Monday, April 14, 2008

McNaughton Park Race Report

Short version: I have a feeling this is going to be long, so the bottom line is I DNFed at mile 110.

Wow this really is long! I wonder if anyone will actually read the whole thing??

361 days ago, on the day registration opened I signed up for the 2008 McNaughton Park 150 mile trail run. I wanted to make it final before I had a chance to talk myself out of it. For nearly a year I was thinking about this race, waiting for the weekend to come, formulating my plan. In the 4 months leading up to the race I was bombarded by a barrage of pesky injuries. Nothing too big, but they were all just big enough to throw off my training, knee, shins, ankle, quads, you name it. So by the time the race got within a month away I knew it was going to take something special for me to finish this thing. I had only done one run of 50 miles or longer in the 8 months leading up to McNaughton, and only 3 runs of 30 miles this year, not the type of training needed for a 150 mile race. Regardless of the lack of training this race had been on my mind for a year and I wasn't about to let it pass by without giving it a shot. I never considered pulling out of the race. I told myself that no matter how out of shape I was, as long as I was healthy on that day I would run the race. About three weeks before the race and after months of little to no training my injuries went away. By that time it was so close to the race there was no point in training. I ran about 25 miles three weeks before McNaughton then shut it down the two weeks before the race.

Going into the weekend I was confident. I knew I hadn't put in the training but I still thought I could do it. That's just how I am I guess. Like I told myself out on the trail Friday night, I would rather be under trained and over-confident than well trained and too timid to try. My Mom and I left Thursday morning and arrived at the park around 5pm. there were already runners with their tents set up, and I was more excited then ever. When you think about something for so long it's almost overwhelming when you're finally in the moment. Friday morning before the race was like a party. So many runners that I had met, either online, or at other races, it was a giant reunion. 15 minutes before the start of the race the RD, Andy Weinberg, gave us a course briefing. One of the things that he mention was that since we were going to be out there all weekend and because this was the time of the year that all the trees and flowers begin to change that we would see a difference in the park from Friday morning when we started to Sunday afternoon when we were done. Sorry Andy, but that was a bunch of BS, lol. It stayed too damn cold all weekend for any signs of spring to start popping through.

At 12:00pm with a siren from the bull horn (I think?) We were off on the journey I had been waiting so long to begin. I had a plan to run my first 5 loops in 2:42 each (McNaughton is a 10 mile loop repeated 15 times for 150 miles) I started off in the back of the pack. From looking at the splits from last year I noticed most everyone ran their first loop under 2 hours, I didn't want to get caught up in that. Right away I stuck with my plan of running slowly (probably 11:00 pace) on the flats and walking (fast walk) all inclines, and I mean ALL inclines. As the back of the pack rounded the first edge of the field we could already see David Goggins, Paul Stofko, Ryan Dexter and the rest of the lead pack far ahead. Although you could definitely tell it was a 150 mile race because they weren't moving very fast. Not to long into the first loop I met up with Justin, who I had been talking to through the website. We stuck together for the first loop because we were both worried about going out to fast. The course conditions were muddy for this first loop but really not that bad. The temps were cool but as long as you were moving it was fine. The first loop (miles 0-10) really flew by. Justin and I were cruising along, chatting, and sticking to the plan. by the time we got to Heavens gate aid station and I looked at my watch, it appeared we were a little ahead of schedule but I wasn't sure of the mileage. The Heavens gate aid station is passed two times per loop. The first time at 5.7 miles an then again at 6.9 miles. So when we past it the second time I looked at the watch again and realized that we were on pace to finish the loop in about 2:20 instead of the planned 2:42. It was a bit frustrating because we were going as slow as we could for being so fresh. So we decided to walk some of the flats that we would have otherwise ran. By the time we got back to the start finish line (mile 10) our lap time was 2:22. I was OK with the fact that it was quite a bit faster than I had planned because I knew I wasn't pushing.

