I know that what follows is possibly the worst race report ever written. And it’s unfortunate, because the Run Rabbit Run 100 is a race that deserves a better chronicling than I’m able to give. I wish I could write something profound, or at least useful, about my experience at the 2015 Run Rabbit Run 100. But in thinking back about my race, I don’t have any feelings of regret, or accomplishment, or disappointment, or triumph.
In a weird way, it simply felt like I was out for a really long run, except that there were other runners on the trails, and every once a while there were some tents where I could get food and drink, and access the occasional drop bag.
I had no crew or pacers. Combine that with the fact that I’m not really a talkative person (and therefore not likely to strike up conversations with fellow runners), and my time on the course was remarkably quiet and calm.
Maybe that was part of the problem. I tried to keep everything fairly comfortable, out of fear of blowing up on the second half of the course. But instead, I felt like a balloon with a slow leak. Once the air was gone, there wasn’t anything left.
I made it to Dry Lake #1 (mile 64.7) a little after 5:00 am, and was done. Just done. No tortured self-reflection. No “do or die” pep talk to rally myself onward. It was the right decision and I knew it right away.
The 7.6 mile segment from Summit Lake #1 to Dry Lake #1 was mostly downhill, but I was unable to do anything more than a walk… very slowly. I tried to transition into a jog at least a couple dozen times, but my legs and hips weren’t having any of it.
It was chilly, but I don’t think the cold was the problem. I planned for the temps reasonably well, although the gear and clothing I chose was too bulky and heavy. So not only was I unable moving quickly, the bulk of all the layers made me FEEL un-fast, and I couldn’t get my mojo back.
Things I Learned:
- My first race on an unfamiliar course is always difficult. I think not knowing the trails I’m running on takes a lot of mental energy — energy that I could be better using elsewhere. Now that I’ve been on the course (at least through the first 65 miles), I’m sure I’ll feel more comfortable next time. (Yep, I’m already planning to sign up for next year’s event.)
- Running without my GPS watch was awesome. It was much easier to get into a groove and not be distracted about my pace.
Next Time I Do the Run Rabbit Run, I’ll Do the Following:
- Be quicker through Olympian Hall, in both directions. At Olympian Hall #1, I futzed around a little too much, pondering my food options. At Olympian #2, it took longer than it should have to change into tights and get my cold/night gear in place.
- Spend less time at Summit Lake #1. I sat down inside the tent because there were chairs and heaters, even though I wasn’t particularly cold. Maybe that’s a sign of being mentally tired, or perhaps not having a proper racing mentality. But now that I’ve done it wrong once, I’ll have a better idea on how to be more efficient through that station.
- Use a more appropriate pack. I ran with the Ultimate Direction AK vest, and found it to be a little too small for my needs. I think I’d either want to move up to the UD SJ vest, or perhaps use the AK vest together with a waist pack I have for certain sections of the race.
- Do a better job of eating real food. I probably fell behind a little bit in my calorie intake starting at Olympian #2. After taking a little too long to change clothes, I shortchanged myself on the food that was available. Next time: the FIRST order of business when entering an aid station is to eat, and eat a lot. Address the other aid station matters AFTER eating.
- Be better prepared for the back-of-pack realities. The water-only stop on Emerald Mountain was empty by the time I got back to it on the way down to Olympian Hall #2. It wasn’t far from the water jugs to Olympian Hall, but next time I’ll be sure to carry more liquid out of Cow Creek for the almost 12 miles from Cow Creek to Olympian Hall #2. And I shouldn’t get my heart set on particular items like grilled cheese at some of the cold nighttime aid stations, because the grilled cheese goes quickly!
Looking forward to next time!