For anyone reading this without seeing my prior experiences, Weymouth Woods 100K is a 14-lap 100K (4.47 miles per lap) through a Preserve near Southern Pines. It's not extremely hilly, but is rolling. It has a lot of roots along the course, and the trees are mostly long leaf pine so there aren't a lot of low-hanging branches, which means it feels more open and you can see fairly far into the woods. The area is known as the "sandhills" and there are a number of sandy areas on the trails.
|Once More, Unto the Breach!|
|Lap 2 - Ahead of Chase (for now)|
|David and David provide timing.|
When I had completed lap eleven, David was standing nearby and shouted to me, "That's twelve isn't it?" I had counted eleven, but could I have been wrong? A surge of hope went through me that I had 4.47 fewer miles left than I thought. He jogged over to his timing tent, looked at the computer, and said, "Nope, you're right. Eleven." I was a bit deflated. I actually would spend the next few laps wondering with faint hope if he was joking with me and I actually was a lap ahead of what I thought. It felt like I was walking less than I had in 2013 so maybe my pace wasn't as bad as I feared???
It was on my 12th lap that I got lapped by the lead runner. I had managed to avoid getting lapped in 2013, but not today. I didn't know if it was due to him running faster than the 2013 winner or me being much slower than that year. I had lost track of my pace and really thought I might be heading into the eleven hour range. I was really surprised I had not seen Dennis and Martin yet. Then I came up on Martin. He said he was having GI issues. I wanted to joke that it was probably because he had earlier (jokingly?) said he was listening to Taylor Swift on his earphones, but figured he wouldn't be up for humor. I offered him S-caps, but he said he was already taking them and I headed on.
When I reached the mid-loop aid station, they offered me a cheese quesidillia and something else I've since forgotten. I requested Tums. Doug Dawkins showed me the bottle and I poured out three. I thanked them for the other offerings and said the Tums would suit me just fine. They told me there was Ginger Ale at the start/finish but I've never developed a taste for Ginger Ale. It took a good 20-30 minutes before the Tums kicked in, but it really did seem to make a difference. I had only taken one and put the other two in my water bottle pouch, knowing I'd probably need them soon.
Due to David's "error" on lap eleven, he now felt obligated to let me know my lap each time around. I still hoped that just maybe I was ahead of pace, but really didn't think it was possible.
Stops at the start/finish area were shorter now as I wasn't getting anything. A young member of Chase's crew had become my moral support each lap with the standard "good job" comment each time I passed. It was almost a game now. He seemed to get a kick out of it and it lightened the mood a bit as I was getting tired. I was well beyond my recent weekly mileage and my legs were sore in odd places, like the inside of my thighs--like I had been speed skating or something. My feet--toenails, specifically--were really sore. My left foot felt smashed against the shoe and the little toe's nail on my right foot seemed to be gouging a hole into its neighbor. I could kind of curl my toes to alleviate some of the discomfort, but I had to make a conscious effort to do so and most of my attention stayed fixed on watching the trail.
Midway through my 13th lap, I pulled out another Tums and noticed that the third one had vanished somewhere. I figured I'd be ok but decided when the last lap rolled around that I'd get a couple more--mostly in case I needed them on the way home. This lap went uneventfully until I happened upon a runner who earlier had been telling me what place I was in each time I passed. He seemed to be really enjoying the race and was extremely extroverted. We were just past the mid-loop aid station and he asked what lap I was on. I told him "13" and he said that at the top of the hill, I would have a 10K left. I thanked him, knowing what hill he meant. Shortly after the aid station, there is a hill that leads up to a field and a Quonset hut. When I reached that point, I told myself to take it "One K at a time," even though I didn't have a GPS to count my "Ks."
