Monday, June 18, 2012

Pigtails Challenge 2012

Lake Youngs Trail, Renton, WA 
May 24-27, 2012
I had wanted to run 200 miles ever since I completed 150 miles a few years ago at McNaughton in Illinois. The race director moved to Vermont and offered a 200 mile race. I wanted to run it but couldn’t get myself to travel across the country for it. So I decided to create one of my own on the 9.4 mile loop around the Lake Youngs Watershed only 5 minutes from my house. I had several other runners interested in the 200. The first one was Bob Satko, who had only run a couple 50Ks before signing up but enthusiastically showed interest in the 200. He did run 100 miles at the Pac Rim 24hr 2 months before the 200. 
Bob and pacer Patti Krebsbach

Another was George Orozco, who had yet to finish his first 100 mile before signing up, but ran strong at Badger Mountain Challenge at the end of March. Before he started running, George topped out at 340 pounds. And if you think running is all that he does, think again. Geroge is married and has three kids. He works two jobs. I started running with him on Squak Mountain, and since then, my hill climbing has improved.
George flying after a good night's rest

Others included Jason "Ras" Vaughn, Tracey Nguyen, and Pat Ackley. Tony Covarrubias, who knew the Lake Youngs trail well when he lived in Washington, opted to come back and run my 200 mile instead of returning to Vermont for his second attempt to finish the 500 mile there. He was able to complete over 300 miles in 2011. He now lives in Alaska with his equally talented wife Shawn McTaggert, who earlier in the year finished her second 350 mile Iditarod foot race.
Pat with the bib number and Tracey (DNS-injured) 2nd from left

Tony Covarrubias from Alaska

Jason Vaughn aka Ras Jahson Ites Tafari sporting the race hoody

To my surprise, and even more so my husband, the parks department granted me permission to allow running through the night. I immediately set about creating a website and gathering event information to entice others to join. I included a 150 mile and 100 mile option for those not yet ready for the 200 but it was clear on the website that the 100 was for the wimps. The race slowly but surely started filling up. I put a cap of 75 total runners and the race sold out 2 months before the event weekend. I chose to start it before Memorial Day Weekend to allow everyone an extra day to recover before returning to work. I got approval in September 2011 and spent the next 8 months organizing my first super long distance race. I have put on shorter races for years but I wanted this first event to be special and put my heart into it. After I set up the website, I started designing the finisher’s buckle. I have a bit of a pig fetish and collect many things pig. I knew I had to have pigs on the belt buckle and decided that they would replace the zeros. As soon as I posted the picture of the buckle on the website, people were already talking about signing up just to get that buckle! The 150 however, only got one pig and the 100 got 2. This saddened the 150 milers but I'm sure the accomplishment made up for it.

Next, I created a Facebook page and it was fun seeing people’s posts. I took pictures of the trail so that no one would be surprised that the trail wraps around the watershed and that you would be running next to a chain linked fence the entire time. But it is still beautiful in many places. Eric Sach, the owner of the Balanced Athlete, helped me order the CRAFT hoodies that every entrant was going to receive.  I had them embroidered at a business near my home, and they did a great job! They were a big hit. Eric also helped me order the gels, Shot Bloks, and salt pills.

Eric paced several runners all weekend

Next, I worked on the buttons that I was planning on handing out to all the finishers. The 200 milers got a button with, “Nuff said,” the 150 with, “The middle child,” and the 100 with, “I only did the half.” They got this in addition to their buckle. When the buttons were finished, I started creating the large results boards, which were instrumental in keeping everyone abreast of the runner’s progress as volunteers, pacers, crew, etc took pictures of the lap splits and posted them on Facebook. It really made the event feel bigger!

