Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Snapshot of Cajun Coyote 100M 2013




I wanted to do a brief blog of my 2013 Cajun Coyote 100M experience, but nothing too drawn out, so here it is in "bare bones" form.

The night before, I slept horribly.  We opted for the group cabin option, which was nice b/c we were already in the park, but not so nice b/c of the noisy mattresses.  No one in that cabin could flinch without their bed making a noise.  I don't think anyone slept good that night.

I set myself a pretty lofty goal of a 22 hour finish, and I hoped to keep my laps on a 4 hour average for as long as I could.  I got caught up in the excitement on Lap #1 and finished way too fast, 3:14:30.  This, in turn, caused me to finish my next two laps slower than I intended.  Lap #2 was 4:07:33, and Lap #3 was 4:35:05.  At the end of three laps, I was still averaging around 4 hours per lap, but I was pretty sure Laps #4 & #5 would be slower.

I also had visitors during these laps, which is rare, b/c I'm normally racing out of state.  At the end of Lap #2, my parents and my daughter, Lauren, came to visit.  At the end of Lap#3, my bud Harris and his better half came by, as well as Lauren surprising me by staying for the rest of the race.

My parents, Erica and Lauren.
Me and Harris "HH" Hatchett.



















A few miles into Lap #4 I began to get nauseous.  Something I ate was not sitting well with me, and despite my best efforts, my stomach was winning the battle.  I did a lot of walking on this lap, b/c when I ran, my stomach felt even worse.  At miles 15 (75) and 19 (79) of this lap, I was on my hands and knees, puking my guts up by head light.  This lap also offered a light, foggy mist, which fell most of the lap, so in addition to being sick, I was also cold and wet.  Also, for some unforseen reason, my handheld flashlight went out, and I couldn't get it to work, so I was down to just my head light.  Finished Lap #4 in 5:44:31.  Total elapsed time was 17:41.

At Lap #5 I picked up my pacer, Billy McRae, who is a well established marathoner and iron man.  I had hoped to work him pretty hard for this lap, but my nasty stomach left me weakened and slow.  He coddled me for the first half of the lap, but as my nausea began to finally lift, he kept the foot on the gas, making sure we were running any flats or downhills, regardless of how slow my run pace was.  At around mile 90, the rain begain to fall.  It was light to moderate, and it would come and go.  Luckily, I was freezing at the end of Lap #4, so I brought my rain jacket for warmth, not anticipating that I'd need it to stay dry.  I guess the Running Gods to look out for every now and then.  With 2 miles to go, the rain was HEAVY!!!!  No sugar-coating it.  It was really coming down, and I was so glad we were near the end.  My rain jacket came in very handy then.  The hard rain did motivate me to run faster, and we finished my last lap in 6:02:18, for a finishing time of 23:44; not exactly the way I wanted to finish, but a win is a win, right?  This was my 3rd 100 Mile finish, and I did it 10 days shy of my 40th birthday.  Not a bad way to close our a decade!

As always, I want to thank my wife Erica for crewing me, Billy McCrae for pacing me, my family and friends that came to the race, all the family and friends that supported me via FB, text message, etc..., and to Forge for putting on a great race.


video

At the finish with Forge "Grand Master" Jeff Beck.

Me and my pacer Billy McRae.
The family.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Butterflies

It is December 5, 2014.  A little over 24 hours until I toe the line for my 3rd 100 miler at the Cajun Coyote.  Although I've run many ultras over the years, I still get butterflies in my stomach in the week prior to the race.  The preparation, the over-checking of the weather, the little things that I will need during my race in order to finish.  I check.  I double check.  ...And then I check again.  I know I have everything I will need, yet I can't help but think about that one thing that I'm missing, which never comes to mind, because I have already packed more than I need.  It's scary and exciting all at the same time.  

...And then there's race day.  There is nothing better than waking up on a cold morning, under a starry sky, when you can see a cloud of fog with every breath from the winter chill, and knowing that you will be pushing your mind and body to their limits, and beyond.  It's not for money or fame, but for a feeling of accomplishment that is known by only a few, and will never be understood by those who have never experienced it.  They watch or hear stories, and wonder "Why?"  Sometimes I wonder why myself.  But on race morning, when I line up with a group of my brothers and sisters, who I may not know personally, but with whom I will share joy, pain, suffering, and victory, I know I am home.  This is my place.  This is where I belong.

People often ask me why I run ultras, and the only response I can give them is "If you've never run an ultra, you'll never understand.  But if you ever do, you will never ask that question again."  So if you are running your first ultra this weekend.......rejoice!!!!   You may feel it is impossible at times, but when you cross that finish line, you will be part of a brotherhood that few will ever know or experience.  It is true.  It is pure. ...And it is a moment you will never forget.