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Hennepin 100

October 5, 2019

New PR 23:08


After you have a DNF you either get back on the horse or give up.  After 90 miles at western States I knew I needed a flat race to make sure I could still do these things called hundos.  So I signed up for Hennepin as it was advertised as a flat and fast hundred and it did not disappoint.

We had a weird start to the race.  Runners were all hanging around a couple of tents, people were taking pictures and eating donuts and coffee.  Christy, Sandy, Rick, Robert and I were just chatting and hanging out in a park at sunrise.  Then a guy steps up to the mic and sings the national anthem very well, we were all really impressed.  An air horn goes off, I ask is that the start and the race director says yes and off we go.  No line up just a casual mass of people gettin going.   

I ran with Julie Aistars for the first 50k.  She was doing the 50 miler and then would volunteer.  We talked and ran and took short walk breaks every mile and the miles just flew by.  I felt great so kept pushing and thought if I could do 50 miles in under 10:30 I would have a good shot at a sub 24.  So on came the music and I was just smiling and enjoying a beautiful day of running.  Rain came in buckets and soaked me but it was warm so I kept running in a short sleeve shirt.  Got to the aid station at 47 miles with my drop bag.  The wind had kicked up and I wanted a dry shirt and rain coat as I was now getting chilled.  It is very difficult to take off a wet shirt with a bit of frozen shoulder.  I asked a gal to help and she was great as we wrenched off the wet and tried to put a dry shirt on over wet skin.  It felt warm so I had been a bit cold and the new shirt worked wonders.

Off I went into the rain. Now the trail was a bit muddy and slippery but it was an out and back section and those seem to perk me up as we cheer each other on and see faces coming our way.  I got to 50 miles in 10:02 and I gave myself a couple of fist pumps because I had a good chance at that big buckle if my legs cooperated.  I really wasn’t sure how they would do so soon after a hundred just two weeks before.

Rain from 2:30 pm till 7:30 pm, five hours of soaking rain and wind, and then it was done, fun.

Lots of pavement on the trail and after the rain some muddy sections.  During the night I came up on about five people looking around and not moving forward, this usually means there is an animal or someone is in trouble, but it was a 30 foot section of water over the trail.  We ran next to the canal the whole race and there were times that it felt like the canal could easily be high enough to cover the trail.  This was the only one section where this happened and it was at a place where you go under a road.  One guy splashed through and said it was ankle deep water.  The rest of us were not thrilled about getting that wet with about 20 miles to go.  So we explored by going up and over the road.  We had to scale two guard rails and not slide down a steep grassy section but it was worth it to keep our feet dry.

So you get to run along a canal all day and night.  It is quite beautiful and only a couple of times did it smell funky.  I never noticed any animal life.  But at night you would hear something rustle through the bushes and then a huge splash.  It was a little unnerving because it would happen just behind you as you were running, like someone or something was chasing you but then decided to ditch into the canal.  I asked some aid station workers what that might be and they thought maybe it was beavers or turtles...What were those things that went splash in the canal at night? Scary

I did a good job of fueling myself mostly with UCAN, gels, and little bites.  Bacon went down easy a couple of times and so did toasted cheese.  I drank a lot of coke and so no tiredness at all during the night.

I was surprised at how well I felt all day and night.  I was also surprised how well my legs felt.  I was tired at the end and not going terribly fast but I was still running with walk breaks.  I would pass people and say we are going finish in the dark or we are going get that big buckle.  Cool what your body can do when you ask it to.  My positive attitude again helped me with a good result but also it is just so nice to enjoy the run, all 100 miles.  I listened to music and the new Malcolm Gladwell book in its entirety.  Music brought me in to the finish and of course I was going cry but I was so happy I didn’t.

At the finish line they gave me the big buckle and it was heavy.  Then they gave me a flannel finishers shirt and I told them it was a PR so I rang the bell.  They said they weren’t done with me so I waited and they gave me an age group award.  They were trying to help me walk and I appreciated it but I told them I got this and walked off to the tent to get warm.  It was still dark and I wanted to finish in the dark and so I did.

It was fun to watch lots of runners finishing while waiting for my friends. The finish line aid station had three meals during the time I was there and I ate every one.  This was a well organized and well run race.  Michelle, the race director thinks of everything, from a PR bell to virgin shirts for first time hundred milers.  Flat is fast.  I recommend this race to anyone wanting a 100 mile PR.

Saw three shooting stars 
Half, 2:23
Marathon under 5 hours
50K, 6:02
50 mile, 10:02
100K, 13:03
100 miles 23:08

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