The 150 and 100 had their own boards
I spent hours shopping at Costco, Safeway, and Fred Meyer buying food and supplies for the race and trying to figure out what runners would want. Generally, I am very self sufficient and need little from the aid stations but for a 200 mile event, I wanted as much available as possible for everyone.  My basement started filling up with boxes and boxes of supplies. I had met with one of the pastors at the church across the street to ask if we could use their parking lot for overflow. They also gave us permission to set up tents there over the weekend. I ordered different color bibs for each race distance so that the person keeping lap splits would be able to identify them easily.
I tried to work with King County Roads to have a short out and back section for each loop to make it an even 10  miles, but they required a certified course monitor at all times since there is not a shoulder to run on. Impossible! So the 200 milers had to settle with running 21 loops with a short out and back and the 150 milers 16 loops.  The 100 milers an out and back and then 10 loops. The course was certified by Tony Sebolt and Tony Phillippi. TP also helped me get the race banner, and apparently people liked that so much that runners were taking photos underneath it all weekend. My husband did a great job getting it set up.
Jonathan Bernard, Ken my husband, and Tony Phillippi
I ordered water bottles and reusable shopping bags with the race logo on it. Scott McCoubrey with SCOTT products sent me workout towels, SCOTT koozies (keeps drinks cold or hot), shirts, hoodies, and six vouchers for a free pair of SCOTT shoes for the winners of each distance. I had a race packet stuffing party a few weeks before the race. I had laid everything out in piles and had labeled the bib numbers with racer’s names and jacket size so that it would be easier to stuff the bags. I even had pins already attached to the bibs. Am I OCD or what? My two co-race directors Gwen Scott and Jess Mullen came. Also, Mary Hanna and her daughter Jenny were there along with my husband. We worked assembly type fashion and got all the race packets done lickety split! Jess was my volunteer coordinator and was instrumental in filling all the volunteer shifts over the weekend. We had an amazing crew of volunteers and runners raved about them all weekend! My website lists their names.
My amazing co-RDs!

The 2 weeks leading up to the race were busier than I had wanted. Working full time and taking call added to the stress. I had everything organized for the event but there are some things you can only do immediately beforehand. I still needed to pick up tables and canopies that I was borrowing from friends (thanks Matt Hagen, Scott Krell, Jerry Thayer, and Eric Sach), purchase perishable foods at the last minute, and boil potatoes. The weekend before, I mowed the lawn, cleaned the house, and did all the laundry knowing that I would be wiped out from running and directing the race. I carried all the boxes up from my basement to the main floor to save my legs closer to race day. Finally, two days before the race, my husband and I picked up the U-Haul truck and had our large propane tanks filled to attach to heaters to keep volunteers warm at night. We loaded all the supplies into the rental U-Haul truck, which took an entire day. I had to fill numerous water jugs and load them as well. The day before, I had to meet one last time with the Park Ranger and Fire department to go over a safety plan. Needless to say, I did not feel rested going into my 200 mile run. My race year had gone well. I had PR’d nearly all my races and my mileage was solid. The only mistake I made was wearing lighter minimal shoes (they felt great on my feet and allowed me to run faster) for those races and training runs. The decreased support resulted in my plantar fasciitis returning and bothering me before the 200.
Fortunately, I slept fairly decently before I had to wake up at 3:30am Thursday morning, May 24. It was slightly drizzling, but for the most part, the weather for the weekend was perfect. It stopped raining, then we had a very short burst that was not drenching, and then we had a thunderstorm roll through Friday afternoon, but that was also short. No one got soaking wet. Saturday got a little warm into the upper 70s.

After my husband and I arrived at the race start, we started unloading and setting up. Gwen had already arrived along with several volunteers. Jerry Thayer had set up his canopies and tables. I tried to do as little as I could with the set up to save myself for the 200, but that was hard since I was the one who loaded the truck and knew where everything was. Fortunately, there were a lot of helpers and we got most things set up except for the food. All the 200 milers checked in. I had a total of 19 sign up. Bill Davenport had to pull out. Colleen Voeks and Tracey Nguyen had injuries that prevented them from adequately training for the 200. Tetsuro Ogata from Japan had to work. That left us with 15 starters for the 200. Wildman Willet arrived late, stating he drove around for hours trying to find the trailhead. He eventually got started after we all had completed our out and back.

Jerry Thayer with his dog on another trail. Jerry is always very helpful at my races with supplies. 
The 200 milers started at 6am. Well, a little after 6. I wanted to record my 200 miles on my Suunto pod, but when I tried to turn it on, it didn’t work. I thought I had put a fresh battery in but it must have been a dead one. I frantically tried to replace it with a new one but I kept dropping it. Finally, I got it to work and it was so cool to have that 200 miles on my watch at the end. (Actually, it recorded 206 because it runs a little long, but not bad for a foot pod. Or maybe I was weaving a lot more than I thought.)

