Monday, July 3, 2017

Black Hills 100: Tethering the Beast

Image result for black hills 100

In my world of logic completing a 100 mile run in every state doesn't seem impossible, just highly idealistic. What this goal also means is picking up races and plane tickets to places most people most likely don't think about going. In this case that meant the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota. With this being the 10th undertaking of a 100 miler in my 10th state, I am still shocked that I knew people who lived in the area of the race and who could help out. I had graduated with Tori (then Zody) and ran track with her husband, Morgan Haudenschield. Being seven years since we've last connected I thought that I'd reach out to them. Not too surprising, they were more than emphatic to host and assist in my endeavor in tackling this beastly 100. Amazing. Now the logistics of getting to and from the airport were set, all while be in great company.

The Black Hills 100 was in its 7th annual running of the event. It isn't abnormal for this race to be over 90 degrees during the day. Hence, the finisher rate at this exposed, hot race typically ranges in just over 30% completion. The heat isn't even taking into consideration the rocky and technical terrain of the Centennial Trail that we would be on for the entire duration. This is an out and back race of 50 miles. This excited me as I have never done an out and back before. I was approaching this race from the angle that the first 50 miles would be strictly exploratory and the second half would be all business.The rest of the runners can thank me this year for bringing the Seattle weather with me. Conditions this year brought a high of 66 during the day and a low of 42 during the night. In full disclosure I wasn't too sad when I learned what the conditions were going to be like. Certainly I wasn't prepared to take on a 100 in that type of heat when I've had 0 heat training for the past 9 months. 

What was also unique with this race is that there were several other Orange Mud ambassadors running the race with me. I met Chad Hause who is part of OM's Dirt Unit and his family. Also at the start were Jeff, Sarah (who would be pacing), and Michael. Of course we had a group photo. At the start the nerves weren't necessarily going but with the 10 AM start, I knew that an all nighter was automatically going to happen. Thankfully the race directors had a sense of humor with the mascot of the race and had a goat all prepared and ready for the photo shoot. I was secretly hoping that finishers would get goat milk or meat (not milk in this case as it clearly was a male).

Displaying IMG_20170623_093735_995.jpg

After we all gathered and were ready at the start, the race directors let us go! Off we were! I started running with a group of five or six in the front. The first mile and a half was on pavement and allowed for the field to decide how they were going to run. Naturally I spoke with those in the pack with me. I came to find out that the only one who has run this was my fellow OM ambassador, Jeff. He made the recommendation that the first half is harder than the second half. Most of the climbing is done in the first half and the second half is more downhill. I continued to pick his brain and found out that he was certainly in shape and ready to take on this race. He had qualified for the Boston Marathon just 3 weeks ago by winning a marathon in Nebraska. His goals for this race were very lofty, 20 hours. However, given the conditions of the weather and his experience, I had no questions that he could get there. My goal going into this was of course to compete well, but most importantly, to finish. 

Jeff and I left the other 4 that were with us and made up our own ground. He and I were first and second, respectively.Of course, being mile 5 of the race, I wasn't too concerned with where I was currently at. One thing I've learned and learned well is that most 100 mile races don't start until the second half. It wasn't much later that he had to pull over and use the restroom. At this point I just left him. I didn't realize that I was going to be running solo for the next 95 miles. I came cruising into the first aid station at mile seven and felt really good. I refilled my bottles and quickly left before the rest of the field could get in.

Next step was to Bulldog. I remember it was this section that we cross I-90 and then ran what seemed like infinite pastures. It seemed odd to me that the Centennial Trail is going through pastures and cattle. I guess that is unique to South Dakota. Thankfully I never encountered any full charging bison on the journey. Something tells me this would have ended differently...I soon got to Bulldog and could see how this course was challenging. It was a technical, rocky trail. However the real kicker was the terrain in some sections. It was incredibly rocky and I could see the night section being problematic as I was likely going to be stumbling and tripping on the rocks from exhaustion from the earlier miles.

