Monday, November 12, 2012

Wild Sebastian 100 (Fall edition)

The Wild Sebastian 100 is put on by Mike and Kristen Beck of FLOC Racing, a couple of the nicest people you could meet.  This race is used largely as a fundraiser for their summer and winter camps used to introduce kids to the great outdoors with camping and paddling trips.  Mike is/was a world class paddler and you can read his bio here.  Kristen, also a lifelong paddler who has travelled the world with her kayak, teaches biology and knows loads about the fauna of the race venue, the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park.  They now plan to have both a Spring and Fall edition of the race with the Fall edition being held in the northern section of the park and the Spring edition in the southern half.  Liz did this race this past Spring and wrote a report on that run.  (I was out with an achilles injury.)

This weekend would be a short surgical strike flying into Orlando on Friday afternoon and flying back out on Sunday night.  This still gave us time, though, to enjoy some pre race socializing time as well as plenty of time to enjoy the post race festivities.  Travel was routine and without problems.  It was also nice to have 1 1/4 hour flight rather than a 4 hour flight like the last two weeks.

The course was laid out in a dumbell fashion referring to the shape of the course and not implying anything about the course designer.  : )  That is, there were two loops connected by an out and back with the total distance of 25 miles.  In fact, I really liked the course design with aid stations every 4 miles and the near impossibility of getting lost.  The course marking and signage was superb displaying Mike's Teutonic heritage, according to Kristen.  More on the signage below....  The start/finish with room for nice flat grassy camping was established at the Visitor Center of the park.

Start/Finish with the race about to start and participant parking in the distance.

This is Kristen on the right giving last minute instructions.
Participants were allowed to sign up for anywhere from 1 to 4 loops and anyone completing a lessor distance than they signed up for were "given credit" for whatever they did run.  2+ loops got you a nice wooden medallion and 4 loops got you a belt buckle and wooden medallion.  The Becks being the nurturing couple that they are set the run up as a way for people to challenge themselves no matter their ability or previous athletic achievement so all distances could use the same 32 hour cutoff.  We all started at the same time.

Below are some pictures of the course and aid stations with captions.  Unfortunately they are not in the order you come to them on the course but Blogger mixed them up when I uploaded them and I'm way too sleep deprived right now to sort them out.  I guess you'll just have to run the race next Fall and see for yourself!  And once again I only carried the camera on the first loop.

In the first mile.....

Also early while we are still bunched up.

Lots of great wetland habitat.

Unfortunately there was a bit too much of this kind of stuff for my liking.  This course was flat and non-technical but still made you work.

This was the only spot where we had to get our feet wet.  About 50 yds of ankle deep water.

I like this shot.

High energy AS1.

This was the start of a mile long stretch along I-95 with recently mowed long grass.  This stretch was about 50/50 hard/not too hard.

This was another long straight stretch that lead to the aid station in the next photo.  Easier running here though.

AS4 got my vote (and won the best AS competition!) for the incredible spread of hot and cold food as well as icy cold sodas all through the night.

Most of the course was pretty open so this section was a nice change.  It also had an easier tread than much of the trail.

There was about 1 mile of road like this where it felt good to open it up a bit.

AS 3 was a close runner up for best AS.  I had my second drop bag here and also my first ever beer during a race.  It tasted so good at 6:30am even though it was a Bud Light.

AS 5 the Paleo Cafe.  I had some tasty grilled chicken and many icy Sierra Mists here.  Another fantastic aid station!

Think it gets hot in Florida in the summer?!??!?

A typical section of the course and a nicely framed shot if I do say so myself.
I said that I would say more about the course marking and signage.  Mike said he put out about 100 signs over the course and even went out before dark and affixed flashing lights to the sign so you could see them from far off at night.  There were ribbons to keep you from going down the wrong paths, arrows left, right, straight ahead and mile marker signs every mile.  But my two favorite signs were these:

I think there were 4 of these signs including at the big wet spot shown in the picture earlier in the report.  Hardrock course marking crew take note!

