Monday, February 14, 2011

Beast of Burden 100 miler race report

Beast of Burden 100 miler
Feb 12 (and 13!)
Final results - 23 hrs, 44 minutes
1st female
5th overall

Friday evening after my son got out of school my husband, son, and I all hopped into our little car and headed out to Lockport, New York for the Beast of Burden 100 mile run. Before heading to our hotel we headed to Taboo bar and grill to pick up my race bib/packet and meet the race director, Sam Pasceri. I was pleasantly surprised as usually I get goodie bags filled with things I have no use for. In our goodie bags were full sized treats - not the typical wimpy little samples of things you usually find in goodie bags. Iron Man Muscle Rub gel, Hot hands (lots!), Hammer Gel, Rohto eye drops, an LED light, Forze bar, a box of Deep Heating Well Patch (which came in good use during the race), Trail Runner magazine, and of course, the all important shirt. After picking everything up we headed back to the hotel for some dinner and hopefully a dip in the pool (the reason why we stayed at this particular hotel). The hotel was nice, but the food was miserable and when we went to use the indoor pool we walked into the pool area and walked right back out. No heat! Or at least, that's how it seemed. We were bummed, but would be freezing our butts of the rest of the weekend and didn't feel like going down that road the night before! We went back to our room and watched the news - which made me pretty nervous. They were calling for 30 mph winds on Saturday :( YIKES!

Race Day
We woke up at 6:30, I pulled back the curtains and there was the snow.

This was the view outside our hotel room window:

"I guess this is what I signed up for!" is all I could think. The snow I don't mind, but the wind kills me. What can you do though? Just suck it up, quit whining and deal with it! We all got ready, I got dressed in all the gear I bought from Vertical Runner (the most awesome running store EVER!) A few months before the race I walked in, told them what I was doing and they told me exactly what to get. GREAT store. I'm kind of glad I'm an hour away from that store - because if I were any closer, I'd go broke.

Race start
We arrived at Wide Waters Marina and I finally met some friends I've only communicated with on facebook. Great people! Valmir Nunes was introduced to us - an amazing ultrarunner who came in for the race. I actually don't really know what he looks like in person, as he was covered 100% from head to toe for the race! This was the first time he had ever seen snow, let alone run in it! Nunes was a pretty cool guy - despite not knowing any english he did cheer me on, each time we came across each other during the race (His method of cheering me on was clapping and fist pumps!)

Finally, it was go time. We all started, and once we ran across the bridge and made the turn onto the towpath we quickly found that conditions on the path weren't all that spectacular. I was kind of glad about that, as this was the kind of stuff I trained on all winter. Cleveland winters are similar to Lockport winters - so I was thinking I might have a bit of an advantage. There's just nothing like Lake Effect snow!

The first loop turn around is when I started thinking I might have another advantage. We were running into the wind and while I HATE running into the wind I've done it quit a bit in training. All I was thinking was despite the wind, if I just kept running, kept a steady pace I could probably gain a good lead on the other females in the race. The first three loops (There were four total) this is what I kept telling myself each time I reached the turn around. I got a bit of motivation on the first loop when I saw a guy in front of me running, getting frustrated and he kept on stopping. I knew that feeling, I've been there, but thanks to some training runs learned to deal with it. I just put my head down and kept on going. Thank goodness for crappy weather training days! The first loop also gave me a bit of motivation when running alongside a male 24 hour runner. He asked me what I was doing, the 24 hour or the 100 mile. I told him the 100 mile, and he said "Well I'm doing the 24 hr and I'll be cheering you on at the finish!" I just thought..."Huh". There's always one dude at EVERY race!!! I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it, just making small talk and what not, but ya know! Grateful though that his comment gave me a bit of motivation to push harder to finish in less than 24 hours.

Pacer time!

Pacers and crew are the unsung heroes of any ultra. They put up with crap, there is no glory in it for them, they are just there because they are completely amazing people. My crew consisted of My husband, my son, Daniel Bellinger, and Agnes Jung. Thanks so much for helping me during my cold, snowy race!

My husband and Daniel Bellinger paced me, each taking 25 miles. It's pretty fantastic that people like Daniel would drive 3 plus hours to help me out, and that my husband would deal with running in nasty weather just to satisfy my curiousity about a race. Another great person - Agnes Jung made her way from Canada to help me out as well. This is pretty extraordinary to me, and just amazes me and makes me realize there are really great people out there! Last but not least my son - who came along with us and helped out when he could, too.