Image result for black hills 100

After Bulldog it was on to Eagle Creek. It was in this transition that I decided to reapply cortizone cream for chaffing. As stupid and funny as this sounds, I was most nervous about the shorts that I was wearing. Prior to this, I had run 8/9 100's in a single pair of Adidas shorts that were arguably worn out long ago. However, they were perfect for chaffing. This was only the 2nd 100 miler that I was running outside of that pair of shorts. Consequently, I made sure to pack the cream and apply at the first hint of chaffing. The first 100 I ran had such extreme chaffing that I wanted to scream in the shower (not to get too graphic). Up to this point, my morale was pretty good. Mechanically everything felt tremendous. There were 0 issues. I quickly got into the aid station and there were quite a few people there, cheering. I definitely don't think that I'm a smiley runner, so hopefully the audience wasn't too offended when I kept my head down and kept going. It was at this aid station also that I picked up Hammer Gel. This is arguably an early indication of what was going to happen in the later miles. 

The flavor was Apple Cinnamon. It sounds amazing, right? Wrong. I knew traditionally that my stomach and Hammer do not get along. At Oil Creek 2 years ago I had the tropical flavor and dry heaved. This was a similar experience. I opened the delightfully sounding apple cinnamon and the journey down the esophagus was the equivalent of how I envision someone eating raw intestines from Fear Factor. I gagged, but someone kept it down. I guess if I was on Fear Factor I would have made it to the final round with the tarantulas on my face. As far as sugar contents, my body can only handle Gu and Pro Bars. Outside of this I don't have much success. With that said, I continued onward and got to the next aid station. My recollection of Crooked Tree was two older guys who took a huge liking to me (not in a creepy way). As soon as I got in, they were quickly coming to my aid and wanting pictures. I was hugely flattered but also confused why they wanted to be beside a sweating, gross smelling person. However, you can't always stop the paparazzi, so I let them go on. 

After Crooked Tree was arguably the most scenic part of the course. I left and started to climb more technical terrain. I remember more climbing here than any other section. Thankfully my suicidal training runs at Mailbox Peak in Washington have prepared me for any degree of climb. It was here that I looked over and saw the Black Hills in all their splendor. Cliffs for miles and miles. They are termed the Black Hills for the numerous Ponderosa Pines that cover the hillsides (so I read on a historic marker, not from my doctorate degree in Geography). They are exposed and from afar give off a black color. Hence, the name of Black Hills. It's always nice to have these vistas while taking on an endeavor, especially since I was solo. 

I then reached Dalton Aid Station. Again, there were lots of people and it was another mental boost to hear many compliments. They said I looked strong (and for once I felt that way). I quickly left and started towards Nemo. This was not my favorite part. I had to cross ATV trails. I met a few of them on the way. Thankfully they saw me and stopped. They were probably more confused than anything, but I suppose most people are when you talk to them about running 100 miles through the wilderness.

After going through this section I found Nemo! Nemo to my surprise and most likely to others was not a fish. It was a small little town with a couple of aid station workers. I quickly got more bananas and potatoes with salt and headed out. The next section was more gnarly ATV trail as I headed towards Pilot Knob. All I remember about this section was hitting a bajillion rocks, but thankfully never falling.As soon as I came into Pilot, everyone was shocked to see me so early. They quickly catered to my needs and got what I needed.Next step was the halfway point to Silvery City.

I think this session was my favorite. It started very gradual through pasture grass. I remember crossing a couple of cattleguards and seeing a few bikers who were very respectful. They either pitied me or were just ultra gracious and got out of the way. Hopefully it was the latter. I then started to get to the steepest hill of the section. I then transitioned onto the Deerfield trail. There was one steep climb that I distinctly remember. However, I then went down, down, down. This reconnected with the pastures and the next thing I saw was what looked like a lighthouse. It was a fantastic sign. I came into the halfway point in 8:41, far ahead of course record pace. I felt tremendous for being halfway. However, I knew that this was when things would slow down as the second half always does.The best news is that I got here in the daylight and still had quite a bit of sun left. 

I then started towards Pilot Knob again. I was about halfway through this section where I passed Jeremy, who has won this twice and was third once. He looked strong. I then passed Gia (the women's champion). The next events that unfolded weren't great.  By mile 55, I experienced some major stomach issues. I tried eating my strawberry flavored pro bar and my stomach was PISSED. It quickly punished me for making such a sinful decision. That bite came up with the partial quesadilla and banana that I was able to get down just before it. This was all done in front of the eventual men's 3rd place finisher. I'm not sure he wanted to watch that show, but he wasn't going to get an option. He stopped and asked if I was ok. I said I was great and advised he go on. Not good. This basically meant that my entire died of sugar was over. Of all the 100's I've done, this was no doubt the soonest that my stomach had quit on me. Just as a dog returns to its vomit, I thought I'd try to down a couple of more probars. I dry heaved these up too. Yup, this was 100% confirmation that all sugar intake was absolutely out of the picture for the rest of the race.

