With Christmas quickly approaching I have no time to draft an epic race report for this year’s Ancient Oaks 100 full of my usual drama, hilarity and eloquent prose. So instead I quickly tossed together the following FAQ based on questions I have been answering over the past few days. Enjoy.
Bob’s 2014 Ancient Oaks 100 FAQ
1. Are you crazy?
2. Did you finish/what was your time?
I did. My time was 28:22:47, a PR by 1:19:04 compared to my finish at the Javelina Jundred last year.
3. Did you win?
No, but thanks for bursting my bubble.
4. Did you run all that time without stopping?
I walked some and took short breaks between each lap around the course. The 3.46 mile loop has some small inclines and a section that had very serpentine single track that was very rooty and I would usually walk those sections. Over time, the rhythm of the race became automatic and oddly comforting.
5. Did you ever sit down?
I ran about the first third of the race without sitting, except for a quick bathroom break and to tape my toes for blister prevention. After that I would sit for a few minutes between laps to rest, recover, eat, and try to address any issues I was having like hot spots on my feet or chafing down under. FYI, lubing the undercarriage is quite a difficult task late in the race and I lost all sense of modesty about it. At the beginning of the race I would shyly step into the bathroom with my Body Glide in my pocket. By mile 90 I would step behind a parked vehicle, drop my shorts, bend over and take care of business in broad daylight.
The shortest of these rest stops were less than a minute to refill my water bottle. The longest was about 45 minutes which included a 20 minute nap. The average was about 9 and a half minutes so I think there is room for improvement here.
6. Did you sleep?
I took a 20 minute nap at the start of the 22nd lap. I think that was about 2:30 in the morning. I had been suffering from nausea for quite some time and felt like I was weaving back and forth along the trail. I hoped that the nap would refresh me and allow my stomach to recover. It worked. During that last lap before the nap, about 70 miles into the race, I think I was feeling more fatigued than I ever have in my life. The urge to stop in my tracks was irresistible. I kept visualizing myself bent over, hands on knees, refusing to take another step. Luckily, I had the foresight to supply my pacers with cattle prods.
7. This really sounds crazy, are you right in the head?
8. What did you eat?
Dinner the night before the race was delicious beef tips and mushrooms over noodles (thanks Jen!).
Breakfast before the race was 2 slices of peanut butter toast.
Solid food consumed during the race:
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Turkey wrap with avocado and cheese cut into bite size pinwheels.
2 Taco Bell soft tacos
Lots of trail mix
Chicken noodle soup – mostly the broth
A handful of french fries
Two bites from a McDonalds Sausage Biscuit
Half a slice of pepperoni Pizza
A handful of wheat thins crackers
Fluids consumed during the race:
Tailwind Nutrition - 6 or 7 bottles @ 200 calories each
Coke – about 2.5 liters
A few sips of coffee
9. How can you eat like that and run without puking?
Oh, I puked. I actually learned some lessons during this race about how I personally need to take in food that I think will benefit me in future races. Namely, that I cannot eat and run at the same time. I initially tried to reduce my time at aid stations by grabbing a handful of food and eating on the run, but what always happens after a few hours of running is that my stomach rejects the food and I have difficulty even swallowing anything in my mouth. This meant a lot of walking while I was trying to get some food in my gut and a lot of wasted food that got tossed aside. I found that a few minutes to eat, and swallow, my food while resting at the aid station yielded much faster lap times. It will just take some more trial and error to find the optimum amount of rest so that I am not just killing time at aid stations.
I think I also figured out that I do not need as much food as I thought I did. Planning for the race I tried to figure out how I could pack in about 400 calories per hour. I don’t think I ate anywhere near that much during the race. I suffered two significant low points in the race, but I don’t think they were related to nutrition.
10. Did you change shoes/socks/clothing?
I changed socks twice but wore the same shoes, Saucony Kinvaras throughout the whole race. I did change into a dry shirt several times. I wore long sleeves at night and for a few laps a light jacket. I considered changing into dry shorts, but figured there was no point. The new shorts would be sweat soaked in no time anyway. I did suffer from chafing in my groin late in the race, so that might have been a mistake. It was minor compared to previous races though and was gone within 24 hours after the race.
11. Do you listen to music, don’t you get bored?
I never use an ipod but I do listen to the soundtrack in my head much to the dismay of my crew and runners around me when I start singing along with the music. Unfortunately the song Black Widow was stuck in my head the whole race and I had to listen to that one line from the song “Like a black widow baby” over and over because I do not know a single other word from it. I think I can honestly say that I was never once bored during the race.
12. Why would anyone want to run 100 miles, that’s insane?
I think we have already established that.
13. Did you get any blisters?
A few, but they did not impact my running. I was pretty tuned in to my body this race. As soon as I experienced an issue I was able to address it before it became a problem. I stopped twice to tape toes when I felt the friction between them becoming an issue and avoided any blisters there. I did have a few around the base of my heels.
14. How many calories did you burn, you must have lost a lot of weight?
My guess would be somewhere around 10,000 calories. However after getting on the scale two days after the race, allowing a little time for the temporary weight loss from dehydration to adjust, I weighed exactly the same as I did the day before the race. I did not lose a single pound. I can't say that I gorged after the race either. It takes me a while to get my appetite back once I stop running. I had a small cheeseburger on the way home, and then a reasonably portioned dinner before going to sleep. I think I drank a beer and a half and had some chocolate milk. I resumed my regular eating habits the next day.
15. Who was that hot girl you were hugging at the finish line?
I’m a lucky guy.
16. Do you know how crazy this sounds?
Asked and answered. Aren’t you paying attention?
I can’t thank my crew enough, Jennifer Florida, Matt Vayda and Mike Grogan for coddling me all weekend and of course race director Mike Melton and his volunteers for putting on a great event.