Category Archives: MMT

Four Keys to MMT Success

My updated post for Massanutten Success:

four keys

This post is based off a mindset from Endurance Nation, a coaching service for triathletes. They have a podcast where they go over their Four Keys of Ironman Execution. It’s very valuable. I’ve adopted it for Massanutten Success.

From Endurance Nation: Execution, not Fitness. ” All you’ve done  is build a vehicle. Ironman racing is about how you DRIVE that vehicle, it is NOT about the vehicle. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz and energy of the day, but creating and sticking to the right plan for you is the only thing that will lead to the best possible day.”

For MMT:

What shape I am in on race day is not relevant now. I’ve driven the vehicle to the starting line. I now need to steer that vehicle around on the rocks, in the best time possible, while feeding it and watering it, to its (my) best ability.

From Endurance Nation: The Line. “Nothing on race day really matters until you reach The Line on the run. The Line is the point at which continuing becomes very, very difficult. You define success as simply not slowing down at The Line. EVERYTHING before The Line is simply about creating conditions for success for when the Line comes to you.”

The Line, in the EN talk of the Ironman Race  is mile 18 of the marathon.

For MMT:

There are many smaller lines of MMT.

My first goal of MMT, is to finish. ALWAYS the goal. I have many smaller side goals. My side goals from the 2013 Race (your goals may vary):

Get to Edinburg before 7am.
Get to Elizabeth Furnace before lunchtime.
Get to Habron Gap before 6pm.
Get OFF Bird Knob before daylight.
Get to Picnic Area before daylight.

Other goals you could have:

Where you see your crew for the first time

Habron Gap is almost the “half way point” for MMT.

Where you (can) pick up your pacer

The key is to have little things to look forward to, all day long.

From Endurance Nation The Box: “All day long you are going to race inside a box defined by what you can control. Ask yourself “What do I need to do right NOW to create the conditions for success at The Line? Is what I’m doing right now counter to this goal? “

For MMT:

The weather is something you cannot control. But the weather conditions will be the same for everyone starting the race. You can control things within your Box. Make sure you have appropriate clothing, hat for the sun and to dip into creeks, dry socks in drop bags, getting ice at the aid stations.  Be able to solve your problems within your Box.

From Endurance Nation: The One Thing. “If you swallowed the Kool-Aid we’re serving you here, you will show up at the Line, in your Box, ready to git’erdun and simply not slow down. But we’re not done yet. There is still some psychological stuff you need to address. During the course of your race day, expect your body to have a conversation with your mind:
“Look, Mind, you’ve had me out here slogging away for miles. This is really starting to get old and very painful. You need to give me a good reason to keep going forward. If you don’t have one, I’m gonna slow down and you can’t stop me!”

 

Another point I got from the podcast, not one of their 4 points, but very worthwhile:

Your racing self owes it to the training self.
Racing self needs to respect all that the training self did, to set up the racing self.

Racing self needs to suck it up and embrace the hurt to honor the training self.
Training self put itself out there always-ran in cold weather, cold downpours of rain, icy windy ass days, sloppy slow mud days, early early morning runs; cold clothes changes in parking lots; runs endured on treadmills.  You owe it to training self to get out there and endure on racing day, racing self.

 

Good luck and have fun on Saturday!

Training Weekend at MMT 100

I spent the weekend at the MMT 100 running, but not in the race. I had planned on running MMT 100, way before the Hardrock lottery, taking the Monday off after the race. Coach nixed the 100 race, citing recovery would take too long in peak training time for the July 100. It was a good training weekend for me at MMT 100.

I had several ideas of running routes on the MMT course, most of which evolved around where I could get food-and really more importantly-water. After Coach said “stay off Kerns Mountain” (no reason just to kick rocks through there) my plan was set.

myroute

Camp Roosevelt Loop: Park at the Rt 211 parking lot. Take Massanutten White Connector Trail to Orange MMT. Follow MMT orange to Camp Roosevelt.

Then leave Camp Roo, back on MMT Orange, and follow MMT 100 Course up the blue blazed Gap Trail. But then I would take a left onto yellow blazed Scothorn Trail, which intersects back to MMT Orange, and then White Connector back to Rt 211.

Got that? It’s actually very simple, 20 miles total running.

Allison met me at Rt 211 with the purpose of hiking with me to Strickler Knob, located off MMT Orange. She would then return to her vehicle, getting in about 10 miles.

