2014 Race Updates

Update Number 3, posted Wednesday, December 17, 2014.  Update Number 1 and Number 2 are posted below Update Number 3

Update Number 3

.

We’re less than 72 hours from race morning, so this will
likely be the last (but more probably the second to last) Race Update I’ll send
you.  I’m leaving for Titusville in the
morning, and will be there until Monday morning.  I won’t be checking my email as often,
because I’ll be in the park and out on the course getting everything set up, so
if there’s some burning issue that you just have to have resolved, it’s
probably best to text my cell – 772-349-1704.
I hate texting but will do it, because it can be an effective way to
communicate.  It may take me a bit to
respond, so be patient ;-) .

 

Here are a bunch of thoughts that I want to share with you,
in no particular order.  I’d suggest
reading through them ;-) .

 

I’m really lucky to have my son Dan as my Assistant Race
Director this year – he’s 18 years old, is about two inches taller than me (but
I still outweigh him), and he’s been working races with me since he was 6 years
old.  He’s finally able to come help this
year, which is a huge relief for me ;-) .
He’s a great kid – but I’ll let you judge for yourself!

 

I’m also fortunate to have several great volunteers coming
out to help – please remember that these people have given up a day – or two –
of their lives to help make your race the best it can be.  Please treat these people with the love and
care they deserve – if you have ANY problems at all, PLEASE do NOT take it out
on a volunteer!  Bring it to me instead –
it’s my race, and will be my issue to resolve.
Be nice to the volunteers!

 

I’m getting the usual assortment of last-minute
questions.  My advice – before you send
me some question, take the time to read the two Race Updates that I’ve already both
emailed to you as well as posted to the race website (under the link labeled ‘2014
Race Updates’ at the top of the home page).
There’s an excellent chance that I’ve already answered your question in
one of the Updates.  And if you send me
your question anyways, if I’ve already answered it in one of the Updates, I’m
just going to tell you to read the Updates ;-) .

 

We are guests in the park this weekend.  There are people who work at the park who are
VERY particular about what goes on in the park – they have a STRONG sense of
ownership, which can be both good and bad.
If you treat the park like you would treat a visit to an honored guest’s
home, then we’re going to be fine.
Please don’t do anything stupid ;-) .
If you bring alcohol, please be discreet about it – at least during the
daylight hours.  Remember that the park
is open to the public, and none of them know what the hell we’re doing out
there and probably won’t understand anyways even if we explain it.  Have fun, but be reasonable ;-) .

 

Once the sun goes down, and the park management goes home,
it gets a little easier for us.  But
please be aware that whatever happens during the night better be cleaned up and
gone by sunrise on Sunday morning, when the park management will return.

 

Practicing ‘Leave No Trace’ is a great exercise this
weekend – if you carry something out onto the trail, then carry it back off the
trail.  If you can get it out there, you
can get it back here.  The same thing
goes in the parking lot and aid station area – make sure your area is cleaned
up before you leave.

 

Electric outlets get to be a premium commodity as the day
goes along.  Please do NOT ask the aid
station personnel to charge your phone, mp3 player, ipod or ipad.  The electrical connection is limited, and we
have occasionally overloaded the circuit and have had to reset the
breaker.  There is a large screen room
located next to the visitor’s center, on the aid station side of the
building.  I’ll have an electrical cord
with a long string of outlets attached to it in there, so that’s where you
should go for a charging station.

 

The bathrooms are located in the visitor’s center, and we
have access to them throughout the race through a door that leads directly to
them from outside the building.  Please
promptly report any bathroom issues to the timing area or to the aid station so
that we can correct them quickly.  Each
year, I go through both bathrooms two or three times during the night to check
the paper supply and empty the trash bins.
Ladies, you all have amazed me the past two years at how chaotic your
bathroom can get.  We men have nothing on
you babes!  If everyone keeps it clean,
then it will be clean when you need it!

 

The course is going to be very well-marked – if you get
lost, you’re going to have to work at it ;-) .
There will be orange cones, directional signs, and tons of plastic tape
to follow.  And once you’ve done a few
loops, you ought to be able to do it in your sleep – and some of you no doubt
will!

 

This will be a computer-chip timed race, and you’ll have
two types of timing chips.  You’ll have
the ‘traditional’ neoprene ankle strap timing chip that you should wear around
either ANKLE – the timing chip MUST be below your knee level in order to get
read by the timing mats.  You’ll also
have timing chips attached to the back of your race bib.  Please make sure to wear BOTH your race bib
AND your ankle strap at all times – otherwise, we may miss timing your
loop!  Every year, someone does a loop
after removing their timing chip and forgetting to put it back on again.  Don’t let that person be you!

