I just wanted to say "Thanks" for putting on a great event!
I was really amazed how well organized the run was, from the aid stations to the markings (although I thought there could have been more confidence markers on the hill climb between Lapland and Lapland Rd aid stations...at night the mind isn't running on all cylinders and I wasn't sure I had missed a turnoff).
Everyone there made all of us out there feel like part of the family, and kept us moving during the heat of the day and dark of night. I had forgotten how hilly those hills can be! What a challenging course, and a unique course.
Thanks for sharing it with all of us!
I plan to come back in the future. I'd like to do the 50 miler as well. I think you have a really first class
In hindsight I wish I would have sung the lyrics to my version of "Rawhide", reflective of the Heartland race, but the lack of sleep probably had something to do with that.
I have included the lyrics below for your enjoyment. Maybe you can make them the official theme song of Heartland.
I came up with them as we were running along the roads and some cattle off to the side were running with us. I thought of the theme to Rawhide and decided to make the time go by easier so I played with the lyrics.....
Rollin', rollin', rollin'
Keep my feet a rollin'
Gosh Darn these hills are rollin'
Sun and wind and prairie
Boy my shorts are smelly
Wishin' my pacer was along.
All the things I'm thinking,
Good aid, salt, and drinking,
Are waiting at the end of my bonk.
Kick the rocks, limp along
Limp along, kick the rocks
Kick the rocks, limp along
Keep movin', movin', movin'
Keep my shoes a movin'
Though I'm hardly movin'
Don't try to understand it
Just run, puke, withstand it
Soon it'll be over with and done.
These roads aggravating
Though the finish line is waiting,
Is waiting at the end of this run.
BTW: I'm glad my influence as a weather geek kept the rain off until the race was over. Although I could have done without the afternoon heat.
And a couple of race reports, one is an article
written for the local newspaper by Nancy Davis. Nancy works the Matfield Green
aid station, and helps with numerous other jobs at the Heartland race. Thanks
Ever feel like taking a stroll in the Flint Hills on a beautiful fall afternoon? Try a lo-o-ong stroll over a day and night and the next morning. Sound unbelievable, lost or just plain loco? Well, that is exactly the task undertaken by a hearty group of 38 ultrarunners from all over the U.S. who came to our fair Flint Hills a couple weeks ago. The occasion was the 5th annual Heartland 100 mile footrace that started at 6AM Saturday morning at the old high school in Cassoday and ended at noon the next day in the same place. In between was more joy and defeat; drama and silliness, pathos and pain than most soap operas have in a whole season. You might even call it the agony of "de feet". The foot-tour through 10 aid stations where the runners chowed-down on a menu that ranged literally from soup to nuts, was a feast to fuel this effort requiring up to 22, 000 calories for the beefier men. Speaking of beef, there was lots of it starting Friday night at the pre-race dinner catered by Diane Carlson of the Cassoday Café for over 70 runners, families and race organizers at the Cassoday Community Building. Then there were the thousands of cows along and on the route as it wound through 50 miles of graveled roads in Butler, Greenwood and Chase counties. Besides the acres filled with those bovine beauties, the runners raved about the rolling hills of grass and the far-flung horizon. Imagine those citizens of Chicago or Houston taking in all of that big sky filled up with Friday evenings sunset and then Sunday mornings sunrise. Between those stunners was that enormous night sky filled with stars, even a couple shooting ones, serenaded by roving gangs of coyotes. Here is another picture - visualize that guy from New Jersey figuring out how to get over the first of thirty or so cattleguards that are on the route without breaking his leg. Then picture him crossing that same cattle guard in the dark with a flashlight on his way back to Cassoday. Remember, at least two thirds of the 26 finishers got back to Cassoday after sunrise Sunday morning, so they ran (and walked) all night long.
What, you might ask, possesses these ordinary people to come to the middle of Kansas, pay a fee of over a hundred bucks, endure the elements for up to 30 hours and run until WAY AFTER the cows have come home and then run some more? Do they win a prize? Do they receive fame? Not really. They do it for fun. And, if a runner finishes within the allotted time, he or she gets a belt buckle. This is not just any belt buckle but one the size of a tub of margarine with a big buffalo in silhouette. Around the buffalo is engraved the name and logo of the race, "HEARTLAND 100 SPIRIT OF THE PRAIRIE". As strange as all this might sound, you couldnt ask to meet a nicer, more appreciative group of people -from the winner Mark Henderson of Houston, Texas (finished in 20 hours and 19 minutes) to the last man in, Bruce Hilton of Toronto, Canada (30+ hours). Every guy and gal graciously thanked the Kansas Ultrarunners' Society and all the other volunteers who put on the race. We in turn thank the good people of Cassoday, Chase, Butler and Greenwood counties encountered along the route for being so hospitable
was posted to the Ultralist and used by permission.