These along with the mile marker signs were very nice to have especially late in the race when the miles tend to stretch out and you wonder "Where the $!$#%^ is that aid station!"
I also need to mention all the wildlife I saw.  They included a herd of about 10 feral pigs, at least 20 deer over the course of the run, a flock of 10 or so big fat turkeys, several armadillos and some fire ants in one spot where I laid on the side of the trail to quiet some neuropathic toe pain which I talked about in my Burning River report.  Just as an update on this ailment I am now taking 400mg of Neurontin daily but still having more or less problems with it.  At least I can control the pain by stopping and getting off my feet for several minutes which allows pain that brings tears to my eyes to completely disappear and allow me to run pain free again.  My NSAIDS control joint and muscle pain very well but make no dent in this nerve pain.

This is a course not to be taken lightly.  It is flat and the tread is always soft and never really technical with very few rocks or roots but it wears you down.  Running through the grass is hard as the miles pile up and the sand can take you right out if you try to run too much of it.  Where it is really soft you have to walk it because running it just saps you too much.  You will however find absolutely wonderful support for you to achieve your goals.  The course marking really makes you feel like you're being taken care of and the aid stations were first class and unbelievably well stocked.  Make no mistake, Kristen, Mike and the volunteers are dedicated to making this a race that you will remember with fondness.  Thank you all for a wonderful weekend!

I've mentioned this before but one of the things I really value in an ultra experience is having some kind of a post race party.  It doesn't even need to be big or include entertainment or anything like that.  Just providing some food at the finish and a relatively comfortable place to cheer the finisher in is enough.  And this race provided just that.  I had the yummiest scrambled eggs with bacon, sauteed onions and green peppers with salsa on top after finishing.  This event was small this time so the finisher didn't exactly stream in but still the cowbells announced a runner coming in and everyone got up to cheer them in.  I got cheered in at 24:51 and Liz at 26:29.  The final finisher, a first time 100 miler I got to run with earlier in the race was Briggitte Sheehan from Delaware in 31:08.  We found that we had many friends in common including ultra icons Steve and Deb Pero, Keith and Gary Knipling, as well as Sue Johnston and Chris Scott.  Great friends all.

Next weekend is off for both Liz and I.  The following weekend I will be doing the Winter 100 just outside London in the UK.  (Send me a note to scott.brockmeier (at) if you're in Britain and want to tip one back with me!  I'll be there 14-27 Nov.)  Liz will be doing a 100 mile track race here near home called the Shazaam 24 hour and 100 mile run.

Race count:  Liz (32)  Scott (23)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Coyote Springs 100

Another week, another 100 mile race, another 4 hour flight, another rental car, another motel, rinse, repeat.  Last weekend we flew to Phoenix for Javelina and this weekend it was Las Vegas.  The Coyote Springs 100 is put together by Elemental Running and Training, a relatively young organization run by Carmella and Jimmy.  This race was held this past March but high winds, heat, and popular opinion prompted them to move the race to November and rather than wait 18 months to hold the event again they decided to do it again this year and so here we were on 4 November, ready to run another desert 100 miler.

Due to the event being so young and the decision to do the Fall version coming pretty late there were not a lot of participants.  Carmella said, at packet pickup (Fleet Feet Las Vegas), that there were 15 signed up for the 100.  At this run you can drop down and get credit for whatever distance you've run and many must have taken this option as the finishing numbers were well below 15.  There were multiple distances being run during the event but only the 50 and 100 milers started at 7am.  Here's that motley crew:

Last year's winner Jeremy is to left, Liz, Ed Ettinghausen in yellow, and Michael Miller on the right not acting his age at all.
Like at Javelina last week I only carried my camera for the first loop so most of the pics below are from that first loop.  The course consisted of 6 loops of roughly 16.7 miles.  We started down low and did two smaller loops which both entailed climbing up onto a kind of sloping mesa to a turnaround at a paved road and then descending back down and returning to the start/finish.  From the start/finish there was then a 1.5 mile flat gravel road stretch we ran to a cone and then turned around and returned on that same stretch of road.  This out and back needed to be done for all 6 loops.

