Sunday, June 21, 2009

Something Different this Year

No, I didn't finish. But I didn't time out either. I quit. I stopped running at the Covered Bridge, around mile 42. The heat and humidity just really got to me.
A good downpour hit around 6pm Friday night and then again around 4am race morning. This made, as I feared, the green section really muddy. I was pleased with my decision to wear my old winter trail shoes, that still had the screws in them. I think that helped with my traction.

My race really was okay for quite a while. I hit a bad patch starting on the orange loop with its climbs. I actually had to stop and yell at myself out loud, to get over it. I was eating and drinking; in fact I had iced coffee in a handheld. I could kind of feel the caffeine in my head with a bit of a buzz but no energy. (In hindsight that could have just been part of heat stroke.) I perked up a little when I hit Hickory Ridge Aid Station and started on the long descent to the campground. I was just dreading the run out to the Grist Mill. Although there is now less of the course on the blacktop road, there is still a good 1/2 mile or so to endure in the sun.
I got to the Grist Mill AS, and I am not that much of a complainer, but I'm going to do it now. (This has been the typical experience for me at this AS for 3 years.) Most AS volunteers are great. Someone asks you if you want your drop bag, or water refilled. I get to Grist Mill, and while there are people (volunteers? crew? who could tell??) milling around, talking to each other, I can't get anyone who looks vaguely like they are in charge. "Ice? Ice? Is there any ice? ANYONE??" The only person who answered was another runner-"down there, end of table." I push around two people talking and open the cooler. There is lunch meat perched on top of the ice, so I help myself to a slice while I look around for something to get the ice out with. I end up just pouring the ice into my handheld and hydration thingy. I then look for a sandwich, but there's none made. I go over to where the drop bags are, and I can't figure out where the numbers begin. Some crew handler actually helps me. The food in my drop bag just doesn't look appetizing. I take a bottle of Boost and turn to go. As I am leaving, someone actually says "do you need anything?" Uh, you're about ten minutes late, but I said thank you anyways.
The loop out to the Grist Mill, where you are exposed to the sun, just sucked my energy level. As I started up the hill on the North Rim Trail, I couldn't even get up the hill without stopping. This little section is one mile long. It took me a 1/2 hour. I then decided to just walk (and a real slow walk) the next 2.5 miles back to the Covered Bridge along the river. I realized for me to have a good chance at finishing Mohican, I needed just about perfect conditions. The mud and the weather conditions were the two wild cards that helped me make the decision to DNF at mile 42

Now, the weather is not an excuse, it was all my decision to stop at mile 42. I simply just didn't want to go on. And I'm perfectly fine with that.

Big apologies to anyone I have told the Mohican course is well marked. Sorry about that.
As I came into the CB, to head out on the Purple Loop, there was massive complainings about no markings. As I ran the Purple Loop, I was surprised to see this was true. There were only two pie plate markers on the entire course. When you got to the top of the waterfall climb, there was nothing marked to show you to go left or right. There were some other crucial areas, where if you didn't know the course, you would have no clue. And apparently, there were between 10-30 runners that missed turns and were all over the place.

This is the last year for me at Mohican under the current race director. I haven't been impressed with much of the race management since he took over, and I will spend my race dollars and time somewhere else. So many races to choose from!!!


Don: said...

Sorry your race day did not go well.
Mine for different reason. The Grist Mill was run by the CWRRC with season veterans working the station and I agree they were predisposed with entertaining themselves. As a member when I dropped out not one even showed an interest in myself or the other two runners who dropped with me.
As for the purple markings I was appalled as I came to one critical turn to find seven runner going the wrong way. I told them they were doing so and they questioned whether I knew the correct direction. I told them I laid out the course and they could make their own decision. They followed. Then where the bridle trail crosses over the 100 course, no markings. Some runners wanted to go right and told them to go straight ahead. I told the aid station they needed to get this corrected.
Of the trail marking crew not running, only Leo 80+ was available to correct the markings, which he did much latter. Not a good day for the race!!!!

Nick Billock said...

