Run Rabbit Run 100: Part II- Island Hopping

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” – Walter Elliott

How Many Licks?:

Run Rabbit Run 100 asked me so many questions that I didn’t want to answer. “Mister Tortoise how many miles does it take to get to the end of this damn race?” “I’ve never made it without biting, ask Mister Owl.” How many miles does it take to get to the end of Run Rabbit Run 100? The world may never know. After a while I lost count and I was thankful I did!

Going into the race I told myself “you just have to keep going!” Running a 100 mile race is a lot like getting to the Tootsie Roll center. It starts off with that sweet candy coating, then you slowly lose count of the licks and just want to chomp down…but that means you lost. There are no shortcuts! So, you just try to manage the sucking for as long as possible. The crystalline structure you were holding onto begins to fracture, but instead of providing inspiration; you just cut the roof of your mouth. You’re bleeding gently and it feel like you’ll never get there and all you want is to get to the end. At some point your focus starts to wander and you think “I don’t even fucking like Tootsie rolls! Why am I doing this?”

Advice in trail running is free, but you’ve got to run your own race. You’ve got to trust in your training and believe in yourself…even when you don’t. You just have to keep moving and count down the miles. Then again, maybe the wise owl was right after all? Just don’t overthink it and do what comes what comes naturally. As the race went alone I discover the owl was right! You DO NOT want to count the miles! Instead, get a new Tootsie Pop at each aid station and reset the odometer. The frustration and struggling during the prior miles may still linger, but that is all in the past. NO! Don’t even think about the future; it will crush you! There is no future and there is no past, only the painfully slow unwrapping of the Present.

So, I journeyed aid station to aid station. Each aid station is a great relief and my salvation, but it is always something I cannot fully accept. Everything I want is right in front of me: warmth, food, water, good friends, and an ending. But, I have to move on because this is not MY ending. So, I force myself out in pursuit of finding the same thing many hours later. It got more and more difficult to keep moving and the justifications for staying in the aid stations grew. Then there came a point where I stop even trying to justify it; I don’t care anymore. I’m getting my ass kicked and I just want to stop. People tell me I look great and that I’m doing really well. The comfort is too much to handle; so, I venture out for the truth I seek.

Island One (Terra Firma):

I felt on solid ground for the first several sections of the race! The island hopping hadn’t started yet and I was happy. This doesn’t mean the sections were easy, but I was just running and hiking the race early on. Aside from a temporary moment of panic right at the beginning as the race turned straight up the ski hill, I was just cruising along. Simply put, the steep climb up Mt. Werner under the gondola was ridiculous. I knew all about this climb since last year, but I was not ready for it. Unlike many other races, there are no easy warm-up miles at Run Rabbit. It is a harsh welcome to a grand journey. “We have to go back!!!” (I hope you read that as Jack from LOST).

I had just started though, so I was able to laugh and remain calm overall. There was no need to return to Island Zero and I soon found myself at the top of the ski run. I was very tempted to turn around and take a picture of procession up the hill, but I didn’t dare turn around. I had accomplished nothing. There was no looking back and we were only halfway up Mt. Werner, which was only 4.4miles. Around the top of the gondola, my friend John and I teamed up. I saying “Oh, that wasn’t as bad as I expected.” John just laughed and said “You know we’re only halfway to the top of Mt. Werner right?” No mention of the 100 or so miles after Mt. Werner was necessary between us either.

Up the road to Mt. Werner…the 2nd part after reaching the gondola.
An early look across at the gondola building on our climb up Mt. Werner. It was a relief to see the skies had cleared from the fires/smoke slightly from the day before.

Teaming up with John turned out to be a great decision and helped the miles flow by. I kept telling him I had no idea what I was doing and not to follow my “strategy”. We seemed to be passing quite a few people on the downhills especially, but this race was too long to let other racers dedicate pace for. John and I agreed that our progress was encouraging and that we were comfortable with the paces we set early on. That said, we alternated who took the lead a little bit. At times, this meant I was running slightly faster than I would’ve chosen on my own, but I think pushing each other helped a lot.