The third loop I was feeling strong my husband paced me. I was tired - but still able to go at a good pace and was glad he was with me. The start of the fourth loop Daniel started pacing me and I was still feeling strong, but wound up not bringing any water (unintentionally!) from the marina (start) aid station to the middle aid station (about 7 miles distance). That killed me, and it all started to go downhill from there for me at that point. I felt bad because I was too confused/exhausted to talk to poor Daniel who made the long drive out to help me. I slowed considerably (hopefully he was not cold from slow me!) and everything and anything started cramping. I'm sure it was partially the fact that I had just ran 75 miles by then, but no water/liquids just made it much worse. I thought frequently about stopping and grabbing a handful of snow, but #1 probably wouldn't be able to get back up (ha!), and #2 drinking regular water from a bottle was killing my lungs, let alone eating cold snow - so I waited until I got to the aid station. I got to the middle aid station feeling very dizzy, disoriented, and with absolutely zero energy in me. I reached into my pockets and realized that I didn't have my electrolytes and my Hammer anti-fatigue caps or perpetum tabs! I could have sworn I grabbed them at the marina aid station, so I wasn't really understanding what the heck I did! Another fail! At that point I just felt like breaking down and crying. I was having a hard time dealing with little things like taking my mittens off to get some water, but super Fred Davis came to my rescue! I was so out of it that I didn't even see my good friend sitting there in his chair. But he jumped up when he saw I was having problems and started to help me out. I was so happy to see his friendly face! He helped me with my mittens, my clothes - pretty much everything.

I drank as much as I could and took some chicken broth with me to have until I got to the next aid station where my bottles and my husband would be waiting. I never fully recovered from that, feeling completely disoriented the rest of the race, feeling completely confused, not able to understand much when people talked to me, too tired to even talk, but was still able to keep a good fast walking pace at least and maintain the lead over the females and a good chunk of the men When I finally saw the finish line, 2 miles out I was so relieved! Then I saw Agnes, my son, my husband all cheering me on - and heard the RD Sam over the bull horn saying I would get a sub 24 if I finished those 2 miles in under 45 minutes. It was slow going, but I made it! 23 hours and 44/45 minutes. Final race results should be posted by Wednesday. Running through the finish line I was so relieved. I just ran into my husbands arms. I got my belt buckle from Sam, took a few pictures and went inside. My husband helped change me, because I had nothing left. During that time, I got sick. (True love at its finest!) He held me as I ummmm, well - vomitted. Him and my son put up with me vomitting for the whole 3 + hour drive home. Ahhh family! The fact that I felt so miserable after the race really bothered me (and still does), as if I'm able to time-wise I like to stay until the very end of races to cheer everyone on - and we were planning on doing that for this race. The fact that I couldn't do that this weekend is pretty upsetting to me.


#1. I have an amazing support group, so many great friends. Throughout the week I got tons of well wishes from people, and spent an hour on Friday morning before leaving answering emails, fbook posts, and text messages of people wishing me good luck. Also to have people drive down for the race, people like Agnes Jung who came from Canada and Daniel Bellinger, fellow runner from Ohio just amazes me. Not too mention my husband and son, who are always there for me every step of the way.

Also while all the way in Chile - my coach kept me going. Just knowing that he (Ray Zahab) was at the end of his journey - running 20 days 712 miles across the Atacama desert in Chile kept me motivated - thinking if he could do that, I can run a 100 miler! He even called me while in the airport on the way home when he found out what happened to congratulate me. Congratulate me! He needs congratulated for just doing what he did!!

Thanks so much to everyone as it completely motivated me throughout the whole race. I really never knew how lucky I was until now. I'm completely floored and so grateful.

#2. I'm pretty certain I ate far too much food during the race. While I ate too little at the North Coast 24 hour, I ate tons at this one. Yes I came in first female, but felt pretty uncomfortable each time I left the aid station. Who the hell can actually GAIN 5 pounds running 100 miles? AFTER spending over 3 hours puking? This gal. Sheesh. The only thing that saved me from not upchucking during the race was a box of ginger candies that my friend Crystal Basich gave me during the North Coast race. Luckily I grabbed those and put them in my suitcase at the last minute before we left. It really did wonders for me, and quickly, too.

