How do you try to put into words what 30+ hours of endurance felt like?
It all started the Friday before the race, I picked up my packet and watched some of the 150 milers doing their loop. I timed it right and saw the top 3 people finishing 30 miles.
On race day, Saturday morning I was up at 3:00am, to get my stuff finally organized and headed to the race to drop of my gear at that drop zone (A place to have your own personal aid station). I was taking my time to get settled and get ready, then I went to go get a closer parking to the start of the race. Since it had been raining during the night, my wheels spun trying to get out of the parking spot. Crap, my car is stuck in the mud. After several people helping me and several moments of shear panic, I was able to get towed out and find more level ground. Now that would have sucked coming to this after completing the race.
So the start was a 6:00am, it was still dark and I used a headlamp for good measure. My plan was just to take one loop at a time. It was pretty surreal starting out, I didn't want to think how long or how many miles ahead of me, just run the first 10 miles and feel the course out.
Loop/Lap 1 ~ 2:08:50.68 12:53/M 10.000
At the beginning the 10 mile loop was actually still in great shape, there was muddy spots but most of it was pretty runnable. I planned to just stay in zone 2 heart rate and not care about how many people passed me along the way. After the first hill we headed out to a open area before the single track. There was a bagpiper belting out a tune, ahhh the sounds of nature.. So after a couple more miles the 1st water crossing was upon me. The race director said to go right if you wanted to go to the more shallow end (knee deep), if you went straight across it was close to 5 feet deep. There was another water crossing further along, ankle deep. So 2 water crossings per loop, yup 20 times of water fun. So the rest of the loop was easy going, felt great and I had the fastest split time ever for me at McNaughton:
Loop/Lap 2 ~ 2:18:51.57 13:53/M 20.000
The plan after each loop was to consume one ENSURE drink and try to eat as much of my PB&J crustables I could stomach. So after that I was off again. I just tried to keep an even pace. Run the flats, walk up the hills, and be cautious on the descents. So a couple of miles into loop 2 Travis caught up to me. He did his first 50 miler at McNaughton last year as well and was also attempting his 1st 100 miler today. We proceeded to run together talking about life, the trails, and people we have run into so far. It was great running with him because we both had the same positive attitude. Time and the miles just flew by, so loop two was in the books.
Loop/Lap 3 ~ 2:26:22.98 14:38/M 30.000
So another quick stop, more liquid nutritional calories and Me and Travis were off again on our third loop. So around the end of the 1st mud climb we ran into fellow ChiA runner Brian (he was doing the 50 miler). We chatted a little bit and headed on ahead. Things were going smoothly, run strategy was going great, and I was way ahead of my time goal splits. Then on one of the hills my left leg started to cramp, I told Travis to go ahead. So with the cramping I had to do a different strategy, let me try walking up sideways up the hill. That seemed to do the trick and elevate the pressure on my cramping muscle. So 30 miles done and another 70 to go, woohoo, actually tried to not think about how much I had left to do.
Loop/Lap 4 2:35:10.86 15:31/M 40.000
I usually don't race with any music, even my 50 milers, but 100 milers, Yeah I think I needed to. So I put them on, fueled up, and was off again. I was off running on my own again, still feeling pretty good, heart rate was still in my correct zone, and I did not feel tired at all. The trail was still in good shape and I even might beat my 50 mile mark set from last year race at McNaughton.
Loop/Lap 5 2:55:39.93 17:34/M 50.000
Woohoo, I'm pretty sure I PR'ed at the 50 miler, even just by a couple of minutes. So I'll take it for now, I thought for myself. Now the hard part was coming. NIGHT RUNNING!!! So I got ready for the night, changing my shoes, socks, warmer clothing, and lighting gear to see my way through the darkness. I was off again to do the longest running miles ever in my life. I was still running well, then near the 1st water crossing, I came across a set of eyes, one high, and one low. Could not figure what it was. It was a lady walking her dog. It was BIG DOG, German Shepard. I asked which way you want me to pass, left or right. So I went left, then the dog growled, barked, and totally wanted to rip me another ASSHOLE. Dang lady, no leash, she was barely holding on to him with his collar. So I tried to put as much space I could between me and that angry dog. I just hoped she did not cross path with any other runner. Imagine that, being taken out of race because of dog attack, not by the race itself.
