Cottontail 6-Hour 4-15-2017
Final result: 15 laps or 28.9 miles about 6500′ vert. and a 1st place in the 6. not a PR but the best i could do.
This was the afternoon version of the 6 (1pm to 7pm – they have another 6 in the am with both synching up with the 12-hour). Prep for this race just involved a mild taper with just some strides the evening before. I actually went to work that morning and got off Early (thank you G for closing for me!!!), ate a big sandwich and a drank smoothie, chilled for about 30 minutes and we were off. I didn’t really have a pace plan but thought about my 3 previous 6-hour races here. I have tried going out fast and also tried pacing slower at the beginning with equal results. Now i know if i was doing the 12 i would definitely have gone out easier but in the first lap i decided to just go by HR and perceived effort and that the day would be a long gradual regression. Right at the start i noticed that i was hiking as fast as ppl could jog up the hill so i just took off hoping that i could hold the lead for 6 hours, but also hoping someone would catch me so I could have that motivation to do better and also to have someone to pace with. I knew Charvel was close but i never saw him on the trail, only arriving at the aid station as i was leaving…so i did have the feeling of being chased for most of the race. I guess this is also motivation but i wasnt worried about it either and in a way hoped that he was stronger than myself. About halfway through the race i saw a guy walking a cat! It was a big cat, about twice the size of a housecat. I asked him if it was an Ocecat and he told me it was a Savannah Cat. At that moment a dog saw the cat and was a little confused looking at the cat like ‘wtf is that?’ then the cat hissed baring some serious teeth. I saw the guy on the next lap still walking the cat. He had the cat in a harness and the cat was ambling along beside him in a perfect heel. Hmmm. anyway there were lots of people on the trail but not as many as last week so that was a big relief. About lap 11 i finally lapped one of the other runners who was behind me. It turned out to be a very kind lady named Lena. I encouraged her to keep up and she did using me as a pacer. I was really happy to have provided some inspiration for someone and that in turn gave me a big boost. Lena and I finished out the race this way. I really enjoyed pacing for her and also really enjoyed running with her without saying much. She made me feel like I could help her just by quietly running. I was also inspired by Doug K. the 50 year old winner of the Zumbro 100
He talks about the whole idea of the course, not as something to be beaten or crushed, but the entire course as an enlightened being to give energy to and take from as needed. The park itself is a web of interlinked creatures and plants all depending on one another.
This race has an optional shorter 1/2 mile loop to get some extra distance in if there isn’t time to finish the big 2-mile loop at the end so i debated. I felt encouraged by RD Matt who told me after lap 12 that I could get 14 big loops and two short but running with my newfound pacer we gathered enough energy to finish strong and after 14 loops Matt told me I still had time for one more big loop so I said to my racer “let’s go…one more!” and on the last lap a couple of ladies joined us and we shuffled it out.
Something I think about a lot is how to use my legs. I have an uphill power-hike that I do a lot in this race but it’s a balance and always a moments’ decision whether to run or hike. The hike gets my heart rate up more but rests some of the tired leg muscles at the same time and also gets some extension in the gatroc & hamstrings. I figure the glutes and hips that are doing so much work just need to be fed and they will recover. A lot of times I am right on the cusp of running and switching back and forth between hiking and running. This also works pretty well if done smoothly.
My nutrition plan was to grab from my bag whatever i needed on each lap. In the past when it was rainy and cold i drank about one bottle every other lap. I definitely drank more this time and had five filled bottles in my bag ready to grab and filled them from the cooler later on. This way i didnt need to wait for the dribble from the cooler or wait in line for it. Grab and go! I Ate 3 baby food squeezies, some ham and cheese wraps (thanks Kerri!) some mini snickers, 3 ginger chews and half of my filled bottles were Nuun…oh and sips from a quad espresso from starbucks. I peed once before the race start and then didnt pee at all during the race. When I got home i saw that my urine was pretty dark so I think the dry weather got to me a little and i should have had more plain water. Fortunately the race was short enough and after rehydrating my pee was quicky very light in color again.
I was intitially concerned that good weather would bring out lots of hikers, walkers and amblers on the trails and slow things down a bit, but that was not the case…and the weather was great! In the 50’s and mostly sunny and dry all day. Also I discovered that I like being a pacer and think this is something I would really like to do in the future…but more than that meeting a new friend. It is so great to meet someone who makes me feel like I can be kind and it’s ok. I can be myself. I want to be kind to everyone and let the love that is in my heart come out but most people in this society are resistant to kindness as though you want something from them…and speaking of kindness, thanks again to Matt & Kerri of Endless Trails. The best RD’s in the business! I am again glad i did this race and can say for sure that it is still making me stronger!
PS day after just ran a short easy recovery with a 400M barefoot jog. Clifton 3’s with original insert and heel lock = perfect for recovery!