The second loop(miles 10-20) I really focused on going slower in the first half of the loop. I figured the energy from all the runners in the first loop probably sped me up a bit. The course at McNaughton Park consists of many short steep hills, but nothing that takes any more than a minute or two of climbing at a time. At this point the trail was still in good shape the weather was turning out to be better than forecasted. It didn't rain much at all on Friday which really helped to dry out the trails from the rain in previous days. The Heavens Gate aid station is by far one of the best aid stations in ultra running as far as I know. Those Buffalo from Illinois really know how to treat the runners. They had very high energy and were very encouraging all weekend. Jeff kept my feet from falling apart, by the end of the race the toes on both of my feet were covered in athletic tape, I had athletic tape on my left ankle and duct tape wrapped around my right ankle. The second loop was just as smooth as the first. my time was 2:31, which meant I was able to slow down a little bit, but I as definitely still feeling fresh.

The third loop was equally as nice. I was starting to get a hang of the course. I knew the first mile was around the field. Then we take a steep muddy hill through the woods into a grassy field. Through the field we go straight down a slippery hill back into the woods for another mile and several hills until we come out of another opening into the first aid stations. After the aid station we stay in the open through a couple of small fields for a couple tenths of a mile before going back into the woods. From there It's back into the woods and hills before crossing the first creek at about 2.5 miles. There was a tree laying across the creek. Now that I think about it, I think It was actually growing sideways across the creek. you could climb on the tree across the large creek to keep your feet dry. The problem with that was the fact that by the time you got to the other side of the creek on the tree you were 6 feet in the air and had to jump down. It wasn't a problem the first jump down, but multiply that by 15 and you start to get the picture. After the first creek crossing it's back to the woods and hills. From the first creek crossing to the 5 mile mark is the most difficult part of the course. Many short steep hills topped off by "Golf Hill" which runs right along the golf course. It's very steep and muddy. They put in a rope to help you climb it. I never used the rope, it took more time and didn't make things any easier for me. I guess I'm just not coordinated enough. I just used my hands and feet and scampered up the hill. Once enough people had gone up it there were nice mud divets to sink your hand and feet into so you wouldn't slide back down. Rumor has it that last year Karl Meltzer ran right up the hill every time with no rope, on his way to a new course record in the 100 miler, what stud. Right after Golf Hill on my third loop I could hear someone coming up behind me fast. Sure enough it was last years 150 miler winner, Paul Stofko, less than 2.5 loops into the race and he already lapped me.

"I wondered how long that would take." I said to him as I stepped off the trail and watched him fly by.

He laughed and said he was trying to get in as many miles as he could in case the forecasted storm hit us hard. Right after climbing Golf Hill we go straight back down to the same elevation we just came from on a hill equally as steep, very tough to navigate when muddy. After that we navigate through more hills coming out close to the golf course around mile 4 where we can see a huge new home to which one of the runners commented that the economy in Pekin must be doing a lot better than everywhere else in the U.S. Then we drop back into the woods over a nice new bridge that keeps us from crossing through the creek. A few more small hills gets us down by the road, which is what I started to consider the halfway point of the lap. After we get to the bottom of the windy hill and start going up the muddy jeep road, the hardest section of trail is behind us. David Goggins had a camera crew with him, filming his race, and I saw them often at this spot waiting for him to come through. This was also the place where Goggins lapped me for the first time, on my third loop. He was probably 1.5 miles behind Stofko at that point.
"Nice job, David! Keep it up!" I said as I again steeped off the trail and watched him fly by in admiration.

"Thanks, buddy, you too." He replied. That's right, David Goggins called me buddy, no big deal, we're buddies.

