Monday, June 22, 2009

Mohican 82.5/100 Mile Race Report

Nope, didn't finish. Ran apx 82.5/100 miles. Stopped at the 80 mile mark but had earlier gotten lost for 40 minutes so I'm callin it 82.5 miles, darnit! If you don't want to read this whole long report, just print it off and divide it up into 10 sections so it looks shorter.

*Click here for pics/videos.

Chris and Jamie and I left to OH Friday afternoon and arrived at the hotel that night; I went straight to bed; then woke up at 2:30am on Saturday. When we went to pick up my packet around 4:30am, it was raining super hard. At the 5am start, the rain stopped and it was super humid.

Since I didn't have many pockets to carry things, I wore my CamelBak and then my Nathan vest underneath it (which surprisingly didn't bother me). I had brought 5 drop bags for all of the locations that included: bagels, Ensure protein drinks, fruit snacks, electrolyte jelly bean things, beef jerky, tropical trail mix, and nasty electrolytle fruit snacks. Yeah, I overpacked and definitely didn't eat all of that stuff.

The course consisted of 10 miles on gravel roads and then a bunch of different, random loops. These random loops repeated themselves and then it's 10 miles back to the finish (I think, anyway). The trail wasn't very technical or hilly and my first impression was that it was pretty easy; much easier than Gnawbone. The hills were mainly just long, gradual ones that we all walked up. It was so hard for me to know how to pace myself since I would be running for a million hours. I started out at a slow-moderate pace in the beginning and since I felt good, I just kept going.

Around mile 21 we started the Purple loop. There was a really pretty section by the waterfall and some fun hand-over-hand climbing section that was about 5 feet long. This loop was only supposed to be 4-5 miles long. However, despite Mohican's website that states that they are known for having a well marked course, this was the loop that every person got lost on, including myself. There were at least 20 people that I know of that got lost. We finally got back on track 40 minutes later. This wasn't the only time that there weren't markings on the course...luckily we just happened to be running with someone who knew the area during those times.

Prior to the start of the race, I had predicted a 27-28 hour finishing time. Jamie and Chris met me at the 37 mile aid station. I lubed up my feet (no blisters yet), put on clean socks, and ate a lot of food. Since I had been maintaining a good pace and I was feeling strong, we talked about finishing at a sub-24 pace. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. How dumb of me to think such a thing so early on. Ohhh how things can change.

So overall up to mile 45 or something, I was having fun talking to people (thanks Doug, Stan, Mike, and Randy!!!). I finished 50 miles at around 13 hours. (I still have no idea how it took me so long...the course wasn't that hard and I was running at a good pace, so I thought. Maybe spent too much time at aid stations and the fact that I got lost?? Oh well, doesn't matter.)

But after those 45 miles, my feet just started killing me from blisters. I could feel a million of them all over which was also annoying because I usually never have blister problems. After Gnawbone's 50 miles a month ago, I had maybe 2 blisters and I never noticed them. Why did I already have a ton of them so early on? We had about 6 or so water crossings that affected it, but #1, there were water crossings at Gnawbone and #2, why weren't all of my fellow runners feeling the awful blister pain then, too? I've heard some people say they love those Injinji socks and that they never get blisters and then I've heard others say they hate them. I've never tried them but who knows what will work for me!

I made it to mile 60 at the Fire Tower where I met up with Chris who was going to pace me. Why the heck was I thinking/fearing for the last 5 months that I'd have to climb that awful Fire Tower during the race? For some reason I got it in my head that that's what we'd have to do before we kept running and I was dreading that narrow, 100+ foot climb. I was showing pictures of it to people at work and talking about how crazy that was. Whew, we didn't have to at all.

I don't want to sound all whiney and annoying but my feet were still killing me at this point. Literally- every single step I took sucked. Every stupid root, every rock, every little maneuver around something hurt me. I felt new blisters forming and then immediately popping and then skin ripping off and all that jazz. I would be limping to avoid pain on one foot and then the limping just caused another blister on the other foot. Going uphill put pressure on one part of my blisters and then going downhill put pressure on the other. I was cussing every 2 seconds. What a beautiful experience, huh?

So at this aid station at mile 60, Chris somehow had the guts to pop some of my blisters and put mole skin on them, then I changed socks and put on different shoes and we kept going. I had to just endure the stupid pain of the popped blisters and try to get used to them. I was afraid I was going to OD on Advil since I took a couple each hour.

