STRAVA Summary

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mohican 100 Mile

Two down, two to go!

Yes, Mohican 100 is in the books and although it wasn’t my fastest 100 yet, it definitely had to be one of the most satisfying races I have done. Why? Let me tell you:

We left Barrie on Friday morning and headed over to Scott Garrett’s to pick him up. Joan hadn’t initially planned on coming as she was supposed to be working on the Barrie Half this weekend, but that didn’t work out and I’ll leave it at that. So to my delight she would come along and crew for me, with Scott and Dave Morl doing the pacing duties. A great mix for a crew; Joan is great with her organizational skills and an expert on the nutritional side with the Isagenix, my main fuel. Scott has run 17 100 milers and ran Mohican last year so would have some great insight and experience to pass on. Dave, who hasn’t run a 100 miler yet, but ran 100 miles at O24, is a strong solid runner and this would help him as much me with some night running on a not so easy course.
With pacers allowed after the second of four loops, we would look at Scott pacing loop 3 and Dave loop 4. That way Scott could get some sleep before driving home Sunday morning.

So we set off for a first stop in Novelty, Ohio to stop in on Dave and have lunch there. Dave would come down and meet us on Saturday later in the day.
We arrived at Dave’s without incident and enjoyed some pizza and salad and then off again to head to our hotel in Wooster. We got there about 5:30 pm and relaxed for a bit before heading out to the race kit pick up and pasta dinner at the race start area in Loudonville.

We did have a few issues with finding the race headquarters, but we can blame that on the GPS unit. We arrived with about 30 minutes to spare for the pasta dinner. Picked up race kit and awaited the race meeting. The usual topics were discussed about markings, dos and don’ts etc. The Midwest Grand Slammers in attendance were introduced and lined up in the front. It was nice to be given some credit for what we were trying to accomplish.

After the pre-race meeting the Slammers got together for a couple of photos and had the opportunity to meet each other.

Back to the hotel to attempt to get to bed early, which didn’t happen! By the time I had all my race stuff laid out and ready, showered and in bed it was already after 10. 3:30 am was going to come quickly.

I didn’t sleep too badly and woke up with a start with my alarm going, thinking that it may have been going for a long time, it hadn’t. I gave us about 30 minutes to get ready, and to be out in the car, it was about 25 minute drive to the race start. We were off in time and only took the essentials as Scott and Joan could come back later to pack and nap if necessary. Unfortunately about half way there I realized I had forgot my gaiters and calf sleeves. Scott dropped us off and drove back to get them hoping that he would be able to meet me at the first aid station.

The start of the race was right on time and off we went. We headed out to the campground down the road and through the campground roads for about a mile before finally hitting the single track trails. Then it was switch backs and climbing for quite a while. Not much we could do here but follow those in front. Nothing wrong with this, being slowed down would help later on. Most of the first 4.3 miles to Gorge Overlook aid station was single track followed by a stretch of forest road (double track) and single track to the aid station. I came into the aid station in 47 minutes and my crew wasn’t there yet, but I really didn’t need anything so I continued on. The temperature was cool, but still a bit muggy, especially in the woods. The next section was 4.5 miles to Fire Tower and was a little easier, some very nice scenic forest trails almost entirely single track. When I got to Fire Tower Joan and Scott were there so I slipped on my sleeves and gaiters and headed back out. It was early, but I was feeling good.
From Fire Tower we would take the long loop for the first two laps and it was rather, rugged, muddy, wet and beautiful. Waterfalls, gorges and climbing up tree routes to get out. We climbed out at the dam and then down the front of it to a flat section of dirt road, some of which was under water. About a mile later we came to Covered Bridge aid station at 15 miles.
To me the next section was the hardest part of the course, up and out of Covered Bridge we would climb, it was probably the hilliest part of the course, but it was also very pretty too. It seemed to take forever to get Hickory Ridge aid station, the 6 miles seemed like 10, but once out of there it was a lot of downhill. Another 6 miles section this was very runnable and I had to make sure I wasn’t running too fast, I got in with a group of runners in front of me to lead the way, but unfortunately some of them just wouldn’t shut up, nothing but talk, talk, talk. Not bad now and then, but not throughout. I had passed them a few times earlier and thought how I didn’t want to get stuck near them, but here I was. There were four guys who were particularly irritating, but one I could tell was suffering a bit already and sure enough he dropped off, before the campground and shortly thereafter another also fell back. Then there were two. Just before the end of lap one another one of them ran into the campground never to be seen again. I finished the loop with the last one, he told this was his 7th Mohican and his 40th 100 miler!!!