Liz and I ran the first few miles together and this first pic shows Liz on a section of good flat running that took us from the start/finish to where we did the two loops climbing up to the mesa.  The light was really nice here early in the morning.

This photo shows a short switchback section that took us to the start of the two loops.  The woman in the picture is Michelle who led me astray later in the race.  More on her and her nefarious plot later in the report......

The next two pictures show a section of trail where we contour around these slopes for about a mile and a half to get to the first loop up onto the mesa.  We ended up doing this section out and back on each loop.  This trail was cut about 3 years ago and has held up well with few washouts and a pretty nice tread.

This picture is on that first of two loops where we climbed up along a ridge to the mesa.  Once on the mesa it could be a bit of a challenge to keep on the trail as it would along among the yucca, cacti and bushes because the amount of traffic that the trail has seen has not worn a clear trail.  I was a bit worried about navigating this all at night though during the day it was very well marked with pink ribbons.

In this pic Liz is on the trail and as you can see the trail is far from distinct.  My worries about night time navigation turned out to be unfounded as Jimmy went out and hung glowsticks which made navigation quite easy.  I never did get off course for more than a few feet.

I believe this pic is on the way back down from the first aid station on a very nice section of trail.  The entire course alternated between nice runnable stuff like this and more rocky, uneven and washed out stuff.

This manmade ramp is on the uphill section of the second loop and you can see a bit of a platform at the top.  Apparently prior to a severe rainstorm earlier in the year this was a continuous dirt ramp right up to the top of the boulders shown here.  We ended up having to scramble a bit at the top to get back onto the trail.

This pic shows the scramble I mentioned.  It really wasn't hard but a continuous ramp all the way up would have been nice.

This pic is on top of the mesa on the second loop.  Note the moon.  The skies were clear the entire race and the moon rose at about 10pm.  Before the moon rose it was extremely dark as we were about 60 miles north of Las Vegas in the middle of the desert.  The stars were fantastic!  Even with the moon overhead the trail was too technical and rocky for me to run without a headlamp as I did last week at Javelina.

This pic shows what the ground and soil were like.  In places where the water got a head of steam there would be washout sections like this.  There wasn't a tremendous amount of this kind of washout but late in the race going down steep sections like this with tired legs got to be tough.

After doing the two loops up onto the mesa and back we returned to the start/finish shown here.  I would estimate that there were a total of close to 5 miles of easy flat gravel road running per loop with the rest more or less technical singletrack.

This is the parking lot where everyone had to park a short walk from the start/finish.  You can see that there are not a lot of cars.  And by 2am when many had finished their runs or dropped down in distance it got down to 5 cars.....  Needless to say it got a bit lonely out there at night.

The start/finish mega-complex.  : )
Here I'm returning on my out and back from the start/finish meeting Liz.  You can see the finish line blow up thingy just below the blue water tank on the ridge.  I would use this blue tank as a marker of the finish in later loops as you could see it well before the rest of the stuff.

Here is the lonely turnaround cone being kept company by a tumbleweed.  It was always a welome sight but needed a glowstick stuck in it at night.

So that was a bit of a tour of the course and now I'll give a short recap of my run.  The first two loops went well and I felt pretty good.  There were not a lot of people out on the course but with the marathoners, half marathoners and so on it was much better during the day than at night.  Especially after Javelina this was a lonely run.  The sunset was beautiful but I knew that it led into a very long night.  Liz and I have a number of races still to do and the nights are just going to get longer.  Not fun.  As the night wore on I entered into an epic battle with the sleep monster.

I ended up drinking two 5 hour energy shots during the night, taking many caffeine pills and drinking a lot of coke.  I also had a Starbucks energy drink.  Still I had to lay down on the trail 4 different times because I got so sleepy that I couldn't walk straight.  I was actually falling asleep on my feet.  One good thing was that there were not so many people so I didn't get disturbed as I was taking these naps.