After climbing the jeep road and one more single track hill we pop out into a field, after circling the field and passing the small cemetery with about 9 head stones we arrive at Heavens Gate aid station at mile 5.7. From there we do a quick 1.2 mile loop, down some hills around a field and back up a hill, right back to the aid station again, mile 6.9. Exiting Heavens gate we continue around the field that we were outlining on our way into Heavens Gate and drop back into the woods for the Hooter Hill Loop. About 1.5 miles after leaving Heavens Gate we get to the second creek crossing (It's the third if you count the creek with the bridge) There's no way to keep the feet dry this time (unless you use the Tom Jennings garbage bag trick) so it's straight through the water and out the other side. Although this is the only real creek crossing where you get your feet wet, with all the mud and rain that had come in the days leading up to the race, your feet would still get wet in all of the really muddy parts of the course. With muddy feet we trudge through another mile of muddy hills until coming to the final hole of the frisbee golf course that is in McNaughton park (Not to be confused with the actual golf course.) Once you pop out into that open space you know you're almost back to the start finish. It's up a grassy hill, back into the woods for only a few minute, up one very steep short grassy hill, turn left, through the mud, turn right and straight ahead 1/10 of a mile to the finish.

I finished up the third loop(miles 20-30) in 2:30 (almost identical to the second.) I was feeling really good at that point. I really though I had a chance at finishing this thing. None of my injuries were bothering me, I didn't have any signs of fatigue, and I was getting a hang of what it took to run consistently loop times on this course.

And then the wheels fell off. It was getting dark as I started my fourth loop (miles 30-40.) I took both my flash light and headlamp with me but didn't have to us them until I got into the section of trail 1.2 miles into the loop. As soon as I tried going down the first muddy hill, guided by my headlamp and flash light I knew I was in for a long night. By no means was I running fast during the day, but I couldn't even come close to that same speed on these down hills at night. I don't have great vision in the first place, so running by headlamps and flashlights isn't a fun experience for me. I was getting pretty pissed this time around. I was frustrated that I couldn't run as well as I had been. There were also some pretty brutal blisters already forming on my feet, not a good sign when you're only 30 miles into a 150 mile race! When I got to the Heavens Gate aid station I saw Marla setting up her tent, as she was going to camp and run the 50 miler in the morning. It was nice to see her, and that helped me out as I was in a pretty crappy mode at that point. I ended up getting through that first loop in the dark in 3:11. I was discouraged but knew I had to just try and keep up a faster pace if I wanted to have a change at finishing.

On my fifth loop (miles 40-50) I had by far my lowest point in the race. Although I ended up with a DNF I did set one PR this weekend. This was the fastest I have ever gone from "Hey, I think I can finish this thing!" to "Oh, Hell, I'm Fucked" It happened just like that. Not only was it dark, and the blisters on my feet were already killing me, but the hills started catching up to my quads. My lack of training was definitely shinning through. Remember that first creek crossing I was talking about? The one where you can cross on the tree? Well, on this loop, while I was crossing I fell into the water. DAMN was it cold! I managed to hang on to the tree as I fell so only the left side of me went in the water.

Some where around mile 45 I was certain I wasn't going to finish 150 miles. At the time it wasn't really all that disappointing. Out there on that 5th loop I thought a lot about DNF's, not just the one I was going to get for this race, but DNF's in general. I was thinking about how unappetizing and disgusting a DNF sounds to a runner before they start a race. It's the last thing I want to think about before a race. The day before the race started my mom asked me if I would still get a belt buckle if I only finished 100 instead of 150. I wouldn't even discuss the possibility with her. I wasn't going to finish 100 I was going to finish 150! But when you're out there on the trail in the dead of night, not a soul around, your hands so frozen you can't even tuck in your own shirt, snot dripping down your nose into your mouth and you don't even care, the blisters on your feet rubbing against your shoes like sand paper with every step, your quads are trashed, your urine is the color of radio active waste, you would rather throw yourself down a hill head first than try to go down standing up and it's miles and miles to go before you find anyone that gives a damn, at that point, it's amazing how appetizing a DNF sounds. At that point, not only could I live with a DNF, there is nothing else I would rather have. That 5th loop, one of the most miserable 10 miles I have ever run, took 4:09.