It was now dark outside and I had my headlamp on. It was the first time I had run with one and it was pretty annoying to not being able to see all of your surroundings. We kept tripping on a million roots; partly because we couldn't see them and partly because we couldn't lift our legs up off the ground. It would have been really boring (Randy and I ran out of conversation a long time ago) and scary if Chris hadn't been there in the dark.

At mile 68 I sat down (I thought, screw the "beware of the chair" shit). I was in a bad mood because of the pain. Dangit, now I feel bad for the aid station workes; they probably hated me. Here they are at 11pm trying to help me out and I'm just complaining the whole time. I really considered quitting at this point. I was running and walking really slowly and we were getting closer and closer to the cut-off point.

After this station, I made a mental decision to SUCK IT UP and stop verbalizing my complaints. I knew Chris and Randy didn't want to hear it and it wasn't helping anything. I needed to get through it. I turned on my music for surprisingly the first time and I somehow made it to the next station- mile 75.

Jamie was there and was so kind to have bought pizza for me- that's all I had wanted. Unfortunately because I had been running for 50 freakin hours, my stomach couldn't handle it and I barely ate anything. Again, I talked about quitting right there. I was tired and in pain and going slow and it all sucked. Jamie suggested making it to the next aid station (mile 80) and then deciding what to do. So I continued.

I really thought I'd be able to keep going, just 5 miles to the next place. After about 1 mile, I had slowed down so much because of the blister pain that I just told Chris I was going to DNF. Randy had already passed us since he wanted to make the cut-off in time. I walked the rest of the miles and it took us about 2 hours to come in. It felt like forevvvvver. I wanted someone to just come and pick us up in a helicopter.

We made it to the station before the cut-off time but I told them I was done. We had been going for 24 hours. I laid down on the ground and fell asleep for a little bit before they took us to the finish line. Which reminds me- the lack of sleep SOMEHOW didn't affect me that much at all. I never hallucinated, I always knew what I was talking about, I never started to fall asleep on the trail. Of course I was really tired the whole time but I didn't notice a huge change or anything as we entered the night.

Despite my negativity in this post, I'm not super disappointed that I didn't finish. I think if I had DNF'ed because I was just tired or didn't want to continue, I'd be mad. In my case, I feel like I was physically unable to move, even though I really wanted to. It was frustrating because my legs and head and stomach felt totally fine, it was just those stupid blisters.

Having said all that, I don't know if a 100 mile race is that fun. Haha. Maybe if I do more of them then I'll get used to it...but it kind of sucked. Maybe I'll stick to 50 milers. Afterall, that's the part of this race that I actually enjoyed. And yes, 50 milers and 100 milers are different ballgames.

I slept for about 5 hours on the way home yesterday and then napped for about 1 1/2 hours later. Since yesterday was Father's Day, I spent time with the family in a wheelchair and fluffy slippers.

My feet are still swollen and so I tried icing my feet in water this morning. Nope, not gonna happen. I lasted about 10 seconds with each foot and decided it was way too cold to continue. I might soak them in warm water with epsom salt later on.

I still feel tired, kind of sick, and calorie-depleted now. A few days after Nick's 100 mile race, he said he was still losing weight. So I thought, "hmm...wonder what I weigh now". Why in the heck do I weigh 2 pounds more than beforehand? That's retarded! Only I would actually GAIN weight after having run 82 miles. That's bullcrap.

ANYWAY, to conclude everything...I'm sure I'll attempt another 100 miler just because of my dumb, competitive nature. I have to say I did one. Maybe I should just choose a flat, paved race to make it easy. Right now I'm saying I'll take a little bit of time off from running. We'll see what I say next week when I'm all healed up and have forgotten all of this junk.

Thanks again to Chris and Jamie who chose to give up a weekend to help a poor, complaining, slow-walking girl this weekend (!!!!), thanks to the runners who kept me going for all of those miles, and thanks to Mohican staff/volunteers for your hard work!!!!!!!


Doug said...


Great write-up on your Mohican race. I know how hard you worked out there, and how much you wanted to finish, but I'm positive there will be great days ahead for you on the trails.

For the record, I finished the 50 in just under 13 hours. Your positive attitude helped me on a day when I was having a pretty tough time from the beginning.

I will always remember hearing your voice behind me when you had already passed me some time back. I remember thinking, "That sounds like Clara- she must be running my loop twice." Little did I know that you got lost on the purple loop like so many others. Your spirits were good, though, and I remember being lifted by your attitude.

