Thursday, June 12, 2008

Overview KM100

DSCN4168.JPGVolunteers at the Bluff Aid Station, miles 7.4, 55, 70.3 and 92.8

First and foremost I would like to clear up a mistake that was made on the results. Those whose saw the initial results Sunday would have seen that I came a minute behind Mark Tanaka. No I did not come a minute behind Mark. I was an hour and a minute or so behind Mark. I had emailed the timing folks on Sunday afternoon and the correction was made by Monday morning. I got a lot of grief and good natured ribbing from Bob, Meghan and Tom for that one.

Well it was an epic journey. I came in for the most part prepared and confident. I was ready for the humidity, wasn't worried about the hills and confident that I could handle any of technical trails that presented themselves. I had a great Spring season of racing and was as fit as I was back in 06 when I was training for Western States. I had one big worry, one anxiety producing thought on my mind however - will this 100 be like the previous five. I've had never had a good 100-mile race. I've finished every single one but only through a lot of suffering, aggravation and frustration. The 100-mile event was the rocky shore that the wave of my speed and strength broke upon. Despite being capable of breaking the 24 hour mark at the 100-mile event I had never done it.

We got beat and spanked out there. Conditions for the race were not the best to put it lightly. Of the 123 starters of the 100-Mile Solo race, only 37 made it across the finish line. A good deal dropped off at the 100k point, some after, some before. The 100k race had similar attrition rates. It came down to the weather conditions on the course, certainly nothing I've ever experienced. It was warm and humid at the start, humidity got up to 96% later in the day. Thunderstorms rolled through the area in the afternoon and drenched us with heavy rain in the late afternoon and evening. Lightning flashed across the sky which caused some runners to wait out the storm or drop out completely. While the rain and wind was a relief from the heat it flooded the trails and made the technical sections at night more treacherous. Soaked runners suffered from chafing and blistering. Tornado warning sirens sounded throughout the day and evening although I personally didn't hear them. Maybe I did but thought it was something else, it was for the best because it would have spooked me. The lightning alone was enough.

I had problems early but recovered halfway through. At mile 62, with the sun mostly down, body fed and injected with caffeine, sporting a fresh pair of shoes and socks and blisters taken care of I re-entered the course with renewed vigor and felt my best during the entire run. I came through the finish line at 3:40AM and was promptly informed by RD Jason that I finished 3rd overall with a time of 21:40. It was a pleasant shock since I had known that at least 6 people was in front of me, apparently some of those guys were on the relay event. A nice surprise to a challenging day. Mark Tanaka was on hand to shake my hand and congratulate me, he ended up finishing 2nd. Jason then took our picture before more rain fell. At that point it didn't really matter, I was done. Despite being soaked to the bone and sitting on a wet bench out in the open I felt warm and giddy inside. I was aiming for a sub-20, missed it by a lot but I had no complaints.

The race directors and the volunteers were phenomenal. They braved the elements to man their stations. It could not have been easy either, manning the stations amidst the heavy downpours, the lightning, the tornado sirens, the bugs and humidity when it wasn't raining and the sound of crashing trees. I got a lot of care and personal attention. I really felt that they were there for me.

DSCN4142.JPGWith Co-RD Timo at the race packet pickup on Friday.

I was treated very, very well in Wisconsin. I found the people friendly, laid back and down to earth, from Madison, to Whitewater to Waukesha. My cousin Margie put me up in her apartment for Friday and Saturday and showed me around Madison. I got to meet her fiance Adam who is a really nice guy and I will see them both again when they move to San Francisco in September. On Sunday night I was a dinner guest at Bob and Beth Wolf's home in Waukesha. Beth is the mother of one of my very good friends - Jessica. I was treated like a superstar; wine, Wisconsin cheese, a delicious home cooked meal and good conversation. In two weeks they will fly out to Idaho to see Jessica participate in her first Ironman - Ironman Coeur d'Alene.

I had a blast with Bob, Meghan and Tom. I spent a good deal of time with these guys all weekend. Bob I've known but Meghan and Tom were new friends who I've only heard about from Bob until this race. They were a good crew and they shared their place with me despite their already cramped accommodations. Bob you are one funny guy even when you are not trying to be funny. Meghan thank you for playing nurse when I could barely move on Sunday and putting up with me making fun of you.Tom I'm glad to finally have met you, Bob talks about you a lot. Entering a 100-miler for the sole purpose of pacing a friend through his first 100-mile race is an amazing act of unselfishness.

DSCN4179.JPGMeghan, Tom and Bob.

Finally my prayers go out to those affected by the storms. While we were out having fun, many people were adversely affected by the weather with some even losing their homes.

Kettle Morraine 100-Mile Ultra-Marathon
Also offered were the 100-mile Relay, the 100k and the 38-mile Night Fun Run.
12,000ft of elevation gain / same for loss
21:40 for 3rd place overall and 2nd in my age group

If you're not used to hills you will find it hilly. Coming from the Northern California Bay Area where we have small mountains but lots of rolling hills the hills on the course didn't bother me. They are also small hills, no big climbs. I would reach the top before I could start whining. The most technical part of the trail is on the second down and back for the 100-milers, 100k folks have it easier terrain wise. The humidity factor needs a lot of respect. I came prepared with my heat training and I would have been toast without it. I used the sauna method and it was a steam sauna which was perfect for humidity. Bring bug spray, mosquitoes, deer flies and other bugs abound on the course. If flies buzzing your ear and head bother you I suggest wearing a hat with ears, a bandana or a Buff Headwear. The race organization was top notch and I was impressed with the race volunteers. Even spectators rushed to the aid of runners. Julie Fingar's pacer, I forgot to catch your name but you were a lot of help to me before you started your pacing duties. I'm sure other runners benefitted from your help.

Maybe my needs were simple but they were all met. My expectations of the race and Wisconsin were exceeded despite having already heard good things before signing up for this race. Thank you Kettle Moraine 100, Thank you Wisconsin!


  1. Rick,we're all very proud of you.Despite the challenging weather condition,it looked like fun.Hanging out with friends,making new ones and being in a new place.My kind of scene minus the running.So what's next?

  2. I like how long your "overview" is. It's a very complete "overview." It's like a fully reviewed "overview." It's like a race report masked by the title of "overview."

    I crack myself up.


  3. Mom, I'd tell you but I'm not sure that won't result in a worried phone call with you telling me to slow down.

    Meghan, I will leave you a "reply" on your blog that's really a "post", like a post masquerading as a quick reply. You'll love it. I have ultra-running fingers...tap..tap..tap..tap..tap..tap..

  4. Holy cow, dude ... this is amazing. "Congratulations" doesn't even begin to cover it - this is rock star stuff. I'm afraid to think of how I would have handled all those conditions (bugs are a BIG pet peeve of mine), and the attrition rate attests to the fact that you're one tough hombre. You should be very proud of this race.