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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oil Creek 100 Race Report





The short version: I DNF'd at mile 22. Ha! And it was completely okay.

The longer version: Well, first a short synopsis, fairly boring, why I dropped. I was still sick. Not trained at all for this race, just thought I would go see how far I could go. I had no energy at all once about 10 miles into the race. I was just not over the cold. In fact, I was thinking about dropping at mile 15, and figured that would be just too embarassing.
I got to AS #3, where the EMT asked how I was. I said I was sick, have asthma, but otherwise fine. I told them I was dropping at the school, and started up the long climb. And started wheezing. And then said, the hell with this, why am I trying to suffer through another seven miles? I've already DNF'd my 100, I might as well DNF the 50K too. So I walked down the hill, dropped from the race then and there, and then proceeded to have a grand time not being in the race!

Okay, more interesting talk about the race:

This was the inaugural year of the Oil Creek Trail Races. First time Race Director, Tom Jennings, created a course which hosted a 50K, 50 mile, and 100 mile race. He did a superb job with the organization of this race.

The race dinner was great! You were handed a tray with pasta, bread, salad, cake on it. Little girls took your tray away and there were seconds for everyone.
Tom's race meeting went a little long but perfectly understandable. He needed to acknowledge all his volunteers and sponsors. We were done about 830pm with that.

The 100 mile race started promptly at 5am. It was cold and a bit misty. I was soon way at the end of the line. We did a few miles on a bike trail. When I got Garmin to connect, it showed I was running 11 minute miles-holy smokes the rest of the 100's were running sub 10 minutes at the start!

After I made a common 4 mile lost loop (with about 8 or so other 100 milers) we were back on the trail. I was glad I had water with me and had to break out some food. I was pretty winded after these extra miles and not feeling so good out there on the trail.

The course is about a 31K loop. The 50K run it once; the 50 milers run it once (with these little extra out and backs patched on for them) and the 100 milers run it 3 times with a extra little 'special' loop to make their 100 miles.

It's a technical course. Tom's description did it fair justice. And maybe not enough. I was hanging out at the Middle School AS (Race HQ) helping out runners, and the 100 milers were properly dispirited and not too happy about their third loop-this one entirely in the dark.
There is lots of elevation gain and descent. With all the rain, the rocks, downhills, small wooden bridges were slick. There was smallsections to run on; but not many. It was nice, technical trail.

The AS were well manned and had good food at the stations. The AS workers were great!Bear in mind, most of these folks were non-runners who had never heard of an ultra runner before a year ago, yet they were taking care of runners like a seasoned pro team.

Once I returned to the Titusville Middle School, which was AS #4 and Race HQ, I hung out with Moose, another member of NEO Trails to wait for our runners to come through out on their third loop. I would jump up to crew runners who didn't look like they had anyone waiting for them. The word coming back from the 100 mile runners was "tough course" "going to be out there for a long time" "rocky" "brutal". (Every time I reported this back to Tom, the RD, he got a big grin on his face.)

As the night encroached, the temperature kept dropping. It was going to be a cold night on those ridges, and the runners knew it. Many took advantage of changing their wet clothes inside the school. A few succumbed to the warm of the building and never emerged for their third loop!!!

Moose and I saw Jim Harris, Bob Combs, and Nick Billock come through. A bit later both Rich Vribonic and Dan Kuzma, both NEO Trail Members, came in together. Moose and I helped get the two of them food and their stuff, and Moose finally bossed Rich back out to the trail. Rich was his normal happy go lucky self, and I had to walk out with them so Rich could finish telling me a story.

I decided it was finally time for me to crash. I took the sleeping bag into the timing room, which Mike Keller and Gailanne manned from 4pm until 8am! They had volunteered, and were in charge of entering runners time into the computer, and updating the webcast. Unfortuneatley, as the night wore on, and AS workers changed, they were getting more vague information regarding which loop a 100 mile runner was on. So Tom shut down the webcast portion in order to not give out inaccurate information to folks watching from home.

I was able to hang out for awhile in the am to see some folks finish-Slim had already finished, in a sub 23 hour finish! I also got to see Jenny Chow come in to win another 100 mile in 2009!

Tom Jennings and his volunteers did a superb job at hosting not just a 100 event, but also a 50K and a 50 mile at the same time. I believe, and I'm sure others would agree that the Oil Creek 100 lived up to its billing: Unforgiving. Historic. Gnarly. Do you have what it takes?

2 comments:

  1. So Tom was grinning, eh?! HA! It WAS brutal and unforgiving! But, I don't regret it for one second! Thanks so much for providing a cheering spirit when I saw you at mile 62. That really helped when I needed it.

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  2. Bummer about being sick. But, with that said - when you think about what a normal person would do - going out and running 22 miles, let alone doing so while sick - is just incredible.

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