At one point rather than lie down on the trail with my head on my water bottle as a pillow, I found a place where the trail had been cut into a side hill and the angle of the hill was perfect for sitting on the trail and leaning back.  It was really comfortable and I had no time goals in this race knowing that sub 24 hours was not going to happen with the trail being as technical and me being tired.  I sat there and turned off my light and enjoyed the beautiful night sky and stars dozing off and on.  This was pretty early in the night before the moon had risen but well after it had gotten dark at about 6pm.  As I was sitting there in the dark I heard someone coming down the trail and turned on my light so as not to startle them since I was sitting right on the trail.

A woman came running up and I started to get up to get out of her way but she said "No, no don't get up I'll sit with you for a bit."  Tired and drowsy I agreed.  She introduced herself as Michelle and mentioned that she was glad to see me as she didn't like being out there alone and wanted to run with me if possible.  She said she was a great radio and had lots of stories to tell.  Sounded good to me.  After a bit I said that we should probably get going and we got up and started running down the trail.  After about 1/4 mile we approached another runner and as she approached I saw that it was Liz!  What the heck?

It didn't take me long to figure out that what I had done when I got up was run the wrong way on the trail!  This was on the out and back section going to the first loop up onto the mesa and in my disoriented state Michelle had taken advantage of me pulling me back toward the start/finish rather than continuing on to the first aid station.  (Of course, I'm kidding about nefarious Michelle.  She had no idea which way I was going when I sat down on that trail.)  So I turned around and started running back the other way with Liz.  Suddenly I realized that I didn't have a water bottle!  I told you I it was an epic battle with the sleep monster.  I had been using the bottle as a headrest while sitting down and when I got up I not only ran the wrong direction but I forgot my bottle.  Anyway, I kept an eye out and found the bottle sitting on the slope right where I had left it as a headrest.

The rest of the night was uneventful other than the stops to sleep.  Usually if I can lie down and sleep for 10 minutes I'm good to go but during this race I stopped and slept several times after getting so sleepy I couldn't walk straight.  Eventually the sun returned and I was awake again.  On the last loop I figured out that with drops in the 100 mile race I was in third place.  A guy named Shane had finished in around 22 hours and there was another guy ahead of me but I didn't know how far.  So I was running along happy with what looked to be a third place finish running down after the first aid station with one more loop up onto the mesa to the second aid station and then back to the start/finish.  At one point I glanced back and saw Ed Ettinghausen who had been at least 3/4 mile back only a few miles ago!  I have learned how strong of a runner Ed is in a number of races we've run together this year.

The only time that I have beat him was last week at Javelina and earlier in the race when I passed him he had talked about how tired he was and how he just wasn't recovering well anymore.  He's had a huge year with well over 2000 miles of racing.  I figured that he knew he was in fourth and wanted to pass me to get third.  Well, not without a fight Ed!  I was just above a technical slot canyon towards the end of the first loop off the mesa.  I pushed hard through this slot hoping to gap him so he couldn't see me and would get discouraged.  As I got down to the wash and looked back he had made up about 300 yards and was right behind me!  Yikes he must have hammered that technical stuff.

Anyway, I pushed on running steady but keeping it controlled as we still had close to ten miles of racing left.  He passed me ringing the cowbell he carried the entire races with words of encouragement. I hung right behind him but as we started the climb back up the mesa to the second aid station he gapped me a bit.  I'm not a good uphill runner so I bided my time thinking to make it up on the downhill after the aid station.  I was able to keep him in sight the whole time.  I did make up some of the ground as I bombed the downhill but eventually I saw that he was not slowing and I was tiring, not to mention having another 100 mile the next weekend, so I backed off.

