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!

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