 

Wear your race bib on your front at all times, so that
everyone will know that you’re part of the race – and for easy identification
;-) .  Try to not hide it underneath
clothing, or inside your jacket, or pinned to your hat, or any other
place.  Wearing it on your front will
work best for us all!

 

I’m bringing about $80,000 worth of electronic timing
equipment to the race.  There will be
four remote timing mats located at various points around the race course, to
encourage you to do 29 complete loops ;-) .
Every time you see a large blue timing mat, please run across it!

 

There will be ONE special timing point at the back of the
course, in the twisting single-track section called the Magnolia Loop.  You’ll see a square piece of plywood on the
ground, about 2 feet by 2 feet, with a white grid on it that will look a little
like a tic-tac-toe board.  Make sure you
step in the MIDDLE of this board with the foot that has your ankle strap
attached to it.  You’ll know you’re
successful when you hear the loud ‘ping’ noise – then feel free to move on down
the trail.  There will be two orange
cones located a few feet before this small timing mat to warn you that you’re
fast approaching it.

 

Each time you come through the start/finish area, you’ll
pass over two sets of timing mats, and as you come through to the aid station, there
will be a large display monitor at the timing tent that will display your name,
the number of loops you’ve completed, your total mileage, and the time it took
you to complete your last loop.  Check to
make sure your name appears – if it does not, then make sure to notify the
timing tent personnel.  Your name should
appear at the top of the screen.

 

With any luck, there will be a ‘live online results’ link
that will be active throughout the race.
If you have anyone who wants to follow your progress, just tell them to
check out the race website www.ancientoaks100.com
and click on the ‘Live Results’ link that will be displayed there.  It will only show completed loops – it will
not track you in real time around the course.
So your numbers will only change when you pass through the start/finish.

 

If the ‘Live Results’ screen is not working, then there
will be interim results posted to the race website every hour, about 10 minutes
past the hour.  So your friends and
family will be able to follow your progress in some way during the race.

 

The weather looks to be typical Florida winter weather –
warm and sunny during the day, with temperatures in the mid to upper 70s, and
cool and clear at night with temperatures dropping into the low 60s or even
high 50s.  The chance of rain is minimal
at this point, but plan for anything – our weathermen are no more accurate than
the ones in your local area ;-) .

 

Remember to take salt during the day – there will be
Succeed S caps at the aid station for your use.
These are packed with loads of salt – one of these should do you for a
couple of hours, unless it gets really hot.
Please be careful with the salt – if you overdo it and take in too much,
the only way to correct that is to guzzle large amounts of water to dilute the
overconcentration of salt.  Unless it’s
really hot, if you stick to eating salty foods – and there will be some salty
choices at the aid station – you should be fine.

 

Sunscreen should be in your race supply bag, especially if
you’re not from the south.  The sun load
can be big during the day, even though there’s lots of shade on the
course.  Bug spray might also be useful
at some times of the day – dusk and dawn in particular.  Some kind of lubricant should also be in your
arsenal – chafing is a big problem when it’s warm and sunny.

 

It can get surprisingly cold during the nighttime hours –
because the humidity is so high, cool damp weather will make it seem 10 or even
20 degrees colder than the stated temperature.
In the years I’ve been involved in the race, it’s been as high as the
low 90s during the day, and as low as 29 degrees early in the morning on Sunday
morning.

 

One of the things that surprises people every year is how
much sand there is on the course – it’s not deep, but it can be soft and there’s
a lot of it at various places along the course.
The sand is very fine – it will get into your shoes even if you use
gaiters.  It just seeps right though the
mesh of your shoes, where it becomes like sandpaper and grinds your feet and
toes relentlessly.  Stopping to check
your shoes more often than less often is probably a smart race strategy.

 

If you’re not having a good day, or if you get into a bad
spot, do not drop out recklessly.  If you
come to me and tell me you’re dropping, be prepared for me to reject your drop
and tell you to come back to me in an hour and tell me again that you’re
dropping.  Each year, runners who could
finish make a hasty decision to drop out, and each of them regrets it
later.  Take an hour, or even 90 minutes,
to rest, clean up, change clothes, eat and drink, and let your body reset
itself.  You’d be surprised at how much
better you may feel!

 

In four of my five finishes at Ancient Oaks, I took naps –
ranging from 45 minutes to up to 3 hours – and still got up and finished the
race.  If I can do it, you can too!

 

Having said that, I also need to ask you to run within the
limits of your ability.  For the safety
and long-term viability of the race, I reserve the right to remove you from the
race course at any time, if you become a danger to either yourself or to others
in the race or in the park.  Run smart,
and we’ll all have a great time!

