I felt great waking up in the morning, but I quickly became flustered. I was feeling prepared but having completed the 100 mile once before, I now had a sense of the massive challenge that lay ahead. Karli came to pick me up, and I could not for life of me figure out what needed to be done. After finally getting myself sorted out, off I went to repeat one of the hardest things I have ever done.
This year, I actually made it to the start in time for the pre-race meeting this year! Go me go! I was able to find Steve (who was running his first ever 100kms). This was fantastic, because we hadn’t seen each other in a while, and we were able to run the first 54kms together.
I was able to go into the start of the race without any injuries, and as such the first three legs went well.
Leg 1 felt pretty good this year, Steve and I ended up on purpose near the end of the pack. I knew it was going to warm up, and I had no intention of going out too fast and being unable to finish. My A goal was to break 30 hours, unfortunately I didn’t think this going to happen after I looked at the forecast. I decided to push for my B goal of Personal besting and beating last years time. Being at the end of the pack we had the pleasure of witnessing Nascar-like passing as people jockey for position 15 minutes into a 14-33 hour race. It only takes about 30 minutes and people will settle into their pace and be perfectly comfortable where they are. Needless to say, Leg 1 was a smashing success! (if only the whole day felt this good).
Leg 2 is one of my favorite legs, it is deceptively hard with quite a few large ascents and very steep descents. However, the ascents are nice because they are gradual, and you can set a pace and just climb steadily. Plus, you get to experience the state-of-the-art city Poo Plant, oh the smells! This leg went well, and I was able to show Steve the poor previous Lost Soul participant that had decayed into a skeleton, a warning for all who pass. Once done Leg 2 we were right on pace 2:00 hours into the race, and I already was hearing about the potential carnage that would soon occur as the day started to heat up, and boy did it not disappoint.
Leg 3 started our well, Ryan’s Hill and Gun Range hills climbs went well, but soon after this the HEAT started. It got hot fast. Steve and I quickly realize this was going to lead to quite about more walking then we had planned on. On this loop the carnage started to appear. We passed a few people that did not look very well, and after checking in with them continued. Eventually right near the end of the leg we were able to offer a very parched runner who was sitting on the side of the course a cup of water, and came in right on time.
Oh the North Loop, we had a rough start. Alyssa had planned to be there in time for it, but was unable to get there. However, I had a fantastic team of three ladies, (minus Alyssa at this point), soon to be dubbed something clever like: Drew’s Crew or Drew’s Angels (we are also open for suggestion and perhaps official merchandise?!?!) Both Karli and Nicki were life savers (not the candy) this weekend. Steve’s Mom was also an incredible crew for Steve. We started the North Loop nice and slow Ice in every crevasse that it could be put in. I quickly had to shake off the strong feeling of near failure from last year as we passed the spot on the course that I had sat down on last year and declared I quit as Steve was pacing me. The first half felt pretty good, but quickly after that it went down hill. We passed a runner who told us he had just vomited and was sitting on the course. After we passed him I thought man it must be hard to finish after already throwing up. *spoiler alert* I was soon about to find out just how much harder this made the race. Coming in from the North I started to feel gross. My stomach felt like a circus was going on it, flipping over and over. It took all my will power to not let it all out. I was able to make it back to Pavan in one piece, and I was able to see Alyssa! I decided to try to catch up on my nutrition and water all in one aid station (news flash: major rookie mistake). I downed some Gatorade, food and an Iced Coffee and left the aid station feeling no better.
Off to Leg 5 we went, said goodbye, pretended to be cheerful, happy, and feeling like a million bucks. Gotta put on a good look for all of the amazing volunteers right? Sure enough, no less then 200 meters out of Pavan, right beside the clown, maybe he scared me too much because I got to find out what it feels like to vomit everything you have up, violently. However, having now purged myself of a couple hours of nutrition, and not nearly enough water, I felt a little better. I was able to get through Leg 5 and 6 still feeling like poo.
Coming into HQ I told myself, if I vomit again I am done. I told Alyssa and “THE CREW” (still open for ideas). Quickly we realized we had no clue what to do, and consulted the only race director shorter then I am. Dean told us that I should wait for about an hour and drink close to a liter of water and just sit. He even told me that food would start to look appetizing again. I am a trusting guy, but at this moment I thought that sounds like the worlds worst lie. Lets tell the guy almost on his death bed that everything will be just fine! Well sure enough about an hour later I felt like I had a new lease on life. I had my personality back, I felt cheerful, and the best aid station guy ever offered me Little Ceasers Pizza, and I kept it down.