After that I decided that I wasn't going back out there, not at night anyway. I told my Mom that I was going to sleep until the morning then wake up and see how I felt. In reality I was 99% certain my race was over. I damn sure wasn't going to finish 150 and with they way my feet felt, I didn't know if I would even be able to walk the next day. I planned on waking up around 5:30 just to see if I felt like starting to run again when the 50 and 100 milers started at 6am Saturday morning. Well, I woke up to the sound of hooting and hollering, the 50 and 100 milers just started, so much for that plan. I went back to sleep.

I woke up about an hour later. I changed out of my running shirt, put on a sweatshirt and jeans, regular shoes and went to sit by the fire. Anyone who asked, I told them I was done, but I kept the time chip. My Mom asked me if I wanted to pack up and go home. I told her I wanted to stick around for a little bit. I sat by the fire for a while and watched the 50 and 100 milers come through on their first and second loops. I saw Marla and Ellen both come through twice looking really great. I was still sitting by the fire eating pancakes.
Then out of the corner of my eye I saw Sherpa John, looking tired as hell, dragging his feet but still getting ready to start his next lap. That inspired me. I thought about it for a second. I have been thinking about this race all year, waiting for it, now it's hear, not even half way over and I'm sitting by the damn camp fire in jeans and a sweat shirt? What the fuck! So I hobbled to my tent, took one of the clothes pins off of my race bib, popped all the blisters on my feet, let the puss drain out and then taped the hell out of them. They still hurt but I thought it would be manageable.

By this time, after the full nights sleep my legs were back under me, feeling pretty good. I got my running shoes and clothes back on, went over to the camp fire and told my Mom that I was going to keep running. She wasn't too happy about it, she was worried about my feet. but Gabe's dad was encouraging me, and I had the desire back, there was no stopping it, I wasn't going to finish, but I was going to run until I couldn't run anymore.

That first loop Saturday morning (miles 50-60) was outstanding. After a couple miles the pain from my blisters was somewhat numbed, my legs felt good and I was blasting up the hills just like the morning before (When I say "blasting" I mean walking slowly, but I was walking slowly faster than the other people around me were walking slowly.) I had that cheerful attitude back that running always gives me, and I was much warmer out there running than I was shivering, sitting by the camp fire. With the 100+ extra runners from the 50 and 100 mile races and the rain continued on and off through the night, the course was getting pretty sloppy. I started formulating my race plan for the rest the weekend. I thought I could hold 3 hour loops during the day on Saturday for 30 mies then Sleep through the night, wake up at 6am Sunday hold 3 hour loops again for 30 miles and finish the race with 110 miles. As I think of it now, I would say it was pretty aggressive to think I could run 30 mile days back to back under 9 hours each day when I could barely finish the 50 mile run the day before, but hey, I am the guy who actually thought I could finish the 150 mile run with little to no training, so why stop setting ridiculously goals now?

As I was climbing the hill right back up to the Heavens Gate aid station I heard a voice from a runner I had just passed. "Are you Josh?" He questioned

I replied that I was indeed Josh. He then went on to tell me that he reads my blog. His name is Ed. I probably see him at half of the races I go to but have never met him before. He said he remembered when I start running ultras two years ago and said what great strides I had made in that amount of time. That was really awesome to hear from an ultra vetran. Thanks, Ed! I look forward to seeing you at the next one! that 6th loop went by in 2:52 and I still felt great, the secondary plan of 110 miles was alive and well.

I wanted to have a pacer for my 7th loop, because I know how nice it is just having someone there to run with you. When you're all by yourself it is very easy to become complacent. Before you know it your pace has slowed dramatically and you don't even realize it, and by the time yo do realize it you don't care anymore. Pacers help keep you on track, when you have some one right in front or behind you, it helps you stay focused and moving at a constant pace, imagine that, pacers help your pace. I asked my Mom if he could ask Andy if there was anyone willing to pace. He told me to start my loop and he would find someone to catch up with me. As I rounded the field in the first mile, I looked across and saw James coming towards me. I was worried at first because I knew he had been injured but he assured me that he was fine, and that he had already paced two laps with Stofko. I was extremely happy to have James as a pacer. Not only someone to run with but an experienced (Fast!) ultrarunner, and a really nice guy. This was probably my best loop of the whole race. We were cruising along and chatting the whole time. I'm not really the kind of runner that likes to just focus and run all the time, especially in these really long runs, I like to talk, and we had some good conversation. We shared are thoughts on the whole Dean Karnazes debate among other things. But that's a whole separate blog entry in itself. James and I finished that 7th lap in 2:35, my fasted lap since the mile 20-30. James had just paced the winner of last years race, Paul Stofko, for miles 90-110 and he said his mile 100-110 was the same as my 60-70, granted Stofko was 4o miles ahead of me at that point, but it's still pretty cool to be running the same speed as one of the leaders.