 

My son Dan and I will have a room at the Days Inn located
at the Hwy 50 (Cheney Hwy) and I-95 intersection, which is about a 10-minute
drive from the race site.  If you finish
up and want a shower, or need a short nap before heading off towards home,
please come to the timing area and ask for a key to the room.  Use the room and leave it presentable for the
next person.  Dan and I will be leaving
it early on Saturday morning and not returning to it until late on Sunday
evening, so it will be available during the race.

 

Don’t forget that there will be lots of wildlife in the
park – spiders, snakes, tortoises, feral hogs, armadillos, deer and raccoons
are probably the most common (not in that order, though).  I don’t think there’s anything that will hurt
you unless you’re annoying it ;-) .

 

There will be several people available for pacing duties,
especially during the nighttime hours, so feel free to ask about a pacer if you
want some company out there!  And it will
be a long night, it’s within a couple of days of the shortest day of the year,
so it will get dark about 6 PM and not get light until about 7 AM.  Bring lots of batteries for your lights!

 

We’ll have an array of supplies at the aid station, and can
always make a run to the Wal-Mart, which is about 10 minutes away.  So again, if you need something, just ask and
we’ll see what we can do!

 

The race does have expenses, which I’m happy to pay
myself.  Enough people have asked about
making donations (and a few have already made one – thank you!) that there will
be a donation jar at the pre-race check-in as well as at the aid station.  Please DO NOT FEEL OBLIGATED TO MAKE A
DONATION!

 

Finally – yes, finally – remember that you have done as
much preparation as you could, and that your body can do amazing things as long
as you allow your mind to let it happen!
Give your mind permission to succeed, and you’ll be all smiles at the
finish line!  Allow yourself the space
and the grace to enjoy each moment – after all, you’ve chosen to be here and do
this!  I’m looking forward to
congratulating you when you finish!

 

See you in Titusville this weekend!

Race Update Number 2

 

This confirms that you are an
Entrant in the 2014 Ancient Oaks 100-Mile Endurance Run being held Saturday-Sunday,
December 20-21, 2014 at the Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary in Titusville,
Florida.  The park address is 444 Columbia Blvd, Titusville, FL 32780 in
case you wish to GPS it or Google it.  I’ll also have directions and a map
posted on the race website www.ancientoaks100.com
.

 

If you’re not coming to the
race for some reason, please let me know so that I can offer your Entry Slot to
one of the 29 runners still on the Wait List.  However, if you’re still on
the fence (because of an injury that’s still healing, for example, or little
training) then my advice is to keep your Entry slot and see how things go in
the ensuing days.  You can make your decision on whether or not to run up
to and including on the morning the race begins.

 

In short, if you KNOW you’re
not coming, please let me know.  If you think there’s a ghost of a chance
that you can run, plan on showing up and toeing the starting line.

 

A point to remember – the
surest way to get banned from all future Ancient Oaks races is to NOT
communicate with me.  I already have a list of two runners who will never
get another Invitation To Run at Ancient Oaks, because they were inconsiderate enough
to hold an Entry slot, not bother to show up on Race Day, and most importantly,
not bother to let me know they weren’t coming.  Holding a slot from
someone else because you can’t be bothered to let the RD know you’ve bagged it
is a High Crime in this event.  The limitations of the field size make
every race slot an important one!

 

So talk to me if you’re
having an issue ;-) !  I’m already having good conversations with some of
you on this very topic – kudos to those of you who have taken the time to share
your situation with me!

 

RACE CHECK-IN

 

There
will be race check-in both at the pre-race dinner from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM on
Friday evening, and on Saturday morning before the race starts.  Make sure
to check in with plenty of time to get situated before the race starts.
You get a t-shirt, a race number, your timing chip, and you need to sign the
waivers – that’s the extent of check-in.  It’s not complicated, but we’ve
got to get about 60 of you ready to go by race start time.  I will be leaving the restaurant promptly at 7:00
PM – please don’t arrive at 6:59 PM and hope to get checked in ;-) .  There will be plenty of time on Saturday
morning to check in – there’s not much to the check-in process, so it shouldn’t
take too long.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU CANNOT
RUN WITHOUT SIGNING BOTH WAIVERS!  We will have TWO separate waivers of
liability (thank county government bureaucracy for this duplication of effort)
and they’ll be available both the night before the race and the morning of the
race.  EVERYONE WHO RUNS MUST SIGN BOTH WAIVERS – ALL RUNNERS AND ALL
PACERS AND/OR SUPPORT PERSONS!  There will be no exceptions to this
rule!  Essentially, anyone who leaves the parking lot area and goes onto
the course with you needs to sign the waivers.

 

The Waivers are also posted
to the race website, and you can print them off from there and bring them with
you when you check in.  That will speed
the process some ;-) .  Make sure you’re
printing off the 2014 Waivers.

