So I guess that gets the good news out of the way. I finally finished a 100, even if it was 27 hours slow, on an "easy" 100 course.
I took off work the Friday before, and made it to Hunstville State Park just in time to go to the meeting. I saw several folks from Colorado, and some that I had met this past Fall doing the Tejas Trails events.
After the meeting Jon and I had pre run pasta at the Olive Garden with a few folks from Colorado.
I got up early, feeling good on Saturday morning. Even on days when I have good runs, the morning usually feels a little rushed, or off. Not this day, everything was perfect, and I was ready to go.
|I don't know what that face is, but I look like a West Virginia coal miner|
I started the race wearing a light jacket, a headlamp, and my Saucony Kinvara 3 road shoes. They fit so perfectly. I started implementing my new strategies from all my mistakes in Leadville right away. I walked for 10 minutes to start the race, and then did my best to go slow. Despite this, I still finished the first lap in just under 4 hours. I probably should have gone a little slower, but again I felt great, the shoes were awesome, and I was pretty jacked up.
I guess I was noticeably jacked up because they mentioned it as I cam through, and Jon made me slow down, and asked me to walk 10 minutes again to start the second lap, and I obliged.
|3 hours and 52 minutes = 20 miles|
The second lap started really well, and I was even making myself go a little slower, but then it started warming up quickly. Once I got through Damnation Aid Station the 2nd time on my 2nd lap (about 12 miles into the loop, and 32 miles into the race, it really started to hit me. I ate pickles, and drank extra water and Heed, and also made sure to down several salt tabs. I made myself walk about half of the way over to the Park Road aid station to cool off (this section is also the most exposed). Once I got back under the trees I ran more, and started feeling good after taking extra care of myself at the past 2 aid stations.
I had gotten a little worried that I might keep feeling bad, but it passed, and I was feeling better again by the time I rolled into start/finish. The heat had caused me to run this lap an entire hour slower than the first one. I was now 40 miles and 8 hours 43 minutes into the race.
|4hours and 51 minutes|
My feet were feeling great, so I had to have a little debate with Jon. I convinced him that I was still sane, and it was early enough for me to make decisions. I needed to change into the new pair of Kinvara 3s, but I didn't want to change socks because my feet were feeling so great. I won, and after gassing up, I got back out on the trail.
I had to bring my head lamp with me, because I would finish this lap in the dark. This lap went very well, I was pounding pickles, and eating a ton, and started drinking broth towards the end of the lap. In case you don't know, I love chicken noodle soup or ramen broth, not the noodles, just the broth during the race. It is my magic juice. I honestly don't remember a lot about this race. I know I met a pretty cool chick from Lousiana, and I saw Les several time, and towards the end I met another girl named Katrina, then I left her with an old golf coach buddy of mine (Jason Drake) who was about to finish his first 50.
I came in to start/finish, and Amie James had just finished her first 50. Her and her husband Richard direct the Gusher Marathon in Beaumont.
|I tried to block the light at Richard's request...I missed|
This lap took 5 hours and 1 minute. Essentially the same time that I had run the second lap. So now I was 13 hours 44 minutes, and 60 miles into the run. I was noticeably slowing towards the end of the lap, but emotionally and physically I was fine. No injuries or feeling bad in any way.
|Me and the nephew pst 60 miles|
I won the sock debate again this time, as I switch into my recently purchased Montrail Rogue Flys. Those are some comfortable shoes. I should have listened to Jon though. About half way through this lap, I started getting this sandpaper effect on the balls of my feet. It was pretty bad by the time we finished the lap. I didn't wear the jacket at all during our lap. The darkness did not bring on the coolness like I thought it might.
I did start to get a little loopy during the lap, but overall not too bad. Jon took really good care of me, and the time went by pretty quickly (this is relatively speaking of course).
Between Damnation and Damnation there is a section I really like, and I ran it every lap, even the last one. I actually flew through it faster than I should have on this lap, but hey "worked didn't it."
This is the lap that I started noticing my build up to run. I would walk, and then it was the merry go round effect. My arms would start moving, and I would take these little shuffle step, and then I would be running almost normally within a few strides. The whole thing seemed to me to be like an old fairground merry go round being plugged in, with the music slowly coming to life with the bobbing of the hobby horses. Like I said, this is the part where I first started to feel a little loopy
I finally decided to change socks, and to go with the Hokas for the final lap. I didn't tell anyone about the sandpapered feet. I had refused to tell Jon about it while he was pacing for me. I got new socks, but the damage was done. I put the Hokas on, made my second boo boo of the race, and headed out. I was now 80 miles and 19 hours 30-someting minutes into the race (the last lap having taken 5 hours and 49 minutes).
The Hokas have a little more "slide" to them. What I mean is that there is more room in them, and they can sometimes create "hotspots" for blisters. This seemed to increase the sandpaper feeling on the balls of my feet. Kirk did an excellent job, and we got pretty silly out on the trail. The best conversation was about how old country music had stumbled upon the genius of adding in the hammer sound effect in songs (think Jimmie Dean's Big John and Alabama's 40 Hour Week).
It got cold, or at least I got cold. I had only brought my thin rain jacket on the lap with us since the lap with Jon had been so warm. The cold turned out to be worse than the feet. The only other issue was a cramp that started high on the inside of my left calf after passing through Damnation for the final time. The only other slow down was the fact that my headlamp was going through batteries very quickly.
Even though this final lap took 7 hours and 36 minutes, it really didn't seem to be that long. With about a mile to go, my nephew showed up on the course. It was a nice pick me up, and we started jogging in the last little bit.
Mom had gotten the buckle from Joe (the race director), so she could give it to me as I finished. His hand was the one I was shaking while hugging mom.
It is definitely an interesting feeling when you finish. You are weary, but you aren't sure if you should sit for fear of what it might feel like to get back up. Everyone was standing around talking, and I actually said "what do I do now?" I literally wasn't sure how to react, or what to do. Luckily, after a few pictures, and a million thank yous that could never be enough, Trey was there to take me back to the RV to get some snooze before we hit the road. That whole last lap I could think of nothing much more than sleep.
Only these guys hopped in the picture as "the crew," but everyone there did so much for me, and I will never be able to thank them enough. These guys were amazing though. They did everything from cleaning my feet, to preparing bottles, and everything else for me. They are awesome.
The next couple of days I hobbled around like an old man. This was mostly because that calf cramp at about mile 92 lingered. In fact, it was the only lingering feeling after 2-3 days.
There is an interesting thought that came after finishing. I thought getting a 100 under my belt before heading back to Colorado for the summer would be a really good thing, and I am sure that it is, but it created doubt. If it took me 27 hours, and I struggled at times on this "easy" 100, is there really any realistic way that I can actually finish Leadville?
There is only one way to find out...