Ed ended up keeping his strong pace right to the finish even passing the second place runner within a little over a mile from the finish.  Nicely done, Ed!  I ambled on in to the finish in about 27:39.  (Resulst haven't been published as I'm writing this.)  I was handed the very nice buckle and eagerly sat down to take off the hokas and put on some flip flops.  Speaking of Hokas, I've been meaning to talk them up for the las few reports but they have become my standard footwear and so keep forgetting.  I plan to write a Hoka post to talk about how these shoes have made both Liz's and my own lives so much less painful.  It was nice to sit there in the shad and wait for the rest of the runner's to finish.  Liz finished in around 28:31 as the only female finisher and thus the winner of the sweet all gold buckle.

Here we are sitting at the finish with Ethan on the left who is Ed's son and who single handedly manned the second aid station through nearly the entire race!  Thank you Ethan!  Then there's Liz with her feet up, then Ed in the yellow shirt.  On the right are Jimmy in red and Carmella with the white hat. Thank you to Carmella and Jimmy for putting this together!  The aid was good especially considering that there were not that many entries and the hot food cooked during the night was awesome.  They were cooking up hotdog, hamburgers and cheese quesadillas.  Yum.

Next up the Wild Sebastian 100 in Florida......

Race count:  Liz (31)  Scott (22)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Javelina Jundred

I hardly know where to begin.  This is going to be a pretty long post so you might just want to scroll down for the pictures.  This run was started as a Jalloween party and fundraiser for McDowell Mountain Regional Park, a gorgeous relatively pristine example of the diverse Sonoran Desert.  The race was created by Geri Kilgariff, who passed it on to Rodger and Jimmy Wrublik, who in turn passed it on to Jamil and Nick Coury.  It has grown (nearly 400 entrants!) and this year, my first at JJ, it was not only a great party but a perfectly executed 100 mile race.  The aid, the course, the volunteers, and the feel were absolutely wonderful.  The weather cooperated for the most part with only the third loop really getting warm for me.  The course is a 15.4 mile loop done 6 times with a 9+ mile loop to finish the distance.

This run was a bit of a landmark for both Liz and myself.  This would be the race where Liz reached the magic 30 races and for me it would be #21 which would put me past Hans-Dieter Weisshaar's record of 20 100 milers in one year.  Hans has a list of all his 100 milers (record year was 2000) here.  To put things in perspective Hans turned 60 in 2000 while I turned 50 this year.  Another thing that made reaching 20 in a year more difficult for him was the number of available races in 2000.  There are now somewhere around 100 races at the 100 mile distance in the US and Canada.  In 2000 Hans had far fewer races to choose from.  Now there are races to choose from on many weekends and many more flatter loop courses.  In 2000 a much higher percentage were point to point and mountain runs.  The only advantage I can think of that Hans had over me was that he was retired while I have had to squeeze in some work.  On balance though his 20 seems to me a more impressive feat than my own 20 and I wanted to acknowledge what he did.

I went into this race having had a week off from running so I could attend my sister's wedding.  While I didn't run, I definitely had a very physical weekend helping to get things set up and taken down.  It was a beautiful, perfect wedding by the way.  So while my legs had had some time to heal, Liz had flown to Utah to do the Pony Express 100.  (I'll post her report when she gets it written.)  We flew from Atlanta on a redeye flight arriving in Phoenix just about midnight and after gathering the rental car and getting to a room we had booked it was close to 2am.  We slept in fairly well but travel is tiring.  We spent the early afternoon driving around Scottsdale where I used to live in the 90's and hadn't been back but once since.  We found a great Middle Eastern restaurant in Tempe called Haji Baba where we each had a great falafel plate.

