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Hallucination 100

September 10, 2015

Hell, Michigan

Six loops of 16.6 (really 17.4), single track
28:37 for my 13th of a 100 or more miles

What to say....when I told my school staff I was going to run in the woods of Michigan to get a peace sign buckle....some looked at me funny while others knew that is what I do.  I have been wanting to do this run for several years but it was always so close to the start of school that I didn't think I could leave.  Finally I had a superb assistant principal that was totally capable so I could leave after the first day of school.  Wouldn't you know it, Seattle teachers went on strike.  No school.  My boss said I could go as long as I was available in case something came up.  Lucky me.

Off we went, Sue and Reed having to head east early for a funeral.  We got together at the hotel and packed drop bags, ate a lot of food, laughed nervously, the usual stuff before a hundred.  The race started at 4 PM which is unusual for a 100 miler as they usually start in the early AM.  I was looking forward to having fresh legs during the night time running.  I was also looking forward to seeing no imaginary stuff as I wouldn't be as tired as usual during the night running.  

Well be careful what you wish for. What I found out is that single track is difficult even with fresh legs.  It is hard to see and difficult to keep your speed up.  I was more alert at night probably from all the sweet tea I drank, yum.  But the running was more challenging.  I guess I have never really done a hundred miler that was 80% single track with rocks, roots and twists, turns and little hills. Total elevation gain was only 7800 feet which is not a lot for a hundred but still challenging for a city gal who should spend more time on the trails.

The first two loops went well.  Changed my socks and re-glided my feet at 34 miles.  This seems to prevent blisters.  The next two loops were dark and I thought rather slow.  Another sock change and re-gliding the feet as well as bigger shoes helped keep the feet in check.  The forecast called for no rain, yet it rained during the night and sprinkled the next day.  Because it was so warm the rain was rather pleasant.  I didn't like a lot of the food offerings so stuck with what I brought to eat and drink.  Probably ate too much early on and probably had a few too many gels....did I mention the sweet tea, yum.  I stopped eating and had a cup of sweet tea every four miles for a whole loop.  This settled my stomach and kept me awake.

So running all night when you are fresh stops you from seeing things at night but that doesn't mean you don't see things during the day.  During loop five I kind of started to see and hear animals in the woods.  It didn't help that there was one section that smelled like skunk.  I swear I would see an animal usually a dog up ahead off to the side of the trail and I would ready myself to run by the dog and then when I got there it was a branch waving in the wind, active imagination especially after lots of sweet tea.  I was hopeful to finish before it got dark again.  That didn't happen.  The last two hours were strange as I would tell myself to focus on the trail ahead of me. I thought people were following me and if I looked to the side I was seeing lots of scary stuff...Hudson, keep your eyes straight ahead, I would tell myself.  Just weird.

Then I actually came up upon some people, they were really there.  I knew I was getting close to the finish because I heard a lot of people noise so when the noise was right and the trail sign said turn left I was baffled.  Luckily the people with me told me to continue left as to the right was a nudist party...only at Woodstock Hallucination 100.

The last mile or two seemed long, finally out of the woods I came to the finish.  Lots of happy people to greet me.  They took my name and age and gave me a cool tie dyed bag full of goodies.  In it was the most spectacular blingy peace sign buckle.  Just when I was having a good cry over the emotional effort I just experienced (this usually happens at the end of a 100 for me), they tell me I placed in my age group and would get a hippie VW bug. YES!  Grooviest age group award yet.

I got some warm clothes on and ate some food and waited for Sue and Reed.  I knew they were out there but I hadn't seen them for a while.  They came in together, the happy couple.  They also placed in their age groups so we all came away with fun and groovy VW bugs and buckles.  

One of the interesting things about this run is that there are a series of events happening all weekend.  During one loop a 10k run started and passes us up on single track.  Now you would think having 200 people pass you would be annoying but actually it was quite encouraging.  The runners avoided running into us hundred milers and gave us such encouraging comments that it was a highlight of the run.  Th other highlight was the national anthem being played by a girl with a guitar ala Jimi Hendrix version of the national anthem.  We thought it was a recording but no she played it live before every running event.  If you get a chance to go to Michigan for Woostock I highly recommend it.  Fun and supportive people with a nice trail and great venue.  And oh the sweet tea, yum.

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