The night was uneventful, I was able to run all the flats, and crushed the hills. I felt like a new person. My fantastic and beautiful wife looked after my feet and brought me more pizza!
I must say that you feel so fast running at night as the trees whip by you, and I am sure I looked more like a guy who thought he was running fast…. I was surprised to catch, and happy to catch both Derick and Sam. It was nice to run close to these too for a while, and a little motivation to run just a little longer.
The morning came around and I was able to pick up Jamie as a pacer again. Jamie would stick it out with me for the next 48 kms. It was great to catch up with Jamie having not seen him since his wedding. This allowed me to forget about the fact I had now been up for 20 hours, and the legs were feeling a wee bit tired.
I had a secret goal when I started: It was to finish the south loop before the 50km racers started. I was able to do this, but I just barely missed being trampled by the herd of runners. I was able to get the loop down knowing I was feeling pretty good.
Leg 2 for the third time was when it all fell apart last year. My torn calf was too much to handle and I had to walk the whole time. This year was different. I felt great and was running this entire loop. Alyssa even remarked in her video: wow you are still running! Had a quick aid station and off I went.
I wanted to finish as much of the third loop as I could before it got hot. Leg 3 is where I started to feel the heat again. The sun had so nicely stayed behind clouds until this Leg. About 8 kms into the leg I started to feel the affect of the heat, and I could feel myself slowing down a little. However, I was able to finish Leg 3 strong and still feeling well.
I came into the aid station feeling good, and Alyssa (fearing that I would repeat my nightmarish North Loop last year) told me that I had to get a move on. I still had 7 hours for 27kms, but I was starting to slow down. Quick aid station again, and off I went for the worst loop left. Surprisingly the North Loop started well. I was able to do the first climb, and first decent well, and run most of the flats. However, once we hit the flat service road by the water it was a mater of walk again. I was getting hot, and the blisters on my feet were becoming unmanageable. It slowly started to feel like I was walking on hot coals every step I took. However, I just kept telling myself my feet will support me, it’s just a little (lot) of pain for now. I was able to get through the North Loop in the exact same time as my previous two laps, and cut off over an hour from last year. This left me with 4.5 hours to finish 13 kms.
I came into the aid station yelling my feet are on fire, because they felt like they were. I decided to do as much as we could: cleaned the feet, put a second skin on them, Vaseline, blister shield, and body glide; however, this was not enough. The next 13 kms were excruciating.
Leg 5 would be my last leg with Jamie. Jamie continue to push me through the last 3 descents left on the course. They were step climbs to steep descents, but I could waive goodbye to the 3 B*****’s and was off for the speed walking races. I came into Leg 6 ready to go.
I walked into Leg 6, and I walked out of Leg 6. I think it took me longer to write that sentence then the time I spent at Softball Valley. My feet were on fire, and I really didn’t want to have to get accustomed to that pain again. I left so fast Alyssa had to run to catch up to me (something I didn’t think she would have to do on this day). It was an incredible feeling to have Alyssa beside me again for this last leg. She was an incredibly motivating person to have beside me. We discussed all of my incredibly philosophical and deep thoughts. They included: Holy Cow my feet hurt, I just want to go to be bed, am I done yet? And do you think the beer angel will be there? I am sure I was just full of insightful comments on the way back. Turns out the beer angel was there, and I had a nice shot of Rickards Red to fuel me the final 2 kms to the finish line. On the journey to the finish line I ended up running into my physio therapist Steve, and I quickly stopped myself from asking him to fix everything that hurt. As good as Steve is, I felt this was probably impossible. He gave a few encouraging words, and suddenly all I had left to climb was haybale hill. Ohhh haybale hill how you suck. It’s a great feeling knowing its your last climb and I could give you a stiff middle finger once done it.
Once up the hill, Alyssa had asked me if I was going to run. I told her nope, my feet feel like they have been run over by a cheese grater. However, my adrenaline started to pump, and I dug real deep and sprinted (probably not) in. Coming across that finish line was such a fantastic feeling. I finished 31:32 a half hour faster then last year, and I felt like this was a more difficult year and I had to deal with a lot of adversity. I was able to finish 3rd in my age category. Now to figure out what’s next!