Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kettle Moraine 100 Race Report

For those of you reading this that don't know my story here is a quick synopsis. In October of 2006 I was 235 lbs and way out of shape. I was tired of being fat an lazy and it was about time I did something about it. So for the next year I changed my diet and began getting active by walking, biking and hiking and I lost 70lbs in the process. I started running about June of 2007 not far at first just a couple miles. I ran my first 5K the next month. In April of 2008 I ran my first 1/2 marathon followed by my first marathon in September of 2008 the Omaha Marathon which I completed in 3:12. Every time I ran something I wanted to run farther, so the very next month I ran my first ultra a 50K in the Rock Creek Trail Series and took 3rd place. I was hooked on trail running and started training with some other trail runners at Clinton Lake. So I decided to try a 100 and ran my first 100 at Rocky Raccoon in February 2009 and finished in 24:23.

The Kettle Moraine 100 had caught my eye last year as I followed some other local runners that ran it in 2009. I had circled it as one of my races for 2010 as some other local runners were going to making the trip also. Me, my wife and son made the trip to LaGrange on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. On Friday me and my wife (crew) talked about the race and made a plan for all the crew stops on the course as we drove to each stop to get a feel for the layout. We hiked back in a couple places to check out the trail and everything looked good and I was excited to finally get things started. With 12,000 feet of elevation gain I was expecting a lot more hills. What hills were there were short and rolling, but as I soon found out in spots one after another after another. Saturday morning had arrived and I was up early checking over everything one last time and getting some calories in me. We arrived at the start about an hour before the start time, and chatted with some other local runners Brad Bishop, Norman Decelles and Willie Lambert. I was hoping if everything went well, and I had no problems, I could come out of there with a top 10 finish. The forecast was calling for some rain so it added to the pre-race stress. After a short pre-race briefing it was finally time to get going. We all lined up behind the start/finish mats and with the countdown from 10 we were off, all 155 of us plus 100K'ers and 100 mile relayer's. I settled in behind Paul Schoenlaub for the first 4 miles or so, trying to hold myself back at the start. I decided to run at what I felt was a easy pace for me and not worry about what everyone else was doing. I soon settled in and the first 7.5 miles clicked off till we came into the Bluff aid station. There I just refilled my bottle and was off around the corner and up the hill. Miles came and went and the run felt easy at this point. I was motoring up the hills and flying down them. Much of this section I ran with a local high school kid who was running in the 100 mile relay and running the first 31 mile leg, 11miles farther than he had ever ran before. We chatted a bit and I went on my way. I was closing in on Emma Carlin (16) and my first crew stop. When I arrived my crew was there ready for me with a couple GU's and new bottles, and I was off. From here there was a section of meadows. My friend and training partner Dave Wakefield told me to take it easy through the meadows in the heat and humidity. It would take a lot out of you and you wouldn't even know it he told me. The meadows were mainly flat and it would of been easy to fly right through them. Trying to take his advice I ran easy through the meadows and refilled my bottles at Hwy 59 (18.5) and took in a couple salt tabs. More meadows laid ahead and before I knew it I was at Hwy 67 (23) and my second crew stop. While my wife restocked my waist pack I hit the porta potty. Back out my wife had everything ready and she walked me out while I ate some food and gave her some instructions for my return in 14 miles. I was headed for the first turn around at Scuppernong (31). This section was full of rolling hills and back in the wood on nice trail. It was really humid and I was draining my bottle fast. When I arrived at Country ZZ (26) my bottle was empty. First place 100 miler they said as I came in, and I shouted "oh shit" I went out to fast. I still felt like I was running comfortably but slowed my pace a bit, and was passed by a couple runners on the way to Scuppernong (31). A volunteer refilled my bottles while I grabbed a hand full of PB&J's and some peanut M&M's and I was off again. Heading back the same way I had just came, I would get to pass most of the field still heading out. I passed a few familiar faces Brad, Paul, and Norman on my way back to Country ZZ(36) First place 100 miler they said heading into the aid station "shit" I said. What is going on here I thought for sure one of the people that had passed me earlier was a 100 miler. This was uncharted territory for me. I am not used to being in the lead, but my friend Tony Clark reminded me before I left to run my race and not worry about anything else. And I felt like I was, so I just kept doing what I had been doing, running as easy as I could and saving as much as I could for later in the race. Back to Hwy 67 (39) my son Jarret had run up the trail a ways to meet and snap a couple pictures of me coming down the trail. My wife swapped out my bottles gave me a dry shirt, bandanna, some food and walked me out of the aid station while I shoved a bunch of food down. A big thanks to my crew for the great stops. It was now time to head back through the meadows for the second time only this time it was much warmer. This time thru I got a bad case of cramping in my calves, at one point I had a cramp so bad a 100 mile relay runner heard me screaming in pain, he turned around and came back and rubbed the cramp out for me. Then he walked a couple hundred yards with me till I could get running again. Man was he a life saver, wish I