The first visit to Long Lake was uneventful as there is a quick turnaround to head down Fish Creek Falls. I was feeling really good about the race early on though.

The section down Fish Creek Falls was one of my favorites of the day. It was beautiful and had a lot of technical/semi-technical singletrack. I had only “seen” this section in the reverse direction pacing Allen with headlamps the year before, so it was cool to see the beauty of this part in the light of day. I tried not to think about the fact that I’d be climbing back up the same section in the dark hours later.

Running down Fish Creek Falls was a very enjoyable part of the course. I was still full of energy and enthusiasm at this early stage as well.
I was really enjoying myself and tried to savor the entire experience; even stopping to take pictures. My attitude unfortunately changed as the day progressed.
One more picture from the Fish Creek Falls section.

As we closed in on the Fish Creek Falls trailhead, the technically of the trail lessened allowing us to open up our pace a little bit more. We crossed a bridge about a 1/4 mile from the parking lot when we passed a few other runners taking selfies. One of them called out to us, “Hey, you guys are cheating.” John and I were very confusing and ignored them running up to the parking lot. Many hours later heading back up Fish Creek Falls with daylight dwindling; I understood that we were cheating ourselves. It turns out that a quick turn to the right would’ve provided us amazing views of the falls. We were dialed into the race though! Here is a picture of the falls from the day after the race:

Fish Creek Falls

Upon exiting Fish Creek Falls, John and I were greeted by our friend Bekah who would run with us down to Olympian Hall at about mile 21. She was the first of many friends to help us make our way through this beast of a race. When I reflect on the race, it is running with and seeing my friends on the course that I will remember most. I can be stubborn and love to do my own thing as races for the most part, but I am incredibly grateful to have been in the Tortoise division so I didn’t have to go it alone. I’m honestly not sure I would’ve made it without everyone’s help. Thank you all for your support!

Island II (Hot Cow Pies):

With our spirits high, we arrived at Olympian Hall (mile 21) at 1:08pm (5:08 into the journey). Both of us had crew waiting patiently for us, which kept our energy and enthusiasm rolling. Overall, it was a business-like aid station as there was no particular problem. I debated whether or not to take my water bladder (in addition to my bottles) on the couple hour sojourn out to Cow Creek; ultimately electing to forego it. The section out to Cow Creek caught me a little off guard and had a lot more climbing than I expected. The main thing I knew about the Cow Creek section from spectating the year before was that it was hot and relatively exposed. It was still early enough in the race that we just dealt with hills as they came, but the steepness eroded much of the positive energy that I had built heading into the prior aid station.

The Cow Creek loop was easily my least favorite part of the race and wasn’t overly scenic. I ran out of water a few miles out from the aid station and I vividly remember thinking, ‘This isn’t even fun anymore.’ I don’t know that Cow Creek is that terrible of a course segment overall, but it was getting a little bit warm in the afternoon and was just a grind. Also, the section out and the return are two of the longest aid station gaps of the day, which was mentally difficult for me. As I entered Cow Creek I told my friends that the last section was shit and that I needed to bounce back; I was very frustrated and irritated.

So, it was a great relief to arrive at the aid station (@ 3:14pm) and replenish my supply of water. I was never in desperate need of water, but the entirety of my race strategy was “Move. Hydrate. Eat. Repeat.” So, I was very paranoid about my liquid intake and the equation was simple: ME – H2O = DNF (or at the least misery). Thankfully, my friend, Gary, was there waiting with a cooler full of ice and my 70oz. water bladder to take on the 12 mile trek back to Olympian Hall. He also grabbed a couple orange-flavored San Pellegrino cans from our condo fridge, which turned out to be a great addition to my day. I usually crave soda (specifically Wild Cherry Pepsi) when trail running, but I didn’t want to start drinking a ton of soda with caffeine too early on in the race. Anyway, I won’t go on about it, but it really hit the spot and it provided a nice boost to drink something other than water and Tailwind.