I remember passing Chad and then I was back at the aid station. Everyone was surprised to see that I was already there. I informed them I had bad stomach issues and went straight for the coke and broth. I downed two cups of broth and was on my way. The energy I derived was fantastic. I felt like superman for three miles and then the bonking came. Because I couldn't supplement the broth calories with sugar, I was strictly dependent on broth calories for 45 miles...considering everything mechanically was working flawlessly, I was very nervous that Jeremy was going to catch up as I literally wouldn't be able to produce any energy from food. I then got back to Nemo and turned the headlamp on. I ate two more cups of broth and was on my way. Again, the same story. I was good for three miles and then bonked terribly the next three. The beast of the Black Hills was tethering me in the most aggressive way, watching me fade step by step as my calories drained and I had nothing to sustain energy levels moving forward. My mind said yes, but my body said no with the caloric deficit.

I again passed more ATV's. At this point it was quite dark. They again stopped for me, but were probably more confused than the first go around. They were probably wondering what this person with a headlamp was doing in the early part of the night. I continued onward and noticed that the temperature was dropping substantially. By the time I got to Dalton Lake, it was an elderly couple manning it by themselves. They said that they were hoping to sleep but heard that I was likely coming in and didn't want to risk missing me. The mindset and willingness to help out from the volunteers will always impress me as long as I do this hobby. They sacrifice sleep to assist those who voluntarily punish themselves. They quickly got me my broth and I picked my OM long sleeve up. I took my broth and similar story, I was fine for the first 3 miles and then the bonking came back. The bad part is the bonking got worst and worst as I got to each aid station. Not surprising, as more miles were beginning to ad up. I sluggishly made my way to Crooked Tree.

The paparazzi never ceased to amazed me at this aid station. Despite being just 2 guys in the middle of the wilderness, they had a way to pick me up. They were taking bets on when I would come in. Unfortunately I disappointed both. One guessed I would arrive 30 minutes earlier than I did and the other was off by 15 minutes. I apologized that I failed them and then we all laughed. By this point it was midnight and I needed far more calories. I ate 3 cups this time and took one to go. It was the next section that was THE WORST. Getting to Eagle Creek was awful. The last half was all bonking and it was all uphill to the next aid station. All I could think of is how close the other racers must be coming. I felt like a hare all day but the wise tortoises were bound to catch me at any point as the tortoise typically wins.

I was drinking like a fish, but I was failing hardcore at eating like a horse. This is the general strategy to effectively get through an ultra (or so I hear). I guess I would make a good fish but a terrible horse. The bonking getting here was horrendous. Every step uphill felt like 75 pound weights on each leg as there was literally 0 energy propelling me upward. I desperately wished the first half was uphill when I had energy and the second half was downhill. I wasn't so lucky. I FINALLY made it to Eagle Creek and lost a ton of time to the course record. At this point I just wanted to sustain and get as close to it as I could.

Next step was Bulldog. This was mostly downhill, which was nice, but that didn't stop the bonking. I got around the bend and the aid station was there with no lights. I was two hours ahead of schedule so the lone worker was taking a nap on the truck bed. She shot straight up and made me broth. I ate 3 more cups and off I went. Next stop was to the first aid station. I remember that this is when the sun started to come up. I got there and she and her daughter got me more broth and encouraged me that it was only 7 more miles to the end. 

The sun coming up was a huge pick me up. It's amazing how sunlight pumps new energy into you despite pulling an all nighter. I remember regularly looking back to make sure I wasn't being chased. I kept the standard pace and was again bonking hardcore for the second half. It didn't matter much to me as I knew that I was so close to the end. I hit the pavement and continued that section for what seemed like forever. However, I could see the stadium with the Sturgis Mascot of a "Scooper" and couldn't be happier to have gotten there. Conveniently for me, they could scoop my energy deprived body off the ground as soon as I got to the end.

It was 5:20 am and the race directors were there to welcome me in. Ryan congratulated me and informed me that I ran the 3rd fastest time on the course in 19:20, just 22 minutes off the course record of 18:58. I later would find out that the 2nd place finisher would be the women's champion, Gia, who ran 22:16. The phantom telling me that I was closely being pursued isn't always a bad thing, it just isn't pleasant to live in a state of fear of being passed, especially late in the race. I won arguably the coolest award ever. It was a local bison head pained by local artists with a story talking about the tatanka (bison).

