Thursday, January 14, 2021

Pinhoti 100 Race Report

"How much time do I have?" I asked the volunteer as he filled my bottle at aid station 6.

"Twenty minutes," he said.

"That isn't enough," I responded and quickly turned and headed back on the trail.

"You have a four mile climb and then a two mile descent," I heard him yell as I disappeared into the woods. 

Perfect, I thought. A four mile climb would be the perfect opportunity to make up some time and get further ahead of the time cut-off. Other than my usual low point around mile 18 things had been going fine. Slow and steady was my plan and I was sticking to it. I knew I would be racing the clock all day and night but twenty minutes didn't sound like enough of a buffer so I was determined to use the climb to my advantage. I had led a group of eight through the last section and as I continued on the trail there was only one other light to be seen.  They aren't going to make it, I thought and then wondered if I was going to make it. The unexpected rain that had been lingering all day had finally stopped so I paused on the side of the trail to secure my jacket to my pack so it could dry some for the long night I had ahead of me, wasting a minute. Then I paused again to reward myself with music but discovered my phone had not been in airplane mode and was down to 40%. Music was going to help me get through the night so as I continued on I changed my headspace and got used to the idea of running all night by myself in silence. It will be fun, I convinced myself.


As I approached the top of Bald Rock a heavy fog set in and I couldn't see much past my poles and kept losing the faint trail. I never got lost but wasn't able to go nearly as fast as I wanted or needed as I looked for the little blue ground flags that led the way. I made it over the top and on to the boardwalk and then down the final descent into aid station 7.


"You have to hurry!", I heard someone yell as I popped out of the woods and into the aid station.

 "How much time do I have?", I yelled back. 

"Under a minute," was the response.

Fuck. Less than a minute to pass through the aid station. No time for water or food. So, I kept running. A volunteer jogged next to me as I asked how far to the next aid station and how long I had to get there. I don't remember his response but it wasn't enough and I wasn't going to make it and if I did make it by some miracle it was only a matter of time before time caught up to me and I timed out. My wife was jogging next to me and I turned to her and said it was over. She told me I could make it but the look on her face confirmed what I already knew, my race was over. Although I'm sure they would have let me keep going my minute was up and I wasn't technically out of the aid station so there at 8pm and at mile 40, I handed over my chip and that was it. Eight months of training and I didn't even make it further than my longest training run. An hour later I was back at the hotel eating Mexican take out and watching cable news confirm the Biden win.

It was a beautiful day, even with the rain, on a great trail but still quite the disappointment. Physically and mentally I was fine

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