I finished the first lap in under 6 hours, which was not bad. Not too fast or slow. Joan and Scott looked after my feet and I just had a moment to sit and relax have an Isagenix shake, some watermelon and off I would go again. I left and followed the same route that we followed at the start, but though it odd that there were no runners in front of me and only one behind that I could see, but I got to the switch backs again and up I climbed. The crowds had thinned out a lot and it was much easier running without someone breathing down your neck. The odd individual could be seen here and there. I’d pass one or they’d pass me. This loop was quite a bit warmer; it was already the middle of the day. Once I got to closer to the waterfall area I hooked up with three other runners, Tim from Tiffin, Ohio, Peter from Chicago and Meredith from Annapolis. Meredith made mention that she had noticed a few runners take the road after the last loop, when the trail was available… yeah that would have been me. So now I knew there was an alternate route through the bush which was less exposed to the sun.
The humidity in the waterfall and gorge area was very high and I was dripping with sweat. At the waterfall I was able to put my head under for some relief, which felt great.
I would use any water to douse my hat and wash cloth that I always bring along with me
for hot runs. The run between Covered Bridge and Hickory Ridge was again very demanding. A couple of miles from Hickory Ridge I hooked up with Dennis Peyton from Louisville, Kentucky. Dennis had been going through some issues and was struggling a bit. I got talking with him and soon he asked to tag along as that might help him. From here we chatted throughout the next few miles and I gave him pointers about how to overcome the negative thoughts, how preserve his energy etc. and this also helped me as we pushed on to the start/ finish area. The time seemed to fly by with someone to talk to. We came into 53 miles with smiles and our faces and finished the second loop in a little over 7 hours, it was also trying to rain, but not much. I wished Dennis good luck as we now had ur pacers ready to go. A quick change of socks, feet lubed up and some more nourishment and off I went with Scott Garrett pacing. Scott is full of great stories and with his experience in doing 100 milers is a great help, especially pacing (12 100 milers in 2012!!!). We started off slowly and spent a lot of time walking. It was still light at this time, we left Mohican at just after 6 pm. This was also the first shorter loop of 23.6 miles, missing out the waterfall section between covered bridge and Hickory ridge. At covered bridge I was suffering a little, just fatigued, but needing a good break. It was getting dark and we put our lamps on. The last section was very humid coming through a low densely forested river bank area. I was not looking forward to the next section from Covered Bridge, but off we went. We walked a lot of this, lots of single track and climbing. Eventually we got to a road crossing into some tall pines and double track and then back into the trails again, and we immediately came across a group of runners around a girl who was having feet issues. She was sitting down and the others were trying to help out, it seemed carrying her out may be the only option. Scott told me to go ahead and he would catch up. So off I went and soon started running, being by myself again seemed to invigorate me and I ran well. A few walks breaks thrown in and then running, until I went over on my right ankle and crashed into a tree! This was just after passing another runner who was rather startled. I quickly picked myself up and was none the worse for wear, so off I went again. Now running a little more tentatively as I thought to myself that I was getting just a little cocky. So I decided to walk until Scott caught up. Scott had some interesting conversations with the girl with the feet problems, but managed to get her going again. Whether she finished or not we will never know. She was “only” doing the 50 miler. We walked up into Hickory Ridge and took a quick break. Here I noticed Brent Colwell sitting with a blanket on, so I asked him how he was doing and that hopefully he wasn’t dropping. He wasn’t, he just needed some time to settle his stomach down and recharge. Off we went to finish off the last 6 miles of this loop. Another 6 and half to 7 hour loop and it was time to switch pacers as Dave had managed to find Joan and was ready to go. I changed into a long sleeve shirt as the temperature had dropped refueled and was ready to go. I told Dave to expect a lot of walking.

Dave is a lot different pacer to Scott, both were great just different in there ways. Scott kept you r mind going with funny stories etc., Dave much quieter, but still had a way to keep your mind off the negative side of things. Scott would take advantage of the next few hours and get some sleep, so he could drive home on Sunday.

