Running like a rookie and a veteran
I have never written a race report before much like I had never run a 100 mile race. I will give it my best shot however. I really feel like I ran two different races out there. The first race was run like a rookie filled with nutritional mistakes. The second race was run like a seasoned veteran and mistake free. I would say the second part of the race starts around mile 34.
I spent around 7 months of focused training on this race. I also spent a large number of hours running the course before the race. I truly believe knowing the entire course like the back of my hand helped as I was able to purely focus on running and never had to look for a ribbon the entire day. The TRT endurance runs were incredibly organized and the aid stations were frankly the best I have ever experienced. I would highly recommend this race to anyone I know who enjoys running whether it is the 50k, 50m, or the hundred. Time to dive in!!!
Start to Tunnel Creek 1 (Just Don’t Trip Without a Light)(Miles 1-11)
I arrived at the start line at around 4am. I was lucky that my parents were in town as my Dad was ready and excited to bring me to the line. This allowed my wife, mother, and daughter to sleep in as their presence was hugely needed later. Upon arriving at Spooner Lake I headed down to the start line checked in and started to talk with Chris Eide and Mark Laws. Always nice to chat with some familiar faces while waiting to start.
It was finally go time. The national anthem was played and they sent us on our way. I made sure I was a bit back in the pack as I didn’t want to go out fast at all. Bryon Powell of IRunFar lead out the race into the first climb and I was about 20th place. I told myself all week I was going to walk the entire climb but I hit it like a training run all though a touch slower pace but ran a majority of it. I was in a real comfortable pace and decided it is ok to run the gradual hills since I have the legs for it. All in all the climb and descent to Marlette lake was very uneventful. I mostly avoided conversations and just tried to focus on running. I think I had a lot of nerves and just needed to settle in.
Once we hit Marlette the long climb up the fire road to the Hobart aid station began. This time there was no messing around as soon as the hill kicked up it was a full on hike. I was kind of stuck in between groups but recognized some of the people up there and knew I was around some solid runners but feeling very comfortable and saw no reason to slow. However this is where the mistakes began as I was simply not taking in enough fluids albeit it was fairly cool but I should have been putting down more water. When I hit Hobart aid station my water bottle was only half empty I did however polish off my protein drink so I wasn’t to far off my fueling plan but when one needs to stay on top of water 12 ounces missed can add up especially on a hot day. I filled my bottles with lots of ice water and one with Sclip22. I ate some watermelon and hit the trail.
From Hobart to Tunnel Creek #1 is one of my favorite parts of the course as it just presents some of the nicest views. Since I took a little longer than most at the aid station I saw a few people had put some distance on me but this is a 100 mile race so I kept telling myself to stay calm be comfortable and run my own race. This really was my theme the entire day I simply didn’t want to run anyone elses race as it just isn’t a smart idea. Once the climb to the top of Marlette peak was completed there is a lot of downhill and that is where my strengths lie. Before hitting the top of Marlette peak I did get past the famous Bryon Powell of irunfar and no more than a ½ mile later I tripped and fell hard. Great I must look like a klutz to the guy who covers all things ultrarunning. I got up and dusted myself off and tried to clean my bottles off from all the dirt while I started back up. I quickly got into cruising mode as I was now on a downhill until the bottom of the Red House loop. I made quick work and got to the Tunnel Creek aid station in good time. One problem I had though is that I had not taken any Scaps as of yet. I mean on hot days how much do we really need electrolytes while running I certainly don’t. I did good at drinking all the water in my bottles and was also on a Advocare gel every 45 minutes. I pulled into the aid station got my drop bag grabbed more gels, filled my bottles and quickly got out of the aid station.
Red House Loop back to Tunnel Creek (Run Your Own Race 11-17)
Pulling out of the aid station I again told myself to take it really easy going down to the bottom as this is the steepest downhill on the course. So I held back the entire way but still made some good time down to the bottom. The Red House loop is advertised as a taste of hell for the run but personally I love this loop and I have a very good feel for it. So I hit the little creek crossing at the low point of the course and I am super fired up to grind back to the top. I normally run the entire way from there until I merge back onto the fireroad but this time I got my power hike on immediately on the first climb. At first I was a bit taken aback as a few runners come storming by me but the theme of the day comes out again run my own race so I let them go. The climb into Red House itself isn’t bad except for one long steep section but this was a quick grind and the aid station had arrived. More mistakes as I should have finished off my Sclip2 and my water and refilled but naw lets just eat some watermelon and keep moving. The good news is I finally put down my first Scap of the day. Oh ya maybe I should put some electrolytes in my body I hear they help.
