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Ultra Extravaganza Kansas 100

October 24, 2015

Blisters, buckles, and bunnies for all!

I signed up for this one early because they had a sale on the price, oh goodie a cheap 100.  Silly me, why do I sign up for these races.  Actually this is the first 100 that I did not regret and cuss out my friends for signing up at mile 75 or 80.  Things were going well and I ended up running the whole thing with generous walk breaks later in the race.  I seem to do well on rails to trail courses because they are relatively easy... If there is such a thing as an easy 100.  Anyway you look at it a hundred miles is a long way on foot.  Some would even say they don't like to drive that far in their car.

The race director gave us some stiff warnings about race etiquette, rules, and how to get DQed.  Not the greatest way to get in the right frame of mind before the race.  We did get to listen to Marshall Uhlrich the night before and he shared some of his epic journeys.  Pretty cool motivation to run only 100 when he has done so much more.

We started in the dark at 6 am with a cool wind but we warmed up quickly and the sun came up to treat us to a lovely trail in the fall with some great color leaves.  Nothing fancy about a rails to trails course, just crushed gravel and mild elevation change.  Each aid station was well prepared to meet our needs. The first 50 kind of flew by and when we got to the turn around we knew it was a count down to the finish.  I had some small issues with two blisters and managed to drain and tape them all by myself as we were warned not to have volunteers help us with our "nasty feet".  We could also get DQed for muleing (having someone else carry our stuff), have a pacer or crew support you at spots other than aid stations, getting in a car before checking in at an aid station, and being a dick, according to race director.

I ran with Christy for the first 30 or so miles.  She is young and those young legs pushed me up those slight hills which is just what I needed.  I listened to a book on tape, "The End of College" and this kept me entertained for the first half of the race.  The second half of the race I listened to music so I wouldn't wonder what was rustling in the woods.  After dark the bunnies came out, so many bunnies that I lost count.  They would jump across the trail and jump ahead of me.  They would freeze for a moment and then jump away off the trails into the woods.  Then two skunks joined me on the trail.  They would move ahead on the trail instead of leaving the trail like the bunnies.  I yelled at them and clapped my hands to get them to go. Nope, no dice.  They joined me for a while and finally left the trail before they could spray me.  This happened twice.  The next day Marilou and Nikki drove by dead skunk, maybe those were my skunks.

The fog came out at night, the sunset was beautiful with a purple sky and the moon was full and yellow. Finally the fog cleared to show lots of stars, a truly beautiful night. It got a little chilly so I changed into capris and three shirts as that is all I had in my drop bags.  This is a good tactic as I had to run more to keep warm.  This probably contributed to my personal best time for a hundred.

Nutrition is still a challenge for me.  I have been changing things up and eating less and this seems to work.  Water, cola, and gels got me through the first fifty miles.  I had some bacon, ham and cheese at the turn around.  More cola and banana pieces seemed to go down easy. The gels were still used even though they made me gag.  I had one cup of ramen and two cups of hot cocoa, some nilla wafers and that was about it.  My stomach is always a little sketchy.  Next time I think I should try some more liquid nutrition late in the race because at Woodstock 100 that sweet tea really helped.

This was also the first time I did a 100 so close to another 100, six weeks apart.  Woodstock was single track most of the way and my time was a little over 28 and half hours. To be over five hours faster (23:25) on this course is kind of cool.  The course really does matter and my best runs are on the rails to trail variety.  I also think running more of these hundos helps.

Lots of great volunteers and a wonderful course makes for a successful hundred.  Both Nikki and Marilou got buckles for the fifty miler on the Prairie spirit trail and Christy I managed to haul in hunks of medal for our hundreds. As Chisty referred to us at the restaurant, this is a three hundred mile table and we need to eat.  The best part of the event is traveling with friends who share the same passion as you. Oh the stories we tell and the adventures we plan.  Here's to more running adventures with wonderful running friends.

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