It took me about a day to recover from the Art Loeb. I skipped TRX Monday and picked up a PIYO class Tuesday for some stretching. Wednesday I was right back at it! Friday we were on the road to Loudonville, Ohio for Michael’s 9th 100 mile adventure.
It was a pretty drive up there, but who knew we would go through about 4 tolls. The first one we had the $$ for it and we didn’t think there would be more and more. We had to cut through some cones, turn around, find a Walmart to get cash back and get back on the toll roads. We arrived at Mohican Adventures around 2:00 and set up camp. Cicadas could be heard for miles and miles but luckily at our camp they weren’t much of a bother. We didn’t really have any idea what Mohican Adventures was and we soon discovered that it is a mad house! When we set up camp, there wasn’t that many people around, but when we went to check in at the race…holy moly there were tents and people everywhere! I had made our reservation way in advance and the only thing I requested was to be away from people and have tree cover. They had one field in full sun FULL of tents! It looked like Bonaroo!! There were tons of things to do at this place like kayak, tube, hike, zip line, playgrounds, and all sorts of stuff. So on top of all those people, around 600 runners were in town as well! This place was packed!! Not only was there a 100 mile race, but a 50 miler, and a trail marathon.
We got Michael checked into the race, hung out for the race meeting, talked to some folks, took pictures and headed back to camp. Loudonville is a very small Amish town. The downtown was cute and it was loaded with American Flags…I think every town and city should look like that. It was great! We googled what sort of restaurants were around and decided on a little dive downtown. We headed that way and mowed down some pasta and headed back to camp to discuss the race, my job, and to get all of our stuff organized. This was an easier race as it was a loop course. The first two loops 27 miles and the third and fourth were 23 miles.
The race started at 5:00. The gun went off and off they went. I headed back to the tent to sleep a little longer. I woke up at 6:30 and headed to the end of the first loop as planned. He rolled in around 10:30 and I told him I thought he was in 10th-15th place. It was hard to tell who was running 100 vs. 50 the bib colors were similar from a distance. He looked great, felt great, refueled, and headed for lap 2. This time I went to all the other crew spots and met him. He ran lap 1 in about 5-5.5hrs. Lap 2 about the same. He was motoring along and as planned decided to slow down pace as it was getting to be the heat of the day. So lap three took about 6 hours. For the next crew spot on Lap 4 it was pitch dark outside, and I would have to walk about .75 miles to get to the spot. I lucked out on Lap 3 and happened to drive past the crew spot (no cars allowed) to turn around and found him. I had been sitting at the wrong spot…which we didn’t know as they cut certain miles off the trail. But luckily I saw him! So I headed back to the beginning of Lap 4 and we agreed that he would be okay without me for the last crew spot. We discussed a finish time of about 2-3am, but I was pretty sure it would be around 3-4am. I headed back to camp and rolled around in the tent and got up at 3:00 and headed to the finish line and pretended to sleep some more in the car. 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 started to get worried. I turned my phone on to see if I could locate him. But he had his on airplane mode. But a text came through around 5:50 that said ankle problems, walking, 45 minutes out. 6:45 got out and set up chair at the finish line…another text saying about an hour out. He was leaving his phone on so I could track him. Around 7:45 I could see him. He hobbled in to the finish line…completing the last 23 miles in 9ish hours. His time was 26:25ish.
Right after I had left him at the start of Loop 4, he had kicked a big tree root and it bent his foot backwards. He shook it off and tried to run but realized he was in a good bit of pain. So he had to walk the rest of the loop. He sat down twice as sleep was trying to take over. The first time he sat to close to the trail and runners were asking him if he was okay. So no sleep there. He went on and later sat down again, a little off the trail. He had his watch set for a 15 minute siesta. His alarm woke up and he realized that he forgot to mark which way to go. He usually throws his water bottle down the trail to mark which way. Its dark, he’s tired and drained…and you forget. He started walking and ran into a runner and Michael asked if he was going the right way, and she asked if he was heading to the finish line and he said yes…but he was going the wrong way. Luckily he hadn’t gone far at all!
He crossed the finish line, got his belt buckle, and more importantly another lottery ticket for Western States. We got in the car, showered, and went to sleep. After a short nap we got out and I cleaned up the car, tent, and the camp site and we celebrated with a few beers, and took another nap. I kept his foot elevated and iced the whole afternoon. I am an expert with how to handle ankle injuries as I have been in 13 casts and broke ankles, heels, and tibias. It was swollen with little bruising. He thought he had broken it, and I said if you broke it, you would have DNFd. No way you could walk 23 miles and put that much pressure on a broken foot/ankle, well maybe if it was a life/death situation. I was fairly certain he had just aggravated a tendon on top of his foot. We just kept it iced and elevated and he said it felt better. We decided to go back to the same restaurant for dinner. When we got back to camp, the whole field had cleared out with the exception of some 100 milers.
We called it a night and around 2:30 I was woken up by some sort of critter. The people next to us had left their garbage hanging in a tree for some reason…and critter was trying to get to it. Critter decided to walk over to our camp. It walked really close to our tent and then around over to my side where I started coughing and making noises waking Michael up. Critter growled at me when I did that. But he left, going back over to the garbage bag and trying to get to it. I am pretty sure it was a racoon. So after that I couldn’t go back to sleep and we decided to pack up and hit the road. We left at 3 in the morning to head back to AVL. As usual, Siri takes me crazy places. So on the way home we went through Bristol instead of around it, but it took us right next to Bristol Motorsport Park! I slapped Michael to wake him up as he had never seen it either. So that was fun! We arrived home around 10 in the morning and took giant naps!
So…what’s next?? He has two HUGE races he wants to do and then he is retiring. Running for him has lost its excitement. He has always said once that happens, then he will not stop, but just run for fun. These mountains we live in are amazing. He wants to take Ella Kate out on some runs as well. The training for these things is draining. Its every weekend gone for hours and hours, as well as waking up super early during the week to run. So more of a job, than fun now.
The two races that he wants to do are Western States in California and Hard Rock in Colorado. Western States is a fairly easy course, its the HEAT that is the hard factor. It is hot hot. Hard Rock is just insane! It is hard! 66k of elevation change in 48 hours. Our friend James finished last year 47:33…can you imagine? Running for 48 hours?? These two races will be the biggest for Michael yet. His training will have to be even more intense to be able to finish these races.
WS100 and Hard Rock are not easy to get into. They have lotteries with thousands of entries and only so many people get picked. So you have to qualify each year for Western States and every 2 years for Hard Rock. So far he has 6 tickets it Western States which is a BUNCH! He has 3 tickets in for Hard Rock which is also a good bit. Knowing our luck, he will be picked for both next summer! Plus he has to go ahead and do another qualifier for Hard Rock, so he is signing up for the Georgia Death Race in August to go ahead and get another Hard Rock ticket for next year. GDR is in March. Both races are drawn the first Saturday of December. So we will find out if he gets in either, or both then.
He is taking a good bit of time off so we can go backpacking or hiking with the girls. He will probably pick training back up in the fall…so TBC on what’s next!
Pictures: we have been working on our race face pictures…he is getting better!
Camp! We didn’t bring much as we weren’t spending much time with food and stuff here.
Finish line…Friday, race check-in.
End of first loop…27 miles.
He is right in front of the water on the sidewalk.
Waiting at the end of Lap 3. Almost of full moon and an abundance of lightning bugs!
Fueling for Lap 4. Last time I would see him before finish.
It was a sad finish, but a finish! DONE 100, ninth 100 mile finish.
A killdeer made itself a nice little nest at the finish line and squawked at everyone who game by her eggs!
Final fire for the weekend!