I am here to tell you about Chris' Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Trail Run that took place at the beginning of February!!
If you'll remember, last year Chris did his first Ultra Marathon when he did The Grasslands 50 Mile Trail Run -- that race was such an amazing experience, and he was very excited to get this 100 Mile experience into his repertoire!
We took a half day off work on that Friday, and left town around noon to head to Huntsville, TX which was about 5 hours away. We stayed at the Motel 6 near the race location, and it was quite sketchy...we debated moving to a different hotel, but...we had our gun (we always travel with it), so we stuck it out. There were no incidents!
Bright and early Saturday morning, we made our way to the Huntsville State Park. We paid $5 each to enter the park, and then found a good parking spot near the starting line and the restrooms. Chris checked in and got his bib number, and then he proceeded to get everything ready for his day of running.
We gathered at the starting area with about 400 other crazy runners. The neat thing about this course was that it was five 20 mile loops of the same loop, and it came back to the starting area each time. So I was able to see Chris in the same spot which was nice. They took off at 6:00 am, and after seeing him off, I headed back to the truck. First things first -- while it was still dark, I got in a few hours of sleep!
I saw Chris after all loops, except for his second one. He had given me an estimated time frame, and I just missed him because he ran it faster than he expected! I was soooo bummed. That made it two 20 mile loops he had to run without my support :( But, he had an amazing day...he didn't have any issues. He felt good the whole way. He really rocks at these Ultras!!
They had aid stations all along the 20 mile loop, and each aid station had different food for the runners. Chris was very fueled throughout the day, with bacon and quesadillas and sausage and potatoes and candy...etc! He didn't eat any of the snacks we had brought, because the course was so well stocked. He never lacked for energy.
Each 20 mile loop did get slower and slower, obviously...his first loop was run in about 3:30, and his last loop was run in a little over 5 hours. His total time for the entire 100 mile run was 22:09!! That is 22 hours of solid running...he stopped only for about 10 minutes after each loop. It was really incredible. Since he ran it in under 24 hours, he was able to get a Sub-24 belt buckle! Running under 24 hours is the standard that has to be met to gain entry to some of the bigger Ultra races...not sure if he'll do another one, but he's qualified if needed.
During this 22 hour time frame, I spent a lot of time in our truck :) It was actually a wonderful day of solitude and I thoroughly enjoyed it!! I talked with Chris each time he came through, but otherwise I didn't speak any other words all day...so nice!!!! I had plenty to keep me busy -- I read my book, read some magazines, watched a few movies on the iPad, walked around the lake at the state park, napped, and did some felting projects! And, every 4 hours or so I would head over to the starting line to see Chris come through.
When Chris finished, we walked around a little bit for him to cool down...and it only took about 30 minutes for him to begin feeling to effects of the long running day! He was sore and stiff and his feet and ankles began to swell. He spent about a week afterwards walking very slow and stiff, and his ankles didn't return until normal for awhile. But overall, he didn't have any real ailments or injuries. Thankfully!
This guy...he certainly loved the extreme!! He has the mindset of tackling these huge hurdles with so much passion and self confidence...never in his mind did he doubt that he would finish. There were many, many people who had to drop out of the race because their time was too slow at a certain cut off point...they wouldn't have been able to finish the whole race by the end time. Chris knew he would be successful. I love how he sets him mind on these impossible feats, and then destroys them! He is truly amazing and so inspiring!!! Congrats to him on his first 100 mile run!!! And on his second Ultra belt buckle!!!