I was still feeling good after 70, and knew that I had plenty of time to get in one more loop before it started getting dark. I was able to pick up another pacer, Scott, and we had another nice loop. Scott had signed up for the 50 miler and was just pacing people as needed until he reached 50 miles. Apparently he had gotten pretty wasted the night before sitting around the camp fire, but he still seemed to be running well! This was a pretty fun lap. David Goggins had taken off right before us on his 14th lap (Miles 130-140!) when we went down the first hill and into the field we say his camera crew there waiting. He was relieving himself on the side of the trail so Scott and I ran past, that's right we blew past Goggins like he was standing still (OK, so he was standing still.) about a half mile later Goggins passed us again but as we started up the first single track trail up hill he was moving pretty slow. Scott and I were right behind him and he stepped to the side of the trail to let us pass. I told him that I wasn't about to pass him so he kept on going. Once we got into the next clearing I did pass him and we stayed within 50 feet of each other the whole 10 mile loop. It was pretty awesome to be able to run so close to the eventual winner of the race for that long. He was on mile 140 while I was only on mile 80 but it was cool being able to keep up with him and see the way he runs, and focuses late into these grueling races. Another cool thing about that loop was that because we were right in front of Goggins for most of the loop we saw his camera crew everywhere. As Scott mentioned, it was almost like they were filming us. I was definitely starting to hurt by the end of this loop, my quads were burning and my feet were forming more blisters, but I knew it was my last loop for the day, so I got through it. Scott and I finished that loop in 2:41. After that loop Goggins went on to finish his final loop and set a new course record in 33:36! What a machine! After my 8th loop (3rd loop of the day) I went to sleep with plans the wake up at 5:30am Sunday morning and do it all over again. I was still on track for 110. Before I could fall asleep Saturday night in my tent I heard Andy ask I trvia question. There are 14 division one schools with mascot names that don't end in "S" what are they? They got the first 13 pretty quick but couldn't find the last one, I was to tired to even worry about it, and quickly nodded of to sleep.

Sunday morning it was very uncomfortable getting up, but I wouldn't say it was hard. Uncomfortable, because it was so warm in my tent huddled in my sleeping bag with all my warm clothes on and it was freezing cold outside, snowing at this point. But it was easy because I knew I didn't want to stop at 80 miles, because I knew I could do more. So I got up popped some new blisters, retaped my feet and headed out.

lap 9 (mile 80-90) was pretty good. I didn't have a pacer, but I felt good and had the energy back in my legs from the long rest. As I came through the Heavens Gate aid station everyone told me how good I looked and how I was running better than anyone on the course. That's what happens when you're sleeping and everyone else is running! I finished loop 9 in 2:41 which left 2 loops to go to reach my secondary goal of 110 I was pretty certain I could do it, but 20 miles still seemed like a long way.

I didn't waste much time at the start finish before starting on my 10th loop. I was looking forward to this one, as it would be my 100th mile. I asked Andy if there was anyone who would like to pace. Eventually he got two high school girls to do the job. He told me to start out and they would meet me on the hill 1.2 miles into the loop (which is only about a hundred yards from the start finish if you take the direct route. By the time I got there I saw two girls wearing giant rain boots bundled up in colorful winter parkas. I chuckled to myself.

"We're your pacers" They said

"Alright!! Lets go girls" I said while making a sweeping hand movement to motion them along.