 

PRE-RACE DINNER

 

There will be a pre-race
dinner at the IHOP restaurant in Titusville from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM.
The IHOP is located at 3755 Cheney Hwy (SR 50) Titusville FL 32780 (telephone
321-269-4480).  It’s part of the Days Inn hotel, which is located about a
tenth of a mile west of Exit 215 at I-95, where most of the motels are located.  You can order off the menu, and pay
individually for your meals.

 

We’ve got a back room set
aside for us, so when you come into the restaurant, just tell the hostess that
you’re here for the race check-in.  I
expect about 20 to 40 people to show up and eat, so you’ll have a chance to
mingle with many of your fellow ultrarunners.

 

You can get your race number,
your t-shirt, your timing chip, and you can sign the race waivers at the pre-race
dinner.

 

ACCOMODATIONS

 

There are lots of cheap motel
options in the area right at exit 215 off I-95 (less than four miles from the
race site), and the race site address is 444 Columbia Blvd, Titusville FL 32780
if you need to find a location.  Just Google ‘Titusville FL’ in any hotel
search program and you’ll get plenty of low-cost options.  I counted seven different hotels within sight
of I-95 when I was there on Sunday November 23.

 

The Days Inn has agreed to
offer a Runner’s room rate of $49.50 per night plus tax for any runners in the
race.  Just tell them that you’re with
the Ancient Oaks race or give them my name, and they should be able to find the
correct rate for you.  I’ll be staying at
this hotel from Thursday evening December 18 until Monday morning December 22.  I’ll also be having breakfast about 3:00 AM
at the IHOP the morning of the race.

 

I don’t know of any local
camping facilities, but there is a 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter located near
I-95 and they allow RVs to park overnight in their parking lot.  You might
want to do an internet search for camping options if you’re interested in that.  There is also both a Lowe’s and a Home Depot
store located in the area in case you need something more substantial than what
Wal-Mart stocks ;-) .

 

REMEMBER THAT THERE IS NO
CAMPING IN THE PARK – NOR ARE ANY TENTS ALLOWED TO BE SET UP AT THE RACE SITE!  AND NO RECREATIONAL VEHICLES (RVs) ALLOWED!

 

RACE TIMING AND SCORING

You will need to wear a
computer timing chip around either ankle.  It MUST be worn BELOW the knee –
around either ankle works best.  It’s
attached by a Velcro neoprene rubber strap, and most runners don’t even know
they’re wearing it after a while.  Make
sure to wear it at ALL times – if you remove it to change clothes or shoes, and
you forget to put it back on, your laps may not be counted, and you wouldn’t
want that ;-) !  If you think you might
have some kind of rash issue, then one suggestion is to wrap some tape or a
bandana around the ankle underneath the timing strap.  Warm temperatures can lead to chafing and
rubbing in all sorts of areas, including underneath your timing chip strap.

 

The race will end at 3:00 PM
on Sunday afternoon, for a total race time of 32 hours.  You are free to
leave the premises at any time, but if you decide to drop out of the race for
some reason, you must report to the timing tent at the Start/Finish area and
turn in your timing chip before departing.
If you return to run some more, you can pick up your timing chip again.

 

A suggestion:  If you’re
thinking of dropping out for some reason, take some time to recover and
reconsider before taking final action.  My Rule of Thumb is to take 60
minutes of rest before dropping out of a race, because in that hour you might
find that you feel differently than you did earlier, and you find the will and
the way to continue on.  There’s no downside in sitting on the sidelines
for an hour before dropping out, and there’s considerable upside if it allows
you to regroup and get back out and finish the race.

 

For example – in four of my
five finishes at Ancient Oaks, I’ve taken naps ranging from 60 minutes to three
hours, and then gotten back up and finished the race, and twice I got back up
and finished fairly strongly.  So if you consider dropping, don’t do so
lightly.

 

Pacers are allowed for the
entire duration of the race, although because the race is 29 loops of a
3.46-mile course, you’ll see the other runners plenty of times, and will often
find someone to run with.  My suggestion is to use a pacer only during the
late-night portion of the race, when your vision may be compromised and fatigue
will be a factor.

 

Depending on lighting (and
certainly after dark) there will be a ‘scoreboard’ display that will show you
at a glance where you are in the race (how many laps and miles) as well as how
long the last lap took you to run.  If you’ve run at Across The Years in
Phoenix, it will look almost exactly like that scoreboard screen, since the
program was written by the same guys – the Coury Brothers.  If it’s too
light during the day to see the screen, then someone will call out your
information to you as you pass by the timing area.

 

Please do NOT linger in the
timing area – pass across the timing mat and then proceed on to the aid
station.  Do not retrace your steps backwards across the mat – we don’t
want to have to fix your miscounted loops, and the software is programmed to
ignore loops that are suspiciously too short ;-) .

