Iroquois Trails 100 – Quick Update

Iroquois Trails Ultras poster Adam BatlinerI DNFed. That pretty much says it all, except that I had a good time at the Iroquois Trails 100 despite DNFing. Here’s a very quick summary. A full race report will follow.

Went out comfortable for the first 6 mile alpine loop on Greek Peak. Ran with Tim (50 mile), Yassine (100), and Adam Chase (50) for 2 or 3 miles before Tim and Yassine took off. We saw some spectacular views look East from high up on the first climb. I think Tim pointed it out at which point we all turned to look. Crazy rich colors and what looked like a sea of clouds with hillock islands. I shouted down to the runners far below to look. After the race someone thanked me for doing so. Adam and I also made note of first sunlight. I told myself that I didn’t want to still be running when the sun came up again. I wasn’t, but not as I envisioned.

Loop two was an 18 mile lollipop up Tuller Hill and then up another hill to its west. Tuller Hill/Sheep Hollow was the section I was dreading from my running of that section over Fourth of July weekend. It turns out that I should always preview a course the day after racing a 50k, because that section was significantly less brutal (I still wouldn’t call it easy) on race day. Not only was I fresher, but the weather was gorgeous – cool and crisp (the July run was hot and humid) – and I was running with/behind Adam. It was great having Adam set the trail in the few more difficult to follow areas. It was even better to have Adam to chat with. I think we spoke pretty much the entire for first 4 hours of the race. We chatted about everything from shoes to attorney life from running websites to relationships. (Perhaps it is “scary” when we’re together.) Unfortunately, at mile 23.5, Adam stopped to change shoes and I went on ahead.

[Ok, less race reporting, more crucial details.] Besides a two mile rough stretch from 37-39 after I chugged a Glucerna I felt pretty darn good for the first 46 miles. When my rough spot ended around mile 39, I was able to lock into a 150 beats per minute heart rate effort and felt smooth. It was only after I came through the Greek Peak aid station (mile 46-47) that things fell apart. They fell apart quickly.

My energy waned and I started to walk a bunch. That’s when I noticed my heel pain. I quickly realized I had bad blisters on the outside of both heels. During the stretches that I did run from Greek Peak to the start/finish (mile 50) I was compensating badly as I couldn’t heel strike. Within 15 minutes I knew I was done, despite the fact that I still had great energy and decent legs.

I walked almost the entire way back to the mile 50 aid station and sat in a chair for 15 minutes. I drank some coke, lanced one blister, and changed shoes. I didn’t want to go on, but I humored the group that had gathered around me. Maybe I would feel better. I wouldn’t. What I did have was a 2 hour, 6 mile hike that took me up and down Greek Peak twice. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day. I listened to some great music and imagined the clouds to be many things. Despite facing disappointment, I didn’t think a lot about “big things.” Nope, I looked at the iron weed and the bird feather. I gazed at the distant ridge to the north and placed aid stations upon it. I considered the old barns and farm houses scattered far below me. A few times I say and reflected. A few times I just sat.

I did try to run on the section. Each attempt only confirmed what I already knew – I was done. on the climbs I has to stay on my toes… which meant my chronic right Achilles barked at me. On the descents I still had to land on my toes. With each such footfall, I used my shins to brake. Sadly, I fell during the TransRockies run and injured the connective tissue at the top of my right shin and it was twinging as I ran downhill. No good. I have no problem sucking up bad heel blisters for 20 or 25 mile. I’ve been there and done that, but I felt that to do so would have a high risk of lasting injury. In the end, I decided that risk was not worth the slow time walking in the rest of the course would have yielded. I’ll save myself for another day.

Ps. Tony Portera was an awesome crew!

There are 14 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Too bad about the DNF. Some things can't be predicted going into a 100 miler. It was good seeing you this weekend. If it's any consolation, when I saw you on the trail, you were tearing it up and looking strong. If you were competing in the 50 miler I think you would have placed 2nd!–Ira

  2. Meredith

    Sorry to hear about your DNF. We were following from the comfort of our couch and after not alot of updating on the site, called Anthony and got the sad news. I recently DNFed due to medical conditions as well, and it sucks. It's always the right decision, and you know deep in your heart it is, but it always sucks. Seems like you did enjoy yourself while you were out there though. Glad you had a stellar crew too :)

  3. CTmarathoner

    Byron —sorry to hear that you had those painful blisters –what an awful feeling to physically feel good but know that you couldn't go on -you would've incurred injuries had you changed your stride mechanics for 50 miles!!! so chalk it up to experience and a good,scenic hilly 55 miler –I had painful heal blisters in VT –the question is, how to prevent them??????

  4. AnthonyP

    It was great to be out there supporting you this weekend, even if your gear bag has more compartments then I can possibly keep track of !I'm proud of your performance, but equally (if not more) proud of the decision you made to call it a day – it was the right call.

  5. Trail Goat

    If only I knew how to avoid such blisters… they've been my nemesis before. I feel like a complete woos for dropping due to blisters, but these heel blisters are damn painful It turns out I had a significant toe blister, as well, but I didn't even notice that until I was in bed last night… a full 24 hours after I dropped.

  6. Trail Goat

    Tony,Thanks, that means a lot. I'll be thinking about this DNF for a long while.. hopefully, I continue to view it as the right decision.I heart my huge Nathan bag. :-)

  7. AJW

    Bryon,Really sorry to hear about the DNF but, given the circumstances, I completely understand. Any idea what caused the blisters? Shoes? Socks? Different conditions? Those little buggers can be tough to predict and very difficult to compete with. I hope you recover well and figure out how to prevent the blisters in the future.Recover well!AJW

  8. Derrick

    Goat,Sorry to hear about the foot issues. Hopefully, you bounce back quickly.Sounds like a very interesting race. Noticed it was a solid 2nd place run for Canadian Keith Peters in the 50miler. Keith ran Haliburton 100 just two weeks ago.

  9. Mike

    The trails aren't going anywhere – and maybe b/c of your decision you'll get to enjoy them again sooner than if you pushed on. Another day, another race – there's zillions of them. Looks like you ran strong despite – keep your head up.

  10. Trail Goat

    AJW,I've got no real idea what caused the blisters other than my stride. I've had these same nasty blisters before with various shoe/sock combinations. I had them particularly bad at Laurel Highlands in 2002 and Western States in 2004. Fortunately, I had much less ground to cover in both those races. I need to figure out a way to prevent them.I also need a way to rehab my right Achilles, as I could have run up on my toes with my left leg for a long while without feeling like I was injuring myself.Derrick,I didn't realize during the run that Keith was Canadian. He passed me about a quarter mile before the 50 mile finish.Mike,I do feel like I ran string while I was out there. That and my love of running will have me back out there again in no time.

  11. Meghan

    I like what you said to Mike in your last comment, that you would be back out there running again soon because you enjoy it so much. :)Sorry you had a bad day out, but It sounds like you were wise to pull the plug before things got ugly and injury occurred. Now you can have some fun, unhindered fall adventures.I hope you can figure out the blister thing. :(Recover happy,Meghan

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