MMT100 Race Report, George "I didn't do Massanutten, Massanutten did me''...(103.7 miles)
That was my first FB post after finishing at a time of 34.21 and I still find it appropriate.
I first decided to enter the MMT lottery after looking at Spring 100's and coming up with a list of races that scare me and I have no business doing. Being a mostly back of the pack runner who is low on ability, but high on attitude, I entered the lottery. Upon getting into the lottery, I actually spent the next 10 weeks training with mostly high mileage weeks. This doesn't make me any faster, but it does give me a chance to finish. I'm still on a learning curve as far as drop bags, pre-race diet, and just getting a good night sleep before the run. These were problems I had before the start at 4 a.m. with 2 hours sleep.
The run starts typical enough with a 4 mile road uphill road section in suprisingly chilly conditions. After 4 miles we turn on to a rock uphill section of Short Mtn. This was basically a slow congo line hiking to the Edinburg Gap Aid Station. Still early in the race, I thought this section was not bad, but I could tell the day was going to warm up quickly. By the time I got to the next aid station, Mile 20, I was already starting to feel dehydrated and switched to a double bottle pack and focused on watermelon and liquids to minimize the damage.
I don't remember much of the next 2 Aid Stations until I get to Elizabeth Furnace at Mile 33. Let me stop here and give the Aid Stations a big shout out. They were some of the best, most professional, well equipped Aid Stations I have ever encountered. For not the first time, I will make note I am getting schooled on how to man an Aid Station.
I am now 33 miles and it was already past 8 hours on the course.
The next miles went by uneventful until I reached Hebron Gap at Mile 54. I remember thinking to myself, if this was a 50 mile race, it would stand alone as a very tough one. Little did I know, this was the easy good time section.
From Hebron Gap you have a 10 mile section to Camp Roosevelt where Annie was waiting for me with a bag of miscellaneous gear very little of which I would ultimately need. This section and the next section all I can remember is when you left the Aid Station you are hit with a rocky never ending steep climb and darkness and night were here. I just concentrated on keeping moving no matter how slow it felt.
Heading from Gap Creek 1 up Kern Mtn. where you switchback on the rocky ridge trails was a slow process for me, but it ends on a downhill section that takes you into the Visitor Aid Station at Mile 78. I was 2 1/2 hours ahead of cut offs and feeling pretty good about being 3/4 done. Once again, another top notch Aid Station experience. This is the only time I will sit at an Aid Station and change my socks and have a cup of soup. I notice that many people are deciding to take short naps and enjoy some of that 2 1/2 hour buffer. A little voice inside me told me this would be a bad mistake for me and not to let my guard down. So off I go up to Bird Knob which is basically a 2 1/2 mile rocky climb finishing at 81 miles with a power walk to the Picnic Area Aid Station.
The day is getting hot and I am starting to feel dehydrated again, but I am mentally in get it done mode.
The next 6 1/2 miles section was one of my better parts of the second 50 miles of this run. My feet were in alot of pain and my quads were trashed, but except for some steep climbs I ran this entire section to the Picnic Area Aid Station.
This section was where the wheels fell off. My feet were shooting pain with every step. I was having a total system melt down. No hallucinations or any drama, I just could not will myself forward in anything but a drunkard stumble. This 9 mile section of pain took 3 hours and 15 minutes with finally at Gap Creek II with 1 more climb and section to complete I experienced a little rebirth.
Though I still had plenty of time on the cut offs, I felt in panic mode after that last section. I gagged down 2 Expresso Gu's and vowed to finish no matter how much pain or damage.
I started out on the last 2 mile climb up and over Jaw Bone.
The next 2 miles were basically a rock jumping downhill which went by pretty good because I knew the finish was close. The last 4 miles are a repeat of the road section we started out on only downhill this time. It hurt the same to run slow as run full sprint, so I would play a little game and sprint for 10 breaths and walk for 10 breaths, finally turning into the road which lead to the field area and finish.
I am walking at this point but I notice a runner flying down the road behind me. I decided not to be an easy pass, I start sprinting with all I have down the hill, over the bridge and to the field. I fell short by 2 seconds, but would have it no other way, I was 100 at 100, ran across the finish and all in good fun. We embraced and took pictures of each other and had a good laugh.
Special thanks to Annie for basically picking up the pieces. Stephen once told me that MMT is very hard and there is nothing like it for rocks. I also remember asking him if he ever takes a nap during the night and he told me to just keep moving even if it is a crawl...these were very wise words. I had a great time at MMT, the whole race has a great feel and is very professional without feeling corporate. The support is unparalleled and I am looking forward to next year. I experienced alot of death during this race, but also some rebirth and hidden in the rebirth were little bits of magic and sometimes a wee bit of magic goes a long way.
Once again, a top notch experience.