 

Results will be posted about
every two hours near the timing tent, and if you have someone who will be
following you from afar, these interim results will be posted to the official
race website every hour or so as well at:

 

www.ancientoaks100.com

 

The UltraLists will also be periodically updated with progress from the race,
and you should receive a post-race personal results e-mail that shows complete
results as well as lap-by-lap results for each runner.

 

You’ll also be given a race
number, which should be worn at all times so park personnel and visitors know
that you’re in the race, and so that timing personnel can check you off on the
backup timing system each time you come by the timing tent.  Please help
us by keeping it visible ;-) .

 

Remember that this is a
100-mile race – 29 loops of a 3.46-mile course for a total of 100.34
miles.  NO CREDIT will be given for any intermediate distance – anything
less than a 100-mile finish will be listed as a DNF, although each person’s
final mileage will be displayed in the results, no matter how many miles are
completed.

 

There are no cash prizes,
awards, swag or anything else of value given to those who finish.  You get
a hearty ‘Attaboy!’ or ‘Attagirl!’, a hand-made finisher’s award, and the
satisfaction of having done something significant on your weekend time off
;-) .  There may or may not be any special awards presented, and if there
is anything like this, it is entirely at the whims of race management and
personnel ;-) .

 

PARK WILDLIFE

 

The park is home to the full
array of Florida wildlife, including spiders, snakes, raccoons, armadillos,
gopher tortoises, and most importantly, feral hogs.  These hogs can be as
large as 200 pounds or more, and are most active during the nighttime
hours.  They root around in the soil and often some sections of the course
are significantly churned up by their efforts.  They should not bother
you, but it’s best to give them a wide berth.  I’d avoid getting between a
mother and her piglets, for example ;-) .
Armadillos will also be actively rustling around in the leaves at night.

 

In the last year or so, the
Golden Orb spiders have become much more visible – their webs are both beautiful
and intricate.  The Golden Orb spider is as
small in size as a quarter, and can be as large as the palm of your hand.  They’re not aggressive and I don’t believe
they bite – but I’d avoid getting tangled in a web just the same ;-) .

 

PARK RULES

 

As guests in the park, we
must abide by the park rules, and here are the ones that will apply to
us.

First, there is NO camping in the park – no tents, and no Recreational Vehicles
allowed.  There’s just not enough room in the park and parking lot areas
to accommodate anything more than passenger vehicles.  All vehicles must
fit into a normal-sized parking space!
Shade-type canopies are allowed – as long as they’re not much larger
than 10×10 feet.  There will be two popup
10×10 tents set up covering some of the picnic tables just past the
start/finish and aid station, and you are free to utilize both the picnic
tables as well as the tents, for shade.

 

If you leave any supplies in
the picnic area, remember that the park is home to lots of wildlife – much of
which would LOVE to peruse your supplies and sample whatever’s in your
kit!  Use coolers with snap lids and
plastic buckets or bins with snap lids for the best protection against critter
theft.

 

Second, of course there’s no
littering at all in the park – please carry any trash you have to the aid
station or deposit it in the trash cans located around the park.

 

Third, the park will be OPEN
to the public on Saturday and Sunday during the bulk of each day.  DO NOT
run over or knock down any hikers or lollygaggers who are meandering around
aimlessly while you’re hell-bent on knocking off a big PR ;-) .  Please be
polite to the people you meet in the woods ;-) .

 

The issue with the park and
its rules is that the land that the park encompasses is pristine old-growth
natural Florida forest, and as such it’s protected under the Brevard County
Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program.  In fact, the park is
billed as the ‘flagship property’ under the EEL program.  There is a contingent
of very active environmental activists who feel strongly that ANY human impact
within the park should be strongly discouraged, and these people feel that the
race should not be allowed in the park at all.  We presently have the
support of the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, but it would take
just one incident for much of that support to evaporate.  Please be
considerate of the park and the race and act accordingly!

 

The park front entrance gate
will be locked after hours, but we’ll have the combination and if you need to
exit the park (or you have people who need to enter), have them get in touch
with me on my cell phone at 772-349-1704, and we’ll have a volunteer escort you
out or escort them in.  We’ve had issues with non-race-related people trying
to get into the park after hours, so we need to respect the need for
security.  It’s about a half-mile or less from the start/finish aid
station area up to the front gate.

 

The visitor’s center
bathrooms are large, sanitary, clean, and WARM (during the chill of the night!)
and they will be available for our use for the entire duration of the
race.  Please keep them clean, and please report any issues (like a lack
of paper!) to the aid station personnel.

