September 27, 2018 — Ottawa, KS
Kansas Rails to Trails
Well, it’s only taken me nearly four weeks to write this. One of these days, I will conquer 100 miles. Or maybe not. After this one, I’m not sure when I’ll muster the courage to try again. This recap will be short.
I went in on extremely well rested legs. Read: Busy AF with little time to run. But I still thought I had a good shot at it, with the easy terrain and tremendous forecast for race weekend.
Before leaving town the day before the race, I double and triple checked my items — both necessary and un. I said goodbye to the family and hit the road — only about an hour drive to Ottawa.
I arrived in Ottawa and went straight to packet pick-up. I was certainly the first runner there, as I was actually a couple minutes early (I’m always early) and they were still getting set up.
I took the opportunity to collect my things, get checked in and take a look around.
I then went to check in at my hotel and get some food before trying to relax — that never pans out well.
As you can see, Bryant loaned me Thidwick for the weekend. He brought me some comfort the night before, but ultimately Thidwick wasn’t going to run the miles for me.
It was on the chilly side on race morning, but I knew that wouldn’t last.
Wound up needing the headlamp for longer than expected with the tree coverage and all, but no worries there. I had fresh batteries.
Lined up next to a couple of ultra running legends there at the start — Will Sprouse and Rene Villalobos. Definitely felt and looked out of my element next to them — and it showed with our collective results. Oh, well.
My legs felt good early. I was moving fairly well, but not fast. That was fine, as 100 miles is sort of far, after all.
Once the sun started coming out, I started noticing just how pretty the course was. Lots of crunching leaves underfoot as well.
Somewhere between mile 7-9.
Hit the first manned aid station (Princeton) at mile 9.2, ate a couple things, refilled and kept on.
At this point, I was still feeling chilly, but comfortable. Got to the next manned station (Richmond) at mile 15.73 and still felt okay. Same protocol as before. Although I couldn’t drink the water after this station — worst water I’ve ever tasted in my life. Something was in that, man. Several others commented the same. Something akin to what I imagine foot sweat might taste like. I don’t intend to find out.
But I kept moving.
Approached Garnett (mile 25) starting to feel warm. Passed it off as no big deal, as I figured I could simply recharge and keep going.
That’s what I did, but as the next few miles ticked by, I got warmer and warmer and warmer… I knew the temperature wasn’t exactly “hot,” but when I went from chilly to warm to hot pretty quickly, I grew concerned.
Temps seemed to go from 40 to 74 pretty rapidly. Insane to think that at just 74, I could overheat as badly as I did. Looking back, I never really recovered from this.
By mile 32 or so, I felt like I was in trouble. I tried not to let it show, but it wasn’t easy. I did throw up for the first time around mile 33, which helped clear my airwaves, at least momentarily.
When I finally — slowly — reached the Welda aid station at mile 33.44, I felt like collapsing. I laid down under some trees for what felt like a year. It likely wasn’t more than 15 minutes, but in aid station time, that’s an eternity.
I got some ice in my hat, which cooled me off for a bit, but it wouldn’t last.
I eventually kept moving on toward the Colony aid station at mile 41.35, where I met my pacer, my good friend Lisa Johnson. She was great. I wish I could have put in a better effort for her. But I appreciate her greatly, nonetheless.
The camera man here captured a comical shot here — I took too long to realize he was standing there, then once I noticed him, I had a hilariously slow reaction time that makes it appear as though I might murder him.
I was not doing great, but not as angry as it appears here.
Anyway, Lisa and I ventured onward and into the darkness — although I was mostly only able to walk from this point on. I was struggling to stay cool, struggling to breathe, struggling to eat… just struggling.
I threw up several more times — at mile 46.6, 54.6, 56.3, 58.3 and 60.7. Only the first two times made me feel better/cleared airwaves. The ensuing instances did not feel good.
We eventually made our way past a creepy abandoned building and a pack of coyotes and to the turnaround at mile 51.51 in Iola. With just a few minutes before the cutoff there, I knew that even moving at my best, I’d likely get cut off at some point soon. I was not moving at my best or even close to it.
That was super demoralizing, to be honest. A bit of “What’s the point?” kept creeping into my mind. Lisa was doing a great job of trying to keep me positive, but the damage had been done by that point. I was just not doing well physically or emotionally.
We did make our way back to Colony inbound at mile 61.96, where my next pacer, Adam Dolezal was waiting. I knew I was past the cutoff and was ready to be done. However, he had darn near convinced me to change my shoes and keep trying to move forward toward the next aid station when I was told they were pulling me from the course.
I didn’t blame them a bit. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little relieved. Not sure I truly had anything left to give.
If I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure what I could have done differently to earn a different outcome.
Maybe I’ll try again someday. Maybe I won’t. I’m now 0-2 in my 100 mile efforts. For now, that’s just not where my focus is. And that’s okay.