"Run for 20 minutes and you will feel better.
Run for another 20 and you might tire.
Add on another 3 hours and you'll hurt.
Keep going.....and you'll see, smell, hear, and taste the world
with a vividness that will make your former life pale."
After my summer adventure at Lake Tahoe, I was riding an unbelievable high. Finishing something as hard as the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Runs 100 Miler from the spot I was in around mile 69 was just miraculous. It's a "high" I hope everyone encounters in their lifetime. You could ask me to do something, and I was 100% positive I could accomplish it. My runs during August were all spectacular because of my newfound belief in myself.
So, just six-and-a-half weeks later, we had a planned trip to return to the Run Woodstock trail running weekend at Pinckney State Recreation Area in Hell, Michigan. I say 'we' because this trip was originally started by my friend, Jody, back in early 2019. The Hallucination 100 was my very first 100-mile race and my first 100-mile DNF (Jody was there to pace me). But, once I heard Jody was going....there was no way in Hell (pun intended) that I was gonna let one of my friend's go back and finish the race I quit before I got a shot at it again. So, I signed up. In total, we got four members of our running group (Jody, Don, Andy and myself) to sign up for a weekend of ultra-running!
|Showing off our buckles...motivating Don!|
This race meant something to everyone. Don was trying for some redemption after DNF-ing his first 100-miler. Jody wanted another buckle. Andy wanted adventure. I was there to redeem my 2016 performance. In the end, I think we were all there because of what we get from those deep, dark moments in an ultra race where you get a good look into yourself and what you are made of. It's a place you don't often find yourself, and getting there and back is a journey not to be underestimated. I like the way David Blaikie so elegantly phrased it:
"...perhaps the genius of ultraunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense, in a world of space ships and super computers, to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame...frequently, not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than the logic and common sense. The ultrarunner knows this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances, they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being ... a call that asks who they are."
Hallucination 100 - Pre-race
So, we headed to Hell, Michigan for a weekend of running! The drive up was uneventful, but full of talk about running, dreams and aspirations. The Hallucination 100 differs from other ultras because it starts in the late afternoon (4pm). So, we spent the day lounging, enjoying everyone's company, eating carbs and resting!
|Me and Angela just relaxing the day away.|
|Don and Andy completely relaxed.|
I really like the start of Hallucination 100. Prior to the actual start, they play the Star Spangled Banner just like Jimi did at Woodstock. And then....we are off!
Lap #1 -- Miles 1-17
Hallucination 100 is a loop course. Each loop consists of single-track trail and gravel roads for approximately 17 miles. So, six laps for the 100-miler.
I never intend to run an entire race with someone. But, Andy and I stuck together thru lap #1. It was me leading the way thru a course that is 100% runnable. That is the dangerous proposition at Woodstock....you CAN run the whole thing....but what will that do to your body? And, can you keep that pace up? Well, we came thru lap #1 in 3:01:39. Not terribly fast, but certainly not slow enough. We even had the conversation a few miles from the end of the lap about how Angela would be angry with me for going out so fast. I do remember Andy tripping and falling during the loop at some point....but he wasn't injured....because he's a total BADASS. Lap #1 at Hallucination is great because it's like a quick "course preview" before the sun goes down. Nearly everyone gets it done before dark.
|Lap #1 reapplying necessary umm....stuff.|
Lap #2 -- Miles 17-34
Lap #3 -- Miles 34-51
Lap #4 -- Miles 51-68
I wish I could say I got up from that chair at mile 68 and re-energized myself....but I didn't. But, I don't remember having any "I am quitting" statements. I felt like real shit, but I was here for one thing: to finish, no matter the cost. I went thru a routine, tried to pull myself out of that dark place, laced up my shoes and got ready. In fact, I was so depressed about how it was going, it spurred Jody to lace his shoes back up and join me to start the lap! I was really glad to have Jody pacing me. I owe so much to him for this ultrarunning journey, it's nice to share it with him.
Lap #5 -- Miles 68-85
|Mark .. always cheerful!|
Lap #6 -- Miles 85-100+
This is where I was really displeased with myself. I managed to come back at Tahoe and really finish strong. I was looking for that magic here....but it just wasn't there. I kept taking inventory of my physical condition:
- Left ankle tender and minor swelling
- Inner thighs chaffed and bleeding
- Right armpit chaffing painfully
- Soles of feet just tender and in extreme pain
- Tendons behind both knees painful from overuse
To add insult to injury, with about 12 miles to go, my contacts were so dry they became blurred. I couldn't see the trail in front of me, making it even more treacherous than necessary. This just was not my day.
Mark kept me moving. He kept talking and I would just listen and walk. Not even the sounds of the finish line spurred my emotions to happy place. Mark convinced me to run the final 200 meters "for show".
Hobbling in right at the 27-hour mark (27:00:37) after a 5:59:57 lap wasn't ideal, but it was done. It was my fastest 100-mile finish. I walked right to a chair and sat down. I told Angela and the medical staff that I couldn't see. They provided me with some eye drops. Add in the tears of disappointment and my vision cleared up.
Hallucination 100 -- Post Race
I mean...I finished, right?
|Take that Hippies!!!|