 

WEATHER

 

The temperature during the
race will vary widely, so plan accordingly.  Daytime temperatures will
probably be in the 60-80 degree F range, but could be lower or even up into the
low to mid 90s.  Nighttime temperatures could be very low, with the
possibility of below-freezing temperatures.  Florida’s nighttime is also
damp, and often windy, so a temperature of 38 degrees F with a cold north wind
blowing will chill you to the bone quickly.  Do not underestimate either
the heat of the afternoon or the chill of the night ;-) !

 

Rain is always a possibility,
but not likely.  In the past six years, it has rained lightly at various
times, and has rained more substantially only once.  I’d plan on a dry
race, but have some rain gear available just in case.

 

Also remember that we’re
running on the shortest day of the year – so the sun will set early and rise
late.  Plan on it being dark by 5:30 PM
or so, and plan on it staying dark until close to 7:00 AM Sunday morning.  Any moonlight will make the visibility much
better – under a full moon, a headlamp is often not necessary.

 

CREW/SUPPORT OPTIONS

 

You are encouraged to crew
yourself out of your vehicle, which you will pass 28 times during the race,
since each race loop begins by passing through the parking area.  While we
will provide a variety of food and some liquids, you should assume that you
will receive nothing except access to clean water during the race.
Whatever else you want, you should bring with you!

 

There are several picnic
tables located near the start/finish area which will be available for runner
use, and you’re free to set up a small table and/or chair near your vehicle.
Just remember that the park is home to lots of wildlife, which is looking
forward to scavenging through your race supplies while you’re out on the race
course ;-) .

 

PACERS

 

You’re free to have a pacer
for any part of the race you wish, although with 50 people running 29 loops
each, you’ll be within sight of someone else for much of the race.  If you
think you’d like a pacer after dark, please talk to race personnel and we might
be able to find someone for you.  No guarantees, of course!  Make
sure to have any pacer sign both park waivers before accompanying you onto the
race course.

 

AID STATION

 

The aid station will be
located at the Start/Finish area, and will probably be stocked with water, ice,
cookies, pretzels, chips, some candy, peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, and
Gatorade.  We’re making plans to have grilled cheese sandwiches and hot
soup and possibly coffee after dark, and there may also be pizza sometime
before midnight.  Although these are our plans, nothing is certain until
race day ;-) .

 

AGAIN, DO NOT COUNT ON
FINDING ANYTHING AT THE AID STATION!  Anything we provide should be viewed
as a bonus ;-) !

 

My advice is – if you want
something to be there, bring it yourself.  If you absolutely cannot run
without your fair-trade, free-range, no-kill soy latte with organic whip cream,
then you’d best be bringing that with you.
Do NOT depend on us to provide you with ANYTHING except access to clean water
and bathrooms.  We’re working or having a well-stocked aid station but I
would count on nothing ;-) .

 

VOLUNTEERS

 

We have several people who
have graciously volunteered to donate part of a day, a whole day, or a whole
weekend of their lives to us and the race.
DO NOT abuse the volunteers!  If
you have ANY issues, then bring them to me at the timing tent.  I’ll be there for the duration of the entire
race, with the exception of about a 45-minute nap around 4:00 AM.  I may also need to spend an hour or so on the
course checking on equipment and such.
Otherwise I’ll be in the timing area.

 

MEDICAL ISSUES

 

Please run within the limits
of your ability.  If you are having a medical issue, please report it
immediately.  Remember that if you are having an emergency, you need to
call 9-1-1 as soon as possible or have someone call for you.  Paramedics
are located within two miles of the race site, so they should be readily
available.  We reserve the right to remove you from the course and the
park at any time if we deem that you are a danger to yourself or to others.  We also will have some medical personnel who
are running the race, who may be able to help out if necessary.

 

DONATIONS

 

Since many people have asked,
if you’d like to contribute to race expenses, I’ll be paying for all supplies
and race expenses such as liability insurance, aid station stuff, race numbers,
and the like.  There will be a donation jar located on one of the aid
station tables if you’re so inclined.  Please
do NOT feel as if you need to contribute ANYTHING.  THIS IS COMPLETELY
VOLUNTARY ON YOUR PART – IT IS NOT A REQUIREMENT TO RUN THE RACE!

 

I’m happy that you’ve decided
to spend a few days of your life with us here in sunny south-central Florida
;-) , and I’m looking forward to having a GREAT time this coming weekend!

 

UPDATES POSTED ON WEBSITE

 

The updates you’ve received
are posted to the race website www.ancientoaks100.com,
so if you forget what was said and have deleted the message, just check the
website and you can see what has been sent out so far.

 

LAST-MINUTE SUPPLIES

 

If you arrive and realize
you’ve forgotten something, there is a 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter located at
the northeast corner of the intersection of I-95 and Hwy 50 at Exit 215, and there’s
a Lowe’s as well as a Home Depot and a drug store at the same Exit.  Any
of those stores should have what you need.  There’s a gas
station/convenience store located less than a mile from the park entrance as
well.

