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Rocky Raccoon 100

February 6, 2016

When I signed up for this I knew I was taking a risk, five short weeks after a 72 hour race, will I be recovered?  Well yes and no.  I was recovered enough to run 60 miles well, but not the whole 100.  Now there were a lot of people quitting this race because of the roots and falling and because the temperature dropped at night and it was cold, but me, I came all this way from Seattle and darn it all I ain't leaving without a buckle.  So I finished but not before a few interesting moments.

I was traveling with some great people, Nikki and Joe.  We were having fun, although nervous fun before a 100. Seems like you really want to enjoy things while traveling with friends but there is this monkey on your back called a hundred miles to endure.  When the race finally begins all is well. Until then butterflies are abundant in your stomach.  And sleep, well that is not likely.

The race started at 6 AM so we had to have headlamps as it was dark.  There were lots of people at the start so it was crowded for the first several miles.  This is good because I usually start way too fast but not this time.  We were all going easy and watching out for roots and rocks.  The trail seemed mild compared to northwest single track.

Lots of nice people and great support at the aid stations.  After sun up it steadily got nice out and warm.  I must have been dehydrated going in because during my first sock change at 25 miles my legs were cramping.  A nice fellow at the aid station starting rubbing my muscles and that helped but what I needed to do was drink more and I did and the cramps went away.  Still running well in the daylight.  I changed a bandaid on my back, well really a volunteer helped, did I say the volunteers were great.  One volunteer even took my pic and because I didn't have my glasses she posted it to Facebook with a message for me so my husband could see how I was doing.

The trail was mostly single track with a dirt road section.  Part of the dirt road was covered by large rocks.  The first few times running on the rocks was fine, but then people must have dislodged the rocks and so the next few times on this section was ouchy, kicking rocks, stepping on them sideways, ouchy.  Other than that, the trails were nice....as long as you remember to pick up your feet.  I heard some horror stories about people falling 6 or 9 times.  I heard a person behind me take a dive, thud as they hit the ground.  I managed over sixty miles before I took my one and only fall.  It was not bad, I fell on my left side, right on my side pocket of my capris.  The gel I had in there cushioned my fall so no bruising later, but the gel also exploded, sticky icky all over my hip and butt.  I was a mile out from the aid station so I just ran there and asked for help.  Did I say the aid station volunteers were the best, well one started to wipe my hip and butt to get the sticky icky off.  So helpful.  Then we realized that one of my gloves was nasty sticky.  She said do you need a new glove, and I was amazed and said yes, they had everything.  She digs in a bag and pulls out not just any glove but a blue glove, to match the one I lost, best aid station people ever.

I survived on hot broth with ramen and then also a little hot cocoa but not really eating too much, seems like this fat as fuel thing is working for me.  Not sure why I was carrying the gel, maybe just as a back up.  Kind of hard to kick the habit of gels.  I don't think I need them but still carry them just in case.  I mostly ate real food, drank most of my my calories with tailwind and Coke.  I don't know that I necessarily need the calories, I just get tired of plain water.

Rocky raccoon is a five loop course with an out and back so you get to see people a lot.  This always is good for us as we can cheer each other along.  I enjoyed seeing people and encouraging them as they encouraged me.  Ultra running is a good community.  The only really troubling issue for this race is the amount of litter on the trail.  It seems people couldn't carry their garbage to the next aid station and they tossed it, not cool.  I hope people new to ultra running will not ruin our use of the trails.  Eat and throw your garbage away at the aid station or even a 100 yards away from the station where the volunteers put a garbage bag.  Please do not throw your stuff on the ground.

I tried to finish in the dark but alas my legs weren't going make that happen.  It was still early, 7:40 AM so that was fine.  As I finished the volunteers gave me a nice shiny buckle and then they started putting medals around my neck, first was the third place in my age group and next was tenth overall woman, these were of the people who had a USTAF number.  Cool.  Then I see Nikki and I want to cry, my usual response after completing a 100 miles, but instead I start hyperventilating and cannot breath.  Those great volunteers whisk me into the tent next to the heater and I switch between crying and breathing.  The heat feels like a sauna as I apparently was kind of freezing all night long by not wearing enough.  Last time I ever leave my down coat at home.  

Joe kicked booty by starting easy and finishing strong under 24 hours.  After a nap we ate steak and then relaxed while watching the commercials of the Super Bowl and a little football.  Lots of tired giggling ensued.  You get to laugh at each other as you try to get up to go to the BR or get something to eat, very funny.  I would highly recommend Rocky Raccoon as a great 100 miler.  Easy course, great volunteers and excellent BBQ at Rudy's as long as you don't spill it down the front of your shirt Joe.  At least you get a new shirt to make Rocky and Texas Bbq even more memorable.

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