Executing a Most Succesful Hundred Mile Race at Mountaineer Rumble 100!by Dawn Lisenby on 04/02/21
“If you want something you never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
My preparation for Mountaineer Rumble really began in January when I decided that if I was going to perform like I needed to for a successful finish at my A race of the year, Badwater 135, I had to dial in every aspect of my training. I decided after watching Gamechangers to go back to being vegetarian, (I had been so for 20 years until, ironically, I began running in 2002 and thought I needed to eat meat for iron), to see if it had an effect on my performance and more importantly my recovery. It absolutely did.
I also began working on being less reactive to stressful life situations to improve health and mental well-being . A timely and EXTREMELY helpful element with COVID rearing it’s head.
Lastly, in the month leading up to the race I completely cut out all alcohol leading into the race. I do not drink much at all but like a glass of wine/beer here and there but found even one to disturb my sleep, which adversely affects recovery. This past month has been a revelation in just what it feels to be truly rested. The energy from it has been amazing.
I think due to the above and working on quality, not quantity, training I went into MR strong, despite not training AT ALL for this type of terrain; constant ups and downs, some quite steep, and an elevation gain/loss of 9,000 ft. As a reminder this was a back up race after Across Florida 200 got canceled. I had done minimal technical trail, besides running The Tick and prepping for Jacks. But I did have a vision for executing a strong 100 mile race at it.
I dialed in my nutrition to the calorie, something I advise my runners to do, to prevent stomach issues. I also focused on eating real food, with cooler temps enabling that. I still used my baby food when the body got tired of digesting the other.
My crew of
Luluwas integral to my success. She knows how to read me and had everything ready for me. She also makes a mean grilled cheese. She is 100% focused on the task and invested in my success. She also REALLY enjoys ULTRA. Something you just can’t buy. She is the BEST of the best. And not just on race day but to spend the weekend with too. I love this girl through and through. We are SIS for a reason and definitely more than a season.
When I knew I was running MR 100 I reached out to a runner I knew who had just moved to area to see if he would pace me for the middle 50k loop.
Stevennot only said he would, but did course recon for me ahead of the race. After seeing the technical terrain once there I made an in race decision to have him come for the last loop to help me navigate through the challenging course in the dark.
I had turned my ankle within the first 3 miles of the race due to all the leaves covering the many rocks and roots. This made it necessary for me to manage a wonky ankle from that point on, as it continued to lack stability. The thought of trying to do it alone in the dark made me worry about finishing.
This decision was integral to my successful finish, when after mile 70 the AS made us aware of looming cutoffs. I began to run hard as sun rose after a long, dark, ten mile stretch and immediately fell (my first and only) gashing my knee open. I would have to deal with that as well over the remaining miles but luckily it was not too deep, just painful.
This course has what one runner counted as 45 total water crossings, some knee deep, making the feet just one more item to add to the list of painful things to deal with. Especially when time made it impossible to stop to deal with them the last 25 miles.
Steven never wavered in his push nor his positivity that I would make each time cutoff needed. He went above and beyond to make sure I did, even as he began to feel the effects of the terrain himself.
His belief in me made me want to achieve, even when I went the final 10 miles on my own. During those miles I told myself “You did not bring Lulu and Steven here not to finish this thing. You better show up for them and all those who believe in you”. I pushed myself relentlessly over those last miles, passing a few guys along the way who would not finish. My mental game was the strongest it has ever been for the entire race but especially towards the end. The video I posted is from this stretch of the race when I finally began to believe that I would endure to the finish.
Until I did I had no idea of the toll this race course took on the field, the others in our Florida contingent, nor that I was 2nd female, 17 th overall. I just knew I was so VERY proud of what my team and I had just accomplished and all the work leading into this race I had done to enable it to be so.
Congrats and gratitude to the RD,
Chris Waldt, for putting on his first 100 mile race in a most difficult year to do so. This will be one that others will come to measure themselves up against. It is a brutal, beautiful, beast! I know a few of us already plan to be back, but this time I am opting for the 100k!
Thanks to my sponsors for helping me to achieve the measure of success I do. Your products truly make it so. Lastly, to my A Team; the Florida runners who took on this race
Kirsten, Donna, and
Alycia; those I met while running it; and all who sent messages of support both before and during; thank you for believing I could.