of weeks ago.  I mean really, let's be serious- I'm happy to have any speed at all.  I really felt good this race (especially during it), and it is probably the first 5k I've ever had that didn't feel like I was on fire by the end of it.  

 

Comments(3)
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
15.000.0015.00

AM: 15 miles with Anthony in the rain and cold.

Add Comment
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
8.300.008.30

AM: 5.2 miles

PM: 3.1 miles

Add Comment
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
11.754.7516.50

AM: 9.1 miles, 2.25 of them fast (alternating 600s & 1000s) with the group pacing them.

PM: 7.4 miles, 2.5 of them fast (400s) trying out some old shoes I rarely wear to see if I liked them enough to use them this Saturday.  The pair I used on Saturday are just insanely thin- so although I'd definitely be faster in them, I'm not sure the return from the shoe weight will compensate enough for the increased impact of footfalls throughout the race.  

That being said I'm 90% certain I'll be running in my 11oz trainers for Saturday.  The math comes out to about a 5 seconds/mile loss with that choice, but it's better than an injury!

Add Comment
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
8.000.008.00

PM: Felt great, 180 cadence, easy pacing right where it should be.  I am excited for Saturday.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
5.000.005.00

PM: 5 miles

So on Saturday I'll be racing the half marathon again.  My last attempt atthe half was an epic mess, however I am in great shape currently and will definitely try to PR.  I have the option however of shooting a bit for the stars on this one, and I'm not sure if it's a logical step.  I did just run a 15:33 in the 5k despite  the lack of speed work recently and felt like I had more in me for it and felt great during the race.  I'm torn: I have not done much tempo work, however my mileage, speed, weight, and nutrition has been very good.  It seems fair that I should definitely shoot to best my PR if the weather cooperates, however I am not sure by how much.  

Option 1- PR at sub 1:12:30 @5:32/mile pace.

Option 2- Shoot for sub 1:12 @5:30/mile pace.

Option 3- Sub 1:11 @5:25/mile pace.

Option 4- Sub 1:10 @ 5:21/mile pace.

Option 1 seems a waste of an opportunity.  Option 2 seems to also be a waste of an opportunity (although with the lack of preparation with specificity, is likely the most logical one).  Option 3 seems to be the most plausible.  Option 4 seems to be a bit of a dream scenario.  

I really want to shoot for option 4, but  the prospect of blowing up like last time is one that is resonating in my head.  I am definitely in better shape, but that pace would be difficult to recover and still PR from if things went south.

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Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance
312.4548.36360.81
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