82.5 is a great achievement. I have no doubt you'll be adding 17.5to that in the future!

All the best,


Clara said...

Doug- great to hear from you! I was actually thinking earlier, "I hope Doug doesn't check that list of finishers afterwards like he said he name won't be on there". :) Great job on your finish- very happy for you!!

Kim said...

Nice race report! Good on you to stick it out for 80+ miles.

There is a new 100 miler in Cleveland in October. It's a paved loop 0.9 miles long, nice and flat. It's a 24 hour race, so you could run that and see how far you could go!

Bob - said...

I might soak them in warm water with Epsom salt later on.
Yes do it Clara, helps to heal those feet faster.

Good re-cap & Good Job on moving to 80 plus...I am the king of blisters & they suck!!! Sounds like u did a good on your fueling so that is good news, try ginger chews next time for stomach issues, works great.

Recover well!

Gary Robbins said...

You think that's long...have you ever honestly made it through one of my race reports!!
Sorry to hear you had to drop but sounds like you battled hard out there, congrats on that and recover well. There are plenty more races to tackle and I guarantee you learned a ton about yourself during this one!

704Studio said...

Congratulations on a great race, 82.5 is awesome! I had to laugh when I read how disappointed you were that you had gained 2 pounds post race :)

Thanks for the inspiring report, maybe I will run into you on the trails in Baraboo on July 11.

Hope your feet recover fast!

Unknown said...

Great Race Report.
What you described with the blisters is exactly what I felt. The pain was indescribable.

I wore my Race Vest under my Camelbak too. So funny.
I am getting one of those Nathan HPL #020.
I was on the Green Section before the Fire Tower and was thinking how nice it would be to have an airlift off the trail.

I only quit cause the blister pain was unreal. It was getting too dangerous for me to try and walk to avoid the blisters. I had fallen once off the trail and no one would have found me because of the way the trail was laid out.

There is always the next one.

Nick B said...

Geez...I've been wondering how it went for you and waiting for your post! Great job on going that far amidst the pain. I know exactly what you were going through emotionally...last year at Burning River I sprained my left ankle at Mile 38 and continued on (minus the running) until the pain was throbbing and it hurt simply standing still. That was at Mile mile before the Boston Store, mile 56, aid station. As it is preached, a DNF also stands for Do Nothing Fatal. When the pain gets to a point where the cutoffs are creeping up on you and the pain is unbearable, the tough decision must be made and that decision is not easy. Don't dare call yourself a quitter, either. You went as far as you could go. Stand tall on that.

By the way, I gained weight for a few days after the Kettle but then about a week later, my weight dropped big my body was devouring itself while repairing. It certainly wasn't the calorie burn as I was hardly running at all and not eating so great, either. Today, the weight is back to normal...just some dang tingling right toes to deal with.

Hang in there, Clara...I know the feeling to want that finish line more than anything. You'll be back...soon.

Recover well and keep that head up!

Anonymous said...

Hi Clara, I saw you on the Purple Loop and told you how my friend and I enjoy reading your blog. The weight gain is from the swelling in your muscles so weigh yourself later this week--you will see a big drop. I hear you on the blisters, my feet were not happy for many hours. Stay healthy and enjoy your next race.


Clara said...

Thanks for all of your encouragement and support. It cracks me up that so many of you commented about the weight thing. haha. My wonderful mother-n-law just now gave me a beautiful pedicure and cleaned up my nasty feet...they're still fat piggies but they're looking better!

Clara said...

Ellen- Wow, I'm just finding out that you were super close in winning the women's race- awesome job!!!! Now I feel bad that I held you up talking for a little bit. How'd you end up finishing?

Jamie said...

Great job, Clara!

sparlingville bill said...

Sra Clarita,
Felicitaciones, has hecho algo que sera mi sueno.
Espero verte en mis suenos hasta verte en Woodstock, acabo de matricularme en la carrera de 50 millas alli y en bailes con lodo dos semanas anteriores. Para woodstock espero cumplir una vuelta extra para cumplir cien k y tambien para poder decir que habia corrido mi edad.
El Sabado 27 de junio caminaba el maraton de Charlevoix en un nuevo RP de 4:46.
Muy bien reportaje sobre tus aventuras en Mohican, verdaderamente debes estar muy orgullosa sobre los 82 que cumpliste, eres un milagro.

Josh said...

great effort out there, and great report! 82.5 is a lot closer to 100 than some might relize, a couple things go your way next time and you've got it!