My 12th Ultramarathon, 3rd 100 mile race
27:01, 17th place overall, 2nd female
70 starters, 53 finishers, 76% finish rate
Lows in the mid 20s and a high of 60 degrees
The road leading up to this race was difficult. Sciatica issues from a herniated lumbar disk plagued my life for most of the summer. It even got to the point where I scheduled back surgery in case the cortisone injections didn't relieve the numbness, tingling, and pain in my left leg. I'm happy to say that I got to cancel that surgery and pick up running again.
I chose Ozark Trail because it was the first 100 that I had ever been a part of 2 years ago when I paced my friend Danny for 25 miles of his first 100 miler. I only saw the trail in the dark, but it made a lasting impression on me. The small race feel and the awesome single track course as well as it being point-to-point were all big selling points. I was also ready for a 100 miler with cool weather. The Bear and Bighorn were both hotter than my body could handle which slowed my pace and made the days much longer than needed. I also lost most of the skin on my feet during Bighorn because of the constant sweating and swelling from the heat. Don't Google "trenchfoot" unless you want to lose your appetite.
|1/2 of the Crew with me at the start - Brittany and Janeé|
|First Crew spot Mile 14 - I felt dead|
|There were wonderful leaf-blown sections|
|Mile 19.3 - Starting to feel a little more alive|
I was sitting somewhere near 10th place for most of the morning, but early foot maintenance was not something I was going to skip this time.
|Mile 31.3 - Finally feeling warmed-up (FC: Adam)|
|Mile 40 - PACER TIME!! Picking up Danny|
I was in a really good groove coming into mile 40 with a good bit of daylight left and I had been picking off runners in the last section. Danny and I ran this 25 mile section together during his race. We relived the memories of that day when places seemed familiar. We also played the OT game. The trail blazes are the OT and we spent hours coming up with possible meanings for OT. "Oversized Tuba", "Occupational Therapy", "Obtuse Triangle."
"Ouch Tendons" topped the list because of the ankle tendon issues Danny still has from his race here. I didn't know at the time, but my tendons were going to be revolting very soon as well.
|Mile 65.4 - My Crew had the stops down |
to a science (FC: Adam)
|All the dry socks, please! (FC: Adam)|
|Mile 94.4 - Just after sunrise and moving well|
Iced tea, ramen, quesadillas, dry socks. I could survive for a really long time on those things. I chose the smaller amount of caffeine that tea gave me because I wasn't having any trouble staying alert. Until about 3:45am. I had a zombie moment and an emergency caffeinated Huma gel to get me to wake up. 13 hours of dark was a big mental obstacle and it was nice having pacers through it all.
At mile 87 AS (I think) Deb Johnson served her most amazing homemade chicken noodle soup. It was rocket fuel.
At some point during the fuzzy-math hours of the early morning, I figured that every minute I ran the miles faster than 18min/mile, I'd be inching closer to a 28 hour finish. That was somewhat right until the last half marathon of the race where I ran way more than I walked and was now inching closer to a 27 hour finish. The sunrise and the end of the nearly eternal darkness was a great boost. It was pretty cold in that part of the course and I had motivation to get moving and stay warm.
As I ran into the last aid station, Danny tells me that the leader just left 3 minutes ago, walking. I told him some choice words about really not wanting to race the last 10K of a 100 miler. I threw back a shot of noodles, didn't mess with anything else and took off. I didn't know if I could catch her, but I would keep running the pace that I was and see what it gets me. My real thought was maybe that 27-hour mark was a possibility. I picked up Janeé here and got going. The leaves were deafening and we didn't say much. I was pushing myself to the max of where my lungs and ankle could sustain.
I caught the leader in about 20 minutes. She was stopped behind a tree taking a bathroom break. She didn't see me until I was almost even with the part of the trail that she stepped off of and she quickly grabbed her poles, jumped back on the trail (cutting me off and without responding to my greeting) and took off. I didn't envy how scared she looked and I kept on with the pace I had been going.
|The sweet, sweet finish line|
|Look, Ma! No Trenchfoot!!!|
|One very large and pretty buckle|
|The red and bruising from an angry tendon|
That tired foot-lifting tendon? Yep, it was tired, red, and bruised after the run.