John and I left the Cow Creek aid station feeling pretty good about the way our day had been going so far. We were well ahead of sub-30hr pace and had been crushing the course overall up until that point. I certainly can’t/won’t speak for John, but shortly after we left the aid station, the totality of the race suddenly hit me. My mind drifted away from the micro-goal of reaching our pacers back at the next aid station (Olympian- mile 41.6). There were a couple subtle uphills on the road out of the aid, which I nervously declined to run up. I sort of psyched myself out about this long 12 mile return to Olympian and reined in my effort. In retrospect, I may have downshifted to significantly but I was afraid of failure and burning out for the first several miles of this stretch. John went ahead and ran a couple of these uphills, but I was determined to remain calm and do my own thing.

The long path back from Cow Creek.
These cows wore their bib numbers on their ears for some reason.
More Cow Creek

Ultimately, the pitch of the steepened in short order so which provided me with an odd sense of relief. My decision to walk or “power hike” was a lot easier to justify as the course became steeper. I experienced very little joy during this section and tried to move my focus back toward the objective of reaching my first pacer, Gary, at mile 41.6. After a brief rain, we were finally heading back downhill and my mood started to improve again. The brief storm was over and out came a beautiful rainbow across the valley…

A beautiful sight across the way coincided with my renewed optimism.

Island III (Schoolmarm):

Running down the road into the Olympian aid station was a great relief for me. I knew that my first pacer, Gary, would be waiting and that I’d never have to run out to Cow Creek again. I was also excited to see my girlfriend, Elizabeth, for the first time at the race which provided a nice mental boost as well. In addition, my final pacer, Allen, was there with my friend Patrick who I hadn’t seen in a while. It was nice to see all of them and I felt some relief that my team was there to support me. Even though I was feeling pretty much alright at that point, I already suspected that I was going to need a lot of help…I mean I was trying to go 100+ miles.

Following the lead of Allen’s Run Rabbit success the year before, I changed into some fresh clothes and socks before departing for Fish Creek Falls again. I don’t recall what I ate or much else, but I do remember promptly guzzling down a 20oz. Wild Cherry Pepsi that Elizabeth has brought for me! Wild Cherry Pepsi is sickeningly sweet and tends to be a little bit flatter than Coke, so I was glad she catered to my high maintenance side. I also gave her my phone as it would be getting dark soon and my focus was shifting from tourist to runner.

As Gary and I made our way out of the aid station, John and his pacer Dan caught up to us again. Partway up Fish Creek Falls, John passed me back for good. It was great being able to run with him during the first 40+ miles of the race, but he was still going strong and I simply couldn’t keep up anymore. Also, I slowly arrived at the conclusion that my feet were hurting quite a bit as the climb up the falls progressed. Initially, I just thought I was being clever avoiding stepping on rocks and I told myself that I was minimizing impact wisely. However, at some point I realized that I was really pussyfooting around to avoid the pain awakening at the top of the balls of my feet. I tried to ignore this fact and discussed potentially changing shoes with Gary to try to give myself some degree of encouragement.

In all honesty, I’m not sure exactly what happened but my feet were starting to accumulate quite a wealth of blisters. This was a troubling development and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I hadn’t gotten any significant blisters in like two years. So, I was sort of pissed off that this suddenly came up for the first time in forever during my quest for 100. I’m not sure if changing socks earlier than Olympian Hall would have helped, but I’m somewhat convinced that my choice of footwear contributed. I started out the race in the Altra Timp, which I had absolutely loved up until the race. The jump up in cushioning in the Altra Timp from the Altra Lone Peak (which I ran Silver Rush 50mile with in July) made me hopeful that my feet would hold up better. Also, the tread on the bottom of the Timp is a fair amount my aggressive so I was excited about it. My Altra Olympus’ were just a touch too small otherwise I would’ve certainly ran in them.

So, what happened? Well, my theory is that the toebox was just a little bit too flexible for the rugged terrain on a couple portions of the course. I wouldn’t say Run Rabbit is particularly technical for the most part aside from Fish Creek Falls though. Also, I had an idea planted in my head from watching Ginger Runner’s review of the Timp. Ginger Runner sort of trashed the shoe in his review and stated that he felt a ridge underneath his forefoot as the cushioning in the shoe broke down. I never understood what he was talking about, but I developed quite large horizontal blisters in almost this exact area. Coincidence? Maybe. Pain in the ass? Absolutely.

