First Female, Second Overall
CR/ PR at 15:47:06
The Back Story: The Pistol Ultra Races introduced a new elusive award this year: the Double Barrel Award. Initially it was for runners who completed the 50K in the morning and then the 50 miler at night. However, someone brought up that a few others and myself could potentially run the 100K and then the 50 miler and still finish in time. The thought crossed my mind, but I wasn’t going to run over 100 miles with out getting a belt buckle for it. I jokingly said to Will, I would run the 100M and then the 50 miler for that trophy. He worked with the timing company to allow for a late start and this opportunity was mine for the taking. I hesitantly signed up- thinking it would be a good opportunity to push through more miles that were not constrained to a 24-hour time limit. It was decided- I would do 15- 10 mile (almost USATF certified) loops under 30 hours.
The drive down was uneventful. 6.5 hours of primarily highway 81. We (Max, Ashley, and I) arrived at the high school just in time for the briefing. The entrants swag is some of the best I have ever received. PLUS for WOMEN- the shirts they give you are women’s cut! I ate my packable dinner at the hotel and hit the sack at 9:15p.m.
WHACK!!!!– I was startled awake by my loving sister whaling a pillow at my head. My alarm being softer than anticipated didn’t do the trick. The car was covered with ICE- it was colder than I anticipated, but I knew it would warm up. At 8:00 we were off.
The course was similar to last year. The 100 miler/ 50 milers didn’t need to go around a park after Woody’s Aid station, instead they touched the timing mat and turned around. This mileage was made up by running UP THE HILL to the high-school- it’s a gentle grade, but no doubt a hill late in the race. Even though last years course had a short steep hill into the finish- I think this year’s course was more challenging because the hill was so long (for a road 100… let be clear this would not be anything to mention in a Mountain 100 miler.)
Loop 1: I ran (no hill walking) the entire first lap with Greg Armstrong. We ran the first part of the lollipop (9 miles out to another aid station and back to start/ finish, I made the comment, “Oh cool we wont have to go into that park and do that hill.” I was wrong. I got back to Max and got a new bottle. As we crossed the start/ finish for the start of the second loop, Greg asked what my watch said, “11.07”, his said “11.09”, another persons said “11.1”.
*** Spoiler alert:*** The course was revised later in the race. I spoke with Will and he feels terrible about what happened and the distress it caused the runners. He has promised that the course distance issues will be taken care of for all future events and it will read closer to what GPS watches read.
Immediately, My mind started racing. How was I supposed to run 165 miles in 30 hours? I was already nervous about my ability to reach 150 miles in 30 hours. I thought of how pathetic this is compared the great runners like Katy, Traci and Maggie who were all around 150 miles in 24 hours and I aspire to be like them one day… BUT I’m not there YET. I was devastated- how was I going to run 165 miles in 30 hours. It was only another 15 miles- but when my legs are exhausted- there was no way.
Loop 2: I started implementing my hill walking strategy for a few of the longer hills. Each hill was only given 10 seconds walk break (if it took that long) if the hill was longer than that I would run the rest of it. Our pace quickened while we chatted about the course. I realized this after a few miles and said I need to slow down if I’m going to be running this long. I had to take a potty break and lost Greg at this point. I tried to catch back up, but decided that would be stupid.
Loop 3: I was stressed- Dr. Horton made a big deal that I was going to run 150 miles in the prerace meeting and I didn’t want to disappoint others. I started thinking of just forgoing the 50 miler. Usually when I run- I don’t think, it’s a Zen state of mind, but I was all in my head.
Loop 4: Meltdown anyone?!? I was on the verge of tears when I ran into Horton and
expressed my frustration. His advice is direct and to the point and slapped me into shape. “It is what it is, you cant change it- don’t think, just run” Off I went thinking of puppies (my neighbor just got one) and hot chocolate.
Loop 5: My Meltdown got communicated back to Max and he was there ready to run this loop with me. This was the best surprise ever- just what I needed. As someone who runs on USATF certified courses often- I usually hit 50 miles around 7:40ish. Here I was at 8:26. Max and I brainstormed about what to do. Do I run for 30 hours and risk DNF’ing? Do I run for 24 hours and see if I had any improvement in my previous mileage? 165 was just too much to comprehend so we decided that it wasn’t worth the exhaustion and stress on the body to do it.
