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Cajun Coyote 100K Report

Posted December 4th, 2011 at 09:43 PM by Black Spurs

This race turned out to be everything I hoped for and then some.
Loop 1:
All 100 milers and 100K'ers took off at 6:30 AM. We headed down the state park asphalt road where we hung a right. I was hanging at the back of the pack with one guy I had met the evening before at the campground who was running the 100 miler and a guy I know named Rob. He was barefooted. It became clear to me quickly that the “gently rolling” hills were actually “violently rolling” hills with gnarly roots that resembled teeth. And those roots attacked when you least expected it. The first four miles seemed very slow because people were still bunched up and taking it easy. Of course, many people feel the need to take off as fast as they can at the start. If you can sustain such an endeavor, go for it, but I figure I will see most of them again unless they drop after the first loop. At mile 4, The Geaux Run Aid Station was the first opportunity for aid in the race. I didn’t think we would ever get there, but things began to spread out a little after mile 4. Rob and I hung together for quite awhile on the first loop. I don’t know how he was doing with those roots, but he didn’t complain. My first difficulty came when we reached the levy. I could feel a blister wanting to form on the left side of my heel. But I was still feeling great. I think we made it to the Forge Racing AS at mile 8 in about 2:03, not very fast. We were also running with a guy who was running the 100 miler, and I was listening to him about taking it easy. I talked to him quite a bit, and he was very cordial and reminded me of things others have told me: HOLD BACK in the beginning. I took a few bathroom breaks along the way and would go back and forth with this group until we all spread out somewhere between mile 8 and mile 16. Soon I found myself running alone through the woods. While coming down a steep hill, I stepped in a little hole and my ankle twisted violently. I thought it might be serious at first, but after about a half mile it seemed fine. Next, I made my way up a steep hill thanking God I was okay. I turned a sharp corner and caught my toe on a root. I went head over heels, laughing the whole time. I didn’t think I would be hurt, but I was. My hip banged the ground hard. I pulled myself up and kept on going. I passed a some folks on the first loop, which wasn’t really the plan. It just happened. I was feeling good. Finally, I made it to the unmanned aid station; I refilled my bottle; I topped off my hydration bladder; I moved along to finish the first loop in 4:17. My rough goal for the first loop was 4:30.
Loop 2:
I didn't tarry long at the start/finish line. I made sure things were topped off because we had to reverse the second loop. I grabbed a few extra supplies and headed out, knowing that it would be 12 miles before I reached another manned station where solid food would be available. On the second loop, my main sustenance was Honey Stinger Chews. I cannot take gels after about 25 or so miles. So, I planned to avoid them. I also slammed down some alka-seltzer and had a ginger candy to hold off any nausea. I headed out for the reverse course feeling pretty good. Just before the unmanned station, I saw a speedster coming my way. I figured it was the leader of the 20 mile race who had started around 9:00. Sure enough, a friend of mine from Baton Rouge was leading the way. We stopped and chatted for just a moment, and we went in opposite directions. Three minutes later, I ran into his closest competitor. I told him he was at least three minutes behind. He shook his head, said "Thanks" and moved on. It must have hit me around mile 27 or 28. I was as down as I have ever been in a run. I was still running well, but I just couldn't seem to get my mood up. I felt horrible, hopelessly depressed until I got to the Forge racing station again. My spirits were momentarily lifted by seeing people I knew, but my spirits quickly dampened again when I got back to the levee. The blister was really rearing its head now, but I pushed on through. At this point, I could just feel the blister; it wasn’t hurting, but I knew our relationship would grow as the trail wore on. My next stop was at the Geaux Run station, around mile 36. At this point, I was feeling pretty down. But I knew it was going to get better. I just wasn’t sure what it was going to take. They offered me potato soup and chicken broth. I took both. The potato soup brought me out of my low spot, and I never looked back. Unfortunately, by the time I got to mile 40+, the blisters on my feet from the hills, roots, and that darned levee were taking a toll. I finished the second loop in about 4:50, still running a fine race and having fun. I met several 100K runners on their last loop. I figured it would be the last time I saw any of them. I figured I was running about 9th , and that was probably where I would stay, which was fine. I knew I would lose some time at the start/finish because I had to take care of some foot issues.
