Race report: KRT 100 (DNF)

KRT 100

October 27, 2018 — Ottawa, KS

Place: DNF

Time: –:–:–

krt

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.

sunrise

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.

what are you looking at

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.

 

Race report: Heartland 100 (DNF)

Heartland 100

October 8, 2016 — Cassoday, KS

Place: DNF

Time: –:–:–

bib

Pre-race, Heartland 100.

I was ready for this race — until I wasn’t. I dropped out of my first 100-mile race after 58.1 miles, but the October 8 DNF could have easily been a DNS due to a pretty gross September 10 ankle injury. See injury below:

ankle

The ankle.

It honestly did feel a lot better prior to race day. Fastest healing I’d ever done, I told people. Maybe it was the gradual pounding on the gravel roads of the Flint Hills. Maybe I shouldn’t have tried in the first place. I dunno. But I’m paying the price since race day.

Sure, I have fleeting moments where I tell myself “You should have kept going. You should have gone until it fell off.” But let’s be honest — that would have been beyond dumb. Some long-term healing is needed at this point.

On to the race.

It was chilly early, but when the sun began to rise, the stunning views made it difficult to feel any pain or have any negative thoughts. I love Kansas.

sunrise

The Flint Hills at sunrise, ladies and gentlemen.

After the 8.5 mile aid station, the hills get bigger and longer until the next aid station at 17. I knew this, however, having finished the spring 50 each of the past two years. I still felt decent heading into that 17th mile and beyond.

shades

One of my favorite shots of the day. Pretty sure I look tougher here than I felt.

My beautiful wife (and crew) Kami, did a tremendous job all day long and in to the night, as I expected she would. My other crew member (and pacer) Melissa was invaluable, as well. They were there for me when I needed them most. They almost had me convinced at mile 58 to go another stretch to the next aid station (64). Mentally, I was still in it. Emotionally, I was as prepared as possible to go the full 103+ or whatever it wound up being.

Physically, I was finished. My foot just couldn’t take the pounding any more.

I actually considered quitting at mile 25, when my foot/ankle acted up a bit and I was struggling to breathe — same song, different verse with that one.

But they convinced me to keep going.

dfl

The view from last place was actually super peaceful. Then I said “F this” and took off, passing a handful of runners over the next 5 miles.

I struggled until about 28. That’s when I hit a groove. I’m not sure what got into me, but I was probably a solid half-mile or more back in last place when I picked off seven or eight runners over the next few miles. I moved surprisingly well until hitting another wall around mile 34.

I again considered tossing the towel at mile 37, when this picture Melissa took summed up my feelings perfectly.

sad

Mile 37 feels.

Here’s another from that same aid station, after changing clothes. Had to work on the ankle a bit here…

pizza

Kami works on my ankle while I attempt to eat some food for once.

I made it solo to mile 43, where I was allowed a pacer. Melissa joined me for those next 15, but it wasn’t more than 3 or 4 before I knew I was in trouble. I did get a small boost or two while listening to the Cubs NLDS Game 2 victory over San Francisco, which is probably the only reason I don’t look completely miserable here…

48

Listening to the Cubbies near mile 47 or so.

All in all, yes — I’m immensely disappointed with how this race turned out. But given my fitness level (I’ve gained back the majority of the weight I lost when I started running in the first place) and the relatively short turnaround after the ankle injury, I’m not sure what else I could have reasonably expected.

Though I’m upset with how I did and the circumstances that unfolded, there’s not a doubt in my mind that shutting it down was the right call. Each step I take, I wonder if maybe I should have shut it down sooner. But I live to run another day — eventually.

I love the Heartland course, and I will be back. Perhaps at the 50, perhaps for the 100 again. Who knows. Either way, until next time, Cassoday…

scenic

This place is something else, you guys.