Well as I sit here and moan about how much my feet hurt after Burning River this past weekend I figure I better update the few of you who bug me about updating my blog and once again this month, try to get caught up.
Mohican started out great for me, it was the first time one of my three children decided to attend with me and for that reason alone, this will be one of my favorite races. It was fantastic to have Samantha there and it's pretty tough to explain how good a feeling that was, I surely hope it will happen again, it was great.
Ok, the race began with Ken, Samantha and I leaving early Friday morning and making our way to just south of Cleveland Ohio, we met Marylou Corino there and after race check and setting up our canopy and lawn chairs for tomorrow's race we enjoyed a good pre-race meal at the site then we ventured out to find our motel.
We wound our way down a small country road to find the Mohican Inn was a small rather rustic spot hidden from the thick trees and winding road. Our host was Candy and she greated us with a smile and an invitation to a bond fire later in the evening. It would have been nice but getting ready for the 6:00 am race start and getting some sleep was a bit more important. Our room was big and offered lots of room for all of us, it didn't take long we were sound asleep.
Saturday morning we were up early and the typical race day traffic was pretty busy. Our race site set up was right beside the start finish line and after sign in we had a few minutes to sit down and collect ourselves before the start. Ken Moon, Marylou Corino and I were doing the hundred miler and a few other noteables were there to do the 50 miler.
From what I gather from some of the folks that have done the race before, the day was going to be long and hot. The race director was asked whay type of hills they have in Ohio, he answered "never ending". Of course I had no idea what the heck that meant but it wouldn't be long before I'd get a first hand, real life explanation of what exactly it was he was talking about. The course went up and down, and reminded me of the shampoo bottle....rince and repeat, over and over again.
It had been a few races since I had a written goal time and from there broken that down into 25 mile incriments so I thought this was a good strategy to return to at Mohican. My plan was pretty simple, get the first 50 miles done in or around 9 hours and 30 minutes and then just hang on with my pacers for the final 50 miles....how hard could it be right?
Well, 12 hours and 30 minutes of shear pain and agony had passed and I was ready to sit down under the canopy we had set up at the start finish and drink every beer in the cooler and just make the whole day go away. Hell, I'd have 2 weeks left in the month to find another 100 miler, rest up a bit and do this again. It didn't sound like a bad plan from the ninth hour till the twelfth hour. Have I mentioned yet that Jodi and Maryka were kind enough to drive from Toronto to Ohio to pace me for the final 25 miles. An 8 hour drive, surely they wouldn't mind if I packed it in before they had a chance to even run a step or two, 8 hours, two maybe three full tanks of gas, they'll be fine. I'm done here!!!!
Ok, I came through the gate, tired, frustrated I was only 3 hours behind my goal time and Maryka had a big smile and couldn't wait to get going, OH GREAT, you've got to be kidding me right? I changed my shoes, had some food and drink (not the beer I was counting on however), and off we went, 25 more miles of never ending hills, complaining and just plain not being happy at all. I'm not sure how long tis look loop took but I remember the sun was shining when we left and it was very dark when we got back.
The next loop Jodi was ready to go when we got back, damn it, not another loop? I just wanted to crawl into a sleeping bag that was unrolled on the ground, zip it up and hide from the world. Samantha had indicated I was more than 90 minutes behind Marylou and Ken and I knew there wasn't a chance with the way I was feeling that I would cateh either of them on this day. Boy was I wrong and surpised. Jodi and I walked for the most part, telling silly jokes and finding any method possible to forget how tired I was, how much I was hurting from the elevation and heat. As we marched on through the course the walking breaks got longer and the ability to run got shorter, I can't remember a 100 miler hurting more than this one. Not only was it going to hurt more, it was going to take me longer than any hundred I've ever done, 2 hours more than my very first one too, that was 4 years ago.
As the night went on the temperature dropped by I was unable to shake the fact of how much time it was going to take, how long I was going to have to be on my foot, my goal time before I got there was sub 24 hours. I was looking at 28 hours plus if everything went well the rest of the way, somehow that seemed very unrealistic. One thing did kind of lift my spirits however. About 2:00 am and somewhere around mile 75 Jodi was walking about 20 metres ahead of me and she stopped and I thought she was talking with someone, there was no one else around, I was hallucinating, great, that's all I need right about now. Well after covering the 20 metres she was ahead of me, I almost stepped on what she was talking too. Ken was lying on a shallow bed of pine bows and needles, he had decided to lay down and take a sleep until we caught up to him. I smiled, looked down and said "Ken, is that you? Are you ok?" He looked up at me and said "Yeah, I'm fine, I knew you wouldn't walk by and not wake me up, let's get going".
So I caught Ken, now I'm ready, lets chance down Marylou!
Ok, reality check, I was walking, Marylou was no where in site, it was a good idea for a minute or two but what the heck was I thinking?
Jodi continued to entertain us the remainder of the way, the sun came up and as usual provided a small amount of energy for a short period of time but we made it to the finish line without any serious injury or issues and my time was 28:29:01, of course Ken and I finished together and his time was 28:29:00, I still haven't beaten him in a 100 miler. Oh well, I'll keep trying.
It was time to pack up and head home. Samantha had gotten a little bit of sleep and said she was ready and ok to drive a bit. A quick stop at McDonalds for post race food and we were off. Eight or nine short but painful hours later Samantha had driven Ken and I all the way home, what a great kid, I might be one of the luckiest Dad's in the whole wide world. Thank you Sammy Doodle, Daddy loves you.
Buckle no. 6, safely back in my desk drawer, no one can take it away from me and now I get to start counting down, 6 done, 6 to go.
Up next, Burning River, Cleveland Ohio. I'm going to train harder, work smarter, eat better, this isn't goingn to happen to me again.....I promise.