Please refer back to what my spring looked like- Had I trained enough to run 100 Miles?
1. Finish- nothing is guaranteed in life
2.. Don’t Throw up
3. Finish under 24 hours
4. 20-29 AG Course Record (21:17)
Max took a break from this one and I asked Lucas and Janet to crew/ pace me. They were
a godsend. Together they were the perfect balance of OCD and chill. They even made a binder for ME! In OCD-like fashion I, wrote detailed crew instructions for each loop- which included food I wanted (where and when), clothing changes, headlight needs, and an a compilation of pills I must have on me at all times.
I ate my traditional pre-race meal and tried to sleep. Although lights out was at 10 and I took a handful of OTC and RX sleep aids- I didnt sleep much- pre-race anxiety is the worst
5 alarms went off at 2:45AM and COFFEE was first thing on the agenda. I hadn’t had coffee in 3 weeks. Breakfast and then the 30 minute drive to the start. The entire car ride I listened to “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers/Coldplay on repeat. This song is mellow enough to calm my anxiety, yet upbeat enough to get me focused. I spent many stair climbing sessions listening to this on repeat- it made me feel strong and ready to tackle the day.
The race consists of 4 loops- There were 5 aid stations on each loop. Crew was allowed to access 3/5 aid stations. The longest I went with with out seeing my crew was 13 miles.
Loop 1: 26.8 Miles: 4:58
Mantra: “ You only have to run 100 Miles”
The gun went off and a group of 15-20 men scurried ahead of me. I purposefully started with a really CRAP low light headlight to ensure that I wouldn’t start too fast. I walked hills early. After 45 minutes of darkness I could see enough to turn off my light. While jockeying for position early in a 100 miler is not smart- I knew that I wanted to be somewhat near the front of the pack as long as I could kept my heart rate in check.
The first 4.1 mile section is what bikes love and what I as a runner consider “PUDs”- pointless up and downs. Fortunately, there was usually enough momentum from the downhills to get you up the next climb. I ran through the first 2 aid stations and just waved to my attentive crew. On the first two loops is where you get to experience and climb a waterfall- this is what Mohican is known for. Three of us got lost on this section and added minimal bonus mileage. We continued towards Big Lyon Falls and Enchanted Valley and came out at the Pleasant Hill Dam where there was a bonus crew area!
The plan was to dump and refill my pack so I would know exactly how many calories I was consuming. What actually happened when Lucas goes to dump my pack? I frantically exclaim, “NO! NO! TOO MUCH TIME” and then proceeded to guesstimate how much water/ calories I needed. Since I got lost, I fell behind a few women and I wanted to catch up ASAP!
Since the Covered Aid Station is about 1 mile from the crew access point, I ran right through. The section from Covered Aid to Hickory Ridge is where I made my move to the front. There is a lot of climbing in this section and I took off on those hills. While I was trying to make my getaway a root caught me and down I went-That root also took 4 toe nails from me.
The rest of loop 1 is a blur- Since running mostly 24 hour races for the past few years my mantra on this loop when I started to feel tired was, “ You only have to run 100 Miles” which is incredibly refreshing.
Loop 2: 26.8 Miles: 4:59
Mantra: “Run with in yourself”
Loop 2 was all about the ICE and Diet Pepsi Max. Ice in the pack, my bandanna, my bra- anything to fight the heat and humidity. I wasn’t sure how far back any one was- so I made haste and got out of the aid station in NASCAR fashion.
In the months leading up to the race I had done a lot of climbing workouts, but I had done ZERO downhill work. The long loop included 2 LONG sections of stairs that obliterated my quads by mile 85. I don’t know who engineered these stairs- but they should be fired. The stairs width was extremely short and close together and it forced your quads to “break” while going down.
I asked my crew to keep my informed of the race around me by staying an extra 20-30 minutes at the aid station. Every time I asked on loop 2- they told me we waited until we had to leave and saw no one. I still ran conservatively and within myself but I was starting to pick off men slowly.
Before getting to the beginning of the loop- you have to go through a campground. This section was horrible- open, exposed, and scorching hot with a bunch of people staring at you shuffling along while they are trying to enjoy their Father’s Day weekend.
