Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mohican 100 race report - part 2

Here is part 2 of the Mohican 100 race report. Go here for part 1

Now for the easy part
For the most part my second loop of Mohican course is very much just a blur. I ran decently, stayed on top of my gel and salt intake but was running alone. By this point in the race the field was well spread out so I got lots of personal trail time which was nice.

I hit the crazy root climb section for the second time of the day sometime in the mid afternoon. It was hot (maybe 30) but not crazy or stupid hot like it was supposed to be and I was real happy about that. Although I liked the waterfall / crazy root climbing section of the course I was glad when I finally popped out of the woods by the dam. It is definitely the hardest part of the course but you only do it in the first 2 loops so at least that was out of the way.

This time the climb out of covered bridge seemed longer and further than on loop 1. It's got to be a good 1000 feet of climb in the first 2 miles past the aid station and was only going to get harder later in the race. So far so good and everything body wise felt okay. I passed over the ridge line where it had all really fallen apart in 2011 (the site of JD's “its all gone to shit video”) and was feeling great. I took this as a great sign.

By the time I hit the last aid station I had begun to wonder how Kim's marathon was going and how the 5 that had come down with us had made out. Three miles later I came out of the woods and into the camping areas. I was kind of lost in my own head when I heard someone shout my name.

A couple of Ontario guys that had run reasonable race distances were sitting at the campsite watching the foolish longer distance runners go by. James who I know from OUSER races shouted out to me that Kim had finished and ran well. Man did I ever want to stop for a beer at that point.

Soon enough I was back at the start area. Kim was there and as I had requested she had gotten me fries and a mcchicken from McDonalds. Unfortunately my stomach was begining to sour a bit and the lunch pickup was a bit mistimed (kind of hard to time it as Kim was unsure where I was on the course). Fries were not edible and they accidentally gave Kim spicy chicken which was not going to go down well at all. I ended up chugging an ensure and heading back out.

Wish I could tell you what the loop time was but my watch died during the loop. Usually I run with a cheap normal watch as a back up but hadn't been able to find it when we packed. Kim said she would find me a watch before the next crew access point. I seem to remember the race clock telling me I was in at around 13:45 into the race giving me a loop of 6:45 but things are kind of foggy.

The 5 miles to the next aid station went okay but the stomach was definitely turning. I ate and walked a bit out of the station along a brief road section. It was starting to get dark and almost headlamp time. I was not looking forward to running alone in the dark with no watch to pace by and a wonky gut.

Just then a guy and girl passed me as we turned to go back onto the trail head. They seemed to be moving pretty well. Slowly but smooth and steady clearly taking a smart conservative approach. I decided that I would just settle in behind them for a while and see what kind of pace they were setting. I spent sometime behind them and liked the way things were going so decided to stop lurking in the background and talk to them. I asked them if they minded if I latched on and they said no problem.

Steve and Casey kept us moving along well with me bringing up the rear and in no time we had hit the Fire Tower aid station. I had been thinking about this aid station since the start of loop 3 as this is where I dropped last time. I was feeling decent which was a far cry from how I had been in 2011. Kim was there and gave me a new watch. She was kind of sheepish when she handed it to me. I think she thought I would hate it. I felt quite the opposite though, it was ungodly and hideous which seemed perfect. I immediately dubbed it the Herb Tarlek of watches due to its oh so stylish white vinyl strap. I plan to wear it at every 100 miler from now on. Kim was also glad to see that I was running with others.

We headed out and were quickly on to Covered Bridge and then up the steep climbs and switchbacks. Steve lead almost the whole way and really pushed us along nicely but the hills took there toll on all of us. We ended up losing Steve somewhere along the ridge line as he slowed with bad stomach issues. Both Casey and I hated to drop him but unfortunately you have to run your own race. That didn't make it any easier though.

We ended up sticking together until we were out onto the last km of road back to the start line. Caesy sped up here and ended up disappearing ahead of me. I figured that would be the last I would see of her but with only a few hours of darkness left and 23 miles to go I was really glad to have had someone to run at night with.

I rolled into the start line aid station but did not see Kim. My stomach was starting to give me some grief again so I took 5 minutes to sit on top of my cooler and drink half a beer. This was the only time I had sat down since the race started. I had lots of time to finish but figured I should get going when I finally saw Kim. She had gone back to the car to get more food. I had her find me some pizza at the aid station and then got her to walk me back out to the trail head.

Just as we passed the washrooms Casey came out which was awful good timing. She was having some stomach issues as well so we started out on our struggle to the finish line together. The going was slow but steady. Casey lead when she felt good, I lead when she didn't and it seemed to work out well. The sun was up by the time we got to the Fire Tower. It was stomach issues galore at this point but Kim met us and made us at least drink some pop. I was doing a really bad job of hydrating and eating at this point which probably didn't help much. Still things were going well and we had lots of time to finish.

I had actually started to feel good again until we hit the big climbs after the bridge. They just seemed to suck every last bit of energy that I had left right out me. From that point on the last 10 miles became a mammoth struggle. I hit the last aid station and plowed right through it not even pausing. I would have liked to stop but I felt like I might end up puking or passing out. I was toast and the morning was starting to really get hot.

Casey and I hung together until about 96 miles when her walking shuffle became way too fast for my zombie lurching and I fell behind. It didn't matter as I entertained myself with the hallucinations that I was now having. I stopped to pee and the stump in front of me was literally breathing, it kept getting bigger and smaller. So many people passed me in the last 3 miles I thought that there might be some kind of parade going on but I didn't care, I just needed to make the finish still standing. For the first time ever in a 100 mile run I was in actually danger of falling asleep on my feet. What an amazingly odd feeling that is.

Finally I was into the campground and headed down the last mile. Way down the road I could see people waving at me. It was Kim and all the other runners that had come to Ohio with us. Seeing them gave me a little boost as I realized I was going to make it. They met me about a half mile from the finish and walked me most of the rest of the way in. Somehow I was able to muster enough energy to at least jog the last 300 meters to the finish.

After the finish line
I grabbed a chair and a beer and watched the rest of the back of the pack come in. Ended up being done in 31:17. That is the longest I have ever been out on a course by far and probably the most tired I have ever felt overall. My legs held up a lot better than I expected and were not nearly as demoed as they were at Haliburton.

On the one hand I think I could have run this a few hours faster if I had not been so conservative but on the other hand going out faster or pushing during the night could have just as easily ended in a total meltdown or blow up and a DNF. No need for that as I got what I wanted, a Western States qualifier and my UTMB points. I also finally got a US 100 finish in the bank which was beginning to mentally mess with me.

Big thanks to Kim and the marathon group for all the help and support. Also a huge thanks to Casey, Steve and the other runners I had the pleasure to run with. In the end thats really what its all about.  


  1. Nice to read that report Chris. Awesome job. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Congratulations, that's terrific! Congrats to Kim as well on her marathon. Nice teamwork. Great you had some company ut there on the course as well.

  3. Hi Chris - you tell the story well! Thanks for capturing the camaraderie and determination of those last loops.
    It was amazing to see Kim and your friends walking to meet you for the last mile or so. You are fortunate to have their support - they were so excited that you were on your way to the finish. I hope our paths cross again someday. Happy trails!


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