Once we got up the switchbacks I started running and surprised myself on well I could still run. Similar to Kettle Moraine I had no stiffness or soreness in my legs, I was just tired. We came into the first aid station and missed Joan there. She was there in the car, but I didn’t see the car. So we just quickly got going again. As we went on my running got better, I didn’t think this would last so I thought I’d take advantage of it while I could. I was apologetic to Dave, because I didn’t think I would be able to run as much as maybe he would want to. But as he said it was all about me here. The next aid station we again seemed to miss Joan, but she caught us as we were leaving. She was tired and a tad grumpy, but that was understandable. I had enough to get me through this now, I just had to get to the end. I promised Dave that the next section was mostly downhill to the ravine and the river, but although the first part was, it kept going back up hill all the time. Dave though this was amusing. I’d only been through this section once on the last loop, so I was a little off with my memory. This section to Covered bridge took a lot longer than I thought it would. Again I was dreading the section out of Covered Bridge. It seemed that my head lamp was losing its battery life and my hand held wasn’t any better, So I decided to change them up. I tried Scotts larger head lamp, but didn’t think it was any good so eventually switched to the cheap little one that he gave me ”just in case”, it worked great and I found that I didn’t need the hand held any more either.
I told Dave to expect a lot of walking in this section, but to my surprise I started to run once we go to the top of the first hill, and continued running. For some reason this section now seemed easier than the last 3 laps. Maybe it was the fact that we had a couple of runners behind us that spurred me on, I’m not sure. I ran this section very strong, walked the hills still but when running I was going well. We came into Hickory Ridge and didn’t stay long at all before heading on, knowing that we only had 6 miles to go. It was starting to rain at this point and rained a little heavier than it had all race. The rain continued until I was only a mile from the finish. It felt good to get cooled off by the rain and soon my shoes were soaked as the single track became flooded, but it was a case of just get it done now. As we got closer I was flying down the trails, Dave was having to remind me to back off a bit and be careful as I almost went over on my ankle a few times. I couldn’t believe that I could run so strongly without any soreness at this stage of a 100 mile race and only 2 weeks after the last race. I felt on top of the world. At some point I realized that sub 26 wasn’t going to happen so there was no hurry to finish, just to finish. I came in once the rain had stopped at 26:11:16. I was extremely happy with that. I had been looking at a 28 hour finish going into the race, so this was a bonus. Over all I felt that this was one of my best races ever based on that this was two weeks after KM100 and how I felt and finished.

Also finished 28th overall out of 98 finishers and about 200 starters. A great feeling of accomplishment with 2 races done and 2 more to come.

I can’t say enough about my crew and pacers: Joan, Scott and Dave. They kept this all together for me.

Bring on Burning River!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Kettle Moraine 100

So Kettle Moraine is done! Over all a great race, where I felt good throughout most of the event, finishing better than I had planned or expected. The first step to the Midwest Grand Slam completed.

We left on Thursday morning from Barrie, car loaded up with less stuff than I thought we would have. Oliver and Joan would be my pacers and crew. We drove to Kalamazoo, Michigan and stayed there Thursday night leaving us a nice 4 hour drive on Friday. While in Kalamazoo we went out for dinner at a nice Indian restaurant that Joan had looked up on the internet and came well recommended and the recommendations were well warranted. We filled up (fuelled up) and then headed out to do a bit of shopping. Back to the hotel we relaxed and hit the sack with no anticipation of having to get up early. The Fairfield Marriott in Kalamazoo, while sufficient for a night’s sleep was disappointing as far as Marriotts go. It was old and in need of much repairs and upgrades. Breakfast was good though!!

We were up fairly early and took our time to get back on the road and headed off to Elkhorn, Wisconsin. The route took us through Indiana and up through Chicago (the only place where we encountered any traffic). We passed another Ontario plate on the way and it just turned out to be Vince Charbeneau from Burlington. Just past Chicago we stopped for lunch and looked for some shopping opportunities (running stuff). We passed a Road Runner Sports and decided to try it and were glad we did. The cheapest gels we’ve found and some good prices on other goods and the best customer service. One thing Americans know how to do better than most!! Also found out that Vince had been in just 20 minutes before us.

On the road again we arrived in Elkhorn earlier than expected and as we couldn’t pick up our race kits until 4 we settled into our room for a bit of a rest. The Hampton Inn was a much better hotel than the Fairfield in Kalamzzoo. Of course I was paying for this one, whereas the other one was a freebie on points.

We headed up to La Grange and the Nordic Trails site for the race pick kit up at 4pm. There was already a crowd there and I immediately bumped into Dave and Kim Bohn from Ottawa. I had run my first 50k with Dave in Haliburton and then met him again a few yearas ago while we were doing the 50 miler at Sulpher Springs. So we got our obligatory photo taken again to add to the two other times we had raced each other. Then we saw Sandy Stiner and her entourage. Joan had kept in touch with Sandy since O24 and was looking forward to seeing her again at KM100. She had a big troop of family with her for the race.

