Monday, November 27, 2017

Worlds Longest Turkey Trot - redux

This time, let's run from Chicago to Milwaukee


I ran from Milwaukee, WI to Chicago, IL last year, starting black Friday.  The reason for the event can be read in the preface for last year's event, found here.
Last year I had something to prove.  I had DNS (did not start) Hennepin that year due to a relapse.  I had to redeem myself.
This year, I smashed the time goal that I had set for myself at Hennepin.  This year, the WLTT was going to be a fun time with friends.  A leisurely journey from Chicago to Milwaukee, on foot.  I would see some friends that I had made last year.

If you'd like to donate to the Les Turner ALS foundation, the link is here

I had trained my arse off for Hennepin, which took place 7 weeks prior.  I took a week off of running after the finish, and just planned on maintaining until the WLTT.  That would consist of 40-50 mile weeks.
As is illustrated in the following spreadsheet, my ITBS flared up one week, and my kids gave me a terrible cold another week.  This caused me to miss nine days of training.  Not a huge deal, given the laid back nature of the event.


The plan was for me to park my car by my friend Siva's condo.  I had met him at Hallucination 100, where I paced him his last 50 miles.
I woke up at 2am, Friday morning, and was on the road to Chicago by 2:45.
It was a 4:40 minute drive, and due to the time change from Eastern to Central, I arrived at 6:10.  Siva was planning on heading to the Bean at 7, so I watched some local Chicago news until we left.

RD Scott Kummer had posted three Google map segments prior to the event.  They totaled 89 miles.  Last year's event, from Milwaukee to Chicago, was 97 (we started more north than we would be ending).
I figured I was down for 89 miles at a leisurely pace.

The Event

Siva and I arrived at the Bean at 7:30.  There was only one other runner there at the time.  We introduced ourselves and waited for the rest of the runners.  They arrived, we posed for some pictures, got our starting instructions from RD Scott Kummer, and were on our way.

Out of Chicago (to Evanston)

The route for the first 15.6 miles

Chicago is a big city.  I mean, a real big city.  I was born and raised in Detroit, and that doesn't hold a candle to Chicago.
I had no idea when Chicago proper ended, and the suburbs began.
We had fantastic volunteers, and at least two dedicated crew cars for the duration of the event.
To be honest, I don't remember specifics of much of the event.  I hung with Rey, the friend I finished the last 20 miles of last year's event with, for most of this year's event.
We walked a lot.
A whole lot.
Rey and I had learned from last year that taking it easy in the beginning was the way to go.

So that's all I really remember about this leg.  Lots of walking.

Did I mention that we walked?

Evanston to Waukegan

We stopped at a restaurant named Homer's for lunch.  Nice place, a bit classier than fast-food, but not quite a sit-down restaurant.
Neither Rey nor I were hungry.  We just took a load off while everyone else ate.
On our way out, I said hello to Kiki, Alfredo's widow.  She was a crew car for the first day.  One of the nicest women I ever met.  She comes into play later in this report.

Of course, shortly after leaving Homer's, I started to get super hungry.

The interior of Homer's
About four miles later, one of the runners' clients (she's a running coach) was standing on the corner with a box of pizza.
Now, I've never had Chicago style pizza.  It appeared that it was probably fresh about five hours prior, but it looked DELICIOUS!  I grabbed two.  I ate nothing else for the next 15 miles because I was so full.
I already ate the first piece

Sunset comes earlier in Chicago than it does where I live in Fenton, MI.  I don't recall exactly where we were when it set, but I do remember that it was full dark when we ran through North Chicago.
Scott gave us the directive last year that we were to stick together in North Chicago, and the same held true this time.
Apparently North Chicago is a 'bad neighborhood'.  I didn't find it to be terrible.  I've been in much worse places in the depths of my addiction.
So we stuck together.
More walking.

Waukegan to When I Finished

In Waukegan, we stopped at a McDonald's for dinner.  I was the first to see the golden arches, so I was able to kick it into a semblance of a run.  I was the first to reach Kyle's SUV.  He told me that a bunch of guys had pulled a guy out of the van parked next to him, and carried him into the McDonald's.
When the rest of the crew pulled up, and that story was relayed to them, they became very reticent to enter the McD's.  As I said, I've been in worse places than North Chicago, and worse situations than some dude being dragged into a McD's.
All I wanted was some McChickens, but everyone else was dead set against going in.
Luckily, there was a restaurant across the street, Rosati's.  I hadn't eaten since the pizza I ate 15 miles prior.  I ordered a HUGE order of these bread stick things.

I ate the whole basket.  I was so stuffed.

