Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. - Haruki Murakami
After all the hours; I’m getting ready to start a journey that will last somewhere around 18-30hrs. There is a nervous calmness at the start line…I know that this will hurt and this will be awesome. I have decided I will not suffer no matter what. I will take the pain and keep my mantra and feet going…FOCUS AND JOY. If I’m focused I’ll be strong, if I keep the joy I won’t
When the sun rose and I was done, I was really stoked to finish in 6th place (20:12) behind some really elite runners. Very happy to execute my second 100mile race well, and push through the lows and embrace the highs. Running 100 miles will hurt even when it’s going well. Your mind and heart have to be on board 100% and staying positive is an extremely powerful tool.
The run rabbit run course which covers about 105miles in Steamboat Colorado is no joke. There aren’t many easy miles (if any)…you gotta work the whole time, which for me was 20hrs and 12min. Lots of up and down the whole time adding up to a bit over 20,000ft of climbing. After the race, Jeff Browning described this course as “it’s relentless and you have be good at running almost everything to do well”. Basically one long 4k climb at the start and another 3-4k climb at mile 70 (ouch!) the rest is essentially all up and down with climbs between 1k and 2k and the rest is made up of a bunch more shorter ups and downs. Only 8 miles total is on a paved road, the rest is mainly single-track and rough jeep roads and is beautiful. The race started euro style at noon so it was nice to sleep in a bit and get final stuff prepped that morning. I double checked everything and chilled out with some music and ate 10 more donuts (not really). Mentally I was in a good place and ready to get the painjoy that is 100miles rolling. It really helped to have Becca, my Dad, and the boys around…they were as ready and hyped as I was! The start of a 100 mile race is probably a bit of a letdown if you are a spectating! Imagine world class runners starting a race at a measly jog…and within a few minutes we were all pretty much speed hiking all the steep stuff. About ¾ of the way to the top of Mount Werner, I grabbed a fresh bottle from Becca and high fived the dudes (mile 4ish). I was sitting in the top 15 or so and we had a good train of 6-9 guys running a solid (but doable) pace to the aid station at mile 12. Rob Krar was in our group and I could tell he was working way less than everyone else…he won the race. As we rolled into the aid station Nick Clark was already a couple minutes off the front of our chase pack with Zeke T. right behind him. As we left the aid station there was suddenly a weird scramble among our chase group and the pace increased to a speed I did not want to run this early in the race. Myself and Josh Vaughn stuck together and hoped a smart race of not pushing the pace early would pay off. Our new buddy Jim Rebenack caught up to us on the descent so the three of us rolled into fish creek aid station (around 17miles)…We hit the 4 mile road section and pretty much stayed together the next 30 miles. We hit the Cow creek aid station (mile 31ish) and my Dad and Becca where perfectly ready (as always) I refueled and got a few calories down. As we left cow creek I hit a bad patch for 20 min or so…I thought I would lose Josh and Jim but was able to get back on the train. We kept a manageable but steady pace, even though all of us had our own issues going on. As we rolled into Olympian Hall (mile 43) I was feeling better but also realized the last 40miles was tough and I was a little wrecked. I grabbed some coke, a fresh shirt, and a headlamp. it was just after 7pm. Becca told me the lead pack was all together and was only 15-20 minutes in front of us (not a huge gap for 7hrs into a 20hr race). This was also the only short section (4miles) you could have a pacer and it was great sharing a few miles with my amazing wife. She was a good distraction as she talked the whole time…I just kept shuffling along as I was hurting a bit on the road section. It was now dark and starting to get pretty cold. We rolled into fish creek (mile 47) and my Dad was there with everything ready to roll. I took a few extra minutes here to make sure I had enough food and clothes and grabbed my vest for the next 4-5 hrs because next time I would see my crew was at mile 65. It took me a few minutes to warm up on the rocky technical climb up fish creek. I got in a really good rhythm and really enjoyed this section. I was able to power hike at a great pace and run all the mellower stuff. I realized I had forgotten to grab my ipod shuffle, I was looking forward to some music distraction for this long night stretch, I guessed it would sound that much better at mile 65-70. Myself and Mark Hammond started the long rough dirt road that descends about 7 miles down to dry lake aid station…my legs were screaming and my quads felt trashed. I just kept running and stopped a couple times to stretch the quads and hips. It felt like we ran down that damn road for several hours (probably 1.5hrs). We finally got to dry lake and Becca and my dad had our pit stop ready to go. I sat down for a quick sock/shoe change, and got some calories down (coke and soup). I grabbed my vest and ipod and took off feeling pretty good. I was focused and ran the entire 4.5 mile descent to mile 70 at a good clip (at least it felt fast). My legs had finally rebounded. I counted the runners coming up the trail, because I knew I was top 10. Rob was hammering, then Josh Arthur and Jeff Browning. After those dudes it was a while before I saw Ryan Ghelfi, Paul Terranova, and I somehow missed Nick Clark. I rolled into spring creek aid station, gave Jason Schlarb a high five and left. I put the music on for the first time and started the climb back to dry creek. I think I ran the whole 4.5 climb back up (things will get foggy at mile 70+) I do remember feeling good, totally focused and actually felt like I was “racing”. Quick fill ups at Dry creek aid station (mile 75, just after 2am) and gave Becca a kiss, this was the last time I would see my crew till the finish. I started the long slog up that same damn dirt road, I stayed positive and new I could finish this beast ok. I definitely had several moments up that road I felt like I was barely moving. As I rolled into summit lake aid station (mile 82) I realized I had caught Paul Terranova and we walked into the aid station together. I wanted to get out of there fast, as aid stations can be a warm inviting time sucking delay this late into a race. I left ahead of Paul and had moved into 6th place. The last 15miles were tough. I just yo-yo’d the rest of the way from feeling great to crappy every few minutes and miles. Despite the rough patches I was in a decently good mood, and as the sun came up around 6:30 I took a moment to breath and reflect on the last 18hrs. It’s hard for me to explain or describe, but it’s a crazy feeling of connection, appreciation, and satisfaction. After the long descent towards the finish I finally heard the familiar loud cheer that is my beautiful wife. I am so thankful for my family and their support. Ryder and Max sprinted up the hill to me with huge grins on their faces! They had the same joy in their faces that I was feeling, I probably looked like crap. We cruised back to the finish a few hours later to watch my buddies Greg and Casey both finish their first 100's. Is was awesome seeing both of them finish such a huge day.
Shoes: Hoka Huaka (first 65miles)
Hoka Rapa Nui (last 40Miles)
Socks: Swiftwick 4inch (no swelling, one tiny blister)
Hydration: Ultimate Direction handhelds until dark
Ultimate Direction AK vest after dark to finish
Glasses: Smith Lowdown
Headlamp: Black Diamond icon (amazing)
My nutrition went great, no issues at all. I drank beet juice (pure clean power) every day for several weeks leading up to race (not during race), and I keep a pretty clean diet with lots of greens, and protein. I'm not super strict but I do avoid processed foods, excess carbs, and most gluten.
During the race I used GU gels (small sip from flask every 40-60min or as needed).
2-3 Skratch labs Homemade rice cakes (eggs, rice, bacon). At aid stations I would eat whatever solid food sounded good. (Bananas, Watermelon, mashed potatoes, Fritos, Noodle Soup) and of course I drank my fair share of COKE.