The run from Red House back to Tunnel Creek is for the most part pretty fun with some really great single track. I just got in my rhythm and kept rocking and rolling to my tunes. The single track was fairly uneventful but I was getting excited to hit the fire road back to the top as I was hoping to run into some of my friends I run with. As soon as I got out of the single track and onto the fire road it was right back into my power hike. I started taking stock of the bib numbers and realized that the 50k and 50 mile runners weren’t really down there yet. A little doubt enters my mind am I am going to fast? I quickly convince myself I am doing fine and running my own race. I get to the top of the Red House climb about a ½ mile or so from the Tunnel Creek and station and there is my good friend Geoff Quinn which is great to see. We have spent the entire summer trying to run each other into the ground. High fives and encouragement are exchanged and this gets me pumped up. Bam a 100 yards later I bump into my friend Kelly Cronin as well and she is also looking strong. This also motivates me as there is nothing better then seeing friends crushing a run. Right after I pull into the Tunnel Creek aid station I see my Dad had made the journey up to aid station which also pumps me up and it is great to see him up there.. This ends the day of my music as I frankly can only handle running with headphones for about two hours and this day was no different. I rip off my ipod and hand it to my dad and tell him I am done with it.
This is of course the first weigh in of the day so I hope onto the scale and bam I am down 2.5 pounds but they tell me that is good and to move on. I grab my drop bag ditch the shirt until mile 80 refill the water bottles which were both emptied. I add in my Sclip2 eat some more watermelon throw down a gel and on my way to dp.
Tunnel Creek #2 to dp (who needs the bull wheel aid station not this guy 17-30)
This section is not technical nor overly tough but it is important for one to remain smart especially on a hot day as it is very easy to over do it through here and drop the hammer especially going into dp down the Tyrolean downhill.
At this point the field is stretched out enough where there is no hope of a real conversation and frankly I am not the best at it when racing so this allowed me to focus and run. I just enjoyed my time and cruised along to the bull wheel station.
Just before the bull wheel aid station while throwing down a gel I pass photographer Myles Smythe of Michigan Bluff photography and he got this great photo.
At this point I am already smiling and for the most part the smile just gets bigger the further I go. However I hit the bull wheel aid station and make a huge mistake both my bottles are half empty and i decide to just check in and go instead of filling either. My rational at the time was that I have run from there to dp with just a bottle of water several times this summer so why do i need to slow down and stop. I feel like this is the biggest mistake of my race and frankly after reflecting probably cost me a 3rd place finish. Off I go and bam about a ½ mile later I trip and fall again. Sweet what is going on I almost never fall while running. Once again I brush myself off and on my way at least this time no one saw me. Another half mile passes and bam down I go again more dirt with my water. My bottles are an absolute mess and I literally get a taste of dirt with every sip. About 1 mile before the big downhill I look at my bottle and there is not much left. Sweet I am going to have to be careful now I had been down this road last summer on this part of the trail where I fell apart because I had no water. I make sure to be super careful and only sip when my mouth gets super dry.
I hit the downhill and actually feel a bit sluggish for the first time all day. I know it is because I am not taking enough fluids and as it turns out not enough electrolytes. I take it easy on the downhill and am very careful not to destroy myself. I make my way down to the bottom and get a half mile from dp when I realized I know had a runner a 100 yards back. It stays the same way to the dp aid station. As I hit the road coming into the station i finish off both bottles. Few I made it and there is a chance to recover from this mistake not much damage has been done.
I hit the weigh in and I am down 6 pounds already. I get a stern warning for the gentleman who weighed me in. He basically told me if I don’t start drinking more fluids I won’t be seeing him again at night. Thankfully this message gets across to me loud and clear.
DP to Tunnel Creek (Falling apart and hating it 30-35)
The best part about the dp aid station is that I get to see my Wife, my Daughter and my Mom for the first time. They are my crew for the day and my Wife is spot on and has everything ready. She is a true rockstar crew leader everytime I see her as she is at every race I do. I really couldn’t thank her enough. For some reason I attempt to make up my weight loss all at once. I put down a can of orange soda, chug a 12oz can of Red Bull and put down a pickle wrapped in turkey. This in the end turns out to be stupid. I basically tell my family I am doing great because I don’t want anyone to worry but I knew I was off.