 

SATURDAY MORNING PRE-RACE BREAKFAST

 

If you’re thinking you want a
last-minute carbo-loading feast before the race, there are two 24-hour
restaurants located at Exit 215 off I-95 and Hwy 50 – one is a Denny’s (located
in the Ramada Inn) and the other is an IHOP (located at the Days Inn).  If you’re staying in the Days Inn, they’ll
offer you discount coupons for use at the IHOP at the time you check into your
room.

 

RACE START TIME

 

A couple of you have asked
what time the race starts – according to the race website www.ancientoaks100.com, the race will
begin promptly at 7:00 AM Eastern Daylight Savings Time.  There’s been
nothing to change that, so plan on starting at 7:00 AM on the dot!

 

TARPS/CANOPIES

 

I would prefer that you NOT
bring a popup tent or canopy with you to the race – if the start/finish begins
to look too much like Occupy Wall Street, we’ll get in hot water with the park
personnel ;-) !  There will be three popup tents at the start/finish area
that will have some space for your gear – one is the timing tent, which I’d
prefer to have limited access to, the second will be the aid station tent and
there will be two popups located in the picnic area right next to the aid
station.  You may use either the aid station or the picnic popup as
covered space for your things – but please use common sense and use only the
minimum space necessary so that others may have room as well.

 

PARK ACCESS

 

The park will be open on Friday from 9:00 AM until
5:00 PM, and I will be in the park from 9:00 AM until about 2:00 PM, marking
the race course and doing final race prep.
After that, I’ll be at the pre-race dinner.

Saturday morning I’m planning on opening the park
gates about 4:00 AM, so you should have plenty of time to get into the park and
set up before the race begins at 7:00 AM.
Some of the parking lot will be roped off – please do not park in this
area.  That’s the area that the public
will use while the race is going on.  We
are allowed to park on the west side of the parking area, and in the large open
space just before the paved parking area – this would be on your left as you
drive into the park.  I’ll try and have
it clearly marked as Race Parking.

If for some reason you will not be at the start of
the race at 7:00 AM, but you’re still planning on running (maybe you’re giving
the other runners a head start ;-) ) please check in at the Timing Tent before
you start the race.  I need to know that
you are starting the race, and I need to make sure I know exactly when you
started.

You are not required to remain in the park at all
times during the race – you’re free to leave if you need something outside the
park, and then return and continue running.
If you need to leave the park boundaries for some reason, please tell
someone at either the Aid Station or the Timing Tent that you are leaving
(check out with us), and then tell us when you get back into the park (check
back in with us).  That way we don’t
start looking for you in the weeds and the canals ;-) .

If you decide to leave the park, you should take
your timing chip off and leave it with the timing personnel, and then make sure
to get it back and put it back on when you come back into the park.  This way, if for some reason you don’t make
it back (the bed magnet gets too strong, for example), then you won’t take your
timing chip home with you by mistake.

 

I will be staying
at the Days Inn from Thursday evening December 18 until Monday morning December
22.  I have the room on Saturday night
December 20, and since I will be at the race site from about 4:00 AM on
Saturday morning until about 6:00 PM Sunday evening, my room will be available
for use by anyone on Saturday night, Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon.  So if you absolutely need a nap or a hot
shower after the race, the room will be available on a first-come first-served
basis.  I’ll have a couple of room keys
at the brown popup timing tent located across the path from the aid station –
just stop by and get the key.  Please
remember to bring it back when you’re done using the room – and please don’t
steal any towels or leave any mess that I would be embarrassed to have to deal
with ;-) .  My standards are pretty low,
but I do have standards ;-) .

 

Please do not
attempt to drive home after running all night without any sleep – I want each
of you to run the race again in future years!

 

Although this is
an ultramarathon in every sense of the word, and we take your efforts very
seriously, I’d like to emphasize that we intend to have a lot of FUN this
weekend!  Although both the Disco Glitter
Ball and the South Park boxer shorts have gone AWOL , the Superman Action
Figure, the leopard-print blanket, and the small white Michael Jackson gloves
will be on-site, and there will probably be some unusual prizes awarded, based
on the whims of the race staff.  We will
attempt to not offend anyone, and we will probably fail in that attempt
;-) .  Allow us some grace to be human
;-) , and we’ll do the same!

 

I have no
last-minute words of wisdom for you ;-) .
Although there is no easy 100-mile race, the mere fact that I finished
this race five years in a row means that the finish line is attainable for each
and every runner who starts this race.
You CAN finish this race!

 

See you in Titusville this weekend!  It looks like it’s going to be a great
weekend to run a hundred miles!