We did a short 1.3 mi out and 1.3 back then started our first full loop of 21 loops.  Slowly, we spread out, but each loop was run in reverse, so you got to see everyone frequently. That was nice. Each loop had 900 feet of elevation gain. The main aid station was at the start/finish and had most of the food. There was an aid station halfway that had some food as well as water. I stocked wrapped candy, gels, bagged chips, and packaged cookies. There was a bottle of Succeed there, Vaseline, Blue Steel anti-chafe, Nuun tablets, and Gatorade. I had a garbage can with a lid with a small opening on top so that animals could not get into it. Next year I am hoping to put a sanican there.  This was all under a canopy in case it rained.
Still smiling in the early miles

The rolling terrain became challenging as the miles passed and soon we were walking all the hills. I had pacers to keep me company for most of the race. I ran the first two loops alone. Then, Kathleen Leonard joined me for three loops. She is planning on running her first 100 at Cascade this year. I think she will do well. I enjoyed her company. Fortunately, I was still in a good mood with it being early in the race. I found after the first loop that I needed my gaiters. I told my husband where they were in my hobby room and he brought it back for me. The stress of organizing the race and working full time affected me more than I expected. My legs felt heavy from the get go. I had stomach problems in the first two loops and had to make two pit stops. That never happens to me. It finally settled down. (Yes that was me, Kim Kuhlmann, who put the nice toilet paper in the bathrooms. I don’t need chafing  down there for 200 miles.) In 100 mile races, I spend very little time at the aid stations. I am so well organized that I can grab what I need and go. But this race, I was finding myself taking 5 minutes or more each lap whether it was to use the bathroom, put on gaiters, or eat plenty to keep going. That is one thing I did fine this race. I ate well. I never bonked. I only once took a gel a half hour late.
Kathleen Leonard pacing me

My plantar fasciitis bothered me very early, like in the second loop. I definitely used up a lot of energy the rest of the race compensating and worrying about it. As a result, other parts of my body started to hurt. My lap splits continued to increase. The runners ahead of me just kept getting further ahead. But likewise, the runners behind me got further behind, so I guess I was slowing appropriately for my pace. One of my co-workers, Renae Foster, came after work on Thursday to run one loop with me. I had completed 50 miles but my pace was slow from my heel pain. I was worried she would get bored. She had run the New York City marathon in 4 hours, so she is a good runner. I know that when I run slower than my pace, it hurts. I could tell that my shuffle was painful for her. But she was thrilled to be a part of my race. She hears all about my adventures at work and it was fun for her to finally see me in action. After Kathleen finished her three loops with me, Renae joined me. We had a good time. Gwen wanted to run a loop with me, but she had to get home. Jess was supposed to take over at 8PM. Ken manned the fort until Jess got there.

 Running with co-worker Renae Foster

I was concerned about running by myself on the trail before Jerry Thayer was supposed to run with me at night, starting at 9pm. When I came back with Renae, I asked if anyone wanted to run with me. Danny Kulhmann was volunteering, but there was plenty of help, so I asked him if he wanted to run. He did not hesitate.  I can say this now and not get him in trouble. He was supposed to save himself for crewing and pacing his dad and sister for the 100. But that was over a day away. I was not going to wear him out too much. Danny was great. Just the right amount of conversation. And he ran my pace well. We had such a good time so I asked him to run another with me. It got dark as we were finishing our second loop together but Danny forgot his light. He was able to feel his way. And he went on to do a great job crewing his dad and sister to their 100 mile finishes, both their first and Kim with the women’s win.

Danny, thrilled to pace me!
Jerry took over the next lap. By now, my conversation started to fade. Jerry was good in running quietly next to me. It was nice just to have someone there. He had his dog along, who had fun running in the dark. We did encounter an angry resident. It was after 10pm. He was standing out on his back porch and yelled as we ran by, “What are you doing out there? Get off the trail!” We told him that we had a permit for the event. He mumbled, “Holyshit!” I’m glad Jerry was there. It would have been scary on my own.
My next pacer was Joe Hafner. By now, I wasn’t talking at all, but Joe had plenty of stories to tell. He did 2 loops with me. By the second loop, I was getting very sleepy. That was when I got a little behind in my eating. It was now Friday morning and the 150 milers were getting started. It was good to have fresh blood the on the trails and some new energy. I felt so slow and pathetic compared to their bouncy strides. I had not yet slept. A couple runners, Bob Satko and George Orozco went home to sleep. Bob said he would not do that again. It was too hard to get going again. George had to seriously focus to get back on the trails, but once he got back, he was smokin’. We already had some DNFs of the 200 milers on the first day. Apparently, Wildman Willet did two loops and decided to pull out a lounge chair and take a nap in the sun. He did wake up hours later and run a few more loops, but unofficially, since Gwen made an executive decision to take him out of the race. Sy Vu was the second runner to stop. He had run 7 loops, or 68.4 miles. Tony Covarrubias had pulled his calf and was struggling with running the hills. He was still able to walk strong and talked about walking the hills and running the flats and downhills the rest of the race, which was nearly another 85 miles. He had called Shawn and she advised against it since they had a whole summer of running planned. He had stopped to rest it after 9 laps and thought was feeling better but he knew he was slowing down. I think he had a talk with Glenn Tachiyama and decided to save himself for another day. He had completed 115.4 miles. It was too bad, I hardly got to talk to him while he was here. He was able to catch an early flight back to see Shawn, so many also missed seeing him. Another runner, Scott Conrad, who wore giant earphones and  sang to himself a lot, decided he was going to stop after 12 loops as well. I think I remember him saying that his ankle was bothering him. He said he had a lot of fun anyway. He’s a purist like me. He returned his jacket since he didn’t earn it. I am the same way, I will not wear clothing or use schwag that I have not earned. Even before the race started, I did not wear my jacket, use my water bottle, or the reusable shopping bag because I didn’t want to jinx myself.