#3. Training in like conditions made all the difference. I couldn't have done as well running on the treadmill every day. No way.

#4. I would definitely do this race again. Absolutely!

#5. I think I got frostbite on my toes!

I really didn't think anything of it - I thought it was just gnarly looking feet from running 100 miles, but fellow I2P person commented on the picture of my feet and mentioned frostbite. I thought....nah - just blisters. Now blisters, for me - how can I say this - I'm strange. They don't bother me one bit, and I've had some pretty nasty ones. It's kind of like shinsplints, I like the pain of shinsplints (I'm strange, yes I know). Not to say I like blisters, but they just don't bother me when I get them. But after reading Jaime's comment and waking up in the middle of the night to excruciating pain in my toes I thought maybe he's right! I Jumped on the net, looked up pics of frostbite and I was a bit nervous to see pics that looked exactly like my toesies. The pain is not constant, but a brief pain that feels like someone is taking a knife and just jabbing me in my toes with it. I had the sweats and a fever all night. I'm going to try and make a dr. appt tomorrow. Not sure what they will do about this, as I've never experienced this before, just mild frostnip - so we'll see.

#6. The cold can do strange things to your lungs. While my body wasn't cold, I could feel it in my lungs. I was SO extremely grateful for Sam Pasceri's constant reminders of facemask, facemask, facemask. Even though I had my facemask it was almost as if I could feel my lungs filling up with fluid, and it felt like they were literally freezing! It was the strangest thing. I can't even imagine if I didn't have it. I have asthma, but never have I experienced a sensation like that before. It made it difficult to drink cold water and I took a liking to warm chicken broth whenever I cold take it. So strange!

#7. Overall this was a great experience, a great race - and one that I would do again. The race director is an awesome, fun guy and he put on a great race. The volunteers were amazing as well and while I sometimes could not say anything (ahem, towards the end of the race) I truly appreciated everything they did. THANKS ALL for a great time!


  1. Congrats! Great report!

  2. What a great race report Laurie! Congrats on a well deserved win and thanks for the VR plug ;) You're the best!

  3. Great report! I know how you feel about not being able to stay at the end of the race, it stinks! But next time we do 100s we will be able to stick around :)
    And it's natural to gain weight after 100. (During might be bc of taking more electrolytes than needed). After you gain weight because you body adapts to being physically abused with constant running and its need for fuel by using it more slowly. It takes awhile for the body you've stopped running. So, both me and Sandi will gain weight after a race, then lose it all of a sudden!
    Anywho, amazing job :)

  4. Wow, great race report, Laurie! Congratulations on the win and sub 24 hour finish!

  5. I feel like we turned over a new leaf as husband and wife, I love you more today then I did yesterday ,if thats possible. You are my rock baby and I love you lots. So so so proud of you xoxoxoxoxoo

  6. THANKS ALL! Rach oh I hope so, b/c I wanted to throw the scale across the room when I saw it! lol!

    Steve your welcome! It really is the best store ever!

    malvs thanks!!!

    Husband....your comment looks funny, under my name lol! but thank you - I know what you mean-and completely agree with you. Thanks for taking care of me during - and after :D I couldn't do it without you, not one bit. Couldn't imagine doing it alone. It was an incredible thing to experience with you and am totally grateful for all of it. xoxo!

  7. awesome report Laurie, and you make it sounds almost tempting to try someday.....well, at least to go spectate and assist in one. Great report, and love the gory details as well. Hope your recovery is going well, and you are able to take a few days (weeks) off. Thanks for sharing!
    Mary Pat

  8. fantastic laurie!! what a tough race...

  9. Congrats Laurie! I enjoyed reading about your adventure.

  10. Congrats, Laurie! You ran a strong race and overcame some tough obstacles. Nicely done! I finished almost 2 hrs behind you and was hoping to congratulate you in person. I'm glad I found your race report. Rest up and I hope your toes recover well. Cheers, Kinga (#128)

  11. Congratulation!!!
    From Switzerland

  12. Thanks Kinga/Chico! And good news - went to the doc today and no frostbite! WOOT! Just simple gnarly looking feet from running a hundo! ohhhh yeah!

  13. Nice Job Laurie! It was great meeting you! Awesome job!