At some point during the night, we passed the Illinois/Wisconsin border.  
I was getting tired.  Not sleepy, per se, but tired.  I had been up for ~24 hours, and had walked many, many miles.
Rey and I were both looking forward to reaching the Kenosha Running Company, in Kenosha, WI.  Brian, the owner of the store, provided an AS for us.
He had done the same thing for us last year.
I ate a bowl of instant oatmeal, then curled up on the floor for a nap.
Pretty sure Brian let us sleep for 30 minutes.
We woke up, girded ourselves, and carried on.
This was mile 60.

I want to take a minute to mention that Friday's weather was beautiful.  Sunny, with a high in the 60s (F).  The setting sun brought cooler temps, but it was still nice.
Somewhere around midnight, the wind picked up and brought cooler temps, in the 30s (F).

So it was somewhere between 4-5am, Saturday morning, when we exited Kenosha Running Company.  I fell in with Rey, and we walked some more.  It took us maybe a mile to loosen up.
We walked.
I started thinking about walking 25 more miles.  
I had no desire to do that.  We had already walked close to 50 miles already.  I told Rey that I was considering dropping at the next spot we saw the aid vehicles, mile 65.

We reached the cars finally.  I told Kiki that I was going to hop in her car to get warm and take a nap.  I asked her if she would wake me up when the runners arrived at the next stop, in five miles. 
I promptly fell asleep.

I woke up to the sunrise, and the runners already leaving.  I noticed that Rey and Siva had also dropped.

Thus ends the narrative of the event.


I have absolutely zero regrets about stopping when I did.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself until I didn't anymore, and then I stopped.
I have nothing to prove to anyone; most importantly myself.

This event would have been much more difficult if it wasn't for the volunteers.
Thank you to:
  • Kyle Gillman
  • Jim Arnold
  • Kiki
  • Rich McCaleb
  • All others I've forgotten in my sleep deprived state.  It was an honor and a pleasure.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Hennepin Hundred: The Quest for sub-24


Since I started running 100's, the goal had been to run 100 miles in one day, or under 24 hours time.  I had attempted it twice.  I had failed to meet that goal twice.

Hennepin, 2016 was to be my third attempt.  However, due to a personal situation, I was a DNS.  So Hennepin, 2017 it was!
Hennepin is a point to point race that starts in Rock Falls, IL, and ends in Colona, IL.
I had chosen Hennepin because it was advertised as 'flat and fast'.  That, in and of itself, can lead to problems, which I will address in the training section at the end of the report.

In the month or two leading up to the race, my primary goal had switched to one of sub 23 hours.  I thought that I was totally capable of doing that.

Friday, October 6, 2017

My good friend Pete had volunteered last year to crew for me.  And my ever present running husband Kurt would be my pacer.  Pete picked me up Friday around 10 am.  We then picked up Kurt and headed to the pre-race meeting, which was held near the finish.

After that, we headed back to the hotel I had booked for us near the starting line.  The first order of business was to go over instructions for Pete and Kurt.  I had made up a spread sheet for them. 

I also went over what was in my race bin, and in the specific bags within it.

I made the mistake of mentioning to Kurt that if I could get to the 50 mile mark in 9 hours, I believed a sub 22 was possible.  That'll come into play later.

We all had a great time cutting up like a bunch of teenagers.  We made a trip to the Walmart across the street for some items we had forgotten, and were able to get to bed by 830 CDT (the three of us live in EDT).

Race Day

Hennepin is a point to point hundred, with a 5.2 mile section that's run twice.  It's shaped like an upside-down "T"
You start at the top, run down to the base of the T, turn left, then turn around at the star.  You then run straight for the duration of the race.  It follows a canal for the entirety of the course.
This is the .gpx file from my run

I was the first to wake up, at 430.  I had never before had 6 hours of good sleep prior to an event, so I decided to get dressed and get myself ready.
I had put aside the clothes that I was going to wear to the race a month prior.  My 'business handling' outfit is what I called it.
I had purchased a Greater Flint Track Club shirt from the local running store.  That was the only thing I wore that was colorful.  I had on grey undershorts, black race shorts, and a grey headband which had skulls all over it.  I also chose the most subdued pair of shoes I had trained in: my black and red Altra Torin 2.0.

