So all it took was for Lynn and Daryl Saari (of the Minnesota Saaris) to offer me their place to stay at if I come out for Zumbro. They were doing it anyway. How could I pass that up? So I signed up for my first 100 of the year. Even though I was the only one from Wisconsin there I still knew half the field, so I figured at least it would be a fun weekend of running with a great group of runners. Little did I know how the race would turn out.
The race started out on the cool side, but the sun was out and I knew it was going to warm up nicely. Started out the first loop with Matt Patten and Zach Pierce. Listened to Matt talk smack about hanging onto Dehart at Ice Age next month. So watch out Dave. Knowing that it was going to be a long day, they decided to hold back. I decided to keep my pace and go with it. With any Ultra I don’t worry about what other people are doing, I just do my own thing. Until I found out where I was in the race on the last loop. But I’ll get to that later. Finishing the first loop of five, was feeling good. Maybe a little fast at just under 4 hours, but felt I had a steady pace going.
From the start of lap 2 until the end of the race I was pretty much on my own. This course had a bit of everything. Technical downhill, tough climbs, single track, even a bit of a gravel road section. Was still moving at a good pace into the 2nd loop. Still running all the runable sections and power walking the hills. Was done with 40 miles feeling solid. Grabbed some food and a light (it was going to be dark at the end of the 3rd loop), and was out for lap 3.
Headed out for lap 3 with the same, “just go with it” mentality. Felt like I was starting to slow down a bit but nothing to worry me too much. Must have been doing fine because I had passed a guy during the loop. Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd aid station it got dark. Went as far as I could before I brought out my light. Was heading down a tricky downhill and figured it would be a good idea to see the rocks to avoid. Came in from lap 3 slower but still feeling descent. Grabbed my headlamp this time and was out for the 4th loop.
Number 4 got a little interesting. The stomach was starting to get unstable so I didn’t try to eat at aid stations, just stuck to gel and Cliff blocks. Got a bit sleepy a few times and had to shake off some heavy eyelids. Was still able to keep moving. Got sick somewhere in the middle of the loop. Thankfully it wasn’t much, just some water that went down the wrong way. Finished loop 4 much slower but still feeling confident of a good finish.
Out for the 5th and final loop. Happy to be out for the last loop I wanted to keep steady and maybe push it a bit to get it done. Surprisingly the legs were doing well and the mind seemed to be working with the legs. But the stomach was borderline. Got sick again. Just a little bit, nothing to worry about. Just keep moving. Got some energy back when it started to get into daylight again.
Pulled into AS 2 (this is where the just finish attitude changed). The volunteer said to me as I pulled in, hey your in 3rd place, I said WHAT! No way. He said yeah and the 2nd place guy isn’t that far ahead of you. As soon as I heard that I shot out of there like my ass was on fire. Said thank you to the volunteers and was gone. First thing that came to mind was first of all you have a chance to get 2nd place in a 100 mile race, second was how the hell are you moving this fast after 90 miles on you feet. WHO CARES, STOP TALKING TO YOURSELF AND GET MOVING! Not 10 minutes later there he was with his pacer fixing his pack. A few words of encouragement and I flew past him like he was standing still. (That’s because he was standing still). Next thing that popped into my mind was, HOLY SH*T YOU’RE IN SECOND PLACE KEEP MOVING YOU S.O.B HE COULD STILL BE COMING!
So the last 9 miles or so was a running scared thing. As soon as I felt like I was slowing down I pushed harder. Pulled into AS 3 and put a little water in my pack because I knew that when I hit the last AS that I was going right through it, not even stopping. Came into AS 4 and slowed down just enough for them to get my number and was totally bent on nobody catching me. Only 3 miles to go! Came out of the woods and sprinted across the field to cross the line in 24 hrs 33 mins. Was so blown away at what just happened that it was impossible to stop. Was pacing back and forth like a crack head looking for a fix. Walked around the campground for what seemed like 15 mins until I could settle down. A volunteer chased me down to get the tag off my number. I WAS DONE AND FINISHED IN FRICKEN SECOND PLACE!
Matt Patten was unable to finish because of stomach issues. So we hung out with the others that were there and watched the rest of the finishers the rest of the day. Tried to get a nap, got some food and enjoyed a beautiful day. No better way to spend a weekend.
Big thanks to Larry Pederson for another great race. Lynn and Daryl Saari for letting me crash at their place. Lets do it again next year !!