Displaying 20170625_092829_011.jpg

This was alongside an awesome belt buckle.

Image result for black hills 100 belt buckle

Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome. It was my 3rd best time on a 100 mile course. However, this course was more challenging than the other 2 100's where I ran faster. I need to learn the right sugars to eat during the day and figure out how to handle the stomach issues. If I can figure this out I think that I will perform even far better. 

A major THANK YOU to Morgan and Tori for taking care of all the logistics and providing fantastic company as I explored South Dakota. I'd rank this race as the 4th most difficult 100 I've done. It was an easier version of IMTUF in Idaho, but it had the technical terrain of HURT in some sections which made it challenging. Thank you to the race directors for putting on an amazing event and for having such memorable winner's awards. Lastly, thanks to OM and others that take the time to read this. Hopefully this was entertaining to some degree.


Nick Kopp

Friday, April 14, 2017

Potawatomi 100:The Circles of Life and Death

Image result for potawatomi 100 belt buckle
"I am speechless, I am without speech." These are the words that came out of Elaine Benis's mouth when she was shocked to discover something ridiculous in the sitcom, Seinfeld. These same words came out of my mouth when I discovered the weather that I would have in Pekin, Illinois the first weekend in April. Because I am from the Midwest, I know that typically that time of year consists of rain that would make even a fish drown. However, the reason for the lack of speech was because I was going to have 70 degree weather. Unbelievable! I manage to travel to Utah and Colorado and get buckets and buckets of rain and I come to the Midwest in April and get absolute perfection (and yes, the parents use this to bribe me to come back to Ohio).

Let's just say that I wasn't going to complain. When I planned this trip I had anything but a brain. First off, I decided 2 months before the start of the race that I would go ahead and give it a go. Usually most people like to invest an adequate amount of time for something like this to ensure they are properly trained and ready to go. However, that wasn't me. The reason I decided to take on the Potawatomi 100 is because my good friend, Callie, informed me that she had connections in the town. I ultimately took her up on the offer and registered for the race. I also managed to book a red eye flight from Seattle to Chicago Thursday night, I landed Friday morning at 6 am CT, and then the race started Saturday AM CT. Basically I was running an ultra sleep deprived.

Another friend from Ohio, Kyle, did the 150 mile run out here a few years ago and warned me that it is a tough race for the middle of Illinois. He was right. The course gains 1600 feet of elevation per loop. Each loop is 10 miles for a grand total of 100 miles and 16,000 feet of climbing. Comparatively, this one is probably ranked in the middle as far as difficulty to others that I ran. It certainly was no Ouray or HURT. I'd classify it more along the lines of Mohican and Pinhoti.

Training leading up to Potawatomi was anything but vigorous, minus one specific workout up Mailbox Peak. I ran about an hour everyday after work and then did a 3-6 hour run on Saturdays. As with most 100's that I have run, I didn't feel that I was adequately ready for this. It was probably my workout two weeks before Potawatomi that saved the race for me. I went up and down the Old Trail at Mailbox Peak. Each time up and down is 4,000 feet of climbing and 4,000 feet of descent in a 5 mile distance. This times 4=a very, very sore Nick. Of course I was well rested by the time this race came around.

The night before the race we made it to the race location at 7 PM. I got to meet one of the race Directors, Rich. We got there and perhaps it was the sleep deprivation (I'm definitely blaming it on this), I asked where/who I should make the cash donation to. The lady serving the food said the guy in the orange shirt. Although he was sitting right beside me I walked over to the guy in the green shirt. I could hear muttering and when I passed the money to the guy in the green shirt I came back and David, Callie, and Rich were all wondering what I was doing. It suddenly struck me what he had said...they then started joking and said what I was on. Thankfully my Kopp out was that I had taken a redeye from Seattle. At that point the Race Director was elated. I come to find out that his son is moving out next month to a suburb of Seattle. From that point on I was known as "The Seattle Man." After eating dinner we made it to the host family's house. They welcomed us with otherworldly hospitality and kindess-thanks Seth and Angie!

Fast forward to 6 AM the Saturday of the race. I was huddled around my crew, Callie and David, and we were discussing my strategy and plan for the day. I knew that I was aiming for 20 hours on the trail. This means that I would have to complete each loop in 2 hours or less. Although I'm not a huge fan of loop courses, especially going around 10 times, I must confess that this made the drop bag incredibly easy as well as figuring out where I was at time wise. This of course comes with a double-edged sword. Because I always knew where I was at and how long it took, I easily could have gotten psyched out easily. Thankfully this rationale didn't fully apply to me this day.