Kettle Moraine is a very low tech event and not much of an “expo” actually a race kit pick up was about it, in a tent at the start area. A nice touch was throwing in a book (Once a Runner) as part of your kit.

Back to the hotel we went and stopped at the Holi Cannoli restaurant on the way back, as it was recommended by Dave and Kim. It was very good. Once at the hotel we went for a dip in the hot tub and then back to the room and made sure we had everything laid out for the next day before hitting the sack.

4:30 came quickly and although I slept fairly well, I was up lots going pee throughout the night. So some oatmeal for breakfast and dressed we were out the door and on our way by 5:10, with only a 15 minute drive to La Grange we had lots of time. Just had to pick up my timing chip and do the usual potty runs.

The race was off and running at 6am and into the cross country ski trails we went to start.
The first 8 miles are on these ski trails which are a roller coaster of small, but sometimes steep hills. My right knee was giving me a bit of grief in this section as I was being very tentative with it. I had it taped and it felt ok, but just a little unstable. I saw Dave ahead of me as he gradually moved further ahead. I never saw Vince in the early going at all and assumed he was behind me. One aid station at 5 miles in a nice tall pines area was fully stocked , but I didn’t stop here. The first aid station to meet my crew was at 7.6 miles, Bluff Rd., here I grabbed a sandwich and some water melon. It was getting humid and I was sweating a lot, even though the temperature was not that hot. I started with taking my S Caps once an hour, but would increase that to every half hour once the humidity rose.