would of got his name to thank him. I drained my bottles fast through the meadows this time, and was dry every time I got to a water stop. I had to slow the pace to keep from cramping and was just looking for Emma Carlin (46) and the end of the meadows. When I arrived my wife fed me some fluids and salt tabs and I must have sucked down 40oz of fluids before I left. I was still hurting bad, but glad to be back on the trails with tree cover. With the heat and humidity in the morning, here came the rain, sprinkles at first that felt great and then pouring rain. It was raining cats and dogs by the time I got to Bluff (54.5) and my crew was drenched as well when I got there. With not a thought, they refilled me with GU's and food and swapped out my bottles and away I went on my way. The rain felt good and my cramping problem was getting better. Through here it was up and down and I ran as much as I could. Stopped only briefly at Tamarack (57) for them to fill my bottles and grab some turkey sandwiches. The next 4 miles was easy and I was feeling a lot better and was back to Nordic (62) before I knew it. Here my wife tells me I am still in 1st place and I was beginning to wonder what was going on. I changed into a dry shirt and put on my Go-lite rain jacket. Grabbed a handful of food and headed back out. I glanced at my watch to see how long it was before I ran into the 2nd place runner. Pretty soon here he was, Brad Bishop a friend and training partner of mine nipping on my heels about 6 minutes behind me. Then right behind him was Paul Schoenlaub. Kansas and Missouri runners running 1, 2, 3. Wow what a feeling it was for a few miles, and I kicked it in to try and build on my cushion. 6 minutes on a 24 year old would not be enough I thought to myself. Through Tamarack (67) and Bluff (69.5) I just kept my head down and splashed down the trail in a steady downpour. Stay focused and run strong I kept telling myself. Now I was hitting the south out and back of the race. Thru Duffin Road (72.1) I was running really well and the miles just seemed to click off. From here to Hwy 12 (77) I ran really well and really hard. It was still light out but night would soon be upon us. I had my handheld flashlight in my waist pack but would need my headlamp when I got to Hwy 12 and seen my crew again. When I arrived I was felling pretty good and my crew went to work on me, changing my shirts and putting on a dry rain jacket. They were like a nascar pit crew and had me in and out with a handful of food in no time. From here things took a downward turn. This section was a bitch, with ups and downs with railroad tie steps and darkness now setting in. I soon realized I had forgot to grab my headlamp, so I would have to go at it with only a handheld. It was hard to see where I was running where the weeds were over the trail in spots and with limited light it made it even worse. It seemed like I hardly ran at all in this section. Finally I made it to Rice Lake and the mile 81 turn around. On the way out one of the 38 mile fun runners kept me company for a few miles. And I can remember the frogs singing to me on the way out. Soon there was Brad again and it seemed like he was closing in. It was gut check time to see what I was made of. I had lead all day and there was no way I was going to give it up now God willing. Before long I had made it back to Hwy 12 (85) and my crew got me in and out again this time with my headlamp. I had remembered this section as flat and fast coming out but seemed like it was all up hill going back. Keep your head down, stay focused and run I kept telling myself. I soon ran into Willie Lambert and wished him luck on the Rice Lake out and back from Hwy 12. Run, run, run I told myself. I knew if I ran everything flat and downhill it would be hard for anyone to catch me now. I was in the zone and really don't recall much thought here to Bluff (92.5) as I just kept my head down and ran. Every now and then I was passing runners heading out, and wishing them luck. My wife was waiting for me at Bluff (92.5) and the last crew stop. I think I ran right through just getting some words of encouragement from the wife and it was greatly appreciated. She kept telling me I was going to do it and how all my friends back home were pulling for me. From here to the finish I ran with everything I had left. I'm going to win a 100! I'm going to win a 100! Wow, how did this happen I wondered. My head was full of emotions for the last 7.5 miles. Running everything flat and downhill and power walking the hills. I made a brief stop at Tamarack (95) and they all wished my luck as I left. Go win this thing they said as I headed out. The last 4 miles had mile markers and first came mile 4 then 3 then 2. I was soon able to hear the traffic on Road H and knew it was flat from here on in. The trail was parallel to Road H and I ran the last 1+ mile to the finish. As soon as I seen the lights and the finish line I was full of emotions. You did it! You won a 100! I told myself. I soon seen my wife standing there and a group of others calling me in with the cow bell. As I got close someone yelled whats your number? 133 I yelled back. "First 100 miler coming in." I heard them yell. I crossed the finish line to a big hug and kiss from my wife and cheers from the crowd, then bent over hands on knees and man what a relief it was. The stress of being in the lead all day was something I had never experienced and added to the stresses of trying to run 100 miles. It was a huge accomplishment for me and an experience I will never forget. Running has forever changed my life. And if I never win another race I will still be a happy man when I'm running the trails.

I have to give a big Thank You to my wife and son for crewing for me all day. This win was as much for them as it was for me. I could not have done it with out their support. My wife has been extremely supportive of my new running passion and with out that none of this is possible. Thank you Honey, you are my ROCK!

15th Annual 2010 Kettle Moraine 100 Champion (damn that sounds good)