05 October 2011

Hallucination 100 Mile race

This race is local for me and so I was excited to be running it because that meant I'd know a lot of the runners personally. In addition there were a few locally that I knew from dailymile and get to meet some I'd only previously metthrough Facebook or Dailymile. I got to the run woodstock commune at about 1PM and picked up my race packet. I misunderstood where I could park and so I had to move a few times. After getting settled in I turned in my drop bag and wandered around to catch up with people and meet new ones. At about 320PM I changed into my running gear, body glided everywhere, pinned on my bib and headed to the start line. I was a little nervous about my shoes. This race I
was running in the Altra Instinct a road shoe with a slick bottom and no rock plate. With the forecast for possible rain I was worried about the Altras. I can't wait for their trail shoe. Other than that all my gear was typical: 2water bottles, zoot top, bottom and visor. My biggest concern going into this race was my stomach. It's failed me on my last two races. I eat a lot and when I can't keep downing a lot of fuel things derail pretty quickly for me. I always get a little intimidated standing around a start line of an ultra. Some of the people that show up at these 100 milers look like they were carved from stone, not born. Fortunately this is counter-balanced by the amazing friendliness of ultra runners. I really like
the 4PM start idea. It's very nice to run the dark portion of the race while my legs and mind are still fresh.

Loop 1 2:47 finished at 647 PM
Fuel: 6 gus, turkey & cheese, pb&j, potatoes, pringles

The first loop was warm and the trail was in excellent condition with just 2 muddy spots that I remember. I ran and chatted with several runners. The lead pack broke off early and I let them go. I ran this loop a little faster than I had wanted to but it felt so effortless I figured it was probably alright. Every aid station I rolled into was manned by familiar faces which was awesome.

Loop 2 3:10 finished it at about 10PM.
Fuel: 6 gus, turkey & cheese, pb&j, potatoes, pringles, coffee, chicken noodle soup

Just a few hundred yards into the second loop Dale noticed I hadn't grabbed my headlamp from my drop bag and reminded me. So i had to go back and got a lot of funny looks from people who had just cheered for me heading the other direction. I ran into another runner Eric that Dale saved in the same way a mile down the trail and that poor guy had to go all the way back. The rain started during the 2nd loop as I recall but the traction remained good through most of this loop. I ran it with Dustin Smith for the most part(I think).

Loop 3 in 3:50 finished at about 2am.
Fuel: 7 gus, turkey & cheese, pb&j, potatoes, pringles, chocolate cake, coffee, chicken noodle soup

During the 3rd loop the rain really started to come down hard. puddles and mud started forming and the trails turned to creeks. This was the first time I used an ipod during a race and it was kind of nice because with the downpour I couldn't see anything and the rain dominated all the other sounds as well. There were a lot of people experiencing headlamp failures and I think it was non-waterproof headlamps. This was also the time when I starting lapping a lot of runners. I ran into Sandi Stiner on this loop which was awesome because I've known her on FB for awhile but hadn't met her. I also ran into Peter and Jeff and they both looked great, stopped for a brief chat with them. I also cross paths with N'gai and he was running strong. I think this was the loop when I passed Mark and Tony and it was really nice to see them.

Loop 4 in 3:48 finished at about 6am
Fuel: 6 gus, turkey & cheese, potatoes, pringles, chocolate brownies, coffee, vegetable noodle soup

The downpour continued for this loop except for one break which offered a brief glimpse of the moon. On this loop I started pushing the pace because I was getting cold and trying to strike a balance between fast enough to keep warm and not falling and breaking my neck. I ran headfirst into a clearly marked tree branch that I had easily avoided on the first 3 loops and ended up flat on my back in the mud. Fortunately it hit me square in the head which is very thick. I laid there for awhile laughing at myself and looking at spots and then got up and continued on. I didn't mention it to anyone at the aid stations because I was worried they might want to check me for a concussion or pull or delay me. I really should carry a spare headlamp. if I'd broken mine at this point I would have had to walk this entire loop. My next mistake on this loop was a wrong turn which had me running against traffic in an area where I knew I should not be seeing other runners coming from the other direction, including my friend Dale. I backtracked and corrected my turn but it cost me 3 miles and ate my increased effort on this loop :(

Loop 5 in 3:30 finished at about 830am
Fuel: 6 gus, turkey & cheese, potatoes, pringles, vegetable noodle soup

I think this is about the time the 50 milers started passing me. It was both awesome and a little discouraging to see the lead pack come by so fast. Ben was the only one I knew from this group and It was nice to see him running strong. The next 50 miler I recognized was Melissa running her first 50 and looking strong. At one point Jon and Heather yelled at me and I chatted with them for awhile. They were both running really strong and soon left me in their dust. I also saw Fritz and Jessica on this loop and on my last loop as well.

Loop 6 in 3:30 finished at about 12.
Fuel: 7 gus, turkey & cheese, potatoes, vegetable noodle soup

This was a hard loop for me. I ran into Jessy on this loop and it was pretty awesome to see her and she ran with me for a couple of miles. I had to firmly encourage her to go run her race. I didn't want her sacrificing it for me. I think this is also the loop when I ran into Delilah and met her for the first time. about 6 miles from the finish Laura Waldo came on really strong and went flying by me. She offered me some S-caps when she saw me stretching out my hamstrings which was super nice. Ultra runners are exceptionally friendly and polite compared to other endurance athletes but this was over the top! Stopping to offer help to the person standing between you and 3rd place? Exemplary sportsmanship. When I merged with traffic from concurrent marathon and half marathon racers I started to pick up the pace motivated by them.

Non-loop specific things
Playlist artists: Violent Femmes,Fugazi, Breaking
Benjamin, Linkin Park, Disturbed, Beastie Boys, Insane Clown Possie, Cake,
Weezer, Offspring, Raconteurs, REM, Sublime, Social Distortion, Gorillaz,
Gnarls Barkley, Iz, Agent Orange, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Loudon Wainwright III,
Paul Van Dyk, Tiesto, The Pogues

frogs ... It seemed like there were frogs and/or toads everywhere. after nearly breaking my back doing contortions to avoid stepping on one I gave up on that. Apologies to all the orphaned tadpoles out there.
When I finished it was nice to see so many familiar faces. It took some convincing to get my buckle from the people at the finish line. I'm not sure what that was about! Jessy was awesome and helped me with getting the mud washed off my legs and helping me get to the shower and then she had to get going because she was taking her daughter to a waterpark. After she left I walked down to the start area where they were serving food. I was talking to my friend Dawn when I nearly passed out, she noticed I looked very pale and got me help. Andrea, Rick, Bill, and Rachelle grabbed me, got me in a chair and
started me drinking and eating and taking S-caps. They stayed with me the whole time and made sure I was OK. I felt really weak. After about 2 hours I recovered and was fine. I missed some people finishing because they wouldn't let me out of my chair but it was for the best. I had planned to drive home but everyone I talked to seemed certain that was a really bad idea and so I stayed and slept in my car. Joe and Becca took me to get something to eat in Pinckney which was awesome. Thanks guys! The rest of the night I spent just hanging out with friends and listening to their race experiences. This was an awesome event and the only 100 mile race in Michigan. I'll definitely run it again. I'm sure I missed people and event details which will come to me later, I apologize. Thanks for reading!

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