Rocky Raccoon 2013
Let me start with a recap of last years RR100. I dropped at mile 60, end of recap.
Now for this year, Rocky Raccoon 100, 2013
My journey started on Friday with the hour and a half drive to Huntsville. What a beautiful day it was, not a cloud in the sky! Once I made it into Huntsville and was all checked into the hotel, I made my way out to the State Park.
"This is where amazing people go to make epic shit happen!"
I just hope to be part of that group this year!
I ran into Joe Prusaitis the RD for the Tejas Trails races and an amazing ultra runner alone with being a great all around guy! With him was Liza Howard, also an amazing ultra runner and great all around person! After our hand shakes and hugs, Joe ask if I was ready. The answer was, much more than last year! The mind is so much stronger now! Little did I know at that time, just how much I would push the mind!
My crew was on there way to the park, couldn't wait to be with them!
Packed pick up started and my lucky number for the weekend would be bib #51. I liken it to, Area 51, being I just could be seeing some crazy stuff in the 30 hour time limit for the race!
Trail briefing went good, nothing really new, other than, look out for them roots! We think Joe ships in extra roots just for the race.
After trail briefing, we took a group photo of all Team Red, White and Blue members that were there, Go Eagle!
Now for a little team dinner time. My crew had a campsite for the weekend, so we did burgers with all the sides at their site. It was so relaxing to be with them. I was trying to keep my mind off of race day until race day.
But come on, when you're just 12 hours away from toeing the line of a 100 mile race, it's kind of hard to not think about it.
After a great dinner I made my way to the Holiday Inn Express for one last good nights sleep. I was in bed by 8pm with a 4am wake up coming up! So yes, I can say, but I did say at a Holiday Inn Express last night! Lets see just how good that saying is.
RACE DAY BABY!
The day I've been looking forward to for a year was finally here! One last nice hot shower, then time to lube up and gear up! I stop down in the lobby for a cup of coffee, been coffee free for 3 weeks! And get this crap, they didn't have any ready! Really people, no freaking coffee! So off I go, coffee less. I called my crew to let them know I was on the road to the park and I would see them in 30-45mins. They would have coffee waiting for me!
Time to toe the line!
One year of revenge was about to get started! I took my place in the back of the field, telling myself, you have 30 hours to pass people, just take it easy.
The horn sounded and off we went, 375 crazy 100 milers! "Rocky Raccoon 100 is a 5 loop course, 20 miles each loop." The first loop went by in a flash, it seemed as, somewhere around 4hrs 33mins.
Let me add, these years race plan was to take the race, aid station to aid station, nothing more. If you think about the whole 100 miles, the mind will go crazy!
Loop 2, 20 miles in
Off for 20 more fun filled miles! I knew this loop it would start getting warm, so I would need to take in more fluids. All was going great until mile 24 when a big time cramp hit me on the inside of the left thigh! Not freaking now, this is not happening! It stop me dead in my tracks! Ok, what to do? More Salt! Salt fixes everything on the trail! I dropped one SaltStick and started to just walk it off. After a half mile, back in the game! Other than the one cramp it went real good, coming in around 5hrs 20mins for the loop.
Loop 3, 40 miles in
20 more fun miles coming up! This loop would be getting dark before I make it back in, so my crew gave me my lights. They then said they would meet me at the Park Road aid station with my gloves, arm sleeves and beanie. Ok that sounded good. About 6 miles into the loop it was dark enough to turn on the lights, let the night time fun begin! Looking at my times, I was feeling real good about having a lot of time in the bank! The body was still feeling good, even after 45 plus miles on it. I was coming up on the 50 mile mark, at this point last year, I knew I was going to time out. But this year, I was in major kick butt gear! I hit the 50 mile mark, right at 12hrs! This was a BIG moment for me. I just PRed my 50 mile time by 29mins! And I'm feeling great with 50 more to go! I was over 3 hours ahead of last years time at this point! It was starting to get a little cool so I was looking forward to seeing my crew to get my gear. I got into Park Road only to not see my crew! Crap, getting cold. I refilled my bottle and still no crew. Got to go. I told myself, they will meet you at the start of loop 4. This only 4.4 miles away. But it's real hard to not keep thinking about getting cold or will they be there! As I was coming end for the end of this loop, I started yelling crew names out hoping they would hear me. BAM, I hear one of them yell back! This loop took around 5hrs 20mins.