Hey Kimba, I'm speechless...really. As you know, I DNF'd my first attempt at a 100 at BR last year then ran the Kettle a few weeks ago. The experience you describe and confirmed by Don is unsettling at best. Although I wasn't there, I am sorry that it went this way for you and I respect your decision. Having the passion to go on sucked out of you by the conditions you described (NOT the weather) presents a person with a decision to make and you made it...realizing you'll need to stand by it (and in our blogging world, explain it to us!!).

I am confident that Suzanne and her team of volunteers will once again provide a great experience for us at Burning River...the same you have in the past as a volunteer there.

Recover well, Kimba!

Mike said...

Well, I have to agree with Kim and Don, this year was a disappointment for me, even as an ultra newcomer, I could see the glaring mistakes. I will blog about them honestly.

Kim, I was about to joke to you about the noise coming off your shoes on the roads, and I held my tongue. Little did I know, I would have been right about the screws!!! How funny. The ONE time I chose to keep my hole shut and I would have been right.

I will keep you in suspense about my day until I get a chance to blog!!! muhahahahahaa...(my evil laugh)

Nick said...

I do remember the Grist Mill. They could have cared less that I needed my Drop Bag or ....something to eat.
I ended up getting my own ice and finally they ran over and took the bag of ice from me!

The CB, RP, and FT saved my day.
I've never ate so many Turkey Sandwhiches in my life. I think I ate at least 6 whole Turkey Sandwhiches from RP to CB.

Luc said...

Hey Kimba, sorry about your experience. Wow, what horrible "aid" at Grist Mill. :( Perhaps the only reason I received such stellar aid was because I was in horrible shape at that point??

I sure hope to see you soon as you train for your next race... So, does this mean that you won't train at Mohican either?? I hope not!!

Sensationally Red said...

I like working aid stations because of the commraderie, but you honed in how important it is to drop all conversation and tend to your runner exclusively when they come in for aid. Sorry you had such a bad experience. If only the weather could have been like it was yesterday, it might have made a little bit of a difference. As always, I'm amazed how far you ultra-runners can go in such crappy conditions.

Paul said...


Sorry to hear about your race. Have to agree with your comments. I was very glad I packed a lot of food in my drop bags. And that I know the course!!

On the flip side, there were a lot of very helpful volunteers. Three I know that I'll send a shout out to here are Mike George, Terry Hawk and Shannon Fisher. All did something a little extra that helped me get as far as I did.

Good luck on your next one.


Clara said...

Hey Kim,

Sorry you DNF'ed...I did too. And yes, I was one of the runners that got lost on the stupid Purple Loop.

I appreciate your honest post. :)


Anonymous said...

i got lost on the purple loop as well. i ended up at mile 45 aide station- hilarious---
aide stations were terrible
as was the food Friday evening- we arrived at 6:00pm and got little pasta, no bread.. This was my forth and final year doing it

Rainmaker said...

Sorry it didn't go as planned. But, on the flipside - you still ran 42 miles. Something that very very very few people ever even consider, let alone do. So huge congrats to that feat!

Anonymous said...

I have also chosen not to go back to Mo under the current leadership. '06 was my last attempt--83 miles. Just too bad. I really like the course, or any one of the last 4-5? courses. Too many little things that add up to a lot of disappointment. I've come to find out over time that a seasoned ultra race director is what is needed for a quality race. I ran Highland Sky last weekend. Top notch race from beginning to end. Dan Lehmann did an outstanding job. Greeted every finisher. And results in less than 24 hours. I'll be there next year. Sorry Mo, I calls it like I sees it. Bruce the Moose

Ron Dee said...

Hi Kim,

My name is Ron Dee, I ran with you for a while on Saturday. You helped me navigate Little Lyons Falls and for that I am greatful. As we reached the Dam you pointed me in the right direction. I was able to keep moving along and made the Grist Mill in 9:56 just in time to head out onto the highway in the hot sun. The last 13miles took me 4 hours but I finished my first 50 miler in 14 hours even. Thank you again for your help. Ron Dee