The thunderstorm hit as we climbed up Big Run. It poured! It cooled us off, actually got a little chilly. The rain stopped for just about two minutes, allowing for a photo op:

allison kimmay16

Then it started pouring again. We climbed up Big Run, passed the intersection with yellow Scothorn, and I saw the trail to the right. It’s an “unofficial” trail, but it is marked with blazes. There was the big red circle nailed to the tree.

The thunderstorm continued on. With thunder. We kept hiking out the trail, passing some hikers. We could already see there was no view-we were socked in with fog. With the thunder continuing, we nixed going any further, and retreated to the MMT Orange. Allison turned back, and I continued on to Camp Roo.

The rain stopped about a 1/2 mile after leaving the Strickler Knob Trail. Oh well.

Can I say Duncan Hollow was a pleasant experience today?

But you have to put that in perspective. I had about four miles of running on my legs; the weather had just dropped from 86F to about 73F; and I was soaked and a bit chilly from the rain. Unlike the usual Ring situations:

Bride of Duncan Hollow, The Ring 2014

Camp Roosevelt

I arrive at Camp Roo, get my water refilled and drink a Boost. I run into Kevin Martin, who is in Hardrock 2015, waiting for his runner, Dave Peterman. The hot weather is really cooking runners, who are hitting the road sections on the east in this time of day. I spend an hour at the aid station talking. Finally, I am getting a bit chilled in my wet clothes, and take off down the trail.

I successfully find the yellow Scothorn Trail and start down it. I jump when I hear a loud crash in the woods-random tree falling? Bear?  Oh well, nothing followed me so I make it back to my vehicle at Rt 211.

Bird Knob Loop

I do a complete clothing change as I am still damp from the rainstorm earlier, and eat a tuna fish sandwich (all I had packed) and a serving of Ultragen.  I leave my vehicle about 1130 pm and make my way to the Picnic Area Aid Station.

I had been thinking about a nice alcoholic beverage at the Picnic Area (of course we have booze at Aid Stations!!) but decided having a cup of Coke would suit me better. I hung around PA for awhile, then decided to walk up to the Visitor Center and run the loop the same way the MMT 100 course follows.

The Harris Boyzz

I was very pleased to see as I entered the aid station that the Harris family had arrived. Slim and his son Pinball (also known as Jim and Heath) had arrived. We all left for the Bird Knob hike together.

Jim was struggling on his climbs, with low energy, and stopped for a nap at Bird Knob. Heath was all chipper to go on, so we run down the road from the Aid Station, passing a few other runners. Heath was STILL chipper and dropped me on the climb up Browns Trail, a very under rated climb at MMT.

Heath waited at the top for me and we started down the various ups and downs. It’s a tedious downhill, if you can call a downhill tedious. Heath’s second wind has now worn off, and he’s also looking for the aid station for a little nap.

Hey! Then we are back at Picnic Aid Station. My running is almost over for the night. I’ve got 1.6 miles from the aid station to my bed, my vehicle at Rt 211. I have a beer and a sandwich, and hang out for a  bit, thinking I will accompany Heath as far as Rt 211.

But Heath wakes up, has a cup of soup, and zoom! He’s out of the  Aid Station. He only has one more Aid Station to go, and he’s back to the finish line.

It’s almost dawn when I get back to my vehicle, where some crew vehicles have arrived to. I strip clothes quickly, because I have to wash some of the crud off my body before I crash in the back. That helps, and I get about 1.5 hours sleep before waking up and driving to Camp Roosevelt.

Harris Boyzz Finish

I am having great luck with timing with Heath at MMT. I arrive at Camp Roo, take a “cold shower” and decide to just hang out at the finish line..just as Heath finishes!

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I was able to get a Slim finish pic also!

 

 

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It was a pretty low key profile for me at the finish line. I really didn’t feel like socializing. Afterwards, I heard people were looking for me, and I wished I had been more sociable. It still really ties in with my sister’s death; I just haven’t been wanting to be that interactive with folks.

I got in 20 miles on Saturday, and 12.5 miles on Sunday morning and then on Monday (next post) adventures on trail with Mongold!

Recovery and Rally on the MMT Trail

This was my third running of the MMT 100, and the goal this year was to improve.
I wanted to break 30 hours.