Loop 4, 60 miles in
I can now have a pacer run with me.
Only two crew member were there, no cold weather gear! I was told it would be at the Nature Center aid station, 3. something miles away. Ok, deal with it Tony, you're not going to die in that few miles. Time to go, ok Mike lets do this! Mike was my first pacer. It was great to have someone to talk to and to pass along my needs to my crew. We made our way into Nature Center and there they were, gloves, arm sleeves and beanie, much better! I also picked up a new pacer, Melissa. Melissa is a road runner, so this would be her first time on true trails, much less at night! She would be with me for 12 miles. The first few miles was a little tough on her, but she got her footing down and did great! We talked about all kinds of stuff. But then there were times I didn't want to talk. I told my pacers before hand this could happen. The back half of this loop I needed to do more power walking then running. Body starting to feel the 70 plus miles on it. But the mind was still strong! I told Melissa we needed to get a jacket out of my Dam Nation drop bag, I was getting colder. Making our way into Park Road I was getting tired but would be getting a new pacer there, Gretchen. Off we go 4.4 miles to hit the 80 mile mark! This loop took around 6hrs
Loop 5, 80 miles in! Victory lap!
My body and mind was in truly uncharted waters at this point. I have never gone past 55 miles! Gretchen would stay with me on this loop until Nature Center, new pacer there. At Nature Center I picked up Russell, he would pace me back to Park Road, 12 miles away. There was going to be way more walking this 12 miles. Still had time in the bank, but could waste a lot of time or it could get bad, fast! Off we go, again we talked about, you name it! My calves started getting tight and my back in the lower right side in the kidney area start to hurt a little. As we made our way into Dam Nation, I told Russell I needed to sit down just a few minutes to rub out my calves. He refilled my bottle and then it was time to go. It was more like a death march, just 13 more miles to the finish line! 13 freaking miles! The longest 13 miles of my life! My back was really starting to hurt like I never hurt before, bad hurt! I was still able to walk a 14 minute mile, not bad after 87 miles! But I was hurting bad! When you leave out of Dam Nation, it's a 6 mile loop then you come back into it, then it's just over 3 miles to Park Road. Coming back into Dam Nation for the last time! I told Russell to refill my bottle that I was not stopping, if I stop I'm not sure I will be able to start. The sun was coming back up by now. With only a little over 7 miles to the finish line I had 6 hours to go 7 miles. Sounds so freaking easy, NOT! I was in bad shape. The body was starting to shut down! I was leaning to my right side at about a 45° angle! Having to stop every 100 feet to try and sit-up right, didn't help much. The tears started flowing. I was in pain that I wish on no one! 6 miles left, we got me a stick to help me walk. 5 miles left, it was taking me close to one hour to go one mile! This is when a runner passed us in a Zombie walk! Everything hurt like hell! I ask Russell what the cutoff time was at Park Road, didn't know if I was going to make it. A half freaking mile! And not sure if I could make it! About this time we see someone walking our way, Lesley! Lesley is one of my trail sisters. She would also be with me the last 4.4 miles if I live! As we made our way to her the pain on my right side was unreal! But Lesley would not hear any of it! Get your ass moving, she said! I'm trying, I'm trying, as the tears from the pain flowed more and more. Lesley also told me, Fawn said you will not stop unless you have a bone sticking out! At this point that would have to feel better! Fawn is a trail sister also, that was going to pace me the last 20 miles but thanks to the flu, she couldn't. I was upright coming into Park Road, 4.4 miles left! I told my crew I needed to sit down and I didn't give a flying &@$? what they