Scott sang his way through 115.4 miles

Garrett Mulrooney, who I didn’t get to talk to at all and didn’t know all that well, dropped after 13 loops or 124.8 miles. I am not sure what was ailing him.

Garrett Mulrooney
I continued to plod along. I had completed 50 miles in 9:36 and 100 miles in 22:08 (good for second female in the 100 mile race). My 150 mile time was about 36:30, over 11 hours faster than my McNaughton time. All these statistics only tell one thing. I was running too fast. No wonder I was tired and hurting. It took me another 16 hours to finish the last 50 miles. But that really was just pure fatigue. Usually, I can go 35 hours without feeling sleepy. This race, it was 20 hours. The stress of organizing the race and training for the 200 finally caught up with me. I was really feeling I was dragging ass. I tried three times to sleep, but my feet would instantly start throbbing as soon as they stopped moving and kept me from sleeping. I just had to keep walking/running. I continued to fuel my body. I ate just about anything. Hot dogs, pizza, watermelon, cookies, soup. That department was fine. I fortunately did not lose my appetite and never had any nausea.
Another girl from work joined me Friday morning after I had run about 120 miles. Stephanie works in our ambulatory surgery center. She is super nice and I really wished I could have gotten to know her personal life better. She had a ton of questions for me, but I asked her politely if we could just run. My conversation energy was still low. I felt bad that she was not having fun, but she reassured me she did. I tried to keep a decent pace but found that aggravated my plantar fasciitis.
It was nice to see the other runners with various pacers. Ken Michal had a smile on his face every time I saw him. He was such an inspiration! We developed a new 200 mile greeting. It was when two runners doing the 200 mile would stop and chat. Immediately, both would lean forward and brace their arms on their thighs or knees. This was a much more comfortable position than just standing there and talking.

Ken, never without a smile!

It was amazing to see the amount of support us runners were getting. We were very spoiled. Everything appeared to be running smoothly at the main aid station thanks to Gwen, Jess, and husband Ken. Ken checked the half way aid station and reloaded us as needed. We had volunteers 24/7. I can’t even remember seeing some of them, but thank you so much for being there. Ken went and got pizza Thursday night, and that tasted awesome! I had pre-ordered the pizza, and apparently we had enough for everyone, including the pacers, since we had to throw some if it away. He also got coffee in the morning and evening to help wake runners up in the morning or keep them awake at night. Friday was kind of a blur for me. After I ran with Stephanie, I ran a loop on my own and found that running at my own pace allowed my plantar fasciitis to relax. It was nice to get a break from that pain. I do remember Jess riding Jane Herzog’s bike out on the trail checking in on runners. It was nice to see her. Unfortunately, she did not get a chance to run a loop with me the entire weekend as she had hoped. She did get to run with others.

Jane Herzog, Jess Mullen, and me

Sara Malcom joined me for a loop in the afternoon Friday. It’s always a treat to see her since I only seem to see her at events. I am sad that she will be moving and not have her close by. She was kind enough to bring me fresh spring rolls as I had requested, but I didn’t eat them remembering that the peanut in the sauce would probably give me diarrhea like PNB sandwiches do. Sorry Sara! We took off together but I found immediately again that my effort to not run too slow when I had a pacer aggravated my plantar fasciitis. I kindly asked Sara to go on without me and let me run my own race. She totally understood but joked later that I fired her. Before she left, she asked if there was anything else I wanted at the aid station. She suggested popsicles and I thought that was a fabulous idea since I was getting hot.
On my way in, this loud low rumbling thunder rolled through and scared the bejeebers out of me. I didn’t see any lightning but worried about it. But then I saw Ras coming towards me and was reassured that he was taller than me. There was a brief rainstorm that actually felt good to me. The rain drops literally evaporated as soon as they hit my skin, so I didn’t feel like I got very wet. Plus, I was within two miles from the finish in case I got cold. I saw Matt Hagen running towards me and he offered a poncho but I told him I was fine. I told Ken to call Scott Serpa and tell him that I decided that I couldn’t handle having a pacer then because I needed to just run my own race to let my plantar fascia relax. Scott did get the message but wanted to run anyway and we talked briefly before he continued on.
Running in the rain