Heartland 100 Race Report PreAmble
I'm back from trying my first 100 mile run. I chose the Heartland 100 because the time of year was right for me, and I liked the idea of a course that didn't have monster climbs on it. As it turns out, the course makes for a perfect first 100. Randy Albrecht and Jim Davis put on a great race, and all of the aide crews were outstanding.
As this was my first 100, and because I'm very proud to have finished it and to have met my personal goal, I will indulge myself by sending the full report I wrote for family and friends on to the list. Before I append that, though, I thought I would mention how much I have valued the Ultra List as a place to dream and think about running. Although I hesitate to use the word, the Ultra List normalized running long distances enough to make me think it was possible to do the 100. WhenI mentioned my fall race plans down to the running store, all I got was a scoff that said I was crazy.
Strategies on pacing, eating, drinking, pissing and shitting that have been kicked around since I have been reading here, all made their way into my race plan. It would be impossible to thank individually all of the people who wrote posts that influenced the decisions I made and the way that I made them. So, this is a general shout out of thanks to the Ultra List and all of the runners (even the walkers) who post here.
Heartland 100 Race Report
Well, I've run my first hundred miler, and here is the race report:
Aside from the trio of marathon, 50k and 50 miler that my friend Dan and I ran in the early spring, I have chosen each of my other ultras only after finishing the one I was busy running. It was a couple of weeks after my fifty miler before I decided to run the Laurel Highlands 70, and almost a month after Laurel Highlands before I decided I could really have a shot at running 100. The race I chose was the Heartland 100 in Cassoday, Kansas. A run through the tall grass prairie covering the Flint Hills.
In the months between July and October I never really got my training to come together. I did get in a run of about 20 miles each week, and in the first month or so I ran some intervals, but I could not seem to bring myself to put in the day to day miles that would have brought my weekly mileage into an acceptable range. The one thing that I did do was to run more tempo runs, and a couple of short races where I was able to push myself and my speed. I got in two long runs, one in August and one in September, the first was 36 and the second 39 miles. I finished both in just a few minutes under 7 hours. It was those runs that made me foolish enough to think that I could run the 100 in under 24 hours. I figured to just stretch out that first 50 a little bit and then cruise in the rest. Yeah.
Saturday morning in Cassoday looked just great. It was a bit chilly, the sky was clear, and there was a small slice of moon up over the plains. I had actually gotten pretty good sleep on Friday night and my parents were there at the start to begin the long process of crewing me through 24 hours of running. When the man said go, we all went, although it was not exactly a mad dash. One or two people took off fast, but there was a concurrent 50 miler being run. The early miles were nice, in the dark, but with enough light to see the gravel road without a flashlight. A guy passed me and said that we were just running past the 2 mile mark (I wondered how he knew, since it all looked about the same), and I looked at my watch and it said 18 minutes had gone by. I was feeling good, so I kept running at that pace, but I knew it was too fast.
I had thought a lot about my strategy for the run, and I had drawn up split charts for all the aide stations. I really wanted to break 24 hours. A 24 hour finish meant running 14.4 minute miles for the whole race. It looks easy on paper, but I knew that I would slow through the night as the miles added up, so I worked out 13 min/mile splits for the first 57 miles. I was focussed on the aide station at 57 miles as the real halfway point of the run. I figured after that I could fall off the pace (if I made it to 57 in 13 min/mile I would only have to run 16 min/mile for the last 43 miles in order to finish in 24 hours).
As it turned out, I don't think that my 13 min splits would have gotten me to the church on time. After about four miles, I ended up running with a trio of the most foul-mouthed, disturbed and just plain ugly runners on the course. Nattu was running his first 50, Dale was justback off running Wasatch, and Jack was running his first hundred of the year. They were great to run with, and we moved along at a pretty good clip, covering the first marathon in about 11 min/mile. I couldn't have fallen in with a nicer bunch of guys, although I had to wonder why everyone else on the course seemed to be giving us such a wide berth. We were moving quickly enough that my crew didn't make it in time to meet me at the first aide station that had crew access. We all split up after the first 25 miles, and even though I was far more tired after that first quarter of the course than I had planned to be, the extra ~45 minutes in the bank was crucial to my success for the rest of the run.
The Heartland course is beautiful and maddening. It runs throughrolling hills, across prarie, along hard gravel roads. Beside the roads there are berms of flints pushed to the side by graders as if they were snow drifts. It's open range, so we had to cross the occasional cattle guard. Sometimes the road shot straight out in front of you, but more often the runner that was visible a little distance ahead was separated by much further on the twisting roads. Distance was very hard to gauge, as there were so few landmarks. A radio tower in the distance could be three-quarters of a mile away or it could be three miles away. Distance was even harder to gauge at night. The hills were rolling, but could be quite long. The footing was good but the surface was hard.