Pete and Kurt woke up shortly after I.  We got ourselves ready, then packed up the car.  The hotel was serving breakfast, so we stopped in to eat real quick.  We then headed to the start line, 15 minutes away.
Kurt, Pete, and I

I remember telling them on that ride that I was, "calm, cool, and collected".  That too was a change for me.  Usually I'm a ball of nervous energy.  But I had complete faith in God and my training.  And being anxious was a waste of energy.
We got to the start line about 30 minutes before the gun went off.  I'm glad that we did.  They only had four port-a-johns, so I stood in line for ten minutes to empty my bladder.
I had two GPS watches with me: my Garmin 310 and my Suunto Ambit.  The former was to track my pace until I picked Kurt up at mile 47.1.  The latter I had set to track the entire run.  (it's the one at the top of the following list)


I stitched together the GPX files from Pete's watch and my watch, then uploaded it to Strava.  Here's the entire GPS data from the race.

I powered on my Garmin, and it wouldn't start the process of locating satellites.  I started freaking out a bit at this point, because keeping track of my pace for the first half was key to me.  Pete saved the day by breaking out his 310.
The plan was for me to get the majority of my calories during the race from Fellrnr's Go Juice.  I had one hand held filled with that, another handheld with water.  I would drink a full water between every aid station (AS), and a full Go Juice every other.
I made my way to the starting chute, and threaded through the crowd gathered there to the front.  I was there to handle business, after all.  I was not there for a good time.  I had brought my two mp3 players to listen to until I picked Kurt up.  I put in the punk rock one, the gun started, and I was off.
Kurt and I pre-start

Pete and I pre-start

The report will be broken down into 25 mile segments.
That's how I remember it

Miles 1 - 25

All I recall about these miles is towards the end.  I was well rested from my taper, so I went out there fairly fast.  I was holding a pace in the low 9s.

Before I had reached mile 10, my right quad started to get really tight.  It wasn't affecting my gait, so I thought "well, guess I'll be living with this for the next 90 miles".

The original plan called for me to run to the second AS, then start my cycle of running five miles, and walking two.  I don't rightly recall when I started walking, but I believe it was at AS 3, mile 14.9.  I know I only walked a half of a mile, then started running again.  I pushed quite hard through the first 25.  I finished this quarter in an average pace of 9:59.  I walked less than two miles during this 25 miles.
I rewarded myself with a half mile walk.
All of my AS stops were under one minute in length.  I would see the AS up ahead, finish the bottle (or bottles if it was time to fill up the Go Juice).  If it was a Go Juice AS, I would have the powder dumped into the bottle.
I was in and out of every AS in less than one minute.

I started experiencing some GI distress during these 25 miles.  While my stomach wasn't upset, and I didn't have the runs, I found myself having to poop pretty often.  I ended up pooping eight times during the race.  That was 20 minutes that I was not able to make up.

Miles 26 - 50

Some pictures from the beginning of these 25 miles, courtesy of Kurt:

Taken as I was pulling into an AS which had crew access.  I'm always a ham for a photo.

I reached the 26.2 mark in 4:25.  I knew that I pushed through that first 25 real hard, and that I would have to throttle it back if I wanted to avoid burning out.  The weather was great.  It was in the low 70s temperature wise, but totally cloudy.  I was still sweating quite a bit, but was staying hydrated and replenishing my electrolytes adequately through the Go Juice.  
Miles 30 - 40 were rough for me.  I was trying to find a sweet spot in my run/walk ratio.  I tried 2.5/0.5, and 2/0.5.  All of those required me pushing a bit harder than I wanted towards the end of the run period.  I ended up talking to my dad, who passed in March, quite a bit during these miles.
"C'mon dad.  It's just you and me.  We got this old man"
I still miss him.
I had never run a race where I was so focused.  Normally during a 100, I'll fall in with another runner(s), and talk to them until I or them fall behind.
That was not the case today.  I had my music on, and I was just focused on moving as fast as I could.

I don't recall where in this 25 miles I asked Pete for a shirt.  I had taken mine off soon after the start.  I was starting to chafe in my right armpit from the salt I was sweating off.  It wasn't horrible, but it was getting a bit uncomfortable.  I knew the exact shirt I wanted.  As I pulled into whichever AS it was, I said
"I need the short sleeved tech with the yellow stripe"
It was fairly snug to my body, which is what I wanted to alleviate the rubbing.

I was finally able to settle into a 1.5/0.5 ratio.  My walking pace was still around 13:30 min/mile.  I have only my training to thank for that.  (Training section at the end of the report).  My running pace was creeping up into the 11 min mark, but I was still doing great.  Every time I saw Pete and Kurt, they would update me as to how much time I had gained on my ETA listed on the spreadsheet.
A couple of times when I pulled up to an AS with crew access, Kurt would ask me how I was doing.  He told me later that evening (or maybe early Sunday morning) when we were running together, that my response sounded like this
He was very concerned that I was getting wonky due to a lack of electrolytes.  In reality, it was just stopping that was the issue.  I was pushing hard the entire way: running and walking.  Coming to a complete stop was stopping the extra cardiovascular pump, and all of a sudden my brain would be minus however much blood. 
He insisted I find something salty to eat, so I grabbed some bacon they had there in ziplock bags.  I grabbed a couple of bags to go, and carried on.