Earlier in the week Jamil Coury had emailed us asking us if we wanted to use an extra comped room they had at the Radisson.  We thought about it for 3.2 microseconds and said YES!  We've been in a lot of motels this year but not like the Radisson.  I guess Jamil was having pity for our poor tired broke selves.  : )  That room was much appreciated and we slept like babies after a soak in the jacuzzi pool and the pasta dinner served on site for the runners.  The checkin was well organized and we got to see lots of familiar faces.  Part of the goodies was a nice small duffel with the JJ logo on it and the pile of these bags they had was impressive!  Some of the fine folks we saw were Lynette McDougal, Dennis Drey, Wade Jarvis, Michael and Kimberley Miller, the Courys, Mark Tanaka, Trey Barnes and others I'm sure I'm forgetting.  I also want to mention Michael Lebowitz, the excellent photographer who we had met at Salt Flats in April.  His work is fantastic.  I bought a couple of full res pics (7-9MB) and they are amazing in their quality.  You can see individual grains of sand for heaven's sake!  His pics from this event are linked from the Javelina Jundred FB page or use this one.

This run is done on the full moon closest to Halloween and costumes are encouraged.  For the first time in I don't know how many years I decided to do a costume and decided to be a zombie doctor.  Here's one of Michael's pics of me late on Saturday afternoon:

Photo by Michael Lebowitz (Long Run Picture Company)
  With 400 or so entrants and all the volunteers and family and crew and pacers you can imagine the excitement and energy before the start.  There were a bunch of great costumes.  It was a bit cool in desert but I knew that 15 minutes of running would get us plenty warm and that a thermal shirt wasn't needed.  Plus it would cover up the costume!  We started on time and headed into the dark desert.  It wasn't long before the sky was lighting up and the headlamp wasn't needed anymore.  With all the other lights I really didn't need one at all.  My plan was to carry the light to the Jackass Junction aid station half way around the loop and stash it in my drop bag there.  Below are some pictures that I took while running the first loop.  The morning light was fantastic and I got a few decent pics.  I dropped the camera after the first 15 mile loop and meant to take it with me on the loop where the sun went down but forgot it until I was 1/4 mile past the aid station.  So all these pics are from the first loop.

That's Lynette McDougall's wings and one of the majestic saguaro cacti.

Much of the tread was like this which made great running.

But there were some rocky sections too......

What a beautiful place.  I really love the Sonoran Desert.

Silly zombie.

Dennis Drey, 100 mile ironman.

Susan Donnelly as Raquel Welsh's character in "10,000 Years BC"

Jackass Junction with drop bags.
Wade Jarvis leaving Jackass Junction.  I love this guy and got to run with him a fair bit.

Zombie doctor trying to eat Liz's brain.  Of course he couldn't catch her......

Back at Javelnina Jeadquarters (start/finish) where we turned around reversing the loop washing machine style.
 I found the loops to go pretty fast with the aid stations well spaced and the hills varied enough that it didn't seem you were going up or down for too long.  In general from the start/finish it was uphill about half the distance of a loop and then downhill back to the start/finish.  In places there were fairly long gradual inclines that were sweet to run down and gradual enough to allow a shuffle/walk on the way up.  The first two loop were pretty comfortable but going out on the third loop was going to be warm.  Finishing the second loop it was quite nice while up on a kind of ridge where there was a nice breeze but after the last aid station on that ccw loop we were in a wash with the wind blocked and the sun was intense.  I slowed a bit on the third loop but not too much.  My splits were roughly 3:03, 3:22, 3:40, 3:36, 3:57, 3:38 and a final short loop at 2:22.  I was dissapointed with the 3:57 loop because I thought I was moving well enough to be close to 3:30.  (I almost never wear a watch in my races.)  At that point I figured that a sub 24 would be tough and so I pushed it some on the sixth loop but still thought at the end of that sixth loop that sub 24 was not going to happen.  Still I turned it around at the aid station quick to give it a shot.

Here's a photo of me at the end of the fifth loop.  Come to think of it a sub 4 hour loop ain't so bad for a dead guy.....

