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Monday, November 16, 2009

Inaugural RI 6 Hour Ultramarathon

This past Sunday, I competed in my first solo ultrarunning event – the RI 6 Hour Ultramarathon. The RI 6 Hour is – as the name implies – a 6 hour race that is won by the person who accumulates the most total miles at the end of 6 hours. It is run on a closed 2.7 mile loop in Warwick City Park, Warwick, RI.




I had no misconceptions about winning – I set a personal goal of 35 miles – as I’ll turn 35 years old this December. I figured at a reasonable 10 min/mi pace (given the distance and time, walking would certainly be involved at the later stages) I could realistically finish 36 miles (10 min/mi = 6 mph x 6 hours = 36 miles). My minimum goal was a 50K as I already completed an official marathon – and countless marathon-distance training runs leading up to this event (including 25+ mile training runs each weekend in October and a few weeks with 50+ mile totals). So with a window of 31.2 to 35 miles, I set off with 70 other ultra runners at 8:00 AM on a cool overcast Sunday November 15, 2009 to grind out the miles.



Jen kept watch at the start/finish line and was always ready with food and drink on each lap. I started with Gatorade on the odd laps and food/water on the even laps. My pace was such that two 2.7 mile laps would take about 45 minutes and thus be time for additional calories. This worked well and my pace stayed a pretty consistent 8:15 min/mile running up to the marathon checkpoint.



I made the 26.2 miles in 3:41:08 - my best time for that distance including all my training runs of that length. I kind of expected that with the easy loop course when compared to my long training runs - they were all on a mix of singletrack, trail and road.

I dropped my pace to 8:30 - 8:45 for the next few laps until I made the 50K. Jen pointed out - and I realized - I was ahead of my 35 mile schedule and I'd easily make my goal.

My legs were sore at this point - go figure - so walking the uphills became the norm and my lap pace "suffered". I did have a lot of time "in the bank" from my early 8:15 laps and that served me well. Food intake was becoming a problem - I needed calories but ironically had no appetite and was feeling nauseous. I snacked on bananas and gummy bears for the next few laps until I completed my 35 miles (35.1 miles at 13 laps).



At this point I was 5 hours and 20 minutes into it with 40 minutes left. My previous 2.7 mile loop time was about 34 minutes. I maybe could have made another lap, but there was a contingency plan ...

The rules allowed for the ultrarunners to take a shorter 0.9 mile loop that opened with 1 hour left. The rules stated if you ran a 0.9 mile loop, you could no longer run the 2.7 mile loop and you could only run the 0.9 mile loop a maximum of 2 times.

I took the 0.9 mile loop to get an even 36 miles. As I crossed the start/finish line, Jen was packing up and was quite surprised to see me so "fast". That's relative of course; my pace was a paltry 15 min/mi, but Jen being quite accustomed to the longer 2.7 mile / 25-35 minute time, I was "quick". I ran through and did the 0.9 mile loop for my second and last time to complete 36.9 miles (we'll call it 37) in a time of 5:42:43.



The official results place me 11/67 with an official total mileage of 36.897 miles in 5:42:46.

The table below documents my miles and times (by my watch). The final totals don't include the most impressive numbers:

Blisters: 0
Toe nails lost: 0
Gastro-Intestinal Issues: 0

RI 6 Hour Ultramarathon: November 15, 2009
Lap
Mileage
Cumm.
Mile.
Lap Split
Cumm.
Time
Lap Pace
Avg. Pace
1
2.7
2.7
22:22.0
0:22:22.0
08:17.0
08:17.0
2
2.7
5.4
21:27.9
0:43:49.9
07:57.0
08:07.0
3
2.7
8.1
22:05.2
1:05:55.1
08:10.8
08:08.3
4
2.7
10.8
22:15.1
1:28:10.2
08:14.5
08:09.8
5
2.7
13.5
22:11.7
1:50:22.0
08:13.2
08:10.5
6
2.7
16.2
23:02.2
2:13:24.2
08:31.9
08:14.1
7
2.7
18.9
22:11.3
2:35:35.5
08:13.1
08:13.9
8
2.7
21.6
23:07.1
2:58:42.6
08:33.7
08:16.4
9
2.7
24.3
24:04.8
3:22:47.4
08:55.1
08:20.7
Marathon
26.2
--
3:41:08.0
--
08:26.4
10
2.7
27
25:52.3
3:48:39.7
09:34.9
08:28.1
11
2.7
29.7
27:46.9
4:16:26.6
10:17.4
08:38.1
50K
31.25
--
4:31:23.0
--
08:41.1
12
2.7
32.4
29:30.8
4:45:57.4
10:55.9
08:49.5
13
2.7
35.1
33:48.8
5:19:46.2
12:31.4
09:06.6
14
0.9
36
13:22.6
5:33:08.8
14:51.8
09:15.2
15
0.9
36.9
09:35.1
5:42:43.9
10:39.0
09:17.3
Totals: 36.9   5:42:43   09:17.3
 

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