Well, I still love Altra as a brand and the zero drop helped me out a lot this year. However, I was sort of desperate for some relief, so I reverted back to my trusty New Balance Leadville shoes (my battle tanks) at the Long Lake aid station. I felt almost an immediate sense of a relief with the increased level of cushioning and the robust arch support. Also, the course from Long Lake to Summit Lake was pretty much flat so I’m sure that helped. I was starting to feel a little bit better by the time we arrived at Summit Lake as I recall, but I’m not even sure in retrospect. Maybe the presence of the full moon’s light dancing on the lake unleashed some sort of timid werewolf within me. In part, I think there was just a psychological boost from switching shoes and maybe my feet were still shredded at that point. It is hard to pinpoint how I was feeling at any given point as I get deeper in the race write-up.

One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that each aid station started to become of paramount importance as the miles amassed. As my pace slowed, I needed to see more tangible progress and my need for food became more of a focus as well. I remember Gary telling one of the volunteers that grilled cheese sandwiches never tasted as good as at Run Rabbit and that they were the real reason why he was pacing for the third year in a row. Whatever the reason, thank you Gary! I know I lost a lot of time and slowed down considerably, but your encouragement kept my attitude at least a little more reasonable. It was great to have your comic relief and company on this long stretch.

One quick note before I move on to Dry Lake, it was much warmer this year so I was able to avoid the temptation to huddle in the aid stations for warmth. In fact, the Summit Lake aid station was downright unpleasantly hot, so I actively wanted to leave. I only wore for winter hat very briefly as well, so it is was pretty nice conditions for sure. However, it did snow in Steamboat the following weekend this year, so please be smart and prepared if you ever do this race yourself. The race was moved up a week this year as well, which turned out to be a great decision!

After a few more delicious grilled cheese sandwiches and a cup of rather industrial coffee, Gary and I started our descent down the road to Dry Lake. I needed to walk for a little bit to allow time for my recent eats to settle. As we looked across the way, we spotted a strange orange light, which we eventually concluded was a flame from one of the nearby fires after discussing with another runner. I’m not sure if it was really from a fire or not, but I was willing to take any distraction I could at that point. Luckily, the nearby fires and resultant smoke had no impact on the race as far as I’m concerned. After having ash fall on our table at dinner the night before the race, this was anything but a certainly.

Speaking of distractions, a Toyota Prius came cruising down the road. “Woo! Run Rabbit Runnnn…Let’s go. Come on you’re almost there. Run it in.” Crunch! The Prius drifted off the side of the road into the ditch, but the driver was undeterred and continued to accelerate to “spin” back onto the road. Gary and I couldn’t help but laugh as the car’s front wheel flipped entirely horizontal. No, we’re not terrible people laughing at the misfortune of others, but it was funny and the way the driver just continued down the road without stopping added to our enjoyment. Gary couldn’t stop laughing and our pace started to pick up as my mood improved. A short time later we passed the Prius as the driver was getting closer to accepting the damage to the vehicle. A short time later there a bra in the middle of the road, which gave us more to talk about as we tried to have the miles flow by.

Eventually, we pulled in Dry Lake aid station to the cheers of my friends and assorted others. Kari and Elizabeth were enthusiastically crewing while DJ was getting ready to run with me. I told Gary about a mile out of Dry Lake to go have an honest conversation with DJ and the team to tell them how I was doing. Gary’s response at the time was that I was doing well and still moving fine, but I was starting to have a little trouble so I wanted the truth to be heard; just not by me! As I walked down to the aid station proper for more food, I heard Kari ask Gary how I was doing, so I walked faster as I feared hearing his answer.