I depart my family run through the very cold water hose and love every second of it. I run strong until I am out of site and start my power hike. Over the course of the summer I ran up dp a good dozen times and know how I should be moving. Well during the race I could hardly move. I am literally to full and slightly dehydrated. I am going sideways and backwards up the hill just trying to move. At this point I realize I have taken 1 salt pill all day. Oh boy it is hot my electrolytes are way off and my nutrition sucks. I finally start to wisen up but wonder if it is too late. I take two Scaps and hope they help. I get about 3/4ths of the way up dp and the puking starts. Everything I just took at the aid station is back out.
I am getting passed left and right but everyone is encouraging me to stay strong so that was nice. I keep moving after my episode and slowly claw my way to the top. Sweet 57 minutes to the top of dp 22 minutes slower than expected. The one shining light is I realize I had drank my bottle of water. I walk down to the bull wheel aid station and grab some soda and water. I didn’t touch any of the food but drank lots. Refilled my water bottle and also checked my mixed bottle which was a gu roctane mix and it was half full. I changed that up as well and that also turned out to be another smart move as I think that helped greatly in the end. Perfect 1 ½ water bottles for 3 ½ miles.
I leave the aid station unable to really move and continue to walk. I am basically in a death slog and start to think I am going to have to drop at Tunnel Creek. About a ½ mile past bull wheel and I have episode #2 which is actually worse then the first time. Everything I just drank is once again gone from my stomach. NO WAY I AM PASSING THE WEIGH IN (Insert several swear words of your choice here). This is my main low point of the day and I am telling myself I may not go past Tunnel Creek. I decide to take two Scaps for fun and you know a funny thing did happen 10-15 minutes later my stomach all the sudden felt a bit better after episode #2. I am actually able to start jogging again. I honestly think episode 2 fully reset my stomach and allowed me to start over.
I claw my way to the Tunnel Creek aid station and have made the decision to try to get to Hobart. I pull into Tunnel Creek and polish off both my water bottles and head into the weigh in. I am ready to be sat down but I do feel alot better so hopefully it is a quick sit down. I watch the scale and boom I am only 5 pounds down. I had somehow added a pound.
Tunnel Creek to Snow Valley (Time to race like a veteran 35-43)
Holy crap I have gained weight and I am feeling better the day is looking up. I grab my drop bag get some First Endurance EFS and get my bottles filled with water and ice. I also get my bandana filled with ice which I got at dp earlier and I take a bit more time at the aid station. This time I drank some ginger ale and some coca cola but much slower than earlier. I also grab a mt dew and finally eat a ginger chew. This is probably my longest aid stop all day and it pays.
I leave the aid station with my hat full of ice and my bandana dripping wet and also full of ice ok I am going to make lap 1 no problem this race is looking up. I am at my lowest placing of the race at 25th which honestly I had no clue what place I was in at this time.
I am cruising and drinking water, consuming calories and now taking a Scap every 30 minutes. I catch up with the legendary Victor Ballesteros and I have a brief conversation with him about his epic run around the entire rim trail last summer.
I move past him and realize I just passed a pretty dang good runner. Ok confidence is coming back and I am feeling good. I start to make better time again and I am passing some of the 50k runners. I make my way to the top of Marlette peak and I know I am close to Hobart.
I hit the downhill to Hobart and cruise into the aid station realizing that I am emptying both water bottles at the perfect time. I grab my drop bag and quickly grab another pre measured EFS for my bottle. I get my bottles filled with ice and water and I put down some mt dew and coke. My bandana plus my hat are filled with ice and drenched and water. I am off!!!
I make quick work up to Snow Valley peak as it is really only 3 miles to the top. I do get passed for the final time of the day by a 100 mile runner right out of the aid station but I would be seeing this individual fairly quick again. I pass a few 50k runners and see some more people in front of me on the climb to the top of Snow Valley. Funny thing happens here and I basically turn into a lion hunting its prey.
I am now in full on hunt mode and see every runner 50k, 50 miler, or 100 miler as my prey waiting to be devoured. I hit the Snow Valley aid station and the Boy Scouts are just awesome serving up one of the best if not the best aid station of the day.
Snow Valley to Spooner Lake (I am no longer running I am racing 43-50)
I am out of the aid station at Snow Valley super quick and start my favorite downhill on the course. I love coming off Snow Valley into Spooner Lake it is a super fast and non technical downhill where I can open the legs and not worry about my quads.