At some point in this 25, it started misting out.  It was quite welcome.  When the precipitation got harder, I told Pete at an AS that I needed my running hat.  I love running in the rain, but really dislike having it get in my eyes.

At the AS at mile 32.1 I saw Mike Pfefferkorn, the RD of the Indiana Trail 100 (IT).  Kurt and I have been involved with the IT since it's inaugural year in 2013.  It was good to see him.  I remember telling him
"I'm here to CRUSH this course!"
really loud.
Leaving that AS, I thought how good it would be to see it again at mile 67.3. 

I had informed Pete and Kurt that when I picked up Kurt at mile 47.1, I wanted to change my shoes and socks.  When I reached that point, I sat down for the only time during the race.  Man that hurt to sit.
They got some baby wipes, cleaned my feet off, reapplied silicone lubricant, put clean socks on me, and my Altra Olympus.  The thick soles on those bad boys were a welcome relief.

I hit 50 miles in ~9 hours and 30 minutes.  A new 50 mile PR for me.

Kurt and I ran the 2.6 miles to the 100 mile turnaround.  I talked his ear off for quite a while.  I was feeling pretty starved for conversation.  I recall that I told him that if I missed my goal by 20 minutes, I had only the time that I had spent pooping to blame.  

As I said, I used Pete's watch for the first 47.5.  Here are screen shots of my splits for those miles.

Miles 51 - 75

I remember Kurt telling me at mile 56 something about the pace that we would have to maintain to hit sub 22 hours.  That's Kurt.  He's an engineer, and always feels the need to do math.
To be fair, I was still able to do simple math, but whatever it was that he said sounded like an explanation of vector spaces.
He explained a bit later that as long as we were able to maintain a one hour pace for every four miles traveled, we could sub 22.  So every four miles I would give him a mark, and he would consult his wrist watch and tell me how much time we had gained on that finish.  We were doing pretty good.

It was pretty nice to hit that AS again at 67.3.  I couldn't let myself think about how many miles I had left, so I focused on two other numbers:
  1. The number of AS left (20 total)
  2. The number of miles left in our four mile cycle

Night came during these 25 miles.  Kurt and I just kept plugging away.  I maintained the 1.5/0.5 run/walk ratio as long as I could.  At some point, we switched it to a 1/0.5.  Both the run and walk pace were slowing down, but I was giving it everything I had.

I remember getting sleepy at some point.  I was still able to maintain our pace, but all I wanted was to lie down and take a nap.  I had brought some Zip Fizz along.  These things are awesome.  They have eight times the amount of B12 than 5-Hour Energy has.  I added one to my water bottle, and it pepped me right up.

Miles 76 - Finish (100.3)

I was still giving Kurt a mark every four miles.  At one point, we had built up a 14 minute cushion on the sub 22 hour finish.  We were still doing a 1/0.5 run/walk.  I think our cushion dropped to 11 or 12 minutes, but we were still pushing it.  

Pete knew that we were trying for a sub 22.  He kept telling me when I saw him that we were good.  That we'd make it no problem.  I remember thinking each time
"Dude, shut up."
I'm a firm believer that in sports, all jinxes are valid.  I didn't want him talking about it for two reasons:
  1. I didn't want him to jinx it
  2. This had gotten hard
At some point in the 70s or early in the 80s, I remember telling Kurt
"At this moment, at this point in the race, doing what we're doing is not a problem" referring to the run/walk that we were able to maintain.  
For at least 30 miles after I picked him up, we maintained right around one hour for every four miles run.  That was blowing my mind for this stage of the game.

I had Pete get me some BCAA with caffeine to put in my water bottle.  The caffeine was a huge help for keeping me alert and focused.

At the  mile 78 AS, Kurt and I were both ready for some coffee.  The volunteers told us they didn't have any, but that there was some at the next one, at mile 82.1.  There wasn't any there either.  One volunteer did have some chocolate covered espresso beans which she shared with us, but that didn't really help us too much.

We finally got our coffee at the AS at 86.7.  We each slammed a cup of tepid coffee, had Pete put some of the caffeine laden BCAA powder in our bottles, and continued on.