A coach was hired, training commenced in the winter.  Nutrition and hydration plans were drawn up, pacers and crew engaged.

I watched the weather closely, early in the week it was in the mid 80s but nothing I could do about that.
Race morning was cool and a good forecast was in the works.

The first section of the run was rather uneventful. In no time we were up the road section and onto Short Mountain.  First miles through Edinburg Gap were uneventful, running with others, getting in small conga lines.
After exchanging bottles with Wayne Mongold at Edinburg, the climb up Waonaze Peak tends to start stringing out runners.   On the downhill to Woodstock I stopped for a second bathroom break.  Then, shortly after the Woodstock AS, my third stop bathroom stop.

Bathroom Issues

I had nine bathroom stops in the first 50K.  Anytime I started to break into a jog, the peristaltic motion was having me jump off into the bushes again.  Climbing was okay. But this was not good.

I get to Elizabeth Furnace  one hour off my predicted splits.  My crew is looking a bit anxious, and I tell them what happened.  “You know that nutrition plan? Well, it’s time to modify that.”   I cut my maltodextrin down in t he bottle, get some solid cookies from my crew, and go off to the AS to check in and see if there is any Imodium available.  There is.  Thank heaven.

Problem Solving

I start nibbling on my cookie and just start walking out of EF.  It’s a climb anyways, and I have a problem to solve.  Now is not the time to worry about ruining my chances for a sub 30 goal.  My goal for the time is to get my stomach under control, and get some calories back into me.  I have yet another bathroom stop.  That is the last one,  I tell myself. Let the medicine have a chance to work. Walk up to the top.  It’s not like you would be running this section anyways.  I have a very small brief whiny moment and then I put it behind me.  Don’t even think about times right now. The focus of the moment is to eat these cookies and wash them down with little sips of water.

The overcast weather is helpful  It is humid, but really not very hot.  I get to the Shawl Gap Trail intersection and catch some other runners-Benny, Jim, and Bryan.  This really helped my spirits rise. We are running downhill, and my medicine is working, no bathroom stops. I’m cautiously optimistic.

My crew is relieved to see me at Shawl Gap.  We cut the maltodextrin again, and I stick with my plan here to run this 5K road section without my waist pack, and just one hand held.  I also pick up my music through here.  I get more solid food from the crew.

I ran most of the road.  I am starting to feel VERY good through here.  The music helps.

I get into Veach Gap AS, and pick up my double waist pack with bottles ready.  I modify the malto in these bottles also.  I grab a little bit of food.  I know I am behind on calories, but I am also a bit wary on eating too much.  I want to keep the momentum going.   I leave Veach Gap Aid Station with three water bottles, as I have the “9 big Massanutten miles” to go.

It is a good climb up out of Veach.  But it’s not that bad. Because it’s overcast.  A person normally just bakes on the climb.  I know the drill on this climb. Don’t look up, don’t look too far in advance, because you don’t want to know how far you still have to go!

Aaron Schwartzbard   is a welcome sight on the climb up to the ridge line, hanging out and taking photos.  I get up the ridge, back to the beloved MMT orange trail.   The climb wasn’t so bad. This was the best weather I’ve ever climbed out of Veach, still overcast.

MMT Trail 2013

I pass Michelle, another female from Ohio, give her some encouragement, then run into another friend, Bill Losey for a quick chat.  Then it’s back to relentless forward motion.

Rally

I had forgotten about the long downhill run down Indian Grave Ridge Trail.. It’s runnable. Really runnable. And I feel fantastic.  I run the whole way down, passing lots of folks, (10 actually)  who remark on my enthusiasm.  I told them I had rallied, and indeed I had.

MMT Trail 2013

At the Indian Grave Aid Station I had a fresh grilled cheese sandwich and I eat the whole sandwich down.  I start on a second one, then think better of it..no need to gorge myself and cause problems.  This is the most food I’ve ate since breakfast.

5 miles to Habron Gap…no the AS workers correct me, 4 miles to Habron.  Cool! It’s great just lose a mile like that!

I turn on the  music, and resolve to run/walk the road.  I target a tree, a pole, a dark spot on the road, run to the that, then walk.  Then quickly pick the next target to run to.  I finally get down the road and see the houses which cue me that the AS is coming up. I glance at my watch.  It’s 630 pm.

