I flew into Houston on Thursday with Jenny Stinson and her son-in-law Chuck. We stayed in town that Thursday night and picked Jenny’s hsuband up the following day. We drove to Huntsville, picked up our packets, and spent most of the day relaxing and eating. We went to the pre-race briefing, and I went to bed not long afterwards. By 8 PM I was out.
4:20 AM came easily, and I made my race morning preps. Me, Jenny, and her family drove down to the race start. 5:15 AM and the parking lot was packed with fellow crazies. I now started to get excited. This is the environment I live for. We are all about to attempt something epic. Nobody knows exactly what a 100 mile run will throw at them, the only thing you can do is run and hope for the best.
Took off with happy birthday compadre Jess Mullen. My other good friend Lorie Alexander was right behind us. I ran with Jess for a bit, then took off a bit once the pack thinned. With over 300 people running the 100 mile run, my pace off the bat was slow. It made for a good warm-up though. I got going after a couple miles and settled into a 7:30-8 minute pace. This was where I did most of my running at the 1st loop. My goal was to hit the 1st 20 miles in 3:00. I did it in about 3:05. It was good running. I caught up with Jimmy Dean Freeman, Jamil Coury, & Nick Coury. They were running comfortably, and I wondered if they would hold this pace they were at. They must have, because all 3 finished in the 17 hour range (you guys can slow down a little!). I continued on loop 2, hoping to finish it in about 7 hours. At 28 miles I felt into a bit of a low, but that is usual as I transition from regular running to an easier tempo and slightly slower pace. By 35 miles I felt good again, and this “era of good feeling” lasted until mile 84. I continued on. I finished loop 2 in about 7 hours 🙂 Things were going great.
I would race through the chip station to fool people into thinking I was finishing. I guess Joe Prusaitis thought I was done when I rolled in at 60 miles, due to my extreme motivation. Mile 40-60 was rather uneventful, but I got some good run time with Cian Montgomery (Portland runner). He was having hamstring issues, but pulled through them for a 19:04 run time. Pretty impressive, for a guy that is a body builder. I was having a ton of fun on the course! Nothing seemed to go bad. I was on a good high, and the sun slid easily across the sky. Night time was going to be good going. I had hoped to hit 60 miles in 11 hours, came in right at 10:57. Now came the fun running. Donned my Black Diamond Icon headlamp, fresh shirt, and headed out. Now the real running begins.
After 60 miles the night time hours went by quickly and thoughts turned inward. Turned my heavy techno trance up and cruised the course. The 6 mile dam loop was longer this time though. It took 85 minutes to tackle this section. Afterward I needed a break and sat down. Got some good food at this time, and headed out on the trail. With the temperature cooling down I was getting very chilled upon leaving each aid station, so I tried to get quick transitions in. At mile 75 I picked my pacer Ashley up. She ran the next twenty miles with me.
Hit mile 80 at 16:20. I was not doing too bad, but I was in considerable pain. The miles were taking their toll. I scarfed down a ton of hot food (mac and cheese, lasagna, soup), and was back on the trail. The last loop! Running uncomfortably. Pain. Determination. True Grit. Nothing easy about the last 20 miles of a 100 mile race. IT is the time to lay it all out on the course. That is exactly what I did. The 6 mile loop became a 15 mile loop. It was during this section I noticed some tendonitis flaring up in m left knee. I was happy it was coming this late in the race, when I was close to being finished and could just put up with it. My Achilles tendons were getting ridiculously sore too. Everything hurt, even with the Ibruprofin I was taking. I just put up with it. My pacer Ashley bid me adieu at mile 95, and I was off like a bat out of hell for the last 4.4 miles. Pushing a 7:15 pace on all the runnable section made the finish show up much quicker than anticipated. I looped Jenny Stinson during this section and gave her and Chuck a couple of solid “good games.” Blasting to the finish is always so much fun! Why do I like it so much? Because it HURTS A LOT!!! It hurts so good! I came to the final 1/4 mile and saw the tents at the finish line. I was yelling and screaming and not caring that it was 3:20 AM. I was sprinting faster and faster, and before you know it, the timing mat was underneath of me. Finish!!! 21:21:02. Personal Best. You give it your all in these events, and the euphoria that comes along with it is to die for. I lay down at the finish line and started laughing. I was completely smoked. A couple of volunteers helped me up and Joe presented me with my belt buckle. I ended up taking 44/215, good enough to break into the top 20% of the race. I hope this becomes a trend :^D