By around the end of Loop 2, I had consumed the 2 Liter of Pepsi Max- I had to send my crew to various convenience stores in Loudonville asking them to buy out all the Diet Pepsi Max’s they could find- because you don’t mess with what’s working.
Loop 3: 23.2 miles:
Mantra: “Run within yourself”
We had a loose pacer plan which possibly started at Mile 54. I decided I was still moving well and to save Lucas for the last loop. While I do believe my heat training paid off, the first 2 hours of the 3rd loop were miserable (3-5pm). It felt like I was roasting from the inside out. All of the kinetic energy I used to keep myself running through those PUD’s was slowly disappearing.
When I arrived at the Fire Tower I was told that I was 4th OA and that 3rd was within eye shot and second was 5-10 minutes ahead. That got me moving again! I gracefully ran by the man in front of me and then was on the hunt for second male.
At this time there were 50 milers and Marathon runners on the course too. Because the bibs were different colors, I was able to take a peek while passing runners to see if I had caught #2. I ran 7 miles to the Covered Bridge with no luck.
After much confusion (they thought I was asking about 2nd F), Jay told me that I was 2 minutes behind #2. Progress! The next section from Covered Bridge to Hickory Ridge while it says its only 5.6 miles it FEELS so MUCH longer. Therefore, I deemed this section the “Forever Section.” During the Forever Section, I chase down what I now think is an imaginary male because I just can’t find him. My crew know that I’m competitive- Maybe they all lied to me and just dangled that carrot to make me move faster??
I arrive at Hickory Ridge and the man taking numbers excitedly says, “WOAH- Do you know your second?” I was as shocked as he was. My only guess was that I passed while #2 was taking a #2 potty break on the side of the trail. Elated- I left and finished loop 3.
Loop 4: 23.2 miles:
Mantra: “DONT be LAZY… MOVE your ASS”
The temperatures were finally starting to break and I was still able to run at a decent pace while power hiking the hills. It was nice to have someone with me because I ran alone for most of the day. We arrived at the first aid station and Janet was there- I switched out my ice bandanna and kept trucking along. Just after the Gorge Overlook, dusk had settled in and my eyes were having a hard time adjusting to the trail- everything just blended in together- which significantly slowed my pace. By the time I got to the Fire Tower (86) it was dark and I was starting to struggle- downhills hurt and steep uphills were met with a string of curse words. I stopped eating and drinking like I should but kept popping salt pills.
When it was flat, I was running, but most of the course is up or down, so there was a lot of shuffling and rock kicking happening. I should have grabbed my ipod, instead I just kept repeating, “Don’t be Lazy” and “Move your ass” until I was running again.
When we finally reach the camp ground and I knew there were no more significant hills, I told Lucas, “Im running” and took off. I wasn’t sure how close the finish was, but I wasn’t stopping until I got there.
I finished in 20:10:17 and immediately sat down in a chair- first time sitting in over 20 hours. I shut my eyes and felt like I could have fallen asleep instantly. Then 5 minutes later, I looked up and said, “I don’t feel so well”. You would have never guessed I had just run 100 miles the speed that I jumped out of that chair to get to an isolated area to throw up 20+ times. I looked and felt bloated… not any more after that!
EXACTLY 24hrs later at 2:45 AM we found ourselves back in a hotel room getting ready for bed instead of chaotically making coffee. They slept while I laid there in pain, starving, but too nauseous to eat. We had all accomplished what we set out to do.
Around 10AM, we drove over early to the awards ceremony to cheer some of the finishers on and so I could get a few of my blisters worked on. Those podiatry interns, God bless them. They dealt with some of the most disgusting feet I have seen.
At the awards ceremony, I found out that the second female was more than 8 hours behind me. It now made sense that Lucas and Janet never saw any one at the aid stations while waiting. I know if my training was up to par and included downhill running, that I could break 19 hours.
1st Female/ 2nd O/A out of 172 Runners
Huge Thanks to my Crew and Pacers: Janet and Lucas. Didn’t miss a beat.
Thanks to my sponsors:
TSTARRUNNING– your skirts keep me cool, chaffe free and looking cute while running lots of miles
ALTRARUNNING– wore the Olympus the entire time and had no issues and your shirt!
DRYMAX– Feet were as dry and comfortable as could be with 95 degree heat and humidity.
XOSKIN– NEW! Excited to be part of the team and to wear gear in upcoming races.