I had ascertained pre race, looking at finisher splits from previous years, that you pretty much have to get to Habron Gap AS before 6 pm if you want to finish sub 30.  I’m still okay with that. I really am not thinking about the full final time goal.  I’m still just pleased as heck that I’ve stopped pooping in the woods and am having a phenomenal race now.  Positivity begets positivity with me!

The crew gets my light out, more food, swap the double waist pack for the single waist pack, and it’s time to climb again.  But the next AS is going to be Camp Roo, w here I will pick up my pacer.

I start the climb with Des Cowie, another female runner from Ohio, but I want to get up this climb. I want to get as much trail in daylight as possible. Now the problem to solve is to cover as much trail before darkness falls.

I’ve forgotten the Habron Gap climb, and I feel bad for Nathan, who is going to think I lied to him about the Habron climb…I said it was easier than the climb out of Veach.

I’m back on orange MMT again.  I don’t remember the mileage from the Habron Trail head to the Stephens Trail turn off. It’s one of the few sections I just didn’t memorize the distance.

Carnage is starting also, at this time, at this mileage, up on the ridge.  I pass tears,  and then puking.  There is a bit of a breeze going, and for me it was refreshing. I wonder if it will actually get cold tonight.  I keep going.

Where’s the Kennedy Tower? And Stephens Trail??  Finally I see a red tape, and I start down hill.  The big wooden sign is missing (or I somehow missed it)  AM I finally on Stephens?
I peer at a blaze…it appears yellow, for Stephens.. But I also snort and laugh to myself  as I am the last person to trust the color differences between  yellow and orange. (I got side tracked by a yellow blaze on the “stay on orange” Reverse Ring in the winter.)

Stephens Trail seems to go on  forever.  The big storm earlier in the week has made quite some rough footing.  It grows dark, and I am forced to  turn on the headlamp. I hit the parking lot, and know the AS is just down the road.  I have passed 13 runners on this section.

It’s a bit chaotic for me as I enter the AS, too many people trying to help me,  me looking for my pacers, needing to tape up my heel and ask for some solid food before we head out.  I haven’t seen Mongold since our pacing adventure in 2011 and he sticks a pecan pie in my mouth, then  changes his mind and tells me I can eat it on the fly and to get out with Paul.

Paul Davis is pacing me up Duncan Hollow and Gap Creek Trail to Gap Creek AS.  Paul warns me that he will only be pacing me this section, and that Mongold will pace me to the finish.  I don’t know Paul all that well, so we have a good time chatting on the trail.

I do not remember the Gap Creek Trail climb at all!! I must have blocked the whole trail out of my head last year. It is a heck of a climb through  here.  I see Jacob Boopalan, from Kenya, on this section through here.  But we finally start to descend, and it seems like no time that we are entering the Gap Creek Aid Station.  Paul remarks that we had a good split through here.  I’ve passed 11 runners-ten of which were sitting in the Camp Roosevelt Aid Station.  This is what a crew can do for you.

Bradley Mongold picks me up here. Mongold paced me to my 31.50 finish in 2011.  I was very psyched that he was able to free up the time.  I also knew exactly what I was in for.  There is no dawdling, no stopping, no whining, no stopping if Mongold is going to do his job.

Having a new pacer also gives the runner new stimulation, and the chatting and talking helps the climb up Jawbone go easier, then we are on Kerns.  I tell Mongold Short Mountain seemed more runnable this year and he is amused.  Kerns also seems more runnable.   More talking, more relentless forward motion, more eating  and drinking.  Mongold knows I am behind on calories and is monitoring my intake.

It’s a big lonely section with no other runners.  Mongold mentions we are kind of in a hole between runners.  But as we get toward the end of  Kerns, we start to catch runners-and pass them.

My eye is out for Q’s view.  Q’s view signals the end of the mountain, and then short very runnable section down to the Crisman Hollow Road.  We see a bunch of lights up ahead and actually think there are campers there.  Nope, it just seems like about 6 or 7 runners, just hanging out.  One of them yells “hey it’s Kimba I’m going with her” and someone else joins my fan club.    I can’t think of his name right now, but as I mention I will be happy to get to the AS soon, so I can do something about my heartburn, he mentions he has Tums!  So I got to resolve that problem-some major heartburn that I had been experiencing.

MMT marks the course with bright yellow ribbons.  We are running on the very end of the Kerns section, where the yellow ribbon flaps in the wind, covering my eyes, as I simultaneously bump a rock with my right foot and go down hard.

