BURT 110K - Bainbridge Ultra Running Team

April 16, 2021 - Self-Supported Run

Total time  - 17 hours 17 minutes

Start time - 10:53 PM

End time - 4:10 PM

Strava track 

I had to drop out of the 110K version of the BURT 100 in February due to a series of injuries stemming from back-to-back ankle sprains last summer.

Hosted by our local Bainbridge Ultra Running Team, the 110K is an "easier" version of the full BURT 100 I did last year - only two 34 mile laps instead of three.

I helped create the course and help run the event, and dropping out was a massive disappointment after putting so much time into preparing and building excitement.

I've had more time to recover and rebuild, work on injury prevention, and have been getting comfortable with longer runs again.

So this weekend I made my attempt at the 110K (68+ mile) version of the course.

I ran self-supported with a single aid station (my car at the start/finish/half way point) and a water drop in a park that I was able to hit 4 times.

Starting just before midnight seemed like a good idea.

The plan was to get some of the hard parts of lap 2 out of the way during lap 1; to run alone in the dark while feeling fresh, and get the lack of sleep out of the way early.

This would make it easier for anyone interested in pacing to help during the second half, to be home in time for dinner, and have more time to recover before work on Monday.

I can confirm that this approach successfully made lap 1 feel more like lap 2. Spoiler - lap 2 still felt like lap 2. :D

Right off the bat I realized I forgot my gloves. I had thin glove liners, and it didn't feel that cold at 11 pm, so I almost continued without them. I glad I went back for them because it got a LOT colder over the next few hours. It definitely felt more like February than mid-April.

One of my go-to ultramarathon foods is runny mashed potatoes with extra salt, butter, and whole milk. By 1am it was so cold that the butter congealed and blocked the lid!

Fortunately I also brought a few salami tacos with aged white cheddar, Branston pickles, and fresh basil (a variation on Max's classic mountaineering bagels) to supplement to assortment or processed foods I carry.

The first few miles went great. I felt good about my pace, energy levels, attitude, and fueling. I made it to my water drop at 12 miles feeling good about the day.

I missed a turn around mile 18 where we added a new trail this year. Not wanting to cut the course I ran back and picked up the correct trail (and an extra quarter mile).

I had only refilled a single 16 oz. bottle so I ran out of water around mile 20, 5 miles short of my next water drop. Fortunately the water fountain is now on at Fort Ward park so I was able to refill there.

Of of the many course highlights is upper trail at Fort Ward Park. Before today this is the only major forested trail on Bainbridge where I haven't had an owl encounter. I made up for it this time.

Barred Owl

About a mile into this section a large shadow passed over me in the moonlight. This had me on alert, so I was ready when the owl then dove at me. Normally when I turn to face an owl it backs off. This one kept coming at me even when both my headlamp and hand light were pointed at it. Having an owl come at you during the day is one thing - having it happen at night is frankly terrifying. I had no idea where it was, just kept scanning with both my headlamp and flashlight until it came after me again. This happened 5 more times!

This went on for over two miles. This was one of the few times when I was glad to leave the woods and get to one of the road sections.

After refilling water again at mile 26 I headed back into Gazzam Lake Preserve for the hilliest section of the course. On my way down the first major hill I heard some loud noises in the trees so was on high alert when an OWL CAME AT ME AGAIN! Once again coming straight into the beam of my headlamp at eye level when I turned to face it.

This is one of the few out-and-back sections of the course so I had to come back up this same trail about 10 minutes later.

I had a really cool racoon encounter lower on this same trail, glowing eyes ran across the trail and up a tree and watched me run past.

I didn't see the owl again, but I did see several more sets of eyes in the trees.

By the final hill in Gazzam it was getting light enough to run without a headlamp. This is the infamous Westwood Shores trail that I normally love but is a particularly demoralizing out-and-back when encountered 31 miles into a loop.

We can all thank Chris for this bit. :)

Ryan met me at the end of lap one. I was already over an hour behind schedule and glad I started an hour earlier than planned.

I boiled some water and downed a couple cups of hot coffee and some noodles, refilled my water and replaced all the food I had eaten - except the failed mashed potatoes.

It was super motivating to have someone to run with! I was able to pick my pace up to something approaching the first half of lap one.

7-8 miles in to lap 2 I missed another turn in Lost Valley, and even though the distance would be the same I went back to stay on the "official" course and picked up another bonus quarter mile.

After about 12-13 miles we ran past Ryan's house and he dropped for family stuff (my slow lap 1 burned much of his available time slot).

After another 5 slow miles Matt met me at the halfway point of the lap - 52 miles down 18 to go.

I still did a lot of walking on the hills but definitely ran faster and more often than I would have alone.

Pacers are the oft unsung heroes of the ultramarathon world. This is at least the third time Matt has finished an epic run with me - starting with my first 100K in 2018 where he ran 25 miles in the dark and rain for just a thank you and a beer.

It turned out to be a gorgeous day, and by mile 52 I was down to just a tshirt and shorts.

No owl encounters on the second pass through Fort Ward, but it started hailing at mile 56 and the weather dutifully returned to the BURT-appropriate February feel.

The rain and hail let up just in time to get back to the hills of Gazzam Lake a few hours later.

The hills went faster than expected and some goading from Matt and the BURT group chat had me put up my fastest mile of the day on the roads between Gazzam and the Grand Forest.

Ryan and Matt are awesome pacers and crew - especially stepping up with only 3 days notice! Between them they covered most of of lap 2. I like running alone - I'm pretty good at it. But it's amazing how helpful it is to have a pacer / cheerleader / coach / headshrinker motivating you. Next Wed is on me!

I started at 10:52 PM and finished at 4:09 pm after 17 hours and 17 minutes on my feet and 70 miles on my Garmin. 35 min slower than the first 2 laps last year, and 77 min short of my goal, but thanks to encouragement from Ryan, Matt, and the BURT group text message group I had a strong finish.

I earned my T-Shirt.

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