Sunday, September 25, 2011

Iraqi White River 50 Mile Race Report/Weekly Summary 9/19-9/25

Race Report: Iraqi White River 50 Mile 

First off... THANK YOU: Dave Mackey for you last minute donation for the race!  Matt Lowe thank you.  Matt donated $250 to the Wounded Warrior Project. 
SSG Matt Spady, SPC Liam Kelly and SPC Jason Driscoll, your support and friendship was and is priceless.  Thank you. 

-Thank you Dave Mackey for your donation
-Thank you Matt Lowe for your unbelievable donation to the Wounded Warrior Project
-Thank you Gabriel Rodriguez & Under Armour for your generous donation to the troops out here!
-Thank you Fleet Feet Boulder Colorado for your support and donation!
-Thank you Marcus Allen Massage Therapy for your support, encouragement and getting me interviews with Runners World & Trail Runner!
-Thank you Levi Severson & Brian Dumm for your support and encouragement!
-And thank you Maggie Schlarb for all of your endless support, encouragement and love!

-Thank you for spreading the word and encouragement:
Lyle Weese
Jeremy Wolf
Ken Coop
Emily Thompson LaGiglia
Chris Zepeda
Krissy Moehl, 1st Endurance
LTC Fred Straka

OK.... a long overdue race report:  I did not finish.  For the first time in my life (pretty sure) I quit a race.   

After a month, I have certainly had time to figure out what the heck happened.

My life for two months leading up to the race consisted of: get up, run, eat, work, eat, work, run, eat, talk to Maggie and Felix, bed.  I put my heart into this schedule... maybe a little too much.  My training built up to 100 mile weeks with 2 hard workouts (hills and speed) a long run and 10,000 feet of climbing.  I peaked, or "burned out" in the training phase.  My two week taper consisted of me being tired and flat and finally race day came and I didn't have it. 

On my first 10 mile leg with 5,000ft of climbing on the treadmill (at midnight) I realized right away I was tired and the legs were heavy.  I did my best to ignore my body's messages.  By the time I hit 10 miles I was around 80% spent.  My split of 1:27 was right on pace to get under 6:44 (Uli's time).  With the help of SSG Spady, SPC Kelly and Driscoll, I was optimistic.  These guys were staying up all night for ME, I didn't want to let THEM down or all the other people who were supporting me. 

I was optimistic and pushed on to see if some flat faster running on my second dirt and sand leg of 15 miles would snap me out of it.  Running out in the desert at 1:30am was a unique experience.  I saw a scorpion and nearly stepped on it, I saw cats, foxes and some random people out and about.  It was actually not a comfortable experience.  I was hitting pace, faster than pace (running a bit scared) actually with sub 7:30 miles, but I could tell it was not to be.  I felt like I should be on the last leg, not the 2nd of 4.  I decided I'd wait until my pace dropped slower than 8 minute miles before I would accept my fate.  I slowed a bit but, didn't go over 8 minute miles.  Things were getting worse by the mile, but at this point I decided my new goal would be to at least run half the race.  The last 4 miles felt like I was crawling and the pace slowed significantly, but I managed a 1:55 split for the 15 mile loop.  

At 25 miles I quit.  It sucked.  I hated telling the guys that I was quitting.  I felt awkward and defeated.  I never want to feel that way.  
My total time was 3:22 which is exactly pace for Ulis time.  There was no way I could have climbed 5,000ft for 10 miles on the treadmill faster than 12 minute miles and that is being very optimistic. 

I took a couple days off and then ran easy 4-7 mile runs the next week.  Until about 8 days ago I have been both mentally and physically down and out with my running.  8 minute mile easy runs for 5-9 miles were tiring and I didn't feel like doing them.  This was troublesome for my spirit.  Funny how this last month has been so much more difficult than a month full of 100 mile weeks. 

Well that is over.  Lessons learned.  Stronger and better.

Last Sunday, the Air Force's birthday, I ran a 35 minute 10K tempo out of the blue (nice pun).  Since Sunday, I've enjoyed running.  I can run through the fields for an easy 9 miles at 7 something pace and feel great... thank God.    

My focus is set on my December return.  This deployment has been a lot like an ultra... there have been slow long parts where I felt it would never end, other sections where time flew and even sections I really enjoyed.  I can't wait to be back with Maggie and Felix and our way of life.  I've got my sights set on returning to the states and nailing a good race.        

Summary for the last week:

Sunday- AM 10 miles, 10K tempo (35:27)

Monday- AM 9.3 miles easy 

Tuesday- AM 15 mile longer run

Wednesday- AM 9 miles easy

Thursday- AM 9.5 miles with 7 X 1 minute speed, 2 minutes jog recovery
                    PM 4 miles on treadmill with 1,250ft of climbing

Friday- AM 9.1 miles easy

Saturday- AM 4.3 miles easy
                   PM 4.3 miles easy

Sunday- AM 17.3 mile long run with 3 miles on the treadmill (1.5M 5.5% climb, 1.5M -3% downhill)

81.8 Miles
1,650ft of climbing 


  1. The hills will be here when you get here. Let's get after 'em. Finish that last lap.

  2. have so much respect for you man. thanks for sharing.