Sunday, September 6, 2009
The Grand Teton 100
Slogging up Foothill Road (Photo by Matt Hart)
It has been an eventful summer for us here to say the least. New house construction has taken a large part of our free time, money, and attention this year. My original plan was to spend most of the time training to run Waldo and then defend my title at the Bear but work and family commitments forced a change of plans. I decided to run the 100 at Targhee mostly because it is close and I had participated as a pacer and I ran the 50 mile a year ago. The repeated loops make for some tough mental racing but would provide me with the reps to know where I was at all times. I called on Matt Hart to come crew and pace and it was a done deal. My mission while running this summer became to see if I could break AJW's course record of 19:35 and change. I paced Matt in that very race and I was an eye witness as to how hard Andy had worked to run under 20 hours. By the time the race rolled around I was confident in my training but a little worried about my "race fitness" or knowing just how hard I could push myself and still hold it together for 100 miles. My experience running the 50 the year before and also looking at Josh Brimhall's and Andy's splits I knew I needed to run more even splits for the four loops. I decided that I would shoot for 4:30 per 25 mile loop which would give me a little cushion to in case of an emergency. The cool weather and fresh legs took me through the first loop in 4:18 so I consciously tried to back it off a notch. I hit the halfway point in 8:57 which put me behind Andy's split for the first 50 but improved my chances of coming back with a couple more solid laps. The third climb up Fred's mountain was about all I could stand. It was hot and humid from the passing thunderstorms and I was feeling a bit tired of running all by myself. Matt kept me supplied with turkey sliders, pumpkin pie, and ice cold NUUN throughout the day. I slogged through the third lap in just under 5 hours which still kept the record in sight. Luckily for me Jared Campbell was at the race spending his birthday watching Mindy run a second place finish in the 50. He and Matt concocted a plan and he joined me for the last 5 of the third lap and my 4th climb up Freds. It was nice to finally have some company and we sped through the loop around Rick's Basin and headed up the 2.8 mile climb up Fred's for the last time. My climbing legs were shot and I was getting drowsy but with a blazing dowhill (19 minutes) we managed to match the pace up the hill from the lap before. Back at the base of the ski hill, Matt then joined me for the remainder. I was feeling good and we hammered down to the bottom of Ski Hill Road for the last time. Just before the bottom my stomach rebelled and so we lost some time trying to move and get some food down. Even small amounts of Coke and broth wouldn't stay down so Jared gave us a few ginger chews and we headed for home. By this time I was pretty depleted and I had a hard time maintaining my pace and remembering my splits. I was only able to consume about 50 calories over the last 20 miles but Matt's patience and encouragement kept me moving. I was starting to feel nervous about getting the record until we hit mile 95. With 5 miles left we had 70 minutes to tie the record, I knew barring a freak accident it was in the bag. It was a huge relief to sprint down the hill one last time and cross in 19:19:51. As always the Batchens run a great set of races it was good to get together with friends and hammer out some miles in the mountains. Thanks everyone for a great day, especially Matt who crewed and paced himself to exhaustion.
Blow-by-blow coverage for all the races can be found on the irunfar blog.
A few of side notes:
On the first lap I ran into a momma moose and her calf and believe me I was a bit nervous. I even had visions of Karl dancing in my head-around a tree of course.
On what may have been the highlight of the day, I passed Sister Mary Beth--friend of Lisa's who had a pudding cup in one hand and a Red Bull in the other say "God, bless you my son" while making a toasting motion with the Red Bull. It must have worked:)
Vasque runner Duncan Callahan crushed my course record for the 50 mile which helped motivate me to keep running even while vomiting-I'll take the trade;)
Pearl Izuming/Smith/NUUN athlete Ashley Nordell won her second Wyoming 100 this summer. She smashed the course record and finished 2nd overall.
Local competition maniac Scott Griffith ran a HUGE personal best for the course and a 3rd place finish in 8:43:28
Corena Ricks finished 3rd place in the women's division and her husband Kevin bagged his first 50 in at time of 11:28:33