Mongold gives me about 25 seconds to roll over and get up.  But a runner will take any sort of break.  I shake it off.  The knee is a bit stiff, but it seems fine.  I mutter “that will leave a mark”.  Now that Kerns has its blood tribute from me, it’s time to go.

We pass more runners on the mile long stretch of road down to the Visitor Center AS.  I can feel both of my knees aching on this road section.  We run all of it. It’s road. It’s easy time.   Mongold gives me my instructions, check in with the AS, get my water bottle, and start the Bird Knob climb.  I’ve now passed 18 runners on this section.

I make the mistake of saying the BK climb is dry, then we hit the mud.  Boy, the Bird Knob climb seems tough this year. And longer.  I’m moving just step by step.  Mongold gives the “almost there” and I also think we are almost there..but there are still more rocks and a bit more climb.  It is just heinous.

We  hit some flat ground. I’m not feeling good.  We have run all the way down the road and then immediately climbed. I’m nauseous and very dizzy.    A near by pine tree lets me lean on it, and I proceed to vomit up my stomach contents.   About six heaves later, I rinse my mouth out.  “Okay.”

Mongold says lets go and walk.  I feel 100% better.  WAY better than before.

But now the new problem to solve is to again get calories back into my stomach.  But the Bird Knob AS is just about a 1/2 mile away, good deal.

There are two other runners right behind us, as we walk.  The one runner asks the other runner to turn off his headlamp, as it is “annoying him”.  So I first think this is his pacer, but no, it’s two runners.  Then one of the two complains about the whippoorwill, that had the audacity to chirp outside his tent.

A few minutes later, I remark to Mongold “can you flick your ponytail to the other side, it’s quite annoying me” and we begin to laugh. And break into a jog, to get away from these two runners.

At the aid station, I grab a baggie and anything that looks like my stomach could handle-some pretzels, Goldfish crackers, a few fritos.  It’s rather pitiful in terms of calories, but anything is better than nothing.  We run the road.  It’s downhill.  But we both know the course. We’re just running downhill so we can ascend the Brown Trail.

The Brown Trail is a bitch of a trail and Mongold remarks that this climb is under rated.  We start up. Step by step.  I so want to rest.  Just for a minute.  Just for a step.  But I know better. I know not to even stop, because my pacer is right on my heels.  If I can move, I should move.

We finally make the top, and then the long down (and little ups) over to the Picnic Area AS.  This is a long section. We try and run as much as possible.  We get to some of the water crossings and just splash through them.  It’s no longer that important to keep my feet dry, it’s more important to quickly get through them.

Goals

There is still a time element involved with my run.   I had some goals.
To get off Bird Knob before daylight-we were way there before daylight
To get to Picnic Area before daylight-we got there right about daylight.

I’m thinking a little of my time goal, but really, the job at hand is to run what I can, get these crackers in my stomach.  Small little tasks.

What about my goal? Where was I on that?  Could I actually eke out my sub 30?

I didn’t know what time it was, other than knowing the sunrise was about 540 am, I didn’t know what time it was.  My Garmin had died.  Mongold was in charge of the time anyways.
Mongold had told me the last two sections were the most important, we might have to red line again, it could be the difference between a 29.50 and a 30.50 finish.

I was doing the best that I could.   I knew my calories were really really low.  I was trying to get food in, sweet tea in, anything in small quantities.  And I still had energy. I was still moving forward.  I believe my posture was better than some of the runners we were passing.  From Visitor Center to Picnic Area, we pass 13 runners.

We get to the Picnic Area, and give Quatro a little wave as we don’t even stop.  My crew is waiting over in the parking lot at Rt 211.  I throw down my dead Garmin, my old water bottle, and go on to the climb.

It’s the area, my low spot over the last two years.  But I ran this section in January in training, and it’s really not that long.  Mongold has stopped for a bio break, and I keep going up the mountain.  Running, and walking, running, walking.I know exactly what is coming.

It’s the switchbacks. But they are runnable. So we run them.  I’m tired. I’m way tired. But I know we have the little climb to the miniature boulder field, and then the trail right up the creek bed.

I’m glad to get to the boulder field-finally.  Then we start up the creek.  I resolutely splash right up the creek, just looking for the best footing.  Wet feet does not matter.  Okay. We make it to the top.  Some more runnable.