Island IV (Like a Fish Out of Water):

The run down to Spring Creek Ponds turned out to be pretty “fun” actually. The downhill grade and terrain were gentle enough to make for comfortable running. I tried to ignore the fact that DJ and I were losing over 1,000′ ft of elevation and would be turning right back around to climb up the same stretch. DJ and I didn’t discuss any sort of strategy, but he clearly felt I needed a rabbit to chase so he consistently ran many strides ahead of me. Initially, I really didn’t like this, but then I found myself running with a higher turnover so I guess it was working.

As I mentioned earlier, my attitude was a little somber coming into this section so DJ tried to convince me that I still wasn’t that far off from sub-30hr pace. He quickly followed that comment up with, “Well, you’d have to have one hell of finish, but you’re still in range.” Overall, I found this discussion encouraging as it reminded me how much of a lead on the cut-off I had built up early on in the race. Later on in the race, this lead on the cut-off may have been a detriment as I felt no urgency to be motivated by it.

Speaking of motivation, I looked down at a few of the bridges and cursed my friends from last year for giving me the knowledge that they were numbered all the way to the bottom. So, I intentionally ignored the numbers as we went by. The only bridge I saw the number on was #8, so I think my strategy worked. Since the journey to Spring Creek Ponds is an out-and-back, I ran into several familiar faces which was cool as well. One of these faces belonged to John who was climbing back up with his wife. It was great to see him still moving and I was glad that he was well ahead of me. I felt like I had tailed off quite a bit, so it was good to see him still appearing strong. Also, I was glad that he was far enough away that I didn’t have to really consider picking up the pace to try to catch him. We were at least 65 miles into the race and my competitive spirit had more or less departed for good.

Run Rabbit Run 100 transitioned from race to physical/mental endurance test as we reached the bottom of Spring Creek Ponds. It was a great surprise to find Elizabeth and Kari had somehow made it to cheer us on at that spot as well. Elizabeth and I went into the gazebo to refill my waters and get a little bit of food. I didn’t really feel like eating much of anything and I sat with her at a picnic table complaining about my feet and the race. I started to feel sorry for myself, but she assured me I was doing great. I didn’t believe her, but at the same time there was clearly no actual reason why I needed to stop.

There was a small ramp with a very short drop-off as we exited the gazebo. Feeling somewhat defeated, I stopped at the top of lip before saying I wasn’t gonna do it and walking the “long” way do the ramp instead of stepping down. My friends and one of the volunteers laughed at me and I had to laugh at myself a little bit as well. I was probably being a little melodramatic at time, but after 70 miles, I was tired of stepping down and over things.

Upon returning to Dry Lake, I tried to suppress the rising waves of negativity within me. Although, there was really no doubt that I needed to get moving. My friend, Allen, took over pacing duties as we climbed up to Summit Lake aid station. It was discouragingly steep, so we naturally settled into a leisurely pace. Shortly into the hike up the road, it became abundantly clear that I had no chance of finishing in under 30hrs. I wasn’t really thinking about it by that point anyway, but I was starting to get pretty worn down as different problems arose.

Island V (Just Keep Swimming):

Honestly, I don’t remember a lot about the long journey from Dry Lake to the top of Mt. Werner. After the slow 2,000′ climb up to Summit Lake, the race elevation profile promised a fairly flat stretch to Long Lake. I only remember uphill until Mt. Werner, so I’m not sure what it was truly like looking back. What I do remember is a string of several frustrating events that I sort of wish I could forget. First of all, I started to experience significant digestive turmoil in the form of diarrhea. When we reached a downhill or flat stretch, I felt like I was about to lose control of bowels. I remember discussing that I was down to my last pair of shorts on the course and I was out of toilet paper and towelettes in my pack from prior digestive issues earlier in the day. I glossed over it, but as early as heading in Dry Lake the first time, I started to have some issues.

So, I took some Imodium to settled things down and took it easy walking fast for a while longer. It was incredibly maddening to have such an easy stretch in front of me and not feel up to the task of running at all. This was going to be a very long afternoon at this rate. Luckily, the Imodium (or arbitrary passage of time) restored my confidence in my intestinal fortitude about 30-45mins later. At that point I told Allen I wanted to run again!

Pop! Pop! Pop! I spