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Kettle Moraine 100 Mile - RunUltra Marathon

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LaGrange, Wisconsin
United States
Kettle Moraine 100 Endurance Runs
82F / 28C
Total Time = 29h 38m
Overall Rank = 107/238
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

4am rise, pack up the hotel room and try to eat. Went back to my old standard of drinking several Ensure's and Clif Bars. Then headed to the race site to drop off the 4 drop bags. Met up with some other runners that we know from previous races then got ready to head out. It's all very laid back and chill at these Ultras.
Event warmup:

Heh, warmup was the first 5 miles.
  • 29h 38m
  • 100 miles
  • 17m 47s  min/mile

This is long, consider yourself warned!

And we're off! We headed out and quickly got into a nice easy running pace, running anything flat or downhill and quickly power-hiking the uphills. Everyone's feeling pretty good at this point, lots of conversation like we're all old friends catching up. The miles at this point seemed to be flying by as well, before I knew it I'm at the first drop bags at mile 15ish. A quick in and out here, well at least 5-8 minutes, and I'm back on the trail for one of the hardest parts of the day, 9 miles of open prairie in the blazing sun and humidity. At least this part is flat and runnable, despite the heat I decided a good strategy here would be to just keep running at an easy pace and get through it and back into the trees. Once out of the prairie you hit an aid station, then what I overheard from someone else, the "toughest 5 miles of the course" to get to the 31.5 mile turnaround point. They weren't kidding either, lots of climbing and switchbacks and some fatigue setting in. Couple that with my running out of Gatorade powder so I had to fill up with Strawberry flavored Heed, I might as well have flipped the switch that says, "Time to throw up!". Luckily I got to the 50k turnaround where I had another drop bag with more Gatorade powder so I could ditch that awful vomit-inducing Heed. Otherwise things were still feeling quite good here, despite having already run 32 miles my legs and body were still feeling good and there were no aches, pains or blisters, yet.

Turned around and heading back now, feeling good. Got through the same tough 5 miles of hills to the prairie, and by this time the sun was obscured by clouds and the temps had stopped climbing. I made my way through the prairies, running when I could, but by the end my body started to sink into my first, and worst, hole of the day. By the time I got to mile 47, my drop bag, I had gone into a dark place. I was super nauseous, didn't want to even try to get anything in or hold it down, and spent the previous 4 miles of trail keeping an eye out for where I could stop and puke. I got to the aid station and felt/looked like utter crap. Here's where the hero of the day comes in, my friend Lisa M. from Duluth area, she helps put on a few races up there and does an incredible job helping and crewing for friends. She was there crewing for another runner who hadn't arrived yet, when I saw here I simply said that I feel like crap, I don't want to eat anything for fear of throwing it back up, and that at this point I'm just going to walk the next 15.5 miles into the 100k finish and call it a day. I guess she took that as a challenge and she went to work. I hung out at that aid station for 30 minutes, I sat and stretched a bit and ate some of these miracle ginger candies that settle my stomach. During that time she gathered another friend and got her set up to pace me! She found me a pacer! With a settle stomach, a pacer and a headlamp strapped on I was a new man. I don't know what happened or how, but as I got up to leave that aid station it was like a new start, I felt fresh and ready to run! I headed out with my new friend Leah, who would end up pacing, walking, running and helping me through the next 52 miles!

Heading in from here to the start/finish area, end of the 100k, went fast. I had what felt like new legs so we ran most of the 15 miles, not fast mind you, but running nonetheless, and arrived at Nordic (start/finish). It was fully dark at this point, 16 hours into the race and time to change into some nighttime running attire. My feet were not in bad shape at this point, but my shoes and socks were wet from all the dew on the grass, a bit of mud from the prairie earlier, and sweat. I ended up changing shoes and socks here as well as getting into a long sleeve shirt. It had started raining a few hours earlier, not a steady or hard rain, just light rain here and there. I ate/drank some hot soup, crackers and got ready to head out on the final 38 miles.

We headed out in the dark, it was around 10 or 11pm I think. Legs were still feeling good at this point so we settled into a nice easy running pace, walking the uphills and otherwise still in decent spirits. That feeling stayed with me until probably around the 75 mile mark, then the fatigue, drowsiness and sore feet started to take their toll. The terrain got more difficult again as well, probably about the same as that "hardest 5 miles" from earlier, and the running started happening with much less frequency. Also, my watch died so I no longer had any frame of reference regarding time and distance, and that really messed with my head. At this point I started to get into Survival Mode. Conversations with my pacer often were about our current rate of progress, what we needed to maintain, and how quick I needed to keep moving to just finish. We were able to see a few other runners that I knew at the aid stations occasionally, which helped immensely to know that I wasn't alone out there on the course. And of course having a pacer, someone who has been where I was physically and mentally, was huge.

