Houston Ultra Event 100K (Feb. 25, 2006)

February 25, 2006

The photos below were taken by my aunt and uncle, Carolyn and Chris Eckert, who along with their daughter Emily provided terrific support before, during, and after the race.

This is me at about mile 4 of this 62.14-mile race. Don’t I look relaxed? My assault on the 7-hour barrier is off to a pleasant start….

Another early-race shot. This one shows a bit of Bear Creek Park, which includes several athletic fields circumscribed by a completely flat 2.008-mile pedestrian footpath. The 100K consisted of slightly less than 31 laps around this path; other concurrently held races involved doing as many laps as possible in 6, 12, 24, or 48 hours. The cooler and tent in this photo probably belong to a 24- or 48-hour participant.

Here I am passing by the lap counters’ tent at the starting line. We called out our race number each time we came through this area to make sure that they counted us.

With this picture, we’ve fast-forwarded to the very end of the race. There were numerous puddles on the course by this point, although most of them weren’t this big.

A close-up of my end-of-race grimace as I struggle to break 7 hours.

Having finished in 6:59:40, I happily receive the first-place plaque from race director Joe Sellers.

As you might guess, a lot happened in between the third and fourth photos. In brief, I (a) ran and talked with fellow 100K competitor Mark Henderson for much of the first 30K; (b) put on a windbreaker and hat as a concession to the rain and wind, which got worse as the race wore on; (c) made it to halfway (50K) at sub-7 pace (~3:27:10) but not feeling strong enough to speed up, as I had planned to do if everything went perfectly; (d) encountered digestive difficulties between 65K and 80K, leading to bathroom breaks that slowed my projected finish time to right around 7 hours; and (e) ran the last six laps with what I can only describe, in all modesty, as ferocious determination. To deal with the increasing pain in my quads, I grunted as I exhaled, like certain pro tennis players. This might have been funny had it not continued for over 80 minutes.

For another set of perspectives on the weekend, you can check out Ollie Nanyes’ compilation of race reports by the 24-hour walkers.

Below are my splits. The slow laps are the ones that included bathroom breaks.

1     0:12:59
2     0:26:14 (lap time 0:13:15)
3     0:39:28 (lap time 0:13:14)
4     0:52:55 (lap time 0:13:27)
5     1:06:23 (lap time 0:13:28)
6     1:19:40 (lap time 0:13:17)
7     1:33:26 (lap time 0:13:46)
8     1:47:25 (lap time 0:13:59)
9     2:00:36 (lap time 0:13:11)
10    2:13:58 (lap time 0:13:22)
11    2:28:05 (lap time 0:14:07)
12    2:41:30 (lap time 0:13:25)
13    2:54:38 (lap time 0:13:08)
14    3:07:45 (lap time 0:13:07)
15    3:20:54 (lap time 0:13:09)
16    3:34:04 (lap time 0:13:10)
17    3:47:58 (lap time 0:13:54)
18    4:01:12 (lap time 0:13:14)
19    4:14:12 (lap time 0:13:00)
20    4:27:28 (lap time 0:13:16)
21    4:41:14 (lap time 0:13:46)
22    4:56:37 (lap time 0:15:23)
23    5:10:20 (lap time 0:13:43)
24    5:25:06 (lap time 0:14:46)
25    5:38:42 (lap time 0:13:36)
26    5:53:15 (lap time 0:14:33)
27    6:06:23 (lap time 0:13:08)
28    6:19:41 (lap time 0:13:18)
29    6:33:26 (lap time 0:13:45)
30    6:47:06 (lap time 0:13:40)
30.95 6:59:40

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