Monday, January 21, 2019

Race Report: Frozen H3 (Not Hash Related)

I'm probably more sick of writing DNF reports than you are of reading them.
But I don't feel like working or cleaning up rabbit crap, so here we are.

I'll be brining my own belt buckle to future 100 attempts.

Frozen H3 is the winter version of The Hell Hole Hundred. Depending on the flooding and snakes, it typically runs the same course. Frozen H3 takes place mid/late January and there's no telling what the damn weather might do. But it does sometimes drop into the teens during the winter in South Carolina, thus "Frozen H3".

This race offered myriad distances to choose from, all run on a 16.3mile loop through the Francis Marion Forest. A few months ago I had rego'd for the 50k day AND the 50k night. Ya know, because I think I'm such a badass.
 A couple of days after rego'ing for that dumb shit, Heather went and rego'd for the full Hundred. (Good thing she's hot, because she really pisses me off sometimes.) And now this left me wondering if I should give it a go.
 I felt like I'd been training pretty well. Up until mid December anyway...I knew the course. A ton of friends were going to be there. And the updated weather forecast called for highs in the low 70s! Everything lined up, so a week before the race I pulled the trigger and re-rego'd for the Hundo.

I felt so frickin good going into this race, like butter on a pop tart good. Even if my nutrition plan was a little half-ass, my pace plan was spot on. I had this race dialed.

I don't like my kit. That's why I look grumpy.

Everything went smooth as silk right up to mile 42. I'd been eating. I'd been drinking. I took my Endurolytes. Our pace was exactly where we needed it.

Then I hit the Wall. 

I fully recognize the ups and downs that come with Ultra. There's gonna be some real shitty times over the course of a Hundred.
But the wall I hit musta been a wall to a port-a-jon.

I hit the wall on 2 or 3 of those things.

There was no slow creep up to the bonk. It just slammed me. I got dizzy. Water tasted bad. My godamn Lats started cramping on me. I wanted to puke and my otherwise bubbly personality went to shit.

I rolled into the Yellow Jacket Aid station with Dave and Heather, but I was barely hanging on. It's maybe 4pm and the weather is getting finicky. 

My crazy bad-ass wife decides to stay with me to see if I'll recover. Dave goes on ahead and will ultimately Buckle (Congrats Dave!)

I'd tried throwing up at the aid station, but couldn't. I took on some more food and water and off we went. We had decided to switch our Run/Walk over to a 2/3 at Yellow Jacket, but for me now, it was all Walk.
I tried running a little bit here and good. Nothing is working. I spent about 5 miles trying to dig myself out of that hole.
Didn't work. We rolled into transition just under 12hrs, but I would not be rolling out for that 4th loop, let alone the 5th or 6th.
I could make a million excuses on why I DNF'd. But I'm pretty sure the reality is I wasn't as prepared as I thought. 
I still need to train harder, and smarter. I still need to analyze my nutrition, pre, during and post race. I need to start taking my own advice.

But enough about me, lets talk about the course!

I love and hate this course. It's flat, of course. But it's a shit mix (and I say this in a loving way) of pine straw, arrow straight double track, a few miles of dirt road, terrifying foot bridges and swampy mud. Personally, I think it's a pretty hard course to run. The pine straw has zero purchase, the foot bridges may impale you with re-bar and the swampy mud will bring you to a crawl.

Lets blame those horrible long shorts for my DNF.

But it really does have huge attraction too. The changes in terrain seem to come just when you're sick of the terrain you're currently on. The pine straw is soft and forgiving. The dirt road lets you open up a bit. And the swampy mud, I think that's really why people come back year after year to this race. We all want to see how shitty it compares to other years. It's really damn hilarious no matter how you cut it.

This isn't the aforementioned Swamp Mud, I don't have a picture of that. But this gives a ballpark idea of what some, not all, of the course looked like.

Frozen H3 had three total manned aid stations on course, all with food, Doc Scotts Electrolytes, H20 and portajons. The Hwy 41 station is about 6 miles out and Yellow Jacket about 11 miles out.
Transition was fully stocked and even offered us some Vegan options. (Thanks so much for that Chad, that is really kick-ass and much appreciated.)

As usual, I had a damn good time. There was camping at this race so I got to hang out with some great friends and see the usual suspects of Eagle Endurance events. 

I also got to see my wife kick that race in the ass. Her review should be up soon, here's a link to her home page and you'll have to find it from there.

Here's a picture of my co-worker with my self given buckle, hat and shirt.

That buckle was NOT given to me for DNFing. I've owned it for years, but it is quite fitting.

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