Another climb up to the start/finish area and I was on my 14th lap. There was a small victory already in that I had not been lapped by Chase, whom I knew was ahead of me somewhere. In fact, when I got to my chair, I noticed that his crew had broken down his table and was not to be seen. I grabbed my headlamp and since my white shirt was soaked with sweat and water, I changed into the long-sleeved Ridge-to-Bridge Marathon shirt I had used at the start, knowing the temperature would drop and I might slow down.
Figuring Dennis was the next person behind me and not caring if he caught up, I didn't really change my pace or strategy on the last lap. I still walked where I had in earlier laps. The light was getting a bit faint after the first mile of this loop and by the second mile, it was pretty dark. At the mid-loop aid station, I thanked everyone and apologized for never taking them up on their hospitality and food, explaining that my stomach is pretty sensitive and most things don't sit well when I am in a race. I grabbed two more Tums, put them in my water bottle pouch, turned on my headlamp, and headed on. Somehow, my headlamp band had gotten loose and it wouldn't stay tight against my head. Rather than fooling with it and wasting time, I elected to just carry it. I caught up to Travis and another guy who seemed surprised I would run in the dark. I'm not sure why they felt that way, but I just said that I was ready to be done. At one point, before I had caught up to them, I thought I saw a headlamp gaining on me. Not sure if it was Dennis or someone else, I used that to motivate me to press ahead.
I had long ago memorized all of the landmarks along the loop and knew that when I crossed the last little boardwalk, I had only the rooty climb back to the visitor's center and I was done. I ran the last little bit, rounded the corner around David Lee's trailer, and crossed the mat, noting the finish time of 10:21-something. So, I was very close to the 10:17 I had in 2013. I guess I knew it was going to be a similar time since I put my headlamp on at about the same spot as that year. What was really interesting to me was how my splits compared to that year. They are shown at the end of this write-up.
Marie and another volunteer presented me with my finisher's award--a pottery bowl with the race logo stamped into the bottom. Appropriate with Seagrove nearby. David said that Dennis was roughly 19 minutes behind me the last time he checked, so I figured I had time to get cleaned up and wait in the visitor's center. Dennis showed up shortly after, having been passed by someone, somewhere on the last lap. He said he never even saw the guy but figured it happened when he paused at the mid-loop aid station. We had a three hour drive home so we didn't stay too long, other than to thank Marie and her co-directors and volunteers. I thanked the Park Ranger who had been onsite all day. I told him that in my experience, State Park employees are the absolutely best government employees we have. And I was serious, they have always been great to work with. I think Marie agreed.
|The Pottery Finisher's Award|
So, I got the 2015 DNF-monkey off my back and finished third overall, which was really a case of overachieving given my training in the recent months. I was tired, sore, but happy to have finished my 75th marathon/ultra. I have high regard for the Mangum Track Club folk and they are a major part of why I have returned to Weymouth four times. All races give finisher's awards. All races give shirts--a long-sleeve tech shirt in this case. But not all races have the people who make it special. Weymouth does.
Lap 2013 2016
1 37:36.6 37:36.1
2 37:50.3 36.32.3
3 38:09.1 37:11.4
4 40:18:8 38:41.8
5 40:53:9 40:07.7
6 42:55:3 42:27.1
7 43:03.8 44:22.6
8 46:29.1 46:22.0
9 44:17.9 48:51.6
10 45:52.1 50:17.5
11 50:48.9 49:48.5
12 49:49.6 49:03.7
13 50:31.8 49:46.2
14 49:07.2 50:34.5
After eating very little during the 100K (5 gels, 1.5 PowerBars, 1.5 bananas, and several cups of Mountain Dew--along with water and S-caps,) I was famished all of Sunday. We went to a birthday party at an area restaurant Sunday evening. I ordered a beans & rice dish that I have gotten many times. I weighed it on a kitchen scale once after getting takeout and it was almost 2.5 pounds. I ate it all. The next morning, I find I'm down 3-4 pounds from before Weymouth. These races always take it out of me. Thankfully, Marie wasn't having weight checks after each loop!