Finally another one in the book! Bernie and I drove to MI last Friday afternoon, we met up with Bryan (poor Chris couldn't make it) and we started the race at 4pm. I finished the race in 27:16 and it seems like it rained about 24 of those hours.
From the get-go we decided to do a plan of run 7 minutes, walk 3 minutes all the way to the finish. We laughed and disregarded this strategy at Mohican but when we DNF'd that race and the guy who followed that strategy, Mike, did finish, we were convinced. So, it was definitely hard to stick to that slow pace during the first 30 miles. People kept passing us and I was feeling good and wanting to run harder. Luckily the guys kept reminding me to hold back and then run hard at mile 80 if I still felt good. The first loop was in the light and even though my shorts were already soaked from sweat and I was chafing, I felt pretty good. We finished the first loop in 3:30 which was pretty fast so we tried slowing down our pace a little bit afterwards.
On the second loop we met a guy, Joe, who was out there running alone and he ended up staying with us until the end. It was rainy and dark but we kept truckin; finished in about four hours.
It was still raining on the third loop and so the course was getting muddier and harder to run through and my feet were still getting soaked, even though I changed out my shoes and socks. I was feeling pretty tired after the third loop and it surprised me since I had only run 50 miles. I think we finished this loop in four hours, too.
Bernie wasn't feeling too hot either but we convinced him to start the fourth loop with us. Right then at 4am, good ole Bill (whom I ran this race with last year) surprisingly met up with us out on the course and ran a few miles with us. He woke up at midnight, drove a few hours over, ran a few miles with us, then turned back around to make his 50k start at 6am. Crazy. Bernie ended up dropping at the end of this loop; just wasn't his day. It was hard when he dropped because it tempted me to stop, but I kept going because I didn't want three DNFs.
My blisters were getting worse on the fourth loop because of the non-stop rain and mud puddles we had to run through. I really didn't want to stop this race because of blisters so I was going to push through it even if it killed me. We were running a good pace so far so I knew I could walk a lot if I needed to and still finish within the cut-off time. By this time we were sick of the dark and just kept begging the sun to come up; that was our only motivation to start the fifth loop. I think we finished this loop in four or four and a half hours.
Same story for the fifth loop except we had day light which helped. It was hard to keep going. I was tired and my feet really killed. We finished the loop in 4:30 and I had a breakdown; just overwhelmed and in pain and I wanted to stop but knew I wouldn't. I knew if I did the fifth loop then there was no way I wouldn't do the sixth. I cried and cried but kept going and headed out for the last lap.
At the beginning of the sixth loop lucky Bryan was feeling awesome and somehow his magical feet didn't have any blisters so he ran on ahead and Joe and I struggled through the end. Joe's feet were jacked up, too, so we decided we'd change our running plan to run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes. It was so hard to run that minute and we really thought we were working hard and making progress, even though our feet barely left the ground. Joe's girlfriend came and paced us for a few miles and then headed back.
Bill had finished his 50k and caught up to us to finish the race. I couldn't believe he stayed with us until the end; I literally said about five words the last five hours. I couldn't be in a good mood and I couldn't make myself talk at all. Very nice and patient of him.
Joe and I tried the 2:1 strategy for awhile and then ended up just walking most of the miles and running occasionally. At the end Joe's walk was faster than mine so he went on ahead and Bill and I slowly finished the race 20 minutes after him.
Oh my goodness it was rough at the end. It seems like my legs were fine the whole time; it was just the darn blisters that got me again. I don't know what to do. I used the good Drymax socks; I used the Injinji socks; I ran in about six different pairs of shoes (two of which were brand new). Don't we all have the same type of skin? How come my feet were affected and others' not? Doesn't make sense.
Well speaking of, I saw Joe's feet after the race and they looked like ground beef. His blisters had actually already ripped off and a ton of his skin was exposed- yuck. He ended up going to the ER to have them get fixed. During the race he had talked about wanting to do that anyway; get hooked up to some meds and then have your feet worked on. :)
So I finished and that's all I care about now. I think 89 runners had at least pre-registered for the event; 27 finished.
Below's a video of some of the course. I apologize that it's not too entertaining; I'm pretty depressing in it. Warning- I show my nasty blisters at the end.