Displaying 44100.jpegCallie and David were planning to crew me throughout the day and provide me with the support that I likely needed after going around the loop 10 times. Once the race was about to start I went to the bathroom one final time and then we were off. My one qualm I suppose was that the 100 mile runners were starting with the 50 mile racers. We didn't have separate bibs so it was difficult to tell who I would be racing against. Unlike most races that I've run I found myself at the front of the start. Most of all races that I've done most people are so eager to get out to the front and take the lead. This wasn't the case here. It was like everyone was afraid to do that. I started about 15 feet from the start of the line but by default I was at the front. It was like I was a lion and everyone was cowarding behind me! Although a bit unorthodox for most races I've done and a bit out of character for how I usually race, I decided to go ahead and take the lead. One reason I didn't really want to do this is I wanted to get an idea of how a loop felt and not find myself getting carried away trying to race the 50 milers.

Once we were off I started talking to two guys named Dean and David. They both had run this before. They were registered for the 50 miler. They told me that their best times were around 9 hours for a 50. In full disclosure, they seemed like good people to follow. I knew that they had to get to a concert by 6 pm in a town 1.5 hours away so following them for a while seemed like an intelligent move. As we started to move along the first mile I found was very flat. I heard that miles 2-4 are when the climbing begin. This was most definitely true. By mile 4 David was sweating rather profusely. The thing with this trail is that it is either all flat or you're going to be going straight up.

Image result for mcnaughton park streamsWe came to the first river crossing. I knew that I would have to cross a couple of streams for this race, I just thought that I'd be able to get through without getting wet. The first one, there was no way that was possible. I kind of looked at it. I felt like a rich person who left their high maintenance lifestyle and had to stay in a shack. Very quickly someone from behind just ran through it. Hopefully Laz doesn't find out that I don't want to get wet (he's the Director of the infamous Barkley Marathons). I suppose that I had to follow suit as well. I ran through and my entire lower body was saturated below my knees. Right away I knew that this was going to be potentially a long day. As we continued onward, I found myself leaving both Dean and David. I got to the next aid station and took the wrong route. At this aid station you're supposed to make a right hand turn, run a 1.5 mile loop and get back to the aid station and then go left at the fork. I went left right away.

I continued onward and got to the second stream. This one too was unavoidable. Right when my feet were getting somewhat dry, I had to emerge them in the water again. Thankfully this one wasn't as bad as the first one. I continued onward and got to the start line. Rich was shocked to see me there, and so was I. I got there in 1:24. I knew that something was wrong. Although running 10 miles in that timeframe is doable for me, I was nervous that I messed something up. I was moving WAY too fast that early on. I knew that I had taken a wrong turn somewhere. Rich clarified that I was running the 100 and not the 50. I gave him the  validation and started lap 2.

Then came lap two. I was still feeling pretty good. Prior to this race I was battling some painful sciatica about 3 weeks before. I was noticing that my my hamstring was twitching a bit. Probably not a good thing for only being 15ish miles into the race. I did the river crossing again and did the mandatory baptizing. Onward I went. I could definitely tell that after this second river is when most of the climbing was. I kept on and Callie and David surprised me with a visit at a random parking lot. They both were smiling emphatically which put me in a better mood right away. I continued past them and got to the aid station. To my fear, I was right. I had missed the loop. I went back and reported to the aid station workers what had happened. I asked if I could do two loops on this. They said that that should be fine. I quickly did the two loops and got back to the start. I quickly confessed my mistake to the Rich and he said that I was about the 5th person to do that. He said that as long as I made it up, I should be good to go. Cheating in running is the last thing that I will tolerate.

Lap 3 I continued onward. It was at this point that I was getting a bit familiar with the trail. This would be my first "real loop"with all of the proper turns. Although the course was well marked, I just didn't pay attention as I should have. However, this loop everything was done right. Usually by mile 30 I have a low, this didn't really happen. I got back to the start and Rich was super elated to see me again. "What are you doing here? Get outta here!" I followed the general's orders. I continued onward. Laps 4 and 5 were basically the same-nothing too major happened. It was towards the end of 5 that gave me a good chuckle. There was one 50 miler ahead of me who kept looking back. He then took off and when I got to the end of lap 5 he was on the ground, collapsed. He had won the 50 in 8:12. I came in the loop around 8:16, a very solid first 50 miles. I grabbed my water and took off. It was at mile 55 that I picked David up.

