Sometimes you go for it hard and succeed. Other times you fall flat. Every now and then you land somewhere in the middle. That pretty much sums up my Potawatomi 100 race.
I went into this race in really good shape. I’d trained hard through the rough winter (feel free to check my last post for more details on that). I was as ready as I could have been. I went out at a comfortable pace but was not just taking it easy. I ran the flats and down hills and power hiked the climbs. This was my mode for the entire race. Take what the course gave me and execute in those areas. Everything was going to plan. I was getting food in early and often and was pushing the fluids. Unfortunately my stomach had been a little grumbly the entire day before and through the night. I made some not so great food choices due to travel and while I can’t lay all the blame here, I know better and should have brought my own food to cook/eat for the day.
I was feeling really rough and felt like my food was not going anywhere. I just kept feeling fuller and fuller. My energy was really down and I even laid down on the ground at one point. Eventually the stomach revolted around mile 57 and I unloaded everything. This actually helped a lot. I was feeling better and running again. I let things settle down and worked to consume but I was walking a tight rope with it. Luckily I had my great crew of Tommy and John out there who were keeping me motivated and moving despite feeling really rough for the back 1/3 of this one. Most things were making me nauseous so I stuck to a diet of soup and soda. All of this held up well until 80 miles where I unloaded again around mile 80.
I didn’t eat again for the rest of the race. A little over 16 hours in and I couldn’t stomach any more calories. Everything that went in immediately made me sick so I decided that I was done with food. My legs were shot and my energy was really low but if I could avoid slowing down from being sick then I could just keep moving and get this thing done a little faster. I felt empty but we all have enough fat in our bodies that we can keep moving especially when we are not anaerobic so I just kept that in mind and kept pressing. Run (or attempt what appeared to be) the flats and down hills and hike the up hills just like I started this thing.
I wanted to win the thing but that was out the door. My goal time was gone, and I just felt like a pile of garbage. I wanted to drop from this thing more than once. However I had people helping and believing in me to knock this thing out. Plus I trained a whole bunch for this moment. As Tommy says “these things don’t start until 60.” I wasn’t going to let a less than perfect day (which is about what I would have needed to hit my goal time) keep me from finishing.
I crossed the finish line 2nd in a time of 21:25 (Brandt Ketterer took first in a great time of 19:45). A new 100 mile PR on a much harder course then my previous PR time. That was also over 4 hours faster than I ran this race 5 years ago. It also appears to be the 6th fastest 100 run in the race’s 12(?) years. I’ll take it. A less than ideal performance turned out to be a very solid day that I can look back at and see tremendous growth. Through all the adversity, I ran a good race with a strong first 50 and really had to dig deep to keep driving when the wheels came off. It is not very often that a person really lays it all out there to attempt something not fully knowing the outcome . I personally can say this is the first time I have done so. It didn’t go exactly to plan, but the outcome was still extremely positive. I learned some things about myself. I made some mistakes. I know more what my training needs to look like to get to where I want to get to. I wouldn’t know that if I just went out there and played it safe.