I do just that and I quickly pass a 100 miler and realize it is an individual who passed me in the last mile of dick collins. Oh ya that pass feels great revenge is a dish best served cold. Hey look I am super competitive sometimes and it was in full force now I was feeling great and I have now decided that I am going to run as hard as possible until my legs say no.
Cranking down the downhill I pass a few more 100 milers and a ton of 50kers. I hit the special aid station 1.7 miles from the halfway point and get greeted by an ice cold towel bath. I tell the guy he is a god get my bottles filled quickly and on my way no time to waste now.
I am out of there quick and guzzling water and gatorade as that is what they had. I am on my way to meet my crew and I am downright excited for that. I am now smiling from ear to ear and having the time of my life.
I get to the halfway point and hit the aid station. Oh boy my crew is nowhere to be seen. Well whatever I will get weighed in and deal with it. My weight is back to 149.5 and I am only down 2.5 pounds. My worries about weight are done for the day as I will not come close to the weight where they would pull me off the course. At this point to my awesome pacer Jesse Jimenez is there leading me to my crew problem resolved.
I am 6 minutes behind my predicted time and ironically my mother is off at the medical tent worried about me. Really Mom? I am 50 miles into a run and you are worried about 6 minutes. I didn’t actually find out this information until after. My awesome Wife has a fresh pair of shoes and socks all laid out and ready to go. Ya I won’t be needing those my feet feel great and I am not sitting down. I drink a Red Bull and an orange soda but a bit slower than dp and frankly these hit the spot. My awesome crew and pacer get my bottles filled with ice and water with one having another roctane. Anyways the nutrition is the same song and dance from here on out as is the ice with the bandana and hat.
Spooner Lake to Tunnel Creek (I am going swimming in Marlette 50-61)
One of my highlights of the day is that my Wife and Daughter chase Jesse and I out of the aid station. My almost 3 year old desperately wanted to run with her Daddy and that made me proud. I turned back blew some kisses my beautiful ladies and was ready to rock lap two.
A few meters down the trail I look at Jesse and let him know my entire nutrition plan is out the window and here is what it is . I informed him the Scaps are hugely important and he is a shark the rest of the way reminding me to take them every 30.
I get about a mile down the trail and I see two runners and I immediately move up two spots. Jesse and I make quick work of the climb up to the first downhill. Wow that felt great how long are my legs going to go like this. We charge the downhill and start the climb to Hobart and power through that quick. I was talking a big game that I was going to jump into Marlette when I passed it but it had cooled and I decided it could cause blisters so I changed my mind and ran by it.
I had never used a pacer before but Jesse was spot on at the Hobart aid station we were in and out super quick. On our way to Tunnel now and again I climb strong to the top of Marlette peak and once again it is downhill time.
I hit the downhill hard and Jesse warned me that the altitude was bothering him a bit but I try to offer some positive thoughts and told him it is ok we are going lower for a while. After a little while I cross paths with Jenni Jimenez and she looks at me weird and goes where is Jesse? I look back and I have no clue I had completely zoned out I was just hoping he was ok. I told her to tell him to wait at the Tunnel Creek aid station.
At this point I see a group of 3 racers 6 runners. The lion is quickly eating up more prey which just makes me feel stronger and I also get a boost of adrenaline. I hit the Tunnel Creek aid station quick.
Tunnel to DP (Time of my life 61-80)
I start down the Red House loop and only one of the 3 beat me out of the aid station but I make quick work and get past that individual. I open the legs up a bit more the second time down and am making good time. I am once again running alone but that is ok I am literally having the time of my life. The smile on my face is simply not coming off. The only thought now is to break 24 hours.
I make quick work of the hike up to Red House and catch up to 3 more people. I make sure to get out of the aid station first and I actually run up the steep hill out of it. I make a bold decision to bury these guys as I don’t want any company at this point. I just hope it doesn’t come back to bite me. I make good time back to Tunnel Creek.
I see my pacer Jesse and his ankle is swollen and wrapped oh no my heart sinks. I ask Jesse if he is ok and he is for the most part other than a badly sprained ankle and is eager to help me at the aid station but his day is done. Turns out Jesse had rolled his ankle pretty early on and really toughed it out as much as he could. I leave the station quick and get news that I got more prey just up ahead. Time to hunt!!!!
