Yes it is possible to have a 100 mile long 30 hour Halloween Party. Full report is in progress, but you can see that I was successful in obtaining my second buckle and it was a PR in a time of 29:11:43.
It has finally hit me. This morning I got a Final Update email from the race director. I am really going to get on a plane on Friday, fly to Arizona, and attempt my second hundred miler (101.4, actually). I am really looking forward to this one because I know several runners who will be running, plus I hope to meet a few I have been stalking online for quite some time now. The best thing I'm looking forward to is meeting my pacers. You may remember that for my last hundred miler I had several of you as virtual pacers. Well this time, two cyber friends that I have never met in person will be pacing me! The first is Jess. She used to blog and that is how I "met" her, she offered to pace me way back when I was first thinking of running one hundred miles. She will pace me from mile 60-75. The second is Laur, you may know her as RunningLaur and she will be pacing me from miles 75-90. A lot of runners drop out after 62 miles at this race because a "wimp-out" option is offered. In other words if you complete 100K miles, instead of a DNF, you get credit for completing a 100K. The good thing about me having pacers starting at the 60 mile point is that I won't be tempted to quit after four laps, I wouldn't want to disappoint my pacers and have them drive all the way out to the course only to see me quit.
What are my goals this time? Of course the primary goal is to finish under the time limit of 30 hours. My secondary goal is to set a PR, in this case I hope to finish under 29 hours. The weather looks like it will cooperate with highs only in the mid 80's. I just hope my feet hold up past 70 miles this time.
Just in case anyone out there wants to stalk me, my number is 181 and I think that they will have live tracking at the website. (At least they did last year.)
South Carolina has a five race ultra series organized and put on by Terri Hayes. Terri is an experienced ultra runner with a couple of hundred ultras under her belt and she knows what ultra runners need in a race. We don't want frills, we want incredible runnable single track, great volunteers, and a chance to test ourselves with other kindred spirits. Terri delivers all this and more in races with no cutoff times. Oh, did I mention that there is no entry fee? No wonder every one of her five races "sells out".
Race morning arrived with perfect fall weather. Temperature was about 50 with clear skies. After checking in and writing the order of the loops on my hand with magic marker, (we were told in an earlier email to memorize the order of the loops, yea we know how well brains work after 5 hours of ultra running) Terri gave us final directions and we were off.
The course is on the Forks Area Trail System (FATS) just across the border from Augusta, Georgia. These trails are used a lot by mountain bikers and are very well maintained and runnable. The course immediately started with single track and we sorted ourselves out pretty quickly. I started at the very back right in front of Terri. Oh yea, Terri also runs her own races as the sweeper. All intersections were well marked, but having the loop order written on my hand helped out a bit, too.
It was a great day for a run in the woods. Since this was a "training" run for me, I started at an easy pace and enjoyed the day. The aid stations were well stocked with water, HEED, powerade, pretzels, cookies, chips, boiled potatoes and salt, bananas, pb&j sandwiches, and a special treat of home made banana bread. Along the way I slowly picked off other runners, by my count I ended up passing a total of eleven runners. One of these was Leopold who was running his very first ultra. Did I mention that Leopold was 10 years old? He was running with his mom and ended up dropping but not until after he completed well over 20 miles. Way to go Leopold!
After finishing there was plenty of pizza and chocolate brownies. Thanks Terri for a great experience, I'll be back to run some of your other races next year.