6 times I had tried to run 100 miles and not finished. Outside my two attempts at other courses on different surfaces, one on road and one on mountains, all of the other four attempts were on this course. None of those attempts were crewed or paced attempts so this time I asked fellow runners for help. A medical researcher sent out an email that he would be researching at the race also so I signed up for it. I booked a hotel room for the duration of the race.
I got up at 4 am and ate a Larabar and showered and applied sport shield and put on my injinji toe socks, north face shorts, zansah calf sleeves, wild Sebastian shirt, salomon two bottle waist pack, a Garmin 310 xt, a polar hr monitor watch, and a zombie runner hat that came free with my trail Hoka’s that I put in a drop bag. I loaded my drop bags in the car and went to the race.
I got out of the car and took off my Altra casual shoes and put on my Hola road shoes. I took my drop bags to the start area. As I milled about I noticed that my pacer and his girlfriend were already there! We stood around chatting. I actually got back my hat and glasses from Keys 100k (yeah that’s what I call my 65 mile DNF)! That was a surprise! So I put the glasses on and we lined up. 3, 2, 1, go!
All 25 miles of lap 1 here we go! It was 55 degrees at the start. I could tell because it was that exact temperature where my fingers start to tingle in the cold when I run. It was great! Staying in my hr zone under 145 bpm I jogged along slowly but without any of the fear or anxiety that I had felt in previous attempts. This was an old hat. I felt more like I was jogging on my usual route than exploring anything new. I pretty much cruised around lap 1 a little over 5 hours, slightly slower than my goal pace, and had a good time seeing the Sebastian River Preserve again.
It’s getting to the hotter part of the day by now. Back at the start finish again and I had the same problem as last November. I forgot to take salt and hit a low at 26 where my heart rate went to 161 and my pace went to 13:30. I got frantic and thought I was dying for a second until I realized that I had forgot salt. Soon after I took it my pace returned and my hr went back to less than 145 at higher pace. I was back on schedule and cruising. By the time I rolled through mile 50 I had a worst case scenario time for lap 2 of 7 hours. I was pretty pissed about it. I knew this wasn’t my best effort but all I could do was try to not fall all the way off the backside and DNF again. Anyway that was impossible now. My crew and pacers were in full swing. I really would have dropped right at mile 50 if not for them. My pacer dragged my corpse around the next 10 miles in a series of games where he would walk fast, I had to run to catch up, then he would run with me until I stopped again. At this point the game would start over. It worked. We got there. Handoff to a new pacer. Walking out of mile 60 my legs were shutting down. I was in a full death march. 20 minute miles. Pacer tried to get me to take an ibuprofen and I refused and marched all the way to 64. Seriously check out the Strava data for this mile on my 74 mile chunk. So at 64 they asked me if I needed anything and I went full crazy mode and said I guess I’m going to need that ibuprofen or I’ll never get out of this death march. I didn’t believe it either but it actually worked! I could go again!
Mile 75 in just under 20 hours! I was ok with that. I was slightly faster than worst case scenario pace. I wasn’t really proud of that but at the same time I just beat my last time to this distance by 3 hours so I was a little excited. This was it. Lap 4. I had dreams of it for four previous attempts. I was ready to get it over with. What was all the hype about anyway? So off I went! Well, after a change into my trail Hoka’s. Aid station 1 mile 78 more ibuprofen and goodbye. Aid station 2 to aid station 3 was a run/walk. I switched into a white long sleeve shirt in case it would get hot and I dumped my headlamp and applied sport shield again for the first time. I got really tired after the sun came up out there after mile 80. It was hard to stay awake. I fell into a death march at mile 92 that was so bad that I could not sit at aid stations anymore because of too much joint pain in my knees.
Back at aid station 3 after 15 more miles. I now had only 5 miles to get back to my car! But not like that. It was more like an infinitely long 5 miles in heat and too much joint pain to run at all. Yet somehow, it really was just easy breezy miles. Even the part of the course that I hate hate hate the most, the grassy open stretch by the freeway, was a joy to cross for the last time. I walked right past the last aid station. I was done. I just wanted it to be over. I was right around 28 hours with 2 miles to go. This finish was slower than any of the 100 finishes of any of my pacers but then none of my pacers have a finish on the Wild Sebastian 100 course.
I was happy. I appeared to be reaching the finish without anything that felt like a long term injury. I had about 5 blisters on each foot, my body ached, I had a sunburn, and I had lost my voice talking to my pacers for so long. My pacers encouraged me to run to the finish but I could see the clock now. I had 4 hours to get there. I was all about minimizing risk now and just getting there comfortably. So I walked until about 400 meters from the finish line and then I made a slow jog across the line to finish in 28:26:17. I had finished my first 100.
So when I sat down the pain did the opposite of what Liz Bauer (current record holder of most 100’s in a year) said it would do. She said all the pain would go away. Well! When I sat down my knees exploded with pain my body began to shake. I fell asleep and drooled as my crew tried to get me to eat pizza. So I ate a slice and had a sample of a great beer Drew Goletz brought for the finish.
I sat there with Drew Goletz, Joyce Luloff, Sandra James Garrett, Michael Turner and his girlfriend Dhalia who all ran part of the course with me. I was overwhelmed that they had actually pulled me through it. Thank you to the finest crew I could ask for! Better Miracles Today – that’s what they did all day and night. Whatever kind of a miracle you think you can pull off – a crew can do it better. Believe it.
Yeah, the pain gets a lot worse in the next 24 hours. I spent from when Michael Turner dropped me at my hotel until 11pm sleeping for an hour, then waking, then walking like a 100 year old and crawling into a tub of cold water, draining it and showering and returning to bed. I repeated that every hour until 11pm just dreaming of food but too tired and immobile to get any.
You see, in my tiredness, I had went up to my room with only my dirty stank mud covered running shoes. I had taken them off and popped all the blisters (one with thick red blood) so I wasn’t wanting to put them back on. So I walked, at 11pm, like a lost 100 year old in his socks to my car at 1 mph and got shoes from the backseat and put them on and went to the front and lifted my legs in and drove to Wendy’s and got a spicy chicken sandwich combo meal large with a frosty. I finally slept after that and left in the morning. My buckle and me.
I’m still recovering. I have room for improvement at all distances except for maybe 5k. I’m going to rest a while and try to learn how to make my joints not swell up like softballs. Then I suppose I’ll start by not getting a PR on a 5k somewhere. Ha! See you all out there on the run. At least you weren’t fool enough to run 100 miles as training for a 5k.