The last time we saw Pete on the course was at the AS at mile 93.1.  We both dropped off our hand-helds with Pete.  Our cushion at this point was maybe about 10 minutes.  Pete again was just overjoyed to tell me how I had a sub 22 in the bag.  
I asked a volunteer what the actual distance of the race was.  I knew it was a bit longer than 100, but I didn't know how much more.  Those extra tenths might mean the difference between sub 22 and sub 23.  He said
"It's actually closer to 101 than it is to 100"
That took whatever air that I had left in my balloon out.  Kurt and I started back on the course, and I told him what he had said.  Kurt said that if it was 101, we'd be really hard pressed to make the sub 22 goal.  We would have to make up some time.
I had pushed as hard as I could to that point.  I tried to keep up the 1/0.5 run/walk, but I was only able to make it .6 miles into the run portion before I told him that  I had to walk.  I decided that I would do a 0.5/0.5 run/walk until the finish.  Whatever my time was going to be, I knew that I had left everything I had out on the course.

Kurt and I spent quite a bit of the next 3.4 miles until the final AS bitching about this.  The turn around for the 100 miles was 1.3 miles from the AS.  Kurt informed me that someone had told him it was specifically 1.36 miles.  Why not make the course exactly 100 miles?  The turnaround was just in some arbitrary spot on the trail.
What the hell?!?!

We decided to just keep on doing our 0.5/0.5 run/walk until we reached the last AS, at which point we would find out exactly how long we had to go.
We reached it.  They had a laminated sheet that said
3.7 miles until Finish.
That would make the race 100.3 miles.  That meant we still had a chance.
We both asked the volunteers if that was correct.  They said yes.
I slammed a cup of water, and we moved out.

Kurt informed me that it was going to be tight.  We had about a three minute cushion at this point, and that was with us maintaining a 15 minute/mile pace.  I told him that I was only able to do what we had been doing, referring to our run/walk ratio.  Whatever I finished in, I would be happy with.

We came into the town of Colona, IL, where the finish was located.  
We were running the first half of each mile, walking the second half.  I knew that Kurt would want me to run the last mile into the finish.  All I could think was
"What if my watch is incorrect?  What if we think it should be one mile, but it's really 1.2?"
I did not think that I had it in me to run that extra point whatever it might be.

We reached one mile to go, and Kurt said
"Come on.  Let's run it in."
I stopped.  Put my hands on my knees.  Hunched over.  Took a deep breath to gather myself.  And started to run.

We saw the finish about .5 miles away, but I couldn't gauge how far it actually was.  When we finally saw the finish chute with the running time reading 21:5x:xx, I couldn't tell what those x's were.  (I don't run with my glasses, so it was all blurry).
I don't know how fast my pace was for that last quarter mile, but I gave it everything I had left.

The Finish

According to the results page, I finished in 21:53:22.  29th out of 126 finishers.  
I remember saying
"I'm going to sit down now"
I got tremendously light headed upon stopping.  Then Kurt decided to give me a huge bear hug from behind.  I thought
"Great.  I'm going to end this race by falling on my face."
I did have to bend over and put my hand on the ground, but I did not fall on my face.

I walked over to the picnic table by the finish line, and was handed my 
100 miles / One Day
This.  It was all for this.

The three of us posed for a picture


This was the most difficult thing that I have ever physically done.  I never have to do this again.  I remember saying
"I can't believe I did it."
A few times sitting there.  It still hasn't hit me yet.  Not really.
I would like to think that I could have done this without the help of Pete and Kurt, but I'm not sure.  They were such an integral part of this story.

Lessons Learned

  • You have to train to walk
    • I know this sounds ludicrous, but for almost one full year, during my long runs, I trained to walk fast.  Considering I was able to maintain a sub-14 minute walking pace for the first 50 miles, I believe it paid huge dividends.
  • Pushing the entirety of 100 miles is really, really, really hard
  • I've heard it said that you cannot bank time in an ultra. That is, if you go out too fast in the beginning, you'll just end up burning yourself out in the end. I believe I was able to bank some serious time in the first 25 miles. I can't know if I could've finished any faster with a more conservative approach in the beginning, but I feel I left everything I had on the course, while having just enough to finish 
  • Having a dedicated crew for such an effort is a tremendous benefit
  • Stay focused.  Eyes on the prize and all that.  If you do that, nothing can stand in your way
  • Thank God I never have to do that again
Here ends the race report.  The next section is how I trained for this event.

Pictures from the event

Scott Laudick was there providing his excellent photography services.  You can find all of the shots he took during the event here.  Here are the ones specific to me.