After the first marathon, I was running by myself. I just tried to settle into a decent run/walk pattern and keep focussed on the next aide station: a little goal inside the big one. I was running at about 13 min/mile, and preserving the cushion that I had built up. I asked my place at Ridge Line, the 36.5 mile station, and was told I was 11th. That surprised me, but I also knew from looking at results from previous years that I would probably finish in the top ten if I made it under 24 hours. I changed shoes and my shirt, and I kept running toward Lone Tree, the 50 mile turn around. I had a bad patch of running in the eight miles before the turn around. I was getting tired, my stomach would not clear, and I was not really sweating very well even though it was quite warm. I took some Succeed, but they did not seem to do the trick. Finally I threw up a little bit, which I had been avoiding, my stomach cleared, I started absorbing liquids, and my stomach stayed with me for the rest of the race. I made it to the turn around in about 10 hours and 20 minutes. My fastest 50 mile run ever.
I was still 11th at this point, as I had been able to count the people climbing back up towards me from the Lone Tree aide station. I was not worried about that, though, but about getting back to Matfield Green aide station in good time. That 57 mile station was the key to my race plan. I knew I had to be there as close as possible to 12 hours into the race. As it turned out, I was able to run well and I felt strong all the way into the station. I pulled in about 20 minutes ahead of my projected pace, just 10 minutes after 12 hours had gone by. I was able to run in without a light, but I had to pick up my head lamp on the way out. I decided to push hard to make as many of my 13 min cutoffs as I could, even though my race plan called for me to relax a little bit at this point. I made the next two aide stations in about 13 min/mile, but then slowed enough that I was 15 minutes behind my 13 minute splits at the mile 75 aide station. That was at 10:35. The bright spot was that I passed two people around mile 67, putting me in what I thought was 8th place.
At this point in the race, things began to get difficult. My left ankle was swollen and painful to walk or run on, for no other reason than pure cussedness. I was getting very tired, and it was a drag to run with only the small beam of my headlamp for company. There was nothing to see, nothing changed. I was running 8 minutes and walking 2 by the watch, and the eight minutes running were the longest ever recorded, every time, time after time. I was perfectly clear that running 100 miles was a perfectly daft thing to be doing. I was also very frightened that I was going to fall apart and not make 24 hours. At this point in my race that would have been a real tragedy for me, but it seemed more than possible. I found that I was telling myself over and over again "You will do this," something that I do not usually do. Whenever I caught myself saying this, I found that I was running faster and harder than I had thought possible. And, although I really was not concerned about my place among the finishers, I whipped myself up by imaging that the two guys I had passed were after me for their places. That kept me running as hard as I could.
Which was not very hard at this point. My times kept creeping up between aide stations. I was obsessively working out the splits in my head so that I could reassure myself I could still make it. It was great to see my parents at the aide stations, but the last aide station they were allowed at was 17 miles out from the finish. After that it was just Relentless Forward Motion to the end. At one point I felt confident enough about my time to change my countdown timer to 7:2, I think that that was inside 10 miles. I passed one more guy during this last stretch, Dale, whose pushing at the start had gotten me to the final stretch in such decent time. He was having stomach trouble.
Crossing the finish line was very emotional. I was really choked up. My parents were asleep in the car because they did not expect me for about another half hour, and so I went and woke them up. My dad asked me if I had been passed by anyone, and when I said no, he said that I was in at least 5th place. I couldn't believe it, but when I hobbled over to check, sure enough, I was 4th. I had passed people at aide stations without even knowing it. I was overwhelmed and got choked up all over again.
I kept fairly close to my race plan, but with a couple of major deviations.
--The faster, early running was, I think, crucial to helping me meet my goal. I knew it would either make me or break me, and luckily I was able to hold on. It really helped to have detailed split times worked out.
--I had run my long training runs with a 25:5 run/walk schedule, and it worked well for me. I started out the race that way, but then switched to the 8:2 because the runs were shorter. There is no way I could have done 25:5 in the middle of the night. I was lucky to make 8 mins running. What I did do was to change the 2 minutes walking to 5 minutes every fourth cycle. This gave me a bit of extra recovery time every 38 minutes or so.
--It helped to not understand how much more difficult 100 miles is than 50 or even 70.
--Ensure was a good fuel early in the race, but fizzy coke worked wonders later in the evening. That fizz got me several good belches each aide station, which helped my stomach keep working. I'm not sure why folks like it defizzed