Well here it is 4 + weeks after the Hallucination 100 and I’m now just writing this race report. Not really sure why it took me this long but I think it’s because the race really has not sunk in until now. It almost seems like yesterday when I first heard about Ultramarathons and people running 100 mile races. I remember my response, “there is no way in hell I would ever run 100 miles, whoever does need to get their heads checked!” hahaha! Well I guess I better schedule my cat scan! Being my first finish, I don’t think it could have ended better!
Now obviously I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about another DNF but I was. I was pretty good at masking that feeling weeks leading up to the race but a few days before it definitely showed. Ask Jess, she called me out a few times. But who wouldn’t be? I started training for this race the week after last year’s debacle! No one wants to fail at the same race 2 years in a row. So I did what I know how to do best, I had fun! I didn’t overly worry about mileage per week or how long my “long” runs were. I ran with my friends as much as I could and if I couldn’t get a friend, I took an ipod. I figured this approached would be my best bet not to over train and kill myself. I just wanted to get to the start line healthy.
Heading into the race I felt really good and confident that I would finish. I knew the course, it hadn’t changed. It was still a 6 loops of 16.7 miles with aid stations every 4 miles. Start/finish served as an station, Graces aid was at mile 4 and 12, then Richie’s Haven was at mile 8. Now, I have done a few 50 milers in the past and I always know something always pops up. And I was right, 2 weeks out my pacer had to drop due to a foot injury. I panicked a little and made a few calls but to no avail. So what would I do? Obviously I’m not gonna drop, I’m way too stubborn for that. Do I keep asking for someone to pace? Or do I say “SCREW IT” and just run? I’m just there to finish right? You guessed right, I said SCREW IT! Just go out and have fun and run the way you know how to!
Fast forward to race day…… I couldn’t have asked for a better day! Low 70’s for the high and in the 40’s for the night. Starting line seemed to have a great field and a lot of fun people to run with. As the race started I just relaxed as much as I could and try to run slower than I did last year for the first lap. I started off with Court Lilly, one of my good friends and training partners, but that was for about 2 miles because he planned on running at slower pace than I did. As I made my way thru the field I made sure I talked to a lot of people and also made sure I showed my appreciation to the volunteers at the aid stations. At the end of the lap you could hear the music from the live band and also see horse shit on the trails. That’s how you would know when you were close to the start/finish. I came thru my first lap in 2:40 which was around 5 min slower than last year and I was in 7th. At the time was pretty comical, because I figured I would be around 15 min slower with the effort I was at. But I guess that was a good sign of what was ahead for me!
Heading into the 2nd lap I grabbed my headlamp and ipod. I knew I was gonna need the headlamp due to the time but I didn’t plan on using my ipod till the 3rd lap at the earliest. I figured if I took it I would have it if I really needed it. As it panned out I didn’t need it at all. I still made conversation with the runners I was around and made friends with the aid station peeps. I was also sticking to my plan of taking Gu’s every 45 min and refilling with Nuun every aid station. So far so good! About ¾ of the way thru the 16.7 mile loop it got dark enough to start using the head lamp. Guess I should have practice more with it cause I ate dirt quickly. Yes, I went down and hard! But I shook it off and laughed a bit and continued onward! End of 2nd loop was 2:45 and in 2nd, which I had no idea of.
3rd loop was nothing special except heading into the Grace aid station the first time I accidently put Gatorade in my bottle instead of water for Nuun but I just went with it. So I also made the decision to go ahead to stop using Gu’s and consume regular food. And the big shocker was when I headed into Graces that second time I saw Courts mom (she was awesome and practically at every aidstation) and she said I was in first!!!! She the first guy had to drop due to some unknown reason. I honestly could have gone without knowing that but now I was forced to race! Crap crap crap crap! I just wanted to relax and run but every runner know if they are in first, whatever race it is, the need to stay there at all costs! 3rd lap time was 3:00hrs.
Changed socks from swiftwick to feetures wool elite. (not my best idea)
4th and 5th lap were not so great to talk about except that I was getting slower, HA! 3:21 and 3:34 were the lap times. Could have used a pacer but I had my tunes to get my by I guess. I was pretty impressed that I was able to stay away from the coke until lap 4. My focus at this time was to stay running as long as I could, walk the hills but just keep moving forward!!!! Just before halfway of my 4th loop I started to feel a hot spot on my left big toe. So at Richie’s Haven aid I stopped and pulled my shoe and sock off and DANG what a freaking humongous blister!!! Doctored her up with some Vaseline and went along my way!
6th lap!!! I was almost there, just one more lap. It’s amazing after 83 miles and you find some way to pick your pace up! At this time I knew Jess would be out there doing her 50k and all the other races took off. So I was pumped not to be ALONE anymore! Just after headin out on my last loop I came upon the marathon runners which made me seem as slow as a turtle but it was so great to see them, plus I saw someone I knew which gave me a boost of energy! Saw Jess right before the first Graces aid, she could tell you I wasn’t very talkative at that point. Also saw her again right before Graces again for the second time and still I wasn’t very delightful! Eye of the tiger, I wanted to get to the end as soon as I could! I sooo ready to finish I barely even stopped to fill my bottle. The last 4 miles seemed brutal, but I ran all the hills I walked the previous laps. I took my headphones off and was listening for the band at the finish. When I could hear them I knew I was close, but it seemed forever! Up down Up down where is this music, when will I be able to smell the campfires from all the people camping?? BOOM!!! There the faint music was, I am ALMOST there! And all of sudden out of nowhere, the campsite appeared! I tried to put on the best smile I could and I ran until the end! I was DONE! 18:42 was the final time, which meant I ran the last loop in 3:19, faster than the my 4th and 5th loop! Not only did I finish but I finished first. Honestly I really don’t care about the first place, yes it’s nice, but I was more impressed that I came back from a horrible showing the year before and ran way beyond what I thought I could!
Not that I really expect a lot of people to read this but if you do this should show you anything is possible. Yes we fail and probably fail more than we succeed but when we do succeed its SOOOO WORTH IT!!!! Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!
PS... this was also Jess's first 50K and she rocked it!