That's my training for Hennepin.  Normally I do 11 weeks of training, plus a four week taper.  Because I had already had a great base from the VM 150 training, I did only seven weeks of training, with a three week warm up to that.

Before I started training, both Kurt and my wife suggested that I not do what I normally do, which is a ridiculous amount of miles.  My theory is that if some is good, more is better.
I would easily turn in 300+ mile months when training for an event.
This time, I heeded their advice.  I kept my weekly mileage in the low- to mid- 70s.  I was able to get a supported training run of 50 miles in twice while pacing friends to their 100 mile finishes.

I also did my core strengthening exercises every Monday at the gym.  Upper and lower abs and lower back.

Another key part of the training was weight loss.  I invariably weigh between 180-185 pounds.  I knew that weighing 5-10 lbs less, 175, would be a great boon in realizing my goal.
I didn't do any kind of special diet.  I just logged everything that I ate, and kept the caloric count under 1770 per day.  Regardless of if I had run or not.
Each of my weekday runs were done on an empty stomach.
I lost 13 pounds in three months.  I started the race at 172.
The caloric restriction was not pleasant.  I was hungry all the time.
But now I get to eat

Friday, June 2, 2017

VM 150


The record should reflect, right from the start, that I only ran ~111 out of the 153+ miles of this event. 

The VM 150 was an event that ran from Ludington, MI, on the coast of Lake Michigan, to Bay City, MI, on the coast of Saginaw Bay.
Approximate route

The RD was Kurt Adams.  He also turned out to be the only one to finish the complete distance.  The event benefited the Michigan Warriors Hockey Program a program that benefits wounded veterans.  


Ludington - Scottville (10.49 miles)

The event started at 8am, 27 May 2017.  There were eight people slated to run the entire 150 miles.  There were also two teams of five that were doing it as a relay.
One of the solo runners was going to carry the American flag for the entire route.
We had a police escort for the first mile out of Ludington.  It was quite an experience to run in the road, in the same direction as traffic, book-ended by two police vehicles with their flashers on.
The Army and the Marine Corps was represented by veterans who were members of Team RWB.  The standards of those branches were also being carried by us.

That's me in the great big, brown, wide-brimmed hat.  Also wearing a long sleeved, white cotton shirt.  All that will come into play later.
I actually ran point for about two miles of this leg, and carried the Army standard for another two.

Coming into the the city of Scottville, we came across this water tower
Not sure if I should be frightened, or not

And here we are arriving at the first AS

 Scottville - Barothy (miles 10.49 - 22.56)

We ran most of this leg on some back roads, most of which were dirt.  I carried the Marine Corps flag for four miles, and ran point for two.  I started to develop some gas pains that I could not relieve.  It started causing me some problems towards the end of the leg.  It also started to warm up a bit.  I was determined to keep my shirt and hat on throughout the race.  I soon regretted that decision.
We arrived at the next AS, where Dean (the crew co-captain with Kurt's wife Jessica), had made some quesadillas for us.  Those were so delicious, that I had two.  While sitting and eating, I was also able to relieve some of the gas that had built up.  So I was now ready to go.

Barothy - Bowman Lake (miles 22.56 - 33.24)

The majority of this leg was run on two track.  My gas issues popped back up with a vengeance.  I was forced to walk ~7 miles.  Running was just not possible with the pain in my gut.  I ended up taking off the long-sleeved shirt at 4pm, and the hat at 4:30pm.
The biggest problem that the gas pain caused me was that I was unable to stay hydrated.  I couldn't drink because my stomach just wouldn't allow me to.  I was still in it for the long haul though, and just kept waiting for it to cool down.
Upon arriving at Bowman Lake, I grabbed some ice-cold BCAA drink with caffeine.  It was delicious.  I sat down for less than five minutes, and carried on down the road. I also re-donned the hat and shirt.

Bowman Lake - Baldwin (miles 33.24 - 39.66)

I walked this entire leg.  There were brief instances of running, but those were very brief.  On some long stretch of highway, Dean and his brother-in-law, Paulie, handed Kurt, his mom Elise, and I some push-ups.
Dean was aware of my gas issues, and promised that this would help.  It actually did alleviate the pain somewhat.  However, I still wasn't able to stay hydrated.
Towards the end of this leg, I finally was able to urinate.  It was brown.  I knew that if I kept on going like I was, I risked injuring myself.  Upon reaching Baldwin, I told Dean and Jessica that I had to stop.

Baldwin - Chase (miles 39.66 - 50.51)

I drove to Chase with the crew vehicles.  Once there, I just sat and drank.  And drank.  And drank.  I drank one gallon of water in the hours that I was there.  By the time the lead solo runners started showing up, I was peeing clear again.  Once Kurt and Elise showed up, I decided to get back to it.  The sun was going down, it had cooled off, my gas problem was over with, and I was properly hydrated again.