said! An aid station worker ask me what's hurting, I told her my right lower back in the kidney area. She worked it over and told me to drink nothing but water the last 4.4 miles. Now here comes Lesley, get your ass up and lets get moving! Now just who could not love them kind of words after 95 miles! Off we go just 4.4 miles away from finishing my first 100 mile race! The longest 4.4 miles ever! I had just under 4 hours to go 4.4 miles, easy cake, right? I downed about 32oz of water just after leaving the aid station. Did it make me feel better, hell no, I hurt! But I told Lesley I'm going to try and run. And run I did! Later I learned from my Garmin data, my best pace time at mile 95 was an 8:17, an 8:17 pace after 95 freaking miles! That's badass! Now I can hear some crazy talking people coming up behind us. What the hell I'm thinking. BAM, it's Mike and Gretchen! I was needing all the support I could get at this point, so I was so glad to see them! Two last climbs then its somewhat flat. The first one is going to kill me I told them. Lesley told me whatever I do, don't stop or you will not get going up hill. BAM, topped that one! Time please. 2.5 hours left on the clock with 2 miles to go! It's looking good! But still anything could happen in them 2 miles! Lets be safe guys! The last hardest part left, going along the side of the lake. The angle of the trail in this area puts your body at a bad twisted. And after 98 miles, it's sucks! I told Mike to get in front of me and I was going to grab a shoulder and for him to go until I told him to slow down! By dam it worked awesome! I needed to stop and pee from all the water a just took in. As I was peeing they ask me what color it was, making sure there was no blood in it. I told them, can't tell, let me pee in one of your hands so you can look. No one let me. Half mile to the finish line with just under 2 hours left on the clock! I'm going to make it! I ask if we could stop and let me take a 30 minute nap, they didn't let me. 100 yards to the finish line! My crew was waiting. I told them to get my jacket off, there would be photos, I needed to look good! Yeah right 99.9 miles and like anyone looks good! I told them I wanted only Lesley to cross the finish line with me. Here I come finish line, ready or not! I crossed the finish line of my first 100 mile race in 28hrs 27mins 52sec! And who was there to give me my first buckle, Joe Prusaitis! I gave him the biggest hug and started crying like a baby! I did it, I freaking did it!
First and foremost, my wife and son! My wife, Joy is amazing to put up with all my talk about nothing but running at times. To the cost of my running. Thank you, I love you more then ever! My son, Colton who got me into running just 4 years ago! Not sure if I should say thanks or not, but I'm going with Thank You! I'm still waiting to run a marathon with you.
My crew/support group
Tammy, my amazing crew chief! Thank you more then you will ever know! Jim, thank you for sharing Tammy with me. Russell, thank you for not making to much fun of me when I was crying like a baby. Melissa, it was great doing your first true trail run with you. Gretchen, girl can you ever talk up a storm at 3am, loved it! Mike, my tow truck, thanks brother! Lesley, my trail sister, thank you for pushing me past my limits!
"To give your all, sometimes you have to give away all your control"
And I give all control to my team!
The rest of my small village that got me to the finish line, in random order Libby, Fawn, Suann, Martin, Jeremy, Kim, Tim, Michael, Liza, Maryann, Michael, I just know I forgot some. I'm so sorry if I did.
Gear: Shoes, Inov8 255, Socks, DryMax Trail, Lube, Hydropel, Tights, CWX, Garmin 310XT, Headlight, Black Diamond Storm, Race vest, Nathan Endurance, SaltStick, Nathan handheld bottle, 50 PowerBar Gels
Training: no more then 35 total miles a week. Longest run being 5 miles. Lets of stair repeats. Tire dragging with 30 pounds extra weight in tire.
Ok, make all the fun of me you want by the way I'm running. But guess what, I just ran 100 miles!