Displaying IMG_20170411_161554_258.jpg

He thankfully ran with me for 15 miles and we made small conversation. He had nice, white shoes on. Hopefully he wasn't too sad when we got to the river crossings and he had to get them wet...Regardless, he was a good trooper and powered through the water as well. At this point, I felt like a Nascar Driver. I think I passed more 100, 150, and 200 mile runners than I ever have. I guess there has to be some form of entertainment when you're going in circles. There were even a couple of crashes on the course too that I got to witness (myself included). One guy slipped on the rock and ate the mud shortly after the river crossing. Although I probably should have been a bit  more sympathetic, I laughed and asked if he was ok. I ate it shortly thereafter.

Loops 6-8 were the worst. Although I always had food in my hands I didn't always eat it...I wasn't bonking terribly but I was certainly slowing down. My diet of Gu and ProBars was no longer going to work. I needed to supplement it with something else. I must say that the cantaloupe did the trick! Potato Chips were also a regular part of the diet all throughout the day. When I finished lap 7 or 8, I was told that I was right on pace with Karl Meltzer's course record (he currently holds the Appalachian Trail Course record from Georgia to Maine). I was flabbergasted. I had no idea that I was moving that well. Sub 20 was definitely going to happen.

Displaying 44101.jpegLoop 9 I had a huge second wind. It was at this point that I felt like I was flying. I had some broth and this certainly picked the pace up! I think I'm learning that real food later in the race is key for me. Sugar no longer works well, especially as my stomach is not able to settle that level of artificial sugars. Broth on the other hand is high in calories and a liquid that tends to go down very easily (when it isn't burning your mouth). I then came into loop 10 and the race director was equally emphatic as before. He encouraged me to take off again. Although I was likely no longer in contention with the course record, I still had high hopes of finishing sub 18 hours. Other than Meltzers 17:40, there were only 3 other people who have gotten sub 20 at this event in the 12 years of its existence. I was determined to break 18. With a little mental push and fortitude, I powered on. The first aid station workers were so happy. "Seattle Man! You're flying out here!" I wasn't going to argue too much. I knew that I was having a good day with very little going wrong. I quickly left. I was following this lady and her pacer. I noticed that her back was super red-likely from all of the sun. "You're fried!" I yelled at her. She then responded, "yeah, I like fries." I started to laugh uncontrollably. Here we were at 11:10 at night running circles like rats in a maze testing drugs. Everything suddenly became more hilarious. I told  her what I actually said and all 3 of us started dying laughing.

From here, I got to the last aid station, did the final right hand loop and then powered to the end. I just started complementing all of the other runners on random things. I passed another female couple. One of them was wearing a too too. I told her I was digging it and that I should have told her that all day. Nothing like hitting on someone at 11:45 at night in the middle of the woods. I'm pretty sure they both looked at each other like I was some schmuck. Or, they wanted to caress my sweat infested, mud dunked body.

Other than feeling like a rat in a maze and Nascar driver, I think I can sum up the course in the following format:
Loops 1-3: I became acquainted and familiar with the course
Loops 4-8: I became intimate with the course, knowing every rock, root, stream, and muddy spot
Loops 9-10: The course and I were one and the same creature

I finally came to the final hill and made my way to the finish in 17:56, just 16 minutes shy of the course record and 2nd fastest time overall. Callie and David were emphatic but I thought that Rich was going to collapse with excitement. I think he was more emphatic than all 3 of us combined. He quickly congratulated and shook my hand about 10 times in a 3 minute time frame. He motioned that we go over for a picture. He explained that he was impressed with my endeavor of trying to run a 100 in every US State. I was happy to have finished my 9th 100 and still no DNF's. The best part is it come with a very convincing victory. I believe second finished around 25 or 26 hours. Although not a competitive race, the time would have done well in most competitions, so I was very pleased with the results.

Displaying 44093.jpeg
Huge thanks to both Callie and David for assisting with the logistics, Seth and Angie for giving us all a place to sleep, and of course Orange Mud for a product that allowed me to press on throughout the entire day with minimal gear issues.

Thanks to all who have read this. Hopefully this proved to be amusing to some degree.