Over the last few weeks, we’ve shared some stories about the difficulties of finishing 100 milers. I’m sure you’ve probably heard some fast sheep guy say that “100 miles isn’t that far”, but fuck that, it’s a long ways to run/walk/crawl. If you’ve finished one, you’re a badass. Period. Not everyone can do it.
One of my fellow Boise Dirtbags, Rick Valentine, finished his very first 100 miler this last weekend at the Mountain Lakes 100 in Oregon. It’s a gorgeous course and only in its 3rd year of existence. Here’s what Rick had to say about his race:
“I decided to do this race about 3 1/2 weeks ago so that I could score some desperately needed points to qualify for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc lottery. Since I DNF’d at IMTUF 2 years ago I have been really wanting to attempt the distance again but was hoping to plan/train a bit more before actually doing it.
Mountain Lakes 100 is a race that is not too extreme (comparatively) with only 10,800′ of vertical gain/loss. I have a tendency to start out a little fast for most races so this was a major concern of something that I did not want to do for the first half. In fact I told my training partner Joelle that at around mile 25 I should be in about 15th – 20th place and if I am in 5th or so then most likely I would be in serious trouble.
It was a perfect clear morning at the start (after pouring rain most of the day before). I started off keeping an eye not on my pace but making sure I was not towards the front pack. At the first aid station (only 6 miles in) I thought that I was right where I wanted to be – approximately 15th-ish overall. I was running with a couple of locals at that point going at what I thought was a fairly reasonable “forever” pace. I passed no one but a few people would stop to pee or remove a jacket while I kept going.
At the 3rd aid station (mile 19) there was a short out and back and at that point I discovered that I was in 4th place overall…definitely a place where I did not want to be. My pace felt good so I wasn’t too concerned at this point. I maintained this position through the 5th aid station where there was another short out and back (mile 30). The aid station captain at this point let me know that I was actually in 3rd place at this point and that the 2 leaders were just minutes ahead of me.
Shortly after that aid station I did catch up to the 2nd place runner and we shared a few miles together. Still feeling really good I slowed my paced down and let him go ahead so that I could reserve some energy for the next 65 miles or so. From that point on I was by myself for a very long time.
Plugging away for the next 35 miles went very well for me and I was feeling great! I reached the 50 mile point in 8:20-ish (almost 1 hour faster than my 50 mile PR!). At mile 61 I was about 10:20 into the race and still feeling great (another PR for the 100K!). Only 39 miles left – I can do this!!!
Shortly after that my stomach started having some serious issues and the calories were coming out everywhere. Miles 63-71 were misery for my digestive system. My spirits were still very high and my legs felt great but having extreme difficulty running 15 minute mile pace. I was certain that I was going to get passed by many other runners during this time period since my pace dramatically decreased.
My drop bag was at the mile 71 aid station so I took a few Tums. That helped tremendously for a while but still going at a much slower pace, walking most every hill at this point.
About mile 80 I finally got passed – first time that I’d seen another runner in almost 50 miles now. He did not chat much as he was all business. At about mile 90 the legs are starting to feel it tremendously but I am still so happy to be out and able to participate is such a great event. The last 10 miles really hurt! I guess these things are not supposed to be easy and it was certainly expected. At about mile 93 I got passed for the last time and suffered in solidarity for the rest of the race.
I finished in 5th place overall with a time of 19:12. My expectation was somewhere between 19-24 hours with a main goal of just finishing my first hundred miler. Needless to say I am very happy with how I did – and had a blast at the same time!
The course was very scenic – we ran by or around 26 lakes of various sizes with many spectacular views. The race director has this course so well marked and organized that it’s hard to believe this is only the 3rd year of the event.”
Lululemon is a pretty fun word to say. They also make some pretty great clothes. Recently, our Dirtbag Ambassador from Alabama, Zachary Andrews, got to participate in a 3-day trail running adventure known as Lululemon: Elevation. This trip consisted of 3 trails in the 3 states of Alabama, Georgia & North Carolina. Read about the entire adventure on Zach’s blog: Fiction Running. Sounds like a seriously amazing time!
Be sure to check back next week for more Dirtbag Adventures!