A quick stop in the aid station and back out I went this time into some nice single track to Horseriders aid station which was an unmanned one. I just ran straight through this one. I had been trying to keep the pace to a slow and steady pace and was running with a group of about 4 others and we were running the single track nicely. It was a beautiful area with a mix of terrain and vegetation, from tall pines to crowded brush, area’s with thousands of wild flowers everywhere. The next aid station was Emma Carlin at 15.8 miles and I came in there at just under 3 hours, feeling good and sweaty. I loaded up my pack and had a couple of sandwiches and changed my socks and lubed up my feet.
The next section is notoriously hard, with long stretches of open meadow with exposure to the sun, luckily this year it wasn’t near as hot, but it was still sunny. The other “problem” with the meadows was it could be wet and muddy in spots and it was. This section from Emma Carlin to the next manned aid station at Hwy ZZ was more than 10 miles and usually takes its toll on runners and I know I felt it when I finally came in and saw my crew. They reminded me that I was well ahead of where I needed to be so could back off if I needed. The next section to the turnaround at Suppernong started off nice enough, but I found I struggled through the second half of the 5 miles. The miles seemed to be getting longer! It was in this section that Vince passed me going on the way out already. I was somewhat surprised to see him so far ahead of me.
My crew was there and I sat and enjoyed an extended break taking in extra fluids, a shake and some water melon. I also saw Matt who I had run with off and on for most of the first 26 miles. He was doing the 100k, but dropped at ZZ, he was struggling and had some past injuries that were bothering him. It just wasn’t his day.
I then head back out. The run back from Scuppernong didn’t seem to be as bad, as Matt had said it was more downhill going back. There were still a lot of ups too. Eventually I started running with Bill another “local” runner and we chatted for a long way. We came into Hwy ZZ and I changed socks and lubed my feet again in prep for the wet and mud and sweat of the meadows. I was prepared to walk most of the 10 miles if I had to. I started off running with Bill again and we stayed together for a good portion of this section. At an unmanned station in this section I left Bill behind and didn’t see him till much later in the dark. When I came into Emma Carlin again at 47 miles I was suffering a bit from the long stretches in the meadows. Again a good rest here and a change of socks and I was ready to go again. Although this was one of the best sections of the course and most runnable and with my crews insistence I decided to walk the entire section to Horseriders. With the exception of a few downhill’s that is exactly what I did. I had a lot of runners pass me in this section, but stayed the course anyway. After Horseriders I had renewed energy and ran great. I passed everyone that passed me earlier and a number of others. Just before coming into Bluff at 55.6 miles a thunderstorm hit and it poured down. Initially this felt great breaking the humidity somewhat and refreshing my tired body. It was pouring down when I got to Bluff and I just sat down in the rain and had some noodle soup and a cup of Mountain Dew. At this time I found out to my surprise that Oliver was going to be able to pace me from this point on. I was wondering why he was dressed to run already and hadn’t expected him to join me until the turn around at 100k. Oliver and Joan had been alerted to the early pacing possibility by Sandie’s crew, so we took advantage of it. At this point I was in 90th place out of 233 starters. This was also a low point in the race for me, I was ready to walk for a long time. I warned Oliver of this and he was happy to walk or whatever it takes.
Once back on the trails to the Nordic Center we found ourselves walking with an older guy from Minnesota, Steve. He was full of stories and I found it surprising that this was only his 7th 100 miler and he’d only finished 2. Once we started to hit the hills we had no choice but to run the downhills and this seemed to pick me up a bit again. We arrived at the 100k start/finish are in 14:40 with 38 miles to go. Darkness had set in at this point and we had timed it just right. Getting our lighting systems together and having another extended rest I was out of the aid station before 9 pm. I was surprised at this point that I hadn't seen either Dave or Vince, so I started to worry that maybe they had dropped.
A good section of running and walking the hills ensued and I wasn’t feeling to badly at this point, but in the back of my mind I was already thinking about the final 8 miles on the ski trails again. I wasn’t looking forward to it as it was going to be a hard slog over these hills again.
We came into Bluff Rd again with anticipation of running some new trails shortly afterwards. The first 2.5 miles were a nice change of flat to downhill soft enclosed single track. We flew along this stretch feeling really good. Another unmanned aid station on a road crossing signaled the end of the 2.5 miles and the end of the flat part. We also though the next stage would be another 2.5 miles, but found out that we were wrong and it seemed to go on forever even though it was only just a little over 4 miles, and it wasn’t flat!!! All hilly. A tough section that I struggled on, but finally came into Hwy 12 aid station at just under 19 hours and in 83rd spot. We refuelled again and headed back out quickly for the last 4 miles of running with Oliver. More hills to climb, but we knew the turnaround was approaching. We found it strange that we going to Rice lake, but kept climbing to get there. We arrived finally at 20:23, had a shake, thanked Oliver for the great support and pacing duties and had Joan join me for the next 19 miles back to the finish. 81 miles done and still feeling no soreness at all, just general fatigue. Although I could tell I was having some difficulty with a toe nail or two. I left Rice lake at 2:30 am in 60 place.
Joan did an awesome pacing job and would prod me anytime we came to a downhill we ran well going back to Hwy 12 and didn’t stop long there before heading out again towards Bluff Rd. As we approached the unmanned aid station between Hwy 12 and Bluff we noticed that it was getting light and I was able to shut off the lights. We passed a couple of ladies on the trail and gave us the incentive to stay ahead of them so we tried to run as much as possible.
At Bluff road we were at 93 miles and the end was in site, the temperature had cooled off over night, but I still felt comfortable in a Tshirt, as long as I kept moving! The last dreaded section was left and Joan pushed me well on this, forcing me to drive hard with my arms on the up hills and run well on the down hills. The last 2 miles are flat to uphill and seemed to take forever. We had one 100 miler pass us in this section, but I didn’t care, I was walking most of this anyway. With about one hundred meters to go I could finally see the finish line so we ran (uphill). I had been thinking that it was looking like maybe a 27 hour finish and I would have been happy with anything between 27 and 28 hours. So it quite a shock when with about 30 meters to go I finally saw the clock and it said 25:52:… I was going to finish in less than 26 hours. Holy crap, way faster than I had planned, or expected. My final time was 25:53:15 and I finished 39th out of 233 starters and 113 finishers.

A great race overall. I still have a hard time comprehending how I never felt sore throughout the race, even since the recovery has been amazing. The only affects were an uncomfortable drive back to Michigan after the race. A sore right leg that I couldn’t get comfortable. And some toe nails that don’t look good. Blisters under both big toe nails.
Dave Bohn dropped at the 100k mark and therefore got credit for that. Vince Charbanneau finished in just over 25 hours so he did very well too.
Sandy dropped at 93 miles, so close yet.... Still she got the 100k buckle anyway, so good for her.

I can’t say how much I am thankful to both Joan and Oliver for being there, crewing and their awesome pacing abilities. I am sure Joan’s nutritional know how with the Isagenix products really made the difference, the ionix (adaptagens) drinks at aid stations and the recovery concoction afterwards worked wonders. The shakes throughout the race were about the only thing I could stomach at times.
It's Wednesday now and I’m still feeling good, even went for a run last night and will go on another tonight, but that might be it until Mohican in 9 days. Bring it on!