Thursday, May 1, 2008

McNaughton Park 100 Mile Madness

Let me start off by saying...if you want mud and shitty weather, well just invite me to your race. It seems that's the one consistent thing that I can guarantee. McNaughton Park was that. times snow, but it was fun.

Bob M. and I showed up at this race Friday for packet pick up and to watch the 150 milers start. It was humbling to stand there with fresh legs and watch the 150 milers, knowing that when we start our race they will have already been running for eighteen hours.

6am Saturday came around quickly and we were all off and running. There was 60 runners in the 150 miler. 60+ in the 100 miler and 90+ runners in the 50 miler. This is a single track 10 mile looped course with rolling hills and two stream crossings per loop. The rain was light and sporadic during the morning portion of the run, but got progressively heavier though out the day.

Miles 0 to 20 was easy and a lot of fun. I ran with several groups of people, the trail was in reasonably good condition considering the steady rain for the past few days. David Goggins (Navy Seal) and pacer passed me around mile 25. He said he was on 115 and still looking strong. David went on to win the 150 miler with a total time of 33:36.

Miles 30-40 did not come easy for me. The trail was pummeled by hundreds of feet. The mud was ankle deep in places and the rain stopped long enough for it to turn to snow. It was cooled! I remember standing on the side of a hill taking a gel and the ground just gave away. I was gliding down the hill unable to stop. The good news was, I could slide faster than I could run. The bad news was, what goes down must eventually go back up. One section of the course called (Golf Hill) had a rope to assist you up the hill. It was a vertical climb that required use of the rope.

At mile 45, I came up on (Heavens Gate) aid station and of one the volunteers was eating a grilled cheese sandwich, she could see the drewl from my mouth so she offered. Let me just say this, that was the BEST grilled cheese I've ever had in my life! Then she offered cheesy mashed potatoes and bacon. Kids.... I just ran into a buffet. They called it (Heavens Gate) because it sat on an old cemetery. I think they should call it Heavens Buffet and All Night Grill.
At mile 50 I found the difference between a water proof jacket.....and the difference between a water resistant jacket. A water resistant jacket is good for 0-30 miles in the rain and a water proof jacket is what I did not own. My body was soaked from head to toe. The sun was now down and the temperature dropped. The thought of doing 40 more miles in the dark didn't seem possible, and that's when my flashlight went out. Now what? Here I am out in the woods with an eight pound water filled jacket and a broken flashlight. Fortunately I did have a small backup penlight. Without that I'd probably still be out wandering around in the woods someplace in Illinois.
When I got back to the start/finish line I was shaking uncontrollably. I just couldn't get warmed up. I was spent, and without a light I was done.

It was a tough year for McNaughton Park. 13 runners completed the 150 mile race. 11 runners completed the 100 mile race and 69 runners completed the 50 mile race. It's also worth mentioning......Of the 60 people to start the 150 mile race 11 additional runners did complete 100 miles before stopping. Anyone who could endure 100 miles in those conditions has my respect.

Bob M. completed the 100 miler in 29:47 and placed 3rd overall and received the 100 mile buckle and 1st place award for his age group. I ran for 16:58 before dropping and place 19Th overall and 9Th place for my age group and received the 50 mile buckle.