So I ran a loop by myself. Gwen wanted to join me for a loop. She carried my spray chalk can to the 3 mile turn around for the 100 milers and I marked the trail. She then carried it the rest of the way. I think it was about then that we encountered that unhappy man’s property again. I waved a friendly hello and told him that this was an all weekend event. He grunted back, “I know, I called and checked!”  Apparently, he continued to harass runners all weekend, but according to reports, he only bothered women. About half way through the loop,  I also fired Gwen like I did Sara when my arch started getting tight again. She had to run ahead and warn Tracy Brown, my night time pacer that I might need some space. It was getting dark now. I started out with Tracy but told her to run ahead of me when me foot started hurting again. She kept looking back every time a car drove by to make sure I was okay. During that short period with her up ahead, I figured out how to run without hurting my foot. Then I allowed her to run again with me. And then, my foot just started to relax. The pain pretty much went away, but now I was really dealing with severe fatigue as we ran into the second night without any sleep since Thursday morning. Just when I was starting to feel good again, I could barely stay awake. At one point, she had to hold onto me so that I would not drift off the trail. I tried everything including Coke, Starbuck’s Double Shot Espresso, Red Bull, and coffee. Nothing worked. I told her I needed to just sit down for a little. We got to the half way aid station but the ground was wet. So I smashed one of the plastic water jugs and sat on that and used the garbage can lid to lean against the fence. I couldn’t sleep. I just rested my eyes. I thought doing that would be a change of pace and I would wake up, but I didn’t. It was during one of these second night loops that I saw Tim Stroh completing his last loop. I congratulated him but he was barely able to stay awake himself. I was so proud of his performance. He finished in 43:35. I was just finishing my 18th loop. Incredible!

Tim Stroh with the 200 mile look

I started having florid hallucinations, even when it started getting light. I was seeing figures in the branches and trees. I thought I saw a profile of Richard Nixon. I was seeing gloves on the trail everywhere. At one point, I think I actually was sleep walking because I felt I lost a few seconds somewhere.
Tracy Brown (on the right), running here at the Redmond Watershed, got me through the night and to the finish
I finished my 19th loop by 47:18 and arrived at the start/finish where the 100 milers were milling around getting ready to start. I had told Tracy that I just wanted to rest my eyes for about 10 minutes in Gwen’s car before getting going again since I was sooo very tired. Everyone saw me come in and most of them just stared at me like I was an endangered species. I think they were scared to even talk to me. I tried to rest but was having fun just people watching. Finally, I emerged from the car and people were congratulating me for having made it that far. As I left to start my 20th loop, people were cheering. I started to run again and Gwen, who had seen me leave the start walking for the last 40 hours said, “Show off!” That’s when I decided to kick my heels together. I heard this collective wow from the crowd, but I nearly toppled myself over doing that. As soon as I was around the corner, I started walking again. I headed in the counterclockwise direction down the steep hill. I expected to see the 100 milers heading towards me after they had completed their 3 mile out and back. Seeing them infused me with energy and I started to pick up the pace. They must have wondered where I got that energy from. It was great fun saying hi to them all and thanking them for coming to my party. Of course I was running downhill when they saw me, but I really did feel great. I think I had a lot of stored up energy in my legs after gingerly stepping on my plantar fasciitis for hours. I saw Uli Steidl and Danielle Henty, and of course, I picked up my pace then.  I continued to see the 150 milers, but there were fewer of them. Seven had started but now there were only 4 left, Rachel Fouladi, Matt Hagen, Francesca Carmichael, and Ron Horton. I am not sure what the reason was, but Mark Dahlby, Susan Kokesh, and Karen Riddle stopped after 65.4 miles. They looked like they were having fun when I saw them last. During the night, Rachel was accosted by a different man who lived in a house near the trail. She said that he was angry that we caused his dog to bark all night and he was not able to sleep. He told her that if that happened again Friday night, he was going to “get violent.” So we made sure to keep quiet along that part of the trail.

