Wasatch 100, 2012 Race Report

Race: Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run

Distance: 100 miles (160km)

Date: 7th September 2012

Start Time: 05:00am

Finish Time: 09:41am

Total Time: 28hrs 41min 10sec

Weather conditions: A warm start to the day of about 10-13 degrees C, full daylight at about 630am. The running conditions were great early on, and allowed us to ascend the first major climb in the dark. Once we summited the ridge line, it then started to hot up to mid twenties. It reached the early thirties during the middle of the day and into the early afternoon, and stayed warm right up until dark at around 8:30'ish in the evening. Although once the sun had ducked below the ridge lines and valleys it started to cool down quickly. There were a few sections of trail that ran up valleys between two creeks, which brought the temp down to a pretty uncomfortable level. It was probably due to sun exposure during the day that I felt the cold so much more at night.

The night was cloudless and very starry, with a half-moon. By the time we reached Brighton at mile 75, it chilled right down to zero. This for me was at midnight. I was in multiple jackets, gloves, beanies and at the glacial pace I was running at, still freezing cold even in all of that. As it was at Leadville, the weather was perfect for racing. One of the things I most nervous of going into this race was the exposure and remoteness in the mountains. The have been many race reports detailing severe weather swings which is obviously typical in high mountain terrain. Fortunately the worst I experienced was some single digit figures with some icy wind chill factor.

Race/Event Objectives: As has been my objective from the start, respect the distance, aim to finish, and let the rest take care of itself. At the start of Wasatch I was in 2nd place behind a consistently strong Paul Terranova. I had dropped 2hrs in Leadville, and although hoped that I could turn the tables here, I was realistic in that being the 4th and hardest race, it would take a phenomenal race on my part, and a bad race on his.

Wasatch has claimed many a Grand Slam contender, and I wasn't about to be one of the unfortunate statistics. This race means business, and now more than ever it had to be about crossing the line before the cut-off, as opposed to going out hard and trying to hang on.

Race/Event Details: I had changed my nutrition strategy based on my stomach-crippling day at Leadville. More so from a variety and timing point of view. My base calories were built up by Endura, but I elected to introduce more solid and savory snack items. This felt a lot better to my purely liquid diet in the previous three races – although it had worked at WS100 and Vermont, flavor and consistency fatigue seemed to be my downfall.

As much as I hate to admit it, by mile 45, I was done. Overcooked. Too much running possibly in the two weeks between Leadville and Wasatch, perhaps the taper was too short, but in reality, 3 hard 100 milers in 10 weeks probably had the most to do with it.

There is not much to report on other than that I suffered for 55 miles. Even the downhill went uphill. Quitting is never an option, so that never even entered my mind. It never has. However, my time objectives just start to blow out, and then it became a matter of survival.

I had enlisted the help of my good mate and host for the past 6 weeks, Morgan Murri, to help pace me. We were pumped the week before the race. I wasn't feeling quite so strong at mile 53 when it was time for pacers. Even more impressive, was that Morg was going to pace me for 47 miles – pretty damn far. We started out and I was already in recovery zone. He rallied and had a special playlist created on his iPhone of songs that we had listened to at his house over most of the Summer.

The quote below sums up his experience of the weekend.

"What started as a 'hey, help me for 10-12hours pacing' turned into 16 hours 45 minutes out at 4pm and done at 9-something a.m. into the most horrific, painful, desperate, hot, cold, hard, relentless running event in a long, long time. Totally trashed"

Shoes: Saucony Kinvara 3

Socks: None

Fluids taken during the race: Endura Optimizer, Endura Gels, Endura Electrolyte Replacement Formula, Muscle Milk, water and coke

Energy / Calories consumed Prior to the race: Approximately 800 calories in the form of 2 x tins of Heinz Vanilla rice pudding, Endura Sports Bar, banana, almond butter, a glass of orange juice and two cups of coffee.

Energy / Calories consumed During the race: As always, I aim for roughly 400 calories per hour from the gun and a 90% fluid intake which is why I stick to Endura Optimizer and gels.

Sodium / Electrolytes consumed During the race: 2-3 Salt Stick tablets per hour, or wherever I could get them, if it went over the hour.

Things that worked for this event: For the nausea Travel calm and natural ginger chews, as well as Coke, Ginger Ale, Mountain Dew.

Things that didn't work well for this event: Running 3 x 100 mile races in 10 weeks before-hand

Post-Race Recovery: Mexican food, beers, a milkshake or two, and probably no running for a good few weeks.

Lessons Learned: Respect the distance. Less is more.


#2 Mathew 2012-11-12 11:55
AMAZING effort Mike. Aussies greatest ultra runner, you are an inspiration!
#1 Leanne & Kerry Hardy 2012-09-16 20:03
Hey Mike, fantastic effort, look forward to following you on your next Ultra Adventure.

see you around.

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