I’m sure the term “runnable” here, in mile 94 or so of a 103.7 mile race is ambiguous.  But it’s not a walk, so it’s a run!

I’m surprised at the burned out forest.  This controlled burn has happened since the January training run.
We both ponder how far it is to the Crisman Hollow Road, then down the road to the AS.   Mongold tells me its “a couple of hundred yards” and I start laughing and tell him I’ve been on this course before, it’s a bit farther than that! But we are still able to laugh.

Looking at the splits through this section, I have the 21st fastest time through here. Wow, what a difference good training and mental attitude has.  It was very helpful for me to run this section in January, I remembered the area so much better and knew in my head it was not that long, therefore I didn’t build it up in my head to some unending stretch of trail.

We are at Gap Creek II for the last time.   I grab a water bottle, Mongold stops for last minute instruction to the crew-I am wondering what he is saying to them.  I go up the road and then start climbing  Jawbone.  Still no Mongold. I am wondering, if this is a test. Is he going to grab a ride with the girls, and join me over on Moreland Gap Road? Is he going to let me finish this by myself?

Halfway up Jawbone, Mongold finally catches up. I am relieved.  Our journey together is almost over. I’m so happy he’s made the time to do this with me again.

We start down the last section of MMT rocks.  I still have the last section, the dreaded road, in front of me. I don’t know where I am on time. Mongold is not overly pushing me, so I am pretty sure we are past the 30 hour mark. But I don’t ask. I know he will lie to me. Because if I know we are at 30+ hours already, then I will slow down..and he’s not going to let me do that.

Finally THE ROAD!

In 2011, I ran part of the road, and walked some of it. In 2012, on my training plan, on this section, in capital letters, it read “YOU WILL RUN THIS ROAD”.  So I was determined to run.

There are six bridges on Moreland Gap Road before the turn to the Lutheran Camp.

I kept my eyes on the road, just like my eyes on the rocks for the last two days. I glanced up only occasionally.  On two little hills, rises, I did slow into a power hike, but then settled back into a trot. Mongold said “keep a ryhthmn” and between repeating that and “you will run this road” in my head over and over, we finally started crossing bridges.

I get to six bridges and keep my eyes on the road. I finally glance up and see the seventh bridge in the curve of the road. Hey, I think we are at the turn into the camp!

We ascend the last little slice of MMT, the last hill, and try to catch the runners in front of me. But they must have wised up and speed up too.

We cross the creek and start around the little bit of woods before we break into the open for the finish line. I finally ask Mongold what time it is.  He says it’s 30 hours and 30 some minutes.

I’m not surprised. I thought we had probably passed the 30 hour mark.  I was hoping to PR my old split of 31.50.  I know we were crazily making up time left and right.  Despite all my problems, I was still having a heck of a good run.  After all my problems in the first 50K of the race, I was so pleased to make such a comeback and run so strong for the rest.

That is actually my takeaway from this.  Despite what Karl sez, a 100 miles is a real long ways. And you have plenty of time in those 100 miles to have problems, solve problems, get over them.  Keep your composure.

Don’t let the problem get in the away of destroying your race. Focus on what you can do, to solve that problem. Don’t think about your time goal slipping away, or all the people passing you, or your crew worrying about you. Get your issue under control.  Or manage that issue to the AS and get help. And then assess. There is really a lot of time in a 36 hour MMT finish.

I also did some “racing self owes it to training self” talk  to do the best that I could.  I didn’t spend all winter running in the ice, snow, darkness to succumb to issues that I could possibly resolve.

We burst out of the trees, I could hear Bur announce my name and my PR, as I came across the finish line in a time of 30 hours 37 minutes.

Finish Line

This time was also good enough to be “First Old Broad” or more PC, First Female Masters.  I was actually incredibly stoked to get a Furbutt award~!!!

I finished 75 of  151 runners.  At Elizabeth Furnace, I was in 161th place.   I passed alot of runners-some of those runners also obviously dropped from the race too.  But I bring up the stat just as a reminder that it is very possible to have problems, recover and rally during a long race.

Most of that moving up in the ranks can be credited to my crew and pacers-Wayne Mongold, Alison Holko, Suzanne Weightman, Paul Davis, and Bradley Mongold.  They kept my stops to a minimum and kept me  moving around the course.  Thank you very much.  I also trained very hard for this race, thank you to my coach Karl Meltzer for his training and advice.

