So it's difficult to pack for 100-mile race when you have zero idea of what a 100-mile race will be like. I looked at everyone's race checklists and tried to sort out the stuff I'd need, but of course I found myself running around like a crazy person on Thursday night before the race trying to pack and figure it all out. After setting 6 alarms for 5:00am, I finally got to bed at midnight. Not the optimal night prior to a 100-mile race planning, I know.
The next morning was a little better. Got up and ate 2 packets of oatmeal, loaded the car, and headed south. Alicia grabbed the dogs and headed south shortly thereafter in the truck. Made it to the campground by 7:15 to check in and fill my Nathan's vest, change shoes (out of the NB Minimus Trail and into the NB MT101--a lifesaving move at Zumbro), and hit the head one last time before RD John Storkamp gathered everyone for the pre-race meeting.
|Jordan Hanlon and me at the pre-race meeting, second before the start!|
It was chilly before the start, and I made the rookie mistake of being hugely overdressed. In the picture above, I had on shorts (good call), a base t-shirt (still fine), a long-sleeved wool shirt (too much--left it at aid station #2/3), a jacket (which is surprisingly warm--also too much), a hat (didn't need it right away, ended up strapping it to the vest on lap #1 and then losing it at the beginning of lap #2, only noticing when I went to grab it when I was sweating my ass off after aid station #1 on lap #2), sunglasses (leave them in the car for trail runs through the woods), and the Nathan's vest (too much in such a well-supported race--two handhelds would have been ideal). Jordan was better dressed than I was, and ditched the hat, gloves, and glasses at aid station #1. Adam in the Salamon calf and arm sleeves behind us nailed it. Meh, next time.
John sent us out right after the pre-race talk, and right away I wanted to run! Mistake. I didn't feel like I was pushing. I was chatting with Jordan and we were walking up any hill taller than me. I felt fine, but looking back, it was too much. I ran the downhills the entire lap. I love downhills. Jordan pegged the term, "controlled falling," which is perfect! But by the end, my right foot started hurting from the abuse. I simply wasn't prepared for this much rock. I don't know if I can run the NB MT101 here, even with the rock plate. Just thank the lord I didn't stay in the NB Minimus Trail shoes. I imagine that would have been disastrous. Definitely not enough protection under the forefoot.
I ran with Jordan until Aid #2, about 10 miles in. We were cruising. I think we came into Aid #3 in second and third place (two front-runners took a wrong turn early and ended up back at the start). After Aid #2 you run a short section through a lot of sand, then up, up, and up a pretty long hill with really soft footing. That's where I said goodbye to Jordan. I can't climb with that 130-pound burst of energy. Gravity aids me in the downhills, and he's nice enough to wait for me on the straights, but up hills, I have zero shot at hanging with him. I lost a few places in the 4 miles between Aid #2 and #3, but I was still moving really well and had zero notions of being towards the front anyway. I was just trying to run comfortably. Silly rookie mistake. After Aid #3 though, the shit hit the fan.
I came in, refilled the Nathan's vest (which was already starting to become a pain in the ass--the thing takes too long to fill up, it's really heavy when completely full, and it takes a second to get the air out of so it doesn't slosh), and was off again through the woods alone. Somewhere along the line, I thought, "Gee, haven't seen a flag for a bit," looked around, saw one off in the distance, and ran to it. I followed the trail for a bit, but then it started looking familiar and I realized the flags were on the wrong side of the trail. Yep, I was running back towards Aid #1 on the trail between Aid #1 and #2. I cursed, turned around, and ran back towards Aid #2/3. All told, I probably lost a mile or maybe a bit more. Silly mistake. Got back on the trail and headed up the epic climb out of Aid #3 with a fellow rookie (who also climbed better than I did). At the top of that climb, I met Zach Pierce and his camera, and he took a few great pictures of me. Thanks Zach!
|Really a great view of the Zumbro River Valley|
Lap #2 was hot. I figured out that I lost my hat at Aid #1 on Lap #2, and doubled that mistake by not filling the Nathan's vest before embarking to Aid #2, misreading and misremembering the distance to Aid #3 as 3+ miles instead of the 6+ it actually is. On the hottest part of the day, I ran out of water, which really slowed my progress. Also, the heat of the day had turned a nice runnable portion of the course into wet and muck, and I was trying to keep my feet dry. I graciously got a drink of water from one of the other runners who passed me on the big climb over the hill to Aid #2. The rest of Lap #2 was pretty vanilla, and I finished in the 5 1/2 hour range. Still feeling decent, though.
Lap #3 was headlamp time, and my dad packed up to go out with me. I didn't know how much he was going to run with me, but I told him it wasn't really running at this point anyway. I was really slowing down.
|Alicia and me at Aid #1, Lap #3|
I toweled off, changed clothes, grabbed some food, and crawled into the tent for some well needed sleep. I was beat. Nature's call pulled me out of bed in the morning, and I welcomed the stumble to the bathroom with a quick dry-heave before laying back down for a bit. Eventually, I got up and ate breakfast with Bob and Kathy. Bob's a coworker who came down to camp for the night! And I hung out until Jordan and his pacer, Ben, finished in 29 hours and change.
|Great job guys!|
Anyways, 100k 6 weeks off an injury isn't too bad. I'll make a shot at Sawtooth in September, and I'll be back for Zumbro next year.