Looking but trying not to move like a zombie.  (Photo by Michael Lebowitz)
During this run I got to chat with lots of people and didn't spend much time alone.  I got to meet Lisa from Atlanta, Sue from Alberta, and Elizabeth from Colorado.  I very gradually caught up with and passed Elizabeth on the sixth loop and I'm sure she finished close to when I did.  As I was running the final short loop she and her pacer Samantha caught up to me.  Elizabeth asks me "So are you going to go sub 24?"  I replied that it didn't look like it was going to happen.  I felt ok for having 90+ miles on my legs but didn't know what the short loop was going to be like other than the rocky uphill to get to the unmanned water station where we would turn off the regular loop.  I was okay with missing the sub 24 but probably not really going after it at that point.

Elizabeth's response kind of lit a fire in me though.  She said "Well, we're going to get it."  And they ran ahead of me.  I passed them at the aid station and started the rocky climb still climbing strong and steady passing several people.  You could tell who was on their final loop because they put chem light necklaces on us as we started that final short loop.  Somewhere right around the place where we turned off the normal loop Elizabeth and Samantha passed me.  It turns out that the new section of trail is called the Tonto trail and it is the sweetest gentle nice tread trail you could ask for.  I lagged a bit and then pushed ahead to tag onto the E/S train.  And what a ride it was!

Samantha dialed in the perfect doable yet hard pace.  Exactly what we needed to get that sub 24 buckle.  I stayed right behind Samantha all the way down that hill but there were a dozen times when I nearly stopped to get a walk break.  If Samantha had been pushing the slightest bit harder I would have had to fall off the pace but I somehow managed to throttle the wimp in me and push on.  I thought back to my pr on the Hardrock course where Matt Kirk was pacing me and he did the same from the top of the final 13,000 ft pass all the way into Silverton.  That was even harder but having sucked it up and gotten it done there helped me last weekend in the AZ desert.  After about 4 miles the trail dumps back onto the regular loop again and it was a painful cruise into the finish for the sub 24 hour finish.  Thank you Samantha and Elizabeth!  I would never have pushed myself that hard on that downhill and probably would not have made the cut.

It was still dark when I finished shortly before 6 and I got to see Liz come in for her final short loop.  She didn't need any help and did her signature quick turnaround to get out there and get #30 done.  She had Robert Andrulis with her for loops 5 and 6 which helped here a lot through the dark and lonely night.  Liz doesn't like being alone during the night.  Robert also helped me a lot on the early laps having my drop bag ready and gathering it all together after I had gotten what I needed.  So Robert and I were sitting there chatting and the sun was up and I was just about to head to Robert's tent to try to get a bit of sleep (that never happened as usual due to sore legs and hips) when Nick Coury made an announcement about the winner of male "Best Costume" award.  It was me!  How cool!  With a big smile I accepted this most excellent handmade trophy:

The plaque reads: Javelina Jundred Best Male Costume October 27-28 2012
Liz came in at 27:25 for her 30th 100 mile race of the year!  The goal for the whole year and she gets it with a full 2 months yet to run!  Amazing.  I'm almost glad that I fell off the pace and came to realize that I was not going to make it to 30.  I still should get 27 or maybe 28 but not 30.  If I had still had the chance Liz would have honored our agreement to not compete and we would have finished 30 together.  But if that had happened it would only have held her back from getting the 35+ that it looks like she'll get.  That is going to be one hard record to beat, man or woman, young or old.  Shortly after Liz finished, Nick again made an announcement about the Geri Kilgariff Award for Most Memorable Performance.  I guess it doesn't get a whole lot more memorable than to watch someone finish that many 100 mile races in one year.  So Liz got this prize:

So it turned out to be a great weekend for us.  Liz got her 30th, I got the male world record and a sub 24 buckle and we both got special awards!  It was a great weekend and I couldn't conjure the hyperbole that could match the reality of the excellence of this race.  I love this desert and thought the course beautiful.  The aid stations and all the volunteers were as good as any I've seen and the organization was flawless from the checkin to the timing, the webcast, the decorations, the awards.  All of it came together perfectly.  A million thanks to the Coury family, all the volunteers, Robert Andrulis, and Samantha who dragged my sorry butt to a big buckle.

Race count:  Liz (30)  Scott (21)