Poor Rachel was accosted by an angry neighbor

Gwen was informed and she drove out to the house and talked to this resident. Ken went along and stayed in the car. Good thing because he probably would not have been so calm. It sounded like the resident was satisfied that we had heard his complaint and that we would do everything we could to make sure runners were quiet in his area. Signs were put up before this section both ways stating this was a quiet zone and if runners were comfortable, to turn their lights off in this section, which was difficult because this is one of the more technical hilly sections.
I finally arrived at the start/finish to begin my last loop. Gwen had called Mary Hanna to let her know about when she should arrive. Tracy had planned on leaving us alone but I told her she was more than welcomed to join us. I’m glad to have shared my last loop with these ladies. I just took my time and enjoyed the company and seeing all the other runners. In fact, it was one of my faster later loops and it seemed to fly by. I stopped frequently and said hi to a bunch of people. It was getting warm now and I was glad to not have to run another day in the heat. The weather had been absolutely perfect the entire weekend. The only thing that bothered me was the cottonwood that was flying everywhere and into everything.  Brian Myers finished not long after I took off on my last loop to take 2nd in 50:25. Way to go!

 Brian, steady all weekend
One final climb up that steep hill and it was a coast to the finish. Mary and Tracy held back but I said they should run in with me. They helped me get there. We let out a WOOT WOOT and came into view of the finish. Gwen was there to hand me my buckle. I got a big hug from her and Jess and of course Ken. I felt a little bit emotional but not as much as I expected. I think I was just too exhausted to feel anything. I finished in 52 hours and 50 minutes (Saturday 10:50am). Just about then, the fire department was doing their daily check. I talked to them a little. I sat down. I visited. A very nice gentleman who I think lived nearby and used the trail came up to me and just had wonderful things to say about my event and the amazing things people were doing. It was great to hear such positive things coming from someone not involved in the race.
Mary Hanna paced me the last loop

I sat for a little but felt better walking around and talking to people. I had passed John Wallace III on my last loop. He was shuffling along. He was on his 15th loop. He decided to stop. Things were hurting and his pace had slowed enough that he didn’t think he could finish the final 6 loops before the cut off. I could tell he was disappointed. He had come so far, 143.6 miles and had to quit.

John Wallace III, thumbs up

I then saw Bob Satko hobble in. He had just completed his 19th loop but was hurting. He had been dealing with big blisters on the ball of his big toes for miles. He looked like he was in severe pain. His family and crew brought him into his tent and started analyzing the situation. That was when I found out that there was a woman at the race who was fixing people’s feet. She was the blister queen at Rocky Raccoon and had come with the Texas contingent. Her name was Becky Spaulding and she ended up helping many runner’s feet. Tears came to Bob’s eyes as she removed the mole skin from one blister to further evaluate the problem. She did not remove the other one since it was sticking well. She applied new dressings to them. Cliff Richards, my brother-in-law and physical therapist, massaged his legs and made sure they were clear of injury. He asked me what else could be done. I suggested some hiking poles to unload his feet and knees. Cliff went and got him some poles and apparently they did wonders along with Becky’s help.
Cliff massaging Bob's legs and Becky Spaulding fixing his feet

Bob gritting through the pain

Just as Bob was leaving to start his 20th loop, Pat Ackley came in at 55:17. Awesome work! I have to say that Bob and Pat had the most amazing support from their crew and pacers. It’s all about teamwork.
Pat running with Bob and being paced by his friend Victor Zamudio (middle) all weekend
I noticed how warm it was getting, and before we left to go home, Ken went and got some buckets, ice, and sponges so that runners who were overheating could cool themselves off.  A bucket was set up at the halfway point as well. Ken finally urged me to go home, shower, and get some rest. Since no other runner was expected to finish soon, I decided to leave. Of course, every time I sat for too long, I stiffened up terribly. I slowly made my way from the car to the house. At some point, I took a shower. I had no blisters or anything wrong with my feet. They just hurt. I had a good shower but I didn’t stay in their forever. I went to bed but could not find a comfortable position. I changed positions every 30 seconds. So I didn’t sleep. Ken could hear me from the living room. He heard me moan, “Why does that hurt?” My right shoulder was killing me, but I didn’t wear a hydration pack and I carry my water bottle with my left hand. Just trying to stay upright for nearly 60 hours had taken it’s toll on my entire body. After squirming for almost two hours, I wanted to head back and see Bob finish. I got dressed and packed extra clothes to plan on spending the evening in cooler temps.
We arrived back to the start/finish, which was bustling with activity. I got to socialize before Bob came in. I got some amazed stares at my feet, which looked fabulous. I had little swelling, no blisters, and all my toenails still there. Many 100 milers came and went and said hi as they continued on their way but were shocked that I was back. They fully expected me to be at home resting. Finally, Bob came running in at 60:25. He looked so relieved to finish. It was a tearful ending with all his family there. I sat with him a little. So proud of him. Unfortunately, he had to visit the hospital at some point in the weekend for a few issues, including one of his blisters getting infected, back spasms, and dehydration. The good news is that 2 weeks after finishing the race, he returned to run the Lake Youngs 28.8mi ultra. He ran 2 more loops to get 54 miles for his 54th birthday. Amazing!