Loop 3:
It was sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 when I got to the aid station. As with all the stations, the folks are very helpful. I ate the greatest chicken burrito that I have ever had. I drank some ginger ale, just trying to keep any potential nausea at bay. I was keeping tabs on my electrolytes, fluids, calories, etc. Everything was good except my blisters. I decided to change shoes. When I took my socks off, I was only marginally surprised at the appearance of the blister. Bill Kee got a razor knife, and I broke out a pair of scissors. Bill went to cut, but it became clear that this was not a thin layer of skin over this fluid sack of this blister. It was pretty much all the skin layers. After spending 20 minutes at the aid station, we opted not to cut any deeper and hoped it would burst on its own, which it promptly did about 2 miles away on a rooty downhill. It hurt for about 10 minutes and never bothered me again. But then, I have two feet, and the right foot also had one, albeit not as severe. I could feel it, but it wasn’t hurting. I had linked up with a lady from Idaho who appeared to have broken her hand after a couple of nasty falls. She and I ran together until a little before dark when I moved on ahead. I have a decent headlamp, but I also have very good night vision. And I will sometimes run into the darkness and not turn my light on if I can see and run comfortably. I guess it is just a mental thing, but after that potato soup on loop two, I just felt better than I ever have on a run. I was feeling strong. My running was smooth, consistent, and effortless. I must have run 2 miles with just the moonlight. It was primal. I never stumbled, tripped, or had any problems whatsoever. I turned it on just before the Geaux Run AS and got some more soup. I ran along quite sometime until I saw headlamps at the levee. I entered the woods again and moved onto mile 49ish where I came upon the Forge Racing AS again. Some friends were there and chastised me for not drinking enough. But I was doing fine. My urine was crystal clear, so I had backed off the hydration for a little bit. I was really in tune with my needs. Actually, I was feeling unbelievably well at this point. I think they thought I was delirious, but I was definitely of sound mind. I had less than a half marathon to go, but it would be a lonely 13 miles. I got into the woods again and began to run with the moonlight. I was walking quite a bit during this phase, but it was far from a death march. I was walking with a sense of urgency up the hills and running the flats and most of the down the hills. Eventually, at about mile 55, I saw a zombie-like figure walking. He was a 100K’er. I caught him and asked him if he was okay. His answer was that he was far from okay. He was having some hip problems and decided to walk it on in. I told him we had 7 miles to go. At this point, I ran for quite awhile. I turned my light on because the canopy was thick in this section. With about 4 miles to go, I was running down a rooty section of trail when my right heel caught a root at just the correct angle to burst the blister on my right foot. This was, by far, the most painful thing I felt the whole night. It hurt for the next three miles, like a red hot knife sticking in the side of my heel. I pushed on. Despite the pain from the blister, I was feeling great. I crossed the finish line in 8th place in 14:41. My splits per loop were 4:17, 4:50, and 5:34. The time I lost on that last loop was mostly due to the blister work at the aid station. I am very pleased with how the race turned out.
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  1. Old Comment
    doublej's Avatar
    Congrats on the race! Blisters are tough to run on! I often get them in my race spikes or flats and even when I'm just running 5-6 miles on a blister I it sucks so I know a 50k with them really musta sucked ha. Best thing for me is to pop them and then put a dr schols blister cushion and it doesn't hurt at all. But I know you ultra runners probably got more tips and tricks when it comes to those sorts of things. Congrats again!
    Posted December 4th, 2011 at 11:10 PM by doublej doublej is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Black Spurs's Avatar
    Typically, I would drain them myself, but because of the severity of the blister, we opted to kind of score it to weaken the membrane in hopes that it would burst on its own, which for some reason is supposed to be better. I may take the rest of the week off and let these things heal up and just run lightly this weekend, nothing over about 8 or 10 miles, if that far.
    Posted December 5th, 2011 at 12:01 PM by Black Spurs Black Spurs is offline

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