It's been a while since we've checked in with Race Team members Lee Wilson and Beth Meadows on their training for Pinhoti 100. And with only 3 weeks until the Big Dance, it's crunch time! Here's a little on what they're looking forward to, what they're scared of, and how they're prepping for both.
Looking forward to?
NRC: What part of the course are you most looking forward to?
Lee: The finish line, if I can get there, will be a great piece of the course to see. The hills will be painful and fun. I enjoy hills and if I can put in the hill work during training I’ll be interested to see how those climbs pan out.
Beth: The two major climbs actually -- Cheaha around 40 and PInnacle at around 75. Both have great aid stations to reward your effort. There are also some portions that are covered in pine straw that I can’t wait to float on. This has been a weird year for me so what I’m looking forward to the most is just suffering my butt off out there. Out of mental and physical suffering usually comes something amazing, or at least clarity and perspective. . . which I could always use!
NRC: How will you celebrate this big accomplishment?
Lee: Beer and candy. Maybe a cheeseburger on the way home. Then it’s on to the next thing to hopefully accomplish. There will be no cartwheels or song and dance...just on to the next show. As my Dad says about things that might be difficult or nerve-wracking, “you’re not the first or the last” so I try not to get too hyped or low about much.
Beth: Pizza, beer, and maybe a couple of days off.
NRC: Is there a part of the course that you’re looking forward to being on? Any rumored scenic views?
Lee: I haven’t looked at a course map yet nor do I know much about the trail other than a few minutes of chatting with some friends. I really enjoy trails and being in the wilderness so it’ll all be beautiful...and I assume the views from Cheaha will be awesome.
Beth: The last time I raced, the climb up to Cheaha was pretty foggy and dreary. I’m hoping the weather will be a bit clearer as I’d like to experience those views with better conditions.
NRC: Beth, coming back to this race, are there any returning runners you’re looking forward to seeing again?
Beth: I, honestly, don’t remember many people I ran with. But Hunter Lane is racing so it’ll be nice to see him and Season out there.
NRC: How to you stay pumped up during the race?
Lee: Running is so much in the mind it’s crazy. Knowing there are quite a few family and friends coming down to cheer and race will be big. I try to think of positive things when I run but it’s hard to do...negative thoughts are in our minds all the time and when my mind and body will be as tired as it will be in a 100 I can only imagine the thoughts that will creep in. I don’t know...maybe they’ll have AC/DC or Metallica blaring from speakers along the trail or maybe I can jump on someone’s back and ride it out!
Beth: It’s definitely easy to get down out there. I think the best thing is to just make it aid station to aid station. Seeing a bunch of the RunWILD crew out there will probably be a big boost as well. Just knowing that your crew is waiting for you can be a huge boost as well. Most importantly though, it’s the Bama-LSU game so the faster I get to each aid station, the sooner I’ll get score updates.
NRC: How do you see this affecting your future racing career?
Lee: Just another day! No change, really...I’m never going to PR in a shorter distance that I’ve raced already and the majority of long trail races that I’d like to do are out West. I’m not totally at the point of my running career (if one can call it that) where I like to race for fun so if I do a race I want to compete and I can’t compete in those mountainous races too well without more elevation training and time...two things which I don’t have much of.
Beth: Hopefully, it’ll just be one of many races in a long and not prosperous “career.” I don’t see it changing anything -- I just want to gain some more 100 mile experience and snag a WSER qualifier.
NRC: What would it take for you to DNF?
Lee: Not much. I’m sure I’ll cry a few times, ball up in the fetal, and there will be about a dozen times where I want to quit.
Beth: Like I said, it’s the Alabama-LSU game that night -- so probably just the offer of whiskey and a tv would be enough to do it.
NRC: What are typical reasons that someone may not be able to finish?
Lee: Not sticking to nutrition or having an unfortunate injury. Having never done anything close to this distance there will be a lot of pain so hopefully the ol’ mind over matter will help.
Beth: Injuries and the inability to keep down any food or liquid are obviously two reasons that you just may not be able to overcome. Otherwise, it’s mostly mental. When you’re at mile 70 and you start thinking how you still have a 50k to run, that can be extremely daunting and demoralizing. Again, I think this is where the aid station to aid station approach helps.
NRC: Beth, you’ve run this before. What was the biggest obstacle or hardest moment that you had to overcome last time? Are you afraid of something similar happening and/or how will you use this experience to prepare you for this year’s race?
Beth: The most difficult part was being up on a ridgeline at around mil 80 with 40mph winds. Having rained most of the day, it was absolutely freezing and just so hard to get off that ridgeline and down to the aid stations. Jeff and I had to take “shelter” under a rock as I put on more clothes and layers. If the weather cooperates, I don’t foresee that happening, but I’ll be prepared with extra layers just in case.
NRC: Lee, similarly what is the biggest obstacle/hardest moment you’ve faced in a race? And how will you use this to prepare you for Pinhoti?
Lee: The hardest race, by far, was the Speedgoat 50k in Utah I attempted a few years ago. It was a climb to 11k feet or near that three times and the climb to 11k the second time got me. Altitude sickness kicked in around 8k feet and I threw up about seven times on the way up and called it a day. That sucked and pissed me off but I don’t have the luxury to go out and train for a week or so to adjust so I arrived the day before and ran. I felt great the first half of the race and was looking forward to that second climb to hopefully attack the last third. Maybe another day! Although, Pinhoti doesn’t have the altitude that Speedgoat has, it’s taught me to prepare as well as I can. Build the base, put in the work, dial in the nutrition and hopefully don’t become one with the dirt.
NRC: Any lingering injuries that you’ve had to fight through?
Lee: Luckily, nothing serious the past 20 years. There are always the nagging pains that occur -- especially at the ripe old age of 40. I’ll try to take a day or two off once in a while to let the body rest.
Beth: HAHAHA great question. well . . . I had surgery on my ankle and heel last year. That’s mostly healed up. However, a couple months ago, I fell while running on pavement and sprained my “good” ankle. And then, a few weeks later, I fell on the red trail and had some stitches action. Fortunately, everything feels pretty darn good right now. **Knock on wood**
NRC: Good luck on your last big weeks of training!