Less than 2 hours later, Brandon Lott, RD for the Badger Mountain 100, finished at 62:02. He had emailed me before the race concerned that he did not have the training he had hoped to run 200 miles. He wondered if he should drop to the 100. I told him to compromise and run the 150. He emailed me back and decided to go for the 200. He was so excited to meet his goal. I knew he could do it! He ran the fastest 2 final loops of any 200 mile runner. Clearly, he could have pushed himself harder!
200? No problem!
Night was falling. Ken was ready to take me home, but I told him I wanted to stay. I sent him home to get some sleep. He looked exhausted. So did Gwen, but she was going to stay until the morning. Jess had arrived that evening to stay until the end. Gwen took a nap in her car, which she set up nicely in the back. I still was not tired. The first male 100 finished a little before midnight with a time of 17:23. Colin Miller came down from BC. That’s bedtime for some people. He was able to run 100 miles in the time that many are awake until they go to bed at night. He ran very consistent loop splits. Great job Colin!

100 mile winner Colin Miller

Matt Hagen finished first for the 150 milers. His wife Betsy had volunteered and then paced him at the end. About a quarter mile from the finish, Matt prepared for his grand finale by stripping off his clothes (except for his briefs, although he did think about it but did not want to get me in trouble). He calculated wrong and ran a little further in his underwear than he wanted. He crossed the line in 43:54 (1:54am Saturday night). Good thing it was night because he might have blinded us with his bare white skin! He had his bib attached to his underwear and reached in to tear off his tag. I yelled, “NO!” He was immediately whisked away in a blanket by Betsy, thankfully. Congratulations on your win Matt! Matt later commented that apparently Tim Stroh did not get the memo that he was not supposed to have a faster time than the 150 mile winner.

Betsy trying to cover Matt up

Next to arrive was George Orozco at 2:40am. He finished his 200 in 68:40. George had gone home twice during the event. How he came back twice, I’ll never know. That takes a lot of willpower. George had amazing pacers as well. Yitka Winn paced him the last 2 loops and got him in. His finish was emotional as well with his family there. Way to go George!

George digging deep

Only 40 minutes later, Ras came in with a time of 69:24. He seemed to get stronger towards the end. His wife Kathy was with him the entire weekend.  It was great to see him in good spirits throughout the race!

 Ras chillin out

About a half hour later, the first 100 woman, Kimberly Kuhlmann, finished at 3:53am in a time of 21:53 in her first 100. She ran a smart race. Congrats!

Kim with her sister Ashley

Our last 200 miler, Ken Michal, finished at 5:21am Sunday morning, in a time of 71 hours, 21 minutes, 39 minutes before the 200 mile cut off. I was so happy to be there to see him finish. He was voted most inspirational runner of the weekend, always smiling and positive. Ken was the only 200 miler not from Washington State. He traveled from San Francisco. But he had a lot of friends here who came out and supported him.

Ken sprinting at the finish-love his shirt!

Rachel Fouladi from BC signed up for the 150 mile but was thrilled to run the longest distance she had ever tackled of 103 miles. She was another runner who was very positive and it was a privilege to meet her.  Francesca Carmichael finished first female in the 150 mile race with a time of 50:23. Ron Horton held on to finish in 51:53.