Almost immediately the course dove into a wet muddy single track trail straight down a windy hill, within 30 seconds the girls were already 50 yards behind me. After a couple more hills I could hardly even see them any more. I wasn't moving fast, they just weren't moving at all. I didn't really want to leave them, but I didn't feel too bad about it because I knew they couldn't really get lost on the course and they could have just turned back around and walked half a mile back to the start or the next aid station which was about a mile away, but I couldn't afford to walk a 5 hour loop with them if I wanted to finish 110 miles. So after the confidence boost I got from smoking the two high school chicks in the flower print rain boots, I had a pretty good loop. It wasn't long before a sharp pain started to manifest in the tendons on my right leg just above my foot. I don't know what the pain is but I remember it from Mohican. It hurt pretty bad at first only when I went down hills. After a couple miles it hurt on the flats also. When I reached Heavens Gate I asked for some Duct Tape. Jeff got some for me and we taped up the area pretty tight. I was hoping the pressure would help the pain. One of the aid station workers commented that it was really going to hurt to rip off all that duct tape. I told her I wouldn't have to worry about it for another 3 hours. Then someone else mentioned that they thought it was wrapped to tight and we should make it looser. So much for my plan of not having to deal with the pain for 3 hours. We ripped off the duct tape and re taped it a little looser. That helped for a little while but then the pain got even worse. I saw Ellen as she was leaving Heavens Gate on her 9th lap (she was in the 100 mile race, her first!) She looked good, and it was nice to see her doing well. As I was coming to the end of my 1oth lap, I heard a voice behind me. "I've got you're number, Dillingham!"

It was Regis, who had been pacing Gabe for the last 100 miles. Gabe was right behind me and about to finish the 150!!!

I finished that 10th lap (100 miles) in 2:44. I was happy with that time and was riding high, knowing that I had more than 4 hours for my last loop, to finish with 110. I grabbed some pancakes and waited a minute to see Gabe come to the finish line and congratulate him on such an incredible accomplishment. there were only 13 finishers in the 150 mile race out of 40 starters, and Gabe was 7th.

After that I started on my final loop. I felt good at the start of the loop but it wasn't long before fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks. the tendons in my right leg were extremely painful on down hills and flats. The up hills were the only thing I could still tackle pretty good.....Massachusetts Minute Men!!!.....That's the 14th division one school mascot that doesn't end with an S!! It came to me out on the trail. I was excited to finish the loop to ask Andy if anyone had figured it out yet. About three miles into the final loop a 100 miler on his final lap caught up to me, JJ. It was a big help for both of us to have the other one there. We made pretty good time on the final loop considering how tired we both were and came to the finish line for the final time in 3:05. That was the end of my 2008 McNaughton Adventure.

"Hey Andy, did you guys ever figure out that 14th team last night." I asked.

"Oh, you were in on that? No we never did." he said

"It's the Massachusetts Minute Men!" I told him

He was pretty amuzed by the fact that I had been thinking about it since the night before.

Things didn't go as planned, but they seldom do. I really wanted that 150 mile finish, but I didn't have the training to do it. I think with the training I had 110 miles was the absolute most I could have squeezed out of my legs on this weekend. Someone asked me today if I was happy with what I did. I wouldn't say I was happy with it. I wanted to get 150 and I came up short. But I would say I am proud of what I accomplished out there on the trails at McNaughton Park this weekend. I would say I'm proud of all the runners who toed the line and gave it a shot. Whatever happens, happens. We can't control the outcome but we can control the effort we put into it.

I want to thank Andy and all the volunteers for putting on such an awesome race. Andy said in an e-mail he sent out to all the runners before the race that this is one of his favorite weekend of the year. I can see why. I think it's become one of my favorites also. This is a first class event. As far as I know this is the best organized ultra with the best volunteers in the country. You can bet I'll be back at McNaughton park next year with a similar story, but a different ending.


Anonymous said...

Nice run Pickle. Sorry I didn't pace you. At least you didn't get chicked by your girl pacers...

ollie said...

