Wednesday, October 10, 2007
The Arkansas Traveller 100 has been around since 1991. The race is currently directed by Chrissy Ferguson—who has now finished the race 13 times—and Stan Ferguson. The 2007 running had 140 starters, the largest field in the history of the race. Fellow Trail Nerd Gabe Bevan and I were accompanied by our respective pacers, John King and Mike Prentice; Tiffany Bevan and Stacy King rounded out our support crew. Race morning I got up at 3:45 had some poptarts, accelerade and coffee.
As an ultra-runner, I know I should have some detailed race report including split times and all that to write about. The fact is, I don't remember much. But I can give you a condensed version of the dialogue that was going on inside my head. Here goes:
Loud BANG. Finally, it starts. Here we go—2 miles of pavement with Gabe and Carey. Easy run. Hit the Ouachita Trail. Nothin' special except hills and the rocks are lichen covered and slick. Don't fall. Don't slow down. LAKE SYLVIA A.S. 16.4 mi. Cheerleaders are yelling at me... or for me... I don't know. "Tiff, I need S-Caps." Don't slow down. Getting a little warm now. Drink. Pee. Cliff Bloks. S-Caps. Why does my pee look like blood? Gotta make 50k in sub-6 hrs. GO! Rocks everywhere. SMITH MOUNTAIN S**t, this is gonna beat the hell out of me—it's straight up! Really hot now. Suck it up, there's some down hill! Don't slow down. Feet are hammered. POWERLINE A.S. 48.5 mi. "Tiff, I'm OK." Change into Hardrocks. Weigh in. 138 lbs. Good, only two-pound loss.
Gotta make 100k in sub-13 hrs. Push! Don't slow down. Drink. Pee. Cliff Bloks. S-Caps. TURNAROUND A.S. 57.9 mi. Need ice. This is the longest 12 miles of my life. Back to CHILI PEPPER A.S. 63.2 mi. Pick up pacer, Mike. Don't think about the finish—just run. Don't slow down. Walk only the uphills. Getting dark. Still hot. Drink. Pee. Cliff Bloks. S-Caps. POWERLINE A.S. INBOUND 67.6 mi. Weigh in. 134 lbs. Not good. If I lose any more weight they'll make me sit down. Get fired up. Here comes Smith Mountain. I hear, "Watch for rattle snakes at the pinnacle!" LAKE WINONA A.S. 83.9 mi. Drink. Pee. I'm sick of Cliff Bloks. S-Caps. Bats. Tarantulas. Copperheads in my way. Getting dizzy. Slow down. Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. I can make sub-24 if I just keep my head. Mike makes me run even though I don't want to. ROCKY GAP A.S. 87.2 mi. Painful rocks everywhere. Drink. Pee. Pringles are so good. PUMPKIN PATCH A.S. 93.7 mi. Wheels are coming off. Only 10k to go. Mile 97. Water crossing. Lose balance on wet rock. Plummet to Earth. Catch myself with my head on jagged rock. Pain. Blood. "Is it bad?" Doesn't matter. "1.7 to the finish," says the old guy sitting in a chair. Smooth pavement. Downhill. Is it real? This can't be the finish line. Then the music starts to play. Yes.