From the 80 mile mark to the finish is somewhat vague. I was literally falling asleep on my feet at times, and the hallucinations started in full force. There was an aid station about 7.5 miles from the finish that had pink flamingos leading the way in and out, so for several miles, every time I looked up at a bend in the trail I told my pacer, "Look, there's the pink flamingos, I see a whole bunch of them, we made it!". This went on for about an hour until we actually got to the aid station and saw the flamingos for real.

Once the sun was up things got a little easier, at least because I could see further and know where we were. Shawn came out and met up with us around mile 90ish I think, it was great to see her and get some more encouragement that this was going to happen. That was the strange battle going on in my head. Everyone was saying that I'd make it, I knew that I'd make it, but I was so tired, my feet were killing me, every step hurt so for some reason part of my brain was telling me that I should just lie down on the trail and take a nap. The last 15 miles seemed to go on forever. I don't know what my pace was, it was slow, but the "relentless forward progress" slogan was all I could think of. Moving forward was better than standing still.

We hit the last aid station, 5 miles to go, and the kind aid station worker asked what I needed. They were already taking down the tent! I said I'd like a chair to sit in and he replied, "only for a minute, then you need to keep moving and get to the finish. You've only got one hour, 45 minutes to cover 5 miles!". As ludicrous as that sounds, he was right and at that point you never know what could slow your pace or halt your progress. So we ran. Or at least my mind thought it was running, it was probably more like a 12:30 pace, but it was faster than walking! Those last 5 miles of ski trails were hard, they certainly weren't that hard to run the other 3 times in the race when I was there! The steep downhills were actually the worst at this point, because my feet were blistered and my quads would give out if I tried to blast down them. But we kept on going and it wasn't long until I could hear the finish line!

Coming into the finish was awesome, there was a ton of people who I didn't know, and they were all cheering and genuinely happy for me to be there. As someone told me a little earlier in the race, they have just as much respect, possibly more, for those of us that take longer to finish, because we suffered and endured longer than most others on the course.

Looking back at what I just wrote, one might be tempted to think that this was all suffering and why on earth would I do it? But it wasn't. Even 24 hours later I'm glad to have done it, I had lots of high points and good times out there on the course, and I'm glad to have conquered to lows. That's what this is all about for me, facing an overwhelming challenge, hitting low points, and overcoming it all to come out on top in the end!
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

Blisters became an issue for the last 25 miles or so. I wasn't sure what removing my shoes and seeing how messed up my feet were would have done for me, other than make me want to stop.

Last updated: 2014-06-10 12:00 AM
29:38:00 | 100 miles | 17m 47s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/238
Performance: Good
Course: Two out and back loops, first one is 100k (63 miles actually) and the second one is 38 miles.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2014-06-10 10:44 AM

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Alexandria, MN
Subject: Kettle Moraine 100 Mile

2014-06-10 10:57 AM
in reply to: #5010091

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Subject: RE: Kettle Moraine 100 Mile
well done. Always exciting.
2014-06-10 11:26 AM
in reply to: BigDH

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Subject: RE: Kettle Moraine 100 Mile
GREAT post, thanks for posting your report.
2014-06-10 11:45 AM
in reply to: KWDreamun

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, Minnesota
Gold member
Subject: RE: Kettle Moraine 100 Mile

Ah-mazing!  I can't even imagine doing that.  Great job.

2014-06-10 1:30 PM
in reply to: #5010091


JAX area, Florida
Subject: RE: Kettle Moraine 100 Mile
Everything you just wrote about your experience is exactly why I want to run 100 miles. The experience, the cool hallucinations, etc. Thank you for the inspirational report. I look forward to possibly joining you in a couple years.
2014-06-10 2:25 PM
in reply to: BigEasy108

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ann arbor, michigan
Subject: RE: Kettle Moraine 100 Mile
Originally posted by BigEasy108

Everything you just wrote about your experience is exactly why I want to run 100 miles. The experience, the cool hallucinations, etc. Thank you for the inspirational report. I look forward to possibly joining you in a couple years.

X 2. Awesome!

2014-06-10 3:15 PM
in reply to: wannabefaster

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West Allis, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Kettle Moraine 100 Mile

Welcome to the club!  awesome job to keep moving on an awesome course!


2014-06-12 1:56 AM
in reply to: #5010091

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Co Louth, Ireland
Subject: RE: Kettle Moraine 100 Mile
great report - well done!
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