I have a hard time saying "DNF" and "ran 110 miles" in the same sentence. :-)

Way to gut it out; I hear what you said about going from "hey, I am going to do ok" to "oh no, I am screwed" in just a mile or two. :-)

I know that all too well.

Heal up.

Andrew said...

I read your whole report. I'm as impressed as can be that you kept going back out there. Congratulations on a great DNF.

Mike Hudson said...

Congrats on the 110!! I would not call it a DNF, though! You hit your lowest of lows and still came back strong!!

Liz said...

oh my goodness, reading your race report was just so inspiring to me. congrats on an awesome adventure. amazing job!

Kim said...

I thought I posted earlier but Blogger apparently ate it!
Nice race report Pickle, one of the best I have read. You write extremely well-I have many of the same thoughts as you out there on the trals!
Your sense of humor really comes through in the "This was the fastest I have ever gone from "Hey, I think I can finish this thing!" to "Oh, Hell, I'm Fucked" I really lol at that!

Congratulations on 110 miles. Like Ollie said, it is hard to say DNF and 110 miles in the same sentence.

And hey, the course really couldn't be worse next year than this year! :)

Josh said...


Thanks, Don't worry about not Pacing. You'll be there with me next year, although not as a pacer, as a fellow 150 mile runner.


Thanks, and thank you for the virtual tour on your blog, it all looked very familiar on race day(s)! Yeah, amazing how we can be doing so well one minute and spent by the next minute.


Thank you, The hardest part of getting back out there was getting out of the warm tent and taking those first 50+ steps, for sure!


Yeah, after that 5th loop I really didn't have any more low points the rest of the way. I came to terms with the fact that I wasn't going to finish. I was able to get a lot of rest and keep running pretty smooth...OK, it did hurt quite a bit, but I was still goin.


Thanks. You don't even want to know how much time I spent typing up this race report last night. It's 16 pages double spaced in Microsoft word, lol. I wanted to make it a good one. Yeah, I thought that was a pretty good line too, I probably would have laughed about it myself when I thought of it, if I weren't actually saying those words at the time I was feeling that way :)

ed said...


What a report – I can “feel” it as I read every detail, just like being there! Hey, you can call me an ultra vet if you like, but I’ve learned a lot from you. Keep up the great runs & your most inspiring reports & I’ll see you on the trails!

Oh yes, I do remember after you passed me going into Heaven’s Gate -- do the girls always drop everything and run & give you a hug like that at EVERY aid station?

Anonymous said...

Hey Josh. Great seeing you out there. You seemed to enjoy the whole experience despite the conditions. Congratulations on making it as far as you did.

Christine Crawford
Whitewater, WI

Josh said...


you felt like you were there, because you were there, running 100 miles!! As for the hugs from the beautiful women, yes, yes it does happen at every aid station. Ok, maybe that's just in my dreams, but you did see it once! In real life!


it was nice to see you again, too! I had a great time out there all weekend, and all of you at Heavens Gate helped make it even better! Hope to see you again out on the trails sometime soon!

Don: said...

I am really impressed with your report and your ability to get up and continue the adventure. It is hard mentally and physically to continue the journey when your primary goal is no longer in reach. Been there, done that!
Congratulation on the 110, many lessons learned for the next time.

Brett S. said...

Nice run. I too appreciated the "This was the fastest I have ever gone from "Hey, I think I can finish this thing!" to "Oh, Hell, I'm Fucked" comment. Unfortunautly I've been there and it was in a Marathon right before lossing the content of my stomach. Way to gutt it out.

Rob "Buckeye" Powell said...

"sticking to the plan" Words to live by! Great Great Great job. You have balls. Great DNF

Josh said...


Thanks. Yeah, it wasn't easy to keep going after I knew I had already failed, but it makes me feel a lot better know that I kept going, even with no chance of finishing.


Thanks, hey, at least I didn't puke! ;)


Thanks, man. So are you going to be toeing the line with Mike and me next year? I know 100 isn't your distance, so it's gotta be 150! :)