 

Sincerely,

 

Mike Melton

Race Director

mike@mcmelton.com

772-349-1704 cell

 

Update Number 1, posted Friday, October 31, 2014:

The latest Entrants’ List and Wait List has been posted to
the Ancient Oaks 100-Mile Endurance Run website – please take a moment and
check to see that your information looks correct.  If it’s not, please reply to this message
with any corrections.

 

As always, please let me know as soon as possible if you
decide that you can no longer run the race.
Although the Wait List has been reduced from 95 runners down to 57
runners, one of those 57 runners would love to have your Entry if you decide
that you cannot run ;-) .  Don’t be hasty
– wait until you’re sure you’re not running – but if you know you won’t be able
to run, then please allow someone else to take your Entry slot.

 

Since Labor Day, I’ve logged more than 15,000 miles of
travel and have worked 27 races at 11 different locations ranging from Longmont
CO to London, Ontario, Canada to Short Creek, Tennessee, as well as covering
the eastern half of the state of Florida from Miami to St Augustine.  My focus has been on what needs to get done
in the next two days, not the next two months, and I’ve also been focused on
races that provide me a paycheck ;-) , but I realize that Ancient Oaks is fast
approaching and you deserve more attention and information.

 

Regarding travel arrangements, if you’re coming in from out
of town and flying (and do not yet have your flight arrangements), then the
Orlando airports will probably be your best bet.  That’s MCO, the large hub, as well as the
Sanford option.  After that, the closest
airports would probably be Melbourne and Jacksonville, but they will probably
have limited flight schedules and higher pricing.

 

There are PLENTY of cheap hotels in the area of the race –
just Google any hotel website for Titusville, Florida and you’ll find gobs of
options.  The best choices will be
located at Exit 215 off I-95, which is called Hwy 50 or the Cheney
Highway.  All of those places are the
same place ;-) .  Although it’s not yet
been confirmed, I will in all likelihood be domiciled at the Days Inn there
from Thursday evening until Monday morning of race weekend.  If you’re paying more than about $60 for a
room, you should be getting some luxury for it ;-) .

 

In past years, we’ve had a casual pre-race packet pickup at
the IHOP restaurant located at the Days Inn site, and I see no reason to fix
what ain’t broken ;-) .  I will be
stopping at the hotel and restaurant on my way to work the Azalea 12H/24H races
in Palatka on Nov 22, and I’ll post a race update once I’ve confirmed it with
the hotel and restaurant.  Pre-race packet
pickup has been from 4:00 PM until about 7:30 PM.  Should be no change for this year.

 

For last-minute supplies, there is both a Lowe’s and a Home
Depot located at the I-95 interchange, and there’s a 24-hour Wal-Mart
Supercenter located about a half-mile away from that interchange as well.  There are plenty of cheap restaurant choices
there as well.

 

All of this is less than 4 miles from the race site itself,
so it’s an easy jaunt to the event.

 

If you’re driving, please be aware that the park has VERY stringent
rules as to what’s allowable inside the park.
We STRONGLY DISCOURAGE the use of motor homes and/or travel trailers,
since there is NO CAMPING allowed in the park.
Please do everything in your power to avoid bringing a huge vehicle into
the park.  The rule of thumb is that your
vehicle should be able to fit into a standard parking lot parking place – if it
doesn’t, PLEASE let me know as soon as possible, so that I can run interference
for you with the park.  THANK YOU VERY
MUCH for your understanding and cooperation!

 

Regarding tents, please DO NOT bring a camping tent with
you!  We will have two communal 10×10
popup tents located in the picnic area of the race start/finish line, and those
are available for your use.  If you have
any kind of tent, it needs to be 10×10 or smaller, and it needs to be an
obvious day-use type of thing – nothing that looks like it can be slept in ;-) .

 

We’ll have the use of most of the parking lot throughout
the entirety of the race, but the park will be open to the public on both
Saturday and Sunday, so some of the parking lot will be roped off for that
public use.  Please also be conscious of
the public use of the trails, and practice appropriate trail courtesy.

 

The race consists of a 3.46-mile trail loop, so you’ll return
to the start/finish line area 29 times during the race.  For most of you, this will be about every
40-80 minutes, so you will have ample opportunities to resupply yourself either
at our aid station, or from your vehicle.
It is VERY easy to self-crew from your vehicle, since the race runs
right through the parking area at the start of every loop.  I’ve done it myself successfully four
different times ;-) .

 

I’ll have a more detailed race update sent out sometime
during the week of November 10 through the 16, since I’ll be confined to the
timing tent for the Icarus Multi-Day races in Fort Lauderdale for that time
frame ;-) .

 

Thank you for coming to run Ancient Oaks, thank you for
your patience, and I look forward to watching you cross the finish line in the
Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary the third weekend in December!

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