Also big thank you to Virginia Happy Trails Club and Race Director Kevin Sayers-another topnotch event.

It is always good to run around  in the woods of Virginia. I can’t wait to come back!

4 Keys to MMT

My updated post for Massanutten Success

Four Keys of Ironman Execution

I listen to this podcast put out by the coaches of Endurance Nation.  They tend to interview their athletes after their Ironman events, which is always interesting to me (I Love Race Reports!).  They produced a segment called “Four Keys of Ironman Execution”  and this is their four keys to a success Ironman.

Most of this could also pertain to a 100 mile event. 

Execution, not Fitness. All you’ve done  is build a vehicle. Ironman racing is about how you DRIVE that vehicle, it is NOT about the vehicle. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz and energy of the day, but creating and sticking to the right plan for you is the only thing that will lead to the best possible day.

What shape I am in on race day is not relevant now. I’ve driven the vehicle to the starting line. I now need to steer that vehicle around on the rocks, in the best time possible, while feeding it and watering it, to its (my) best ability.

The Line. Nothing on race day really matters until you reach The Line on the run. The Line is the point at which continuing becomes very, very difficult. You define success as simply not slowing down at The Line. EVERYTHING before The Line is simply about creating conditions for success for when the Line comes to you.

The Line, in the EN talk, is mile 18 of the marathon.  There are many smaller lines of MMT.

My first goal of MMT, is to finish. ALWAYS the goal. But I have many smaller side goals. Built to support my goal of a sub 30 hour MMT finish.

Get to Edinburg before 7am.
Get to Elizabeth Furnace before lunchtime.
Get to Habron Gap before 6pm.
Get OFF Bird Knob before daylight.
Get to Picnic Area before daylight.

I’ve also got carrots in this run.

I get to see Wayne Mongold at Edinburg and do a quick bottle exchange with him.
I get to see my crew at Elizabeth Furnace for the first time.
Habron is almost the “half way point” for MMT.
I pick up Wonderboy as a pacer at Camp Roo.
I pick up Mongold as a pacer at Visitor Center.  So I have many little things to look forward to, all day long.

The Box: All day long you are going to race inside a box defined by what you can control. Ask yourself “What do I need to do right NOW to create the conditions for success at The Line? Is what I’m doing right now counter to this goal? 

  • Keep the box as big as you can for as long as you can.
  • Keep in the box only the things you can control. Let go of the rest.
  • Exercise this decision-making process inside your box: Observe the situation, Orient yourself to a possible course of action, Decide on a course of action, Act (OODA Loop).

The Box mentality has become pretty important as I sit and fret this week.  The weather is something I cannot control. I’ve also not had any opportunity to have ANY sort of heat acclimatization this last week (or really, at all.)

So I will only control the things within The Box. I can make sure the crew  has ice for me. I can make sure I utilize the crew and ice  as much as possible. 


  The One Thing. If you swallowed the Kool-Aid we’re serving you here, you will show up at the Line, in your Box, ready to git’erdun and simply not slow down. But we’re not done yet. There is still some psychological stuff you need to address. During the course of your race day, expect your body to have a conversation with your mind:
“Look, Mind, you’ve had me out here slogging away for 132 miles. This is really starting to get old and very painful. You need to give me a good reason to keep going forward. If you don’t have one, I’m gonna slow down and you can’t stop me!”

Another point I got from the podcast, not one of their 4 points, but very worthwhile:  Your racing self owes it to the training self.
Racing self needs to respect all that the training self did, to set up the racing self. Racing self needs to suck it up and embrace the hurt to honor the training self.
Training self put itself out there always-ran in cold weather, cold downpours of rain, icy windy ass days, sloppy slow mud days, early early morning runs; cold clothes changes in parking lots; runs endured on treadmills.  You owe it to training self to get out there and endure on racing day, racing self.

So that’s my 4 Keys to MMT.

Drop Bag Day

Today was the day I assembled the drop bags. They are “mostly” done.  I still have to wait for my windbreaker to dry, and I won’t buy my pecan pie from WM until Wednesday.

Drop bag assembly is always more complicated than it needs to be.  I had my lists ready to go.

Well, first I had to measure my main fueling source, malto dextrin, into bottles for the drop bags.

Then I had to find items. Like my pink visor and my CrossLites (attic and plant room, respectively.)

