Saturday, May 24, 2014

Massanutten Rocks!

Coach Karl way back there..
What a great weekend in Virginia!  I was too antsy to sleep in. Saturday morning I drove over to Elizabeth Furnace to get in a few miles-it's at the north end of Fort Valley, easily accessible.  Their aid station was just opening, and here came Coach Karl, in the lead!  Jim Blandford was not more than two minutes behind him at this point.

I hiked up the trail a bit, stepping off any time one of the runners approached.  With this out and back, I got to see the top 20 runners of the race.  Eva even stopped and gave me a hug!

After hanging out at the aid station talking to runners and pacers and crew, I drove all the way south to meet Allison for a hike up Bird Knob.  I haven't seen Bird Knob too much in the daytime the past couple of  years!

Just another reason why Massanutten rocks. That is the trail there!

It is nice to get out on the trails and have TIME to just enjoy them.

We got to the end of Ant Hill Road to find Tom getting started setting up his aid station. He advised us to go down the road and take the white blazed trail, which then loops back to MMT Orange, so we were able to make a nice loop out on BK.

After a nice dinner-fried chicken, YUM! We drove over to our new home, Picnic Area, to  help set up the aid station.  Lots to do, we had an estimate on when Karl Meltzer would be coming through.  We didn't know if he had crew or not, so I got this drop bag out, and a cup of coke and ice water ready.

Want to know what elite runners pack in their drop bag?  There were six gels in his bag. That's it!

So Karl pulls in, and he wants...SOUP!!

And we have NONE ready!!!!!! FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I felt so bad....we just weren't set up completely yet for the race winners!!

Well, Karl took some water and Coke, and he really perked up when he heard he had a thirty minute lead at the Visitor Center, it was pretty funny, his head came up, and he was just instantly "game back on" and ZOOM, ran out of the Aid Station.  Karl went on to win the race in 18.40, his 6th MMT finish and fourth win.  This win continues his streak of at least 1 100 mile win for 14 years straight, and his 36th 100 mile win.  Pretty impressive!!!

It was at least thirty minutes until the next two top runners came in, Brian and Jim, and then a little later for the next few.  We were fully stocked up and ready to go.

I have to give a shout out to our three young guys, Brett, Jordan, and Matthew. I don't believe they had ever worked an aid station, or a ultra aid station late in the race.  At first, they were a bit hesitant, but they picked up on their job duties, and were great!

The boys were more "front of the house" and Stephanie and I were the cooks in the back, so I didn't see lots of runner interaction. But it was funny as the night wore on, Brett, Jordan and Matt just started barking back orders for soup, or eggs.  It was great how they just "owned it" up front and took care of the runners.

Here is a great video of the race:

2014 Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 Mile Run! from on Vimeo.

Trail Gossip

I saw some of my friends and missed others..was able to come out and give a little TLC to Jason Lantz, Eva, Kathleen,  Slim, Paul, Greg.  Paul Crickard got a special "gashouse egg" (toasted bread, with a fried egg in the middle, with melted cheese on it)-well, Paul was standing in the right  space at the right time!  I played medic and taped up a gnarly looking blistered toe to an unknown runner..

It was kind of cool when the folks who run around "my time" showed up, as many MMT runners, (as Slim would say) are "not that bright" and are repeat offenders.

Roy Heger finally showed up! (as I knew he would) on his way to MMT finish # 15! and I was able to give him some freshly scrambled eggs and a hug.  Roy is one of my first mentors and he continues to be an inspiration to runners.

Nicklaus finally showed up! My hippie vegan potato-butternut squash soup was running low! But I had promised him this soup, so he literally got the last cupful out of the thermos.   I like to make a potato soup; we make it vegan-no milk-so it satisfies the vegan/vegetarian crowd and also the gluten free bunch.  (Note: we were also frying bacon like there was no tomorrow!!)

I missed Gary Knipling at the AS! I think I was scouring pots, like Cinderella, when he came through.

I also missed Shelly! I was crazy cooking eggs when she came through. I did actually see her leaving the AS, and was so happy to see her through there.

Some other pals came through-some running, some pacing.  Diane said "never again" as she came through; I paid her comment no attention LOL!  Katie came through, happy as ever, same with KC, and General Bob Gaylord came through with Cherry, who, even at mile 86.9 still looked chipper!

One runner I was looking for special was Kathy, another Buckeye runner:

Photo: Kathy Wolf at Picnic Area AS. photo bomb by AS Quatro Hubbard.;;

She came through in fine spirits.  Kathy is a good strong runner; hard-headed and determined like me; I knew she would finish the MMT!

The other runner I was looking for?  Kathy's sister, Karen.  This was Karen's 100 attempt.  MMT is a big race to tackle for your firtst (or 40th) 100 miler.  I don't know Karen very well, but I know she had been training for this race.

MMT had pretty good on-line tracking, and we actually had a cell signal at our AS! (It doesn't happen at all the AS) so we were able to track and follow "our runners" through out the day.

Karen, after the first few AS, started to lose a bunch of time at the AS cut offs. Several that we saw, it looked like she was in with less than 10 or 12 minutes to the cut off times!

I thought she was time out at Camp Roosevelt..but she didn't. She kept making her cut offs, and KEPT GOING.  This was the advice I had given to her, just keep going, the cut offs do open up later in the race, so KEEP GOING.

I got the update on Karen from the Visitor Center-2 AS away from us-and these are tough miles in between.

Our AS cutoff was 11 am.  At 1050 I stalked up the road to where her crew sat, waiting. Sharon was on the phone, but I told (her husband?? I don't know) some guy, "if she comes thru here, she cannot stop, she needs to go to the AS to check in".

After I said that, I thought "screw it" I'm going up trail in search of Karen. I was really hoping I would find her a few 100 feet up the trail, and I could yell at her to not stop at her crew location, but get to the time keepers at the Picnic Area.

But as I kept walking, no Karen. I kept checking my watch, now 10.58, no runner.  I got a little verklempt. It clicked over to past 11.  Okay. No race past Picnic Area now..

I came upon the course sweep and said, hey there's still a runner out there! And he reassured me, he knew, they had stopped for a bathroom break.  I continued to walk down the trail, till I met Karen and her pacer, Amy.  Karen looked a little down, as expected.  I chatted on about how tough the MMT trails are,  how most of us Buckeyes are startled by the size of the Virginia mountains, my first DNF in Virginia, at Mountain Masochist way back in 2007. I just wanted to fill the air and occupy the last few steps until we rounded the corner to the aid station.

I left Karen with her crew and told Quatro that Karen was back. I hung around for a bit more, talked to Brad from NJ who was picking up his drop bag, then I decided I needed to get out of Dodge.  I didn't go to the finish line because I knew if I did, I wouldn't leave for hours!

I made the journey home safely. It was not hard for me to be on the other side of the aid station table, but I will be back next year with a bib on again, on those lovely Massanutten rocks!!

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