At this point I am a freight train and running strong. I make my way to the main climb to the bull wheel aid station and I see two more runners. My power hiking is super strong and I catch up quick. Once again I make the decision to run uphill and see if anyone wants to join me a little company could be fun but I am just offered encouragement as neither has the legs to come. I hit the bull wheel aid station and fill up my water this time. I am no dummy the second time through.
Now it is a race to dp to try to beat the dark. Well this doesn’t happen but thats ok I am done with my rookie mistakes and I had grabbed a headlamp at Tunnel Creek. I don’t have to turn on my light until the Tyrolean downhill. I make much stronger work of the downhill this time and near the bottom i pass the very fast Chikara Omine who beat me by two hours at silver states. Ya I am pumped up.
I cruise into the dp aid station for my final meeting with my crew. I am out of my mind happy at this point. I am ready to throw anyone and everyone a high five. I hit the weigh in station first though and I am informed I am in 5th place. HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!
I also pick up a new crew member as JP Prince is there helping Erin get everything ready. Erin and JP are spot on and my parent are offering loads of encouragement. My Dad is super excited about my place and we are all fired up. My next pacer Michael ‘Smokey’ Collins is there and fired up to go. I offer up a big high five and then give my daughter a big kiss as this will be the last I see of her until she awakes the next day. My amazing crew gets me out of there quick. 20 miles to go it is buckle time.
DP To the Finish (7 Months Rewarded 80-100)
The temps are cool the moon is bright Smokey and I are power hiking like no other up dp. Out of the blue I hear someone yelling my name. What tha hell is going on? My good friend, training partner, skiing buddy Jon Arlien comes flying up the hill drunk from a bachelor party and offers up a huge high five. This has me in tears from laughing and we quickly part ways as I don’t want to break any race rules. We hammer up the climb and about 3/4ths of the way up I take over 4th place. I get to the top of dp in 37 minutes. Sweet I just beat my first trip up by 20 minutes.
I make quick work to the Tunnel Creek aid station and get weighed in for the final time. I make sure to try to thank as many volunteers as possible. The Tunnel Creek aid station is a party all day and the volunteers are great.
The rest of the cruise from there on to the top of Snow Valley is fairly uneventful. Smokey and I have a great time and keep the pace going. We start cracking jokes as we approach the final aid station. I am having a blast still and I am joking and talking to the Boy Scouts at the aid station this run is in the bag and I feel like 4th is locked in and don’t hear anyone telling me 3rd is close.
We get out of the aid station quick and Smokey reminds me that I should break 22 hours. I agree and we start cranking down the downhill. I make sure to be smart on anything resembling a technical area just to not fall which I haven’t done in 70 miles now. We quickly make our way to the bottom about 6/10ths of a mile I shake Smokey’s hand and I thank him for his help. He stepped up out of nowhere to pace me for pure pleasure and we had no clue what type of runner he would get. Turns out we ran a decent clip from dp in. I also sent Smokey off to grab my Wife and Dad so they could cross the finish with me. I go across the line at 21:32:24 holding my Wifes hand happy as can be still smiling ear to ear. My Dad, Smokey, Jesse and Jenni are there to greet me to. I feel like I mostly just nailed my first 100 and loved it. A huge thank you to both my pacers for helping out and enjoying the ride.
0-50 miles 10:36
50-100 miles 10:56
Advocare Rehydrate Gel
First Endurance EFS
First Endurance UltraGen
Probably the most fun I have ever had running. I am not sure why but the run just kept getting more and more enjoyable. Something I certainly hope to repeat in the future. I also think there are ways I can improve. I think I can train better by incorporating Crossfit in sooner. While training i got a calf strain in early april and was forced to reevaluate how I train. I worked with my close friend Ken Dailey who is a Crossfit instructor and also has his cfe certification. He saw my predicament with my injury and offered to help but I had to do things his way. I went to a mix of Crossfit endurance training and a ultra running training schedule. I made a hybrid of the two and I think if I do this from the start of a big training cycle I can improve. Anyways I could ramble on forever about this and will be making a training guide for myself off my learnings and see where it goes.
This race wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my wife and my entire family. It was so much fun to come to aid stations and see my wife, daughter, and parents. I had not seen my Mom and Dad this excited in some time and it meant a lot to me to see my entire family having fun watching me run. Sometimes Ultrarunning is a very selfish sport so it makes me extremely happy to share these races with family.
I hope everyone enjoyed see you on the trails.