Loop/Lap 6 3:48:19.15 22:50/M 60.000
Darkness, that is all I could say, not sure if it was raining, snowing, or what, but it was getting a tad bit colder running around. I was starting to get a little tired at this point, I even drank my double espresso Starbucks can drink before I left for my loop. That did not deter me from yawning and thoughts of a warm bed right now would be just sooo wonderful. The trail was starting to get more slippery and the thought of falling off the single track into a big ditch was not to appealing, but possible. So I tried to stay alert and be more cautious on the dangerous sections of the course. At this point I screamed, talked, and played mind games to stay focused and stay awake. I actually started to see things, tree logs started to look like creatures of the night. Also for the 1st time I had doubts and questioned what I was doing. It was a slow loop but with a cup of warm noodle soup I got through it nonetheless.
Loop/Lap 7 4:12:44.91 25:16/M 70.000
By far this was the most challenging loop, after falling allot during my last loop, I decided to regroup and try to "power" walk this loop and see how much time it would take me. I was starting to get even more tired. I stopped once or twice and just stood there and closed my eyes for about 20 seconds to get a little rest. It was pretty quite out there, I hardly saw any runners and one time heard male voices, but nobody seemed to be there. That put the heebeejeeves in me, so I quickened my pace and kept looking back every couple of seconds. More cups of noodle soup, pieces of Pb&J, and soft sounds from my Ipod were the only thing that kept me going and finally finishing the 7 Th loop.
Loop /Lap 8 3:54:11.22 23:25/M 80.000
In the beginning of this lap I realized I had lost alot of the buffer of time I had during the day to reach my time goal. So after more Ensure, hot coffee, and my last can of canned Starbucks double espresso I headed off into the night again. I know I needed to go faster in order to reach 80 miles by the time sunrise came about. I was still pretty tired and getting more cold. So I decided to try to use my run strategy I had during the start of this crazy event. So I started to run, run in the darkness like a zombie. It actually was a great thing, it gave me my second wind and woke me up, warmed my chilled bones, as I waited for my defining moment. "SUNRISE," I knew if I can see Sunday's sunrise I would finish this event. The sunrise came slowly but I was still going and that was the most important part. Eventhough I was still about 30 minutes behind my schedule, I only had 20 miles to go. THANK GOD...
Loop/Lap 9 3:20:56.06 20:06/M 90.000
So while getting more nutrition and getting ready on my next lap, the Race Director comes over and tells me I was in 10th and now jumped to 6th place during my previous loop. I was pretty much in shock and just told him I was just trying to survive out there. So after dumping my lighting gear, I changed my hat and wore my Iron Man hat for the last 20 miles for luck. "It was time to earn your keep", I said to myself. It was great again to see where I was going, it was still pretty much shoe sucking mud at certain points but like being a zombie runner most of the night I felt like a trail runner once again. As the miles clicked off I tried to keep focused and just live in the moment, but my legs were starting to getting tired. But I finished and WOW, one more lap to go.
The FINAL LAP!! Lap 10 3:07:47.89 18:47/M 100.000
As soon as I finished mile 90, the Race director screams out at me, your in 4th place now, and there is the guy in 5th right behind you. All the volunteers were prodding me to run like the wind. "NO TIES OUT HERE", "RUN 7 MINUTES MILES, YOU CAN DO IT". Crap, something a person wants to hear after going 90 miles already. So I said what the hell, I hastened my aid station stop and took off as best I could. What was the difference between 4th and 5th place, nothing really just a number. But I wanted to leave everything out there when I was done. So my strategy was me to get as much distance I could get so I could deter his will to even try to catch up to me. I starting running, my breathing became harder, my legs were getting really fatigued, "C'mon give everything you got, these last 10 miles". I was actually doing pretty good putting distance between me and the 5th place person. I did not want him to see me and my plan was working. Two miles left I heard voices, crap, wasn't even sure if it was the 5th place person, but I kept running even when my body was telling me to stop. So with the last foot bridge, the finish line was in site, so guess what, I started sprinting best I could, waving my arms so they could see me approach.
I WAS DONE, 30 hours and 48 minutes later, I WAS A 100 MILE FINISHER, 4th Place Overall, 3rd place overall among the men.
I shook peoples hands and saw my training friends screaming from their car to congratulate me for finishing.
It was a great crazy two days, I experienced alot of things during this time. To many to even write in this long post.
I was happy to finish, to set up the "goal post" where some people thought was to far for me to reach. But I believed in myself and my training friends believed in me. That is what so special of that moment. To spend that moment with them as well.
So what's next, besides alot of rest for my still tired feet. It is the McNaughton 50/100/150 mile races. Hmm, the McNaughton 150 miler, maybe one day, for now 100 miles is far plenty for me.
Thanks for everybody for reading and sharing this with me. It was a journey, a journey of 100 miles and then some I will always remember.