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Croom Zoom 100k Ultramarathon, Florida

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Member Since:

Feb 08, 2015

Gender:

Male

Goal Type:

Other

Running Accomplishments:

Certified road course PR's:

Mile: 4:38.0 (Florida, May 2015)

5K: 15:51 (Florida, April 2017)

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

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

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

Marathon: 2:47:56 (Florida, Nov. 2015)

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

Short-Term Running Goals:

*Upcoming Races

None

Personal:

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

Miles:This week: 20.10 Month: 254.00 Year: 254.00
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
From Martin on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 at 09:43:49 from 91.21.194.128

Congratulations, very strong performance!

From jtshad on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 at 09:56:40 from 141.221.191.225

Congrats, great race! What a range...5k to 100k! Nice start to 2019.

From Rob Murphy on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 at 11:33:35 from 163.248.33.220

Impressive! You're making it look easy in the pictures.

From Tom K on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 at 12:36:11 from 47.206.60.114

Amazing!

From Jason D on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 at 19:10:45 from 73.144.88.57

Nice work, Mike. That's a heck of a distance at which to make your ultra debut.

From Mike on Tue, Jan 08, 2019 at 08:15:59 from 168.213.5.107

Thanks guys! It was a fun experience.

Jason D- yeah, I suppose I skipped a step in there, heh.

Tom K- Thanks! Hope to see you at Gasparilla?

Rob- I appreciate that! Sunglasses help hide the glassy eyes.

jtshad- It's only twenty 5ks in a row, no biggie!

Martin- thank you, it didn't feel strong~!

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