Loop 6: I changed into my warmer night clothes. I asked where/ who 2nd was, but its hard to tell with this course unless they are within 10-15 minutes of you. Once that decision was made- the weight of the world was off of me -Sweet relief. I was so much happier- I decided to start hammering down and picked up the pace.
Loop 7: Reached 75 Garmin miles in 12 hours- Thought “hey that’s pretty fast!”. I chatted with Kathy for a few minutes around the turn around spot. Ran into Gray hanging out at the aid station and vented a little to him and told him that I wasn’t going for the 150 any more. I left the aid station and got about ½ mile away before I hear someone screaming my name and pounding behind me. Gray was at the aid station when they were radioed that there was a course revision. ONLY 9 LOOPS for the 100 miler now! “I just ran my ass off to catch you and tell you” And for that Gray, I am forever grateful. I was Elated, I mean I shouted it from the rooftops to every single runner that I saw and I ran faster. I looked at my watch and realized that a sub 16 hour was possible.
Loop 8: I hammered, hammered, hammered- seriously, I had to remind myself to take it easy and to walk a few of the hills. I was in such a hurry to get through my crew stop ran through my personal aid station, forgetting about the hand warmers I packed. Just when I was telling myself to man up about my cold fingers- Stacy Bolyard offered me her hand warmer. Destiny! Much gratitude for those. I saw Greg and he looked strong for his final loop. I knew I couldn’t catch him, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try
Loop 9. Max showed me a small bag of broken peanut butter saltines- I fiercely grabbed a handful of broken pieces and shoved half of them in my mouth. I ran my heart out. Every single hill and mile this last loop was run with reckless abandon. I readjusted my water bottle and later realized in the process of that I had dropped all of my cracker pieces. I came into Woodies the second time and grabbed a few potatoes and choked them down on the way out. Coming around for the final lollipop, I looked at my watch and was 15:45 possible?- maybe… until that DAMN hill in the park. I kept running. Coming into the finish I saw 15:46: 54, (You’ve got this) 55 (C’mon legs), 56 (RUN FASTER, DAMMIT), 57 (I should’ve done more sprint workouts), 58 MOVE LEGS, 59- awww crap.
I was rushed into the tent and given a space blanket. They asked if I was going to go for the 50 and I told them honestly that if the course revision would have come at loop 4, or even loop 5- I wouldn’t be in this tent. I would be out starting the 50-mile race. While I struggled with the stress of disappointing people, THIS CR/PR time of 15:47 makes up for it. I was 100%content in leaving and I had left every ounce of energy out on the course. I thought I had peaked last year with my 16:24 here. Now- could I have continued to run ?– yes- but the BONK would have come and it would have been awful.
After shivering through pictures, I was put in the heating tent to warm up a little bit. I didn’t realize how cold it had gotten because I was keeping myself warm by running. I changed clothes, took advantage of the free 5 minute massage. We left at 1am for the drive back. It took 7.5 hours, each taking turns driving through the night (even I took 2 1.5 hour shifts). Getting in a car for that long after a race is rough.
This is an Excellent run race. One of the premier Road 100 milers in the country- no doubt.
It is the perfect race for someone’s first 100. The loops have the perfect amount of flat runnable and forced walk breaks. Will is somehow everywhere at once taking care of issues, runners and putting out fires. The aid and encouragement on course is comparable to a VHTRC event- and that is saying a lot. The swag alone for this race is a reason to run it. He and his wife, Gail, are thoughtful in giving things that runners can and will actually use.
Even though there was initially a hiccup in the distance- I will definitely be back for that double barrel 100M +50M award. It will all depend on my standings in the 24 hour races, if it will be 2017 or 2018.
I am always grateful for my sponsors:
TSTARRUNNING- your skirts are cute, chaffe free and functional.
Altra: Thank you for having me back as an ambassador. My feet loved the Paradigms 1.5’s in this race.
Honey Stinger- chews. yum.
Additionally I would like to give a shout out to ALTRA, Tailwind, Injinji, and Orange Mud- your sponsorship of this race is awesome and I appreciate my rewards