Francesca, the only 150 mile female
 Ron Horton, completing 150

Since I was awake, I started to help race directing, but Gwen and Jess still were in charge. They had taken turns coming and going so that each would get some rest. My husband filled in the gaps when they were not there.
Race Central. Gwen, co-RD far right. Timing system was simple. I had three watches for each race set inside a plastic container so that the stop buttons would not get accidentally bumped. I first had to see if the timers would go past 72 hours. It went up to 99 hours 59 minutes 59 seconds. It all worked out very well. I stayed awake 36 more hours after I finished to see everyone finish. That means from the time I woke up Thursday morning until my first sleep Sunday afternoon was 86 hours without sleep.
                            Starters    Finishers     %      Ave Female age       Ave Male age
200 miles               15               9            60                41                            42
150 miles                 7               3            43               50                             44
100 miles               47              37          79                43                            45
All distances         69              49          71                44                             44
Not many people have completed 100 miles, but now we have an even rarer breed of 200 milers, and 8 of them are from Washington! Ken Michal was the one out of state 200 mile finisher. Thank you to all runners for choosing my race to challenge yourself, especially the first 100 milers. You all rocked!
 Finally getting some rest
The weekend was a success. So many people came and went that I lost track. The results were getting posted on Facebook so that people who had to work Thursday and Friday could follow our progress. Many runners, pacers, volunteers, and spectators asked if I will put on this race again. I plan to as long as the parks department approves it again. I know I posted mostly pictures of 200 and 150 milers. If you would like to see more 100 mile runners, please go to Takao Suzuki's facebook page.!/media/set/?set=a.10150973841266031.474458.664976030&type=3

He took a ton of pictures! I finally got some restless sleep Sunday night and more restorative sleep Monday night. I found that running and race directing took it out of me and plan on just directing it from now on. I continued to clean up after the race Monday and Tuesday and had to work the rest of the week. By Wednesday, I was itching to run again. I decided at the last minute to sign up for the Rainier to Ruston 50K and finished in 5:44. This was a painful run only because it was mostly pavement. The parts that were trail were very muddy and wore me out. The pavement aggravated my plantar fascia again and I vowed to stay away from asphalt for a while. Two weeks later, I had a good run at a very hot Echo Lake 50 Mile coming in a distant 2nd female in 9:58. But I was back on trails and loved it!
Below are the results. To see loop splits, go to my website:
       200 MILES
1.      Tim Stroh, 49                                         43:35
2.      Brian Myers, 35                                    50:25
       3.      Van “Pigtails” Phan, 41                       52:50
4.      Pat Ackley, 42                                       55:17
5.      Bob Satko, 51                                       60:25
6.      Brandon Lott, 39                                 62:02
7.      George Orozco, 35                             68:40
8.      Jason “Ras” Vaughan, 40                   69:24
9.      Ken Michal, 41 , CA                            71:26

1.      Matt Hagen, 41                                    43:54
2.      Francesca Carmichael, 52                  50:23
3.      Ron Horton, 43                                    51:53

1.      Colin Miller, 34, BC                             17:23
2.      Jonathan Symmes, 46                        19:00
3.      Stephan Willow, 44, OR                    19:03
4.      Mark Carson, 31                                 20:15
5.      Mike Schlecht, 42                              21:26
6.      Trevor White, 43, OR                        21:37
7.      Kimberly Kuhlmann, 33                    21:53
8.      Heidi Perry, 41                                   22:19
9.      Ryan McKnight, 39                            23:19
10.  Ling Dao, 34, VA                                23:29
11.  Allen Skytta, 34                                 23:35
12.  Kristin Parker, 26                              24:41
13.  Jason Ryan, 37                                   24:58
14.  Karl Jensen, 62, BC                           25:15
15.  Jenny Appel, 38                                25:28
16.  Joseph Tompkins, 41                       25:34
17.  Jennifer Evans, 43, TX                     25:36
18.  Francine Weigeldt, 55, BC              25:39
19.  Jeff Forister, 45                                25:50
20.  Craig Foster, 50                                26:17
21.  Linda Walter, 60                              26:30
22.  Vivian Doorn, 45                              26:54
23.  Martin Bavuso, 65                           27:03
24.  Jill Hudson, 50                                  27:06
25.  Janice Moyer, 55                             27:20
26.  Kevin Kline, 42, TX                          27:24
27.  Dan Bowman, 63                            27:53
28.  Guy Yogi, 58                                    28:14
29.  Susie Ro, 41                                     28:20
30.  Deanna Ashby, 41                          28:35
31.  Monte Pascual, 52                         28:37
32.  Niki Sibley, 30                                 28:43
33.  Lars Larson, 48                                29:28
34.  Mike Kuhlmann, 62                       29:32
35.  Jennifer Saunders, 39, ID             30:33
Francie Hankins, 47                       30:33
36.  Cheryl Carrier, 46                           30:43