Who knew running 100 miles could be so much fun? Who knew running 100 miles could be sooo hard? Who had the best~est running buddy in the whole wide world watching and waiting and cheering for me back at his house? #IRun4Aiden
A year ago I ran the Pistol 100, successfully completing the 100k. I had originally registered for the 100M for last year but you know how life throws a monkey wrench into our plans and you have to roll with it? That’s what happened last year. Have to admit to be thrilled to complete that 100k!!! It was my first 100k race ever so I was a happy runner. That being said, I had my eyes set on that buckle. I mean, I REALLY wanted to earn that buckle. Last May (2019) I registered for the 100M as soon as registration opened. Basically, my entire last year of training has been focused on this race.
As race day approached I was feeling strong. I was well rested. My body wanted to run those miles! Sure, I had some worries because that’s what I do! I’ll share a little about my training here and why I was concerned.
Y’all know MFH and I moved from Mississippi last July to NE Iowa. Until this past winter, I’d never, ever run in snow. Needless to say, I’ve run in snow a LOT now! In Mississippi, we lived on the prairie. It was an incredibly flat place to live. For hill work, I drove 25 minutes to get to a hill to run repeats. Aside from those days, there just wasn’t anything remotely hillish around.
Our new town has been compared to San Francisco. Everything is a hill here! This has been a good thing. I’m a stronger runner because of all the hills. What is it they say? Hills are speed work in disguise! If you believe that, I’ve done bunches of speed work!!!
My training leading up to Tunnel Hill 50M this past November was spot on perfect. Tunnel Hill was kind of a long training run for Pistol 100M. It was a blast and I was happy to come away from that race with a nice PR (Personal Record). After a little recovery time from TH, it was the holiday’s then it started snowing like there was no tomorrow! My regular training route was no longer available due to snowmobiles. I had to find a new place for my long runs.
Finally I settled on the NE Arterial here in town. It’s a little shy of 5 miles each way. The 9 mile out and back has about 1000′ elevation gain. VERY hilly for this flat lander but I went out there week after week and ran.
I got stronger on those goofy hills! YAY, right? That wasn’t the wrinkle that popped up in my training~it was the ice.
My B2B long runs are on Wednesday and Thursday (so MFH ~ My Favorite Husband) and I can have a life on weekends. Every Wednesday evening it would snow so the Arterial was ice covered come Thursday morning’s run. I’d have to make the run shorter or run another route which was mostly 100% concrete. LOTS of concrete around here! The thought of running 20 miles on concrete and getting injured wasn’t much fun? Anyway, I only hit 2 of all my assigned B2B long runs leading up to Pistol 100M.
Then COVID19 showed up.
I have to give the people at Pistol a huge shout out for trying everything within their power to keep this race alive!!! It wasn’t until the Governor of Tennessee said, Nope, that they were forced to cancel the race.
I was a sad panda but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a race, right? But then Pistol did an amazing thing! They offered the virtual option!!!
One of the great things about the “regular” Pistol is the amazing support, incredible aid stations, people cheering everywhere you turn…it’s one of the best ultras I’ve run! Running it self supported meant, all that stuff wouldn’t be available. I’d need to provide all my own food/drink. No cheering. MFH agreed to crew for me and I was so very blessed that my friend, Kate, agreed to come pace me! This is us at mile 80, right after my meltdown.
I’ve never been a fan of chilly weather. The temps were dropping and I. Was. Cold. I’d been training in the teens and below zero temps all winter and I was just D.O.N.E. with being cold. Poor, sweet MFH was the recipient of my little temper-tantrum about being cold and Iowa and it’s cold weather totally sucks and where’s the toast warm Mississippi weather when you need it!?! It was pretty funny, really!!! I do think he was happy to hand me over to Kate when we finished that loop. Hahaha!!!
I guess now I should just tell you about the race and quit with all the background stuff!
MFH and I had decided to run the virtual on the original course. I knew the course well having run the 100k the year before and was comfortable with it. The night before we were to start we got a whole bunch of rain. I mean, we thought we might have to build an Ark, whole bunch of rain!
Saturday morning we packed up the van, got dressed and headed over to where we would be starting when I got a text from the Race Director (RD), Will. He was, You comfortable with the alternate route if it flooded?
Um…I didn’t know there WAS an alternate route?
Bless that sweet man for meeting us at the start, trying to explain the alternate route to Kate and myself at 5:00am. We tried really hard to understand, really! The thing that resonated with me was, The course is under 3′ water. That would up to your waist! Oh, Hello!!! That’s too deep for this non-swimmer!!!
We started off in high hopes of not getting lost and smashing that first 10 miles.
Who wants to venture a guess how many times we got lost? To be honest, I lost count! We ended up having to call Will (RD) way to many times but he was a good sport and we wrapped up that first loop close to 30 minutes behind where I wanted to be. Oh well, right?
Next loop was me solo. I was absolutely terrified of getting lost but I actually got back in good time!
I get all confused as to who paced what loops? I know I did one more solo loop closer to dusk. There were a number of homeless out on a certain part of the course. Just one guy gave me the heebie jeebies so I asked MFH and Kate if they would keep me company. Call me funny that way!
There were a couple fun tunnels! I love tunnels!!!
The course was incredibly well lit. You rarely needed a headlamp. That’s one of the things I love about the Pistol course!
To those of you who have been wondering about my eyes, I want you to notice the surface of this course. It is asphalt with maybe a few miles of concrete tossed in each 10 mile loop. I chose this course for it being well lit AND for the course surface. IF my eyes decided to poop out on me, I didn’t want to have to worry about roots and rocks to trip over. I also had a pacer to act as my seeing eye person to get me around this course as easily as possible.
My eyes behaved the entire race! YAY!!!
Finally the night passed and theoretically the temps were rising? Kate tried to tell me it was warming up but I had gotten seriously chilled during the night and never did warm up the rest of the race. Still, it sure was nice to see sunlight again!
I would say the first 100k I ran very strong and I’m pleased with how it went. The lack of successful B2B long runs over the winter took their toll around mile 70 and I ended up having to walk most of those last miles. But you know what? We Did It!!!
The last few miles were sooo hard! I’d been crying the last 10k and I never, EVER cry!!! Kate messaged MFH with, We need sugar!
MFH knows me so well and showed up quickly with the cutest little cupcakes with LOTS of frosting. Y’all, if your cupcake isn’t completely smothered in frosting, is it really a cupcake?
The little sugar “Ooomph!” was exactly what I needed. I quit crying and focused on grinding out those last 3 miles. I was on a mission and y’all had just better get the heck out of my way because we were almost done!!! Woo~Hoo!!!
This video is from when MFH was waiting for me at mile 97 with my cupcake. I love this man so much!!! #blessed
After a little bit, I heard a car driving by and the glorious sound of cowbells ringing out the window!
Finally, FINALLY, my COROS said, 100! YAY!!! It was done. I was so relieved!!! So many people said I couldn’t do it. So many people were betting I wouldn’t do it, yet here we were at 100 miles!!! MFH even got the awesome pic of me shutting off my watch. How funny is that!?!
Will had a buckle for Aiden! Y’all, because this was a virtual, NOBODY got a buckle or any race swag. Aiden is the only guy who gets a buckle this year. It’s an honorary award for him because he’s totally awesome!!! YAY, Aiden!!!
What I DID get for completing the 100M was a virtual hug from Will…which was hilarious and totally perfect!
Now the funny story about these two pics? I was completely out of gas. Completely! I knew we’d take some pics and I didn’t want those darned trekking poles in the pics so I dropped them on the ground. What I hadn’t taken into account was just how far gone I was? I dropped the poles and kinda started following them to the ground! TIMBER!!! YAY for MFH and Will catching me because there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. Too funny!!!
Today Aiden’s buckle is in the mail to his house! He should have it maybe Saturday but probably Monday. I’ve never been so excited to mail off a package to him in my life!!!
Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was a blast! Yes, it was amazing!!! I couldn’t have done this without the love/support from MFH during all these months of training and throughout the duration of the race! I couldn’t have done this without my pacer extraordinaire, Kate!!! She saved this race more times than I can count! Thank you again, Kate!
So, what did I use to get myself through the miles?
Tailwind Nutrition #ColoradoCola *and that cupcake*
Topo Athletic #Phantom. I had an extra pair of the Phantom and a pair of the #Zephyr so I could change out if needed? I never needed a shoe change!
XOSKIN clothing. I was dressed 100% in XOSKIN from my tights to my #xotoes socks. Everything was XOSKIN. It performed well and not a spot of chafing!
And just for your viewing pleasure, MFH was having fun videoing me in various levels of creakiness on the drive home.
It’s an honor and a privilege to say