I feel like I have alot of “stuff” but most of the drop bags contain little more than a bottle of Malto dextrin, a baby wipes (actually 2) and a solid snack of food.  I found at Reverse Ring I was having more bathroom stops than I liked, hence putting some solid food in me between AS.
I  have clothing and shoe options at Camp Roosevelt (mile 63) and Gap Creek (miles 68.7 and 95.)  The clothing and shoes are “just in case”.  The temperature could drop into the night hours and  I might need long sleeves, even gloves and a hat.  I did not get cold at all last year (in fact, with all the climbs, I never really did even cool off.)
I have a lot of calories available, but I am going to keep my time in aid stations to a minimum, since I am in the solo division this year. That means I have no pacer, no crew, and only accept help from the actual AS volunteers.  My plans are to grab my drop bag, get my maltodextrin fuel, refill the hydration bladder, and be on my way.
I will eat food off the AS table, especially soups as the miles wear on. But with fueling mainly with my own MD, I’m not spending time browsing the great AS tables that the MMT Race provides.
I do have two spots where I will be eating the AS food provided: the famous Pesta chowder, on Bird Knob, and then grabbing a Quatro sandwich wrap-wrapped and ready to go-at the Picnic Area.
Not long till I have these treats now!

MMT

There are 18 Buckeyes towing the starting line for the 2011 MMT, two females from Ohio. Out of the 203 entrants, there are 25 women. The average age is 44.

I am Bib # 125.

The training is done. The resting has become. It of course, is not easy. Yes, the rest. I am antsy and easily distractible.I haven’t done some of the traditional tapering traditions yet-buying things online-! but I still have time.

I am antsy.Did I mention that? I only checked the weather channel 6 times from work today.

Tuesday ( I work all day Monday) I will get my drop bag contents packed up and items ticked off list. I will also get my “stuff” that I will take with me race weekend together-sleeping bag stuff, race clothes & gear, food items, what ever else I need for my MMT weekend.

I have been training for this race since last September. I ran The Ring, Labor Day Weekend. This was homework prep for MMT. This was actually just to see if I would actually like the MMT Trail, which I had been hearing for years about, via NEO Trail Club.

We ran the Bird Knob section on Friday, prior to The Ring Saturday. Rocky.

Yes, the trail goes right up through the rocks. Now, the MMT Trail is NOT all rocks. There are some sections with less rocks, and in the MMT Trail 100, there are even road sections,  usually leading to an Aid Station.


Great views from the ridge line, although I won’t be looking for these during the race. In fact, I won’t carry the camera during the race, that’s too much time screwing around. Which is why these pics are from The Ring last fall:

Signal Knob-it is NOT on the MMT Trail 100 course, yippee!!

Base of Waterfall Mountain-the MMT 100 course does not go up Watefall Mountain this year (whew)

I don’t plan to spend time admiring these views. Keep my head on the trail in front of me.
Oh, and the weather? Today it’s Monday, as I finish the post, high of 79, low of 54 in Virginia.

Drop Bag Packing

I’ve been sorting and getting ready to pack my drop bags for MMT.

MMT is basically a point to point course. So once you’ve passed your drop bag at a certain AS, that’s it. You better not need anything down the trail from it.

Myself, like many, have their drop bags planned out. Many of my drop bags only involve my dry powder of MaltoDextrin and baby wipes. Other bags I have added a special “treat” of something that is packable and can grab to eat on the go, like cashews and jelly beans (note to self: must still pack jelly beans.)
I have a few containers of cranberry juice in some bags. For me, it’s easy to swill down and can help work against getting a UTI out there in your dehydrated state. Not something new to try on race day!  The cranberry juice tartness can also be a nice change of pace from the sweeter fluids at AS.
I have a few tops thrown into drop bags at Veach Gap and Habron. These may get used, maybe not. Sometimes it just feels good to get filthy smelly clothing off and something fresh on.
I have socks in various drop bags but do not plan on changing.
I have long sleeve shirts, gloves, hat in both the Camp Roo and Gap Creek drop bags, in case the temperature drops. After Habron, I will have crew, so my crew (Jill) will be able to grab those drop bags and have items ready for me.
I have my lists ready, and items will get ticked off as they are packed. All clothing gets put into food storage bags and sealed, then placed into the larger drop bag. That is how you guarantee your socks will be dry when you need them!