Chase - Hersey (miles 50.51 - 60.83)

I left Chase with Kurt, Dan, Alex, and Brian. (the latter two wood go on to finish 100 miles. Dan had to drop at 88 due to an injury.) For the first three miles, we ran .4, and walked .6.  We did this for ~5 miles.
After that point, either Kurt, Dan, or I (really don't remember who), decided to walk. So the three of us walked the next five miles.
I ate a couple of cups of chicken noodle soup with doritos in it, drank a couple of cups of coffe, and we were on our way.

Hersey - Evart (60.83 - 71.39)

We walked the first two miles out of Evart, then did a run/walk of .3/.7.
Once at Evart, we were all pretty tired.  We decided to take a 12 minute nap.
I remember my brain being totally frazzled.  It was definitely some of the strangest 'sleep' I have ever had.
I'm not sure how long we actually slept, but I'm pretty sure that Dean did not let us sleep longer than 15 minutes.
And now that I think about it, the nap may have actually been in Hersey, not Earth.

Evart - Partridge Rd. (71.39 - 81.95)

At this point, all the three of us wanted to do was to reach Clare (the 95.24 mile mark).  The Clare Moose Lodge was going to have a buffet breakfast waiting for us.  Dan started to have a recurrence of an injury that he had suffered less than one month prior.  Something with his leg.  He was hoping to be able to finish the event, but was realistically just looking to get to 100 miles, which was a distance he had not yet achieved.
We walked about eight miles of this leg, and ran/walked 5/15 minutes for the remaining 10.5.
Pretty sure the sun rose during this leg.

Partridge Rd. - Farwell (81.95 - 92.38)

We did the run/walk 5/15 minutes for about 5 miles of this leg.  That's all I wrote in my notes.  I do remember that we ended up pulling away from Dan when Kurt and I started running.  He ended up dropping at ~88.  When we saw him at Farwell, we all commended him on his wise decision.  I remember telling him "He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day".  I thought it was very profound at the time.
I also remember the fact that I knew that breakfast and a 30 minute nap were less than three miles away, so we didn't take too long here.  Pretty sure we picked up Ruth Warner here.  The three of us would stick together the remainder of our respective distances.
This is where we found out that Dan had dropped due to his leg injury.
Someone also told us that Brian and Alex were planning on stopping at 100.  While this was news to us, I wasn't surprised at all.  They had been pushing the pace hard the whole event.  I said to Kurt on many occasions that they would blow up spectacularly if they continued to do so.

Farwell - Clare (92.38 - 95.24)

I remember nothing of these miles. All I remember is seeing the Moose Lodge from a quarter of a mile away, with all the volunteers there.  I ran through the parking lot to where Brian was sitting in a chair by an aid truck.  I said to him, "I heard something that I don't really want to believe".  He confirmed that it was true, he was indeed calling it quits at 100 miles.  This was a bit disappointing to me.  He, Kurt, and I had gone on a few training runs together, and both Kurt and I knew that he was really looking forward to completing the entire distance.
I went inside the Lodge, took my hydration pack off, and headed to the bathroom to clean myself up with some baby wipes, and then wash my hands.  That felt tremendous.
I then sat down to two plates filled with food.
After eating, I hopped in an aid truck, took my shoes off, and tried to sleep.  It was crazy sleep, once again.  The sun was shining in the truck, my mind was racing...  I honestly don't know how much sleep I actually got.
When our allotted time was up, someone woke me up.  I changed from the Altra Provision 2.0s that I was wearing into the Altra Olympus that I had brought.  The Olympus is the Altra version of Hokas.  They have a 36mm stack height.
I must say, those shoes were a game changer for me.  The pain in my feet was now negligible, and the pain in my legs decreased tremendously.  Super glad that I invested in them.

Clare - Loomis (95.24 - 102.97)

I have nothing in my notes for these miles.  I know that we walked.  After Clare, we did no running at all.

Loomis - Coleman (102.97 - 108.23)

Again, more walking.  Eddie Money was playing in Coleman.  He took the stage right after we arrived.  Kurt's sister fixed us a turkey sandwich.  I didn't want anything sweet, just protein.
I was also getting a caffeine withdraw headache.  I asked Kurt's sister to grab some BCAA powder that I had, that had caffeine in it, and to make me a bottle with three scoops.
It tasted great, relieved my headache, and put some pep in my step.  We didn't stay too long after finishing our food and drink, then off we went to North Bradley

Coleman - North Bradley (108.23 - 113.66)

It rained for about five minutes during this leg.  Hard rain.  Luckily, it was at our backs.  I made sure to stow everyone's phones in the Ziplock which held mine prior to the rain starting.
I remember Kurt trying to outrun the rain, and ending up just running into worse rain.  That brings a smile to my face.
We arrived at North Bradley.  Kurt and Ruth were already in new distance PR, prior to Coleman.  Because I sat out those ten miles earlier, I didn't reach a new distance PR until just before North Bradley.
We pulled in and sat in some camp chairs.  Dean had a special treat for us.  Bananas Foster.  I know, Bananas Foster during an ultra.
There was an extra one, so I had two.  I remember commenting that when this sugar dumped out of my system, the crash would be hard.
I was right.

North Bradley - Sanford (113.66 - 119.33)

It only took two - three miles for me to crash.  It was the worst feeling ever.  It wasn't just weariness.  It was like I had negative amounts of energy.  I remember telling Kurt that I was taking a 12 minute nap at Sanford.  And if necessary, would do so at every stop until the finish.  Pretty sure that I was belligerent about it too.   I also remember that a couple of miles before Sanford, someone that Kurt new joined us for the last few miles to Sanford.  Upon leaving Sanford, Kurt told me that I was muttering to myself and rolling my eyes at him the whole time.
I honestly remember nothing about that, and that's kind of scary.
Here's me pulling into Sanford.  I'm at the edge of the frame.  I turned right to a bench, and laid down.

Yeah, that's how we were feeling.
So we took a 12 minute nap.  I ended up moving to a camp chair after a few minutes on the bench.
I woke up very cold.  I put on a long sleeved shirt and the only pants that I had brought; my rain pants.  Those soon got really hot, as did the shirt.
I felt much better after the nap, and we ended up leaving around 9pm

Sanford - when I stopped (119.33 - ~121.5)

It took me almost an hour to go that distance.  Very soon after leaving Sanford, everything came crashing down in my world.  A woman who had run some legs earlier in the race, Shasta, joined us on our way out of Sanford.  As Kurt and Ruth pulled away from me, she stuck with me.  I took off the long sleeved shirt at some point.  I looked at my watch, and saw that it was ~9:50.  I asked her when we left Sanford.  After consulting with the crew via her phone, she told me 9.  I knew then that there was no way I was going to be able to make it to Midland.
I knew that there was going to be at least 30 minutes of sleep there, but I couldn't do it.
We passed an access point to the trail, where one could pull off of the road that was parallel to the trail.  I sat down on a bench and told her "Call whoever you need to call.  I'm done."
Some time later, Kurt's sister-in-law pulled up, and I hopped in.
My event was over.

Lessons Learned

I learned quite a bit from this event.  One of the most important things was to not break the cardinal rule of ultra running: "Never do/try something in an event that you haven't done in training".
I thought that the cotton shirt and wide-brimmed hat would not matter at all.  And while that wasn't the only factor to my early dehydration, it did contribute.  The gas, which made it impossible for me to stay hydrated, was the biggest factor.  But the heat that those two added definitely hastened the process.
This event was also the first time that  I had gone deep into the second day.  While I didn't last a full 48 hours (only about 38), that was still over 10 hours longer than I had ever been on my feet prior to this.
I am now seriously reconsidering the fact that Vol State is on my bucket list.  500km, in Tennessee, in July?  We'll see.
While the temps on Saturday barely pushed the low 80's (Fahrenheit), it was still warm enough to affect all of the runners.  Here in the Midwest U.S., we've barely had any weather approaching that which would allow us to acclimate.


As I stated, I had 100% faith in my training.  Here it is:

My Feelings on Dropping

I have no regrets.  I gave it everything that I had, and came up short.  I trained harder than I had ever trained before, and I went into this with 100% trust in that training.  That was not the issue.  I believe that the early dehydration issue took enough out of me that as the second night fell, my body just had nothing left to give.
I'm extremely proud of Kurt for finishing, and being the only one to do so.  I'm also proud of all of the runners who set distance PRs during this event.  There were many.  Ruth ran 128+ miles, her previous longest was 100.  Alex ran 100 miles, his previous longest was 50 miles.  Dan ran 88 miles, his previous longest was 78 mils.  Elise (Kurt's mom) ran 100km, her previous longest was 50 miles.  Shasta ran 50km (i think), her longest was ~10 miles.
Kurt stated that this event will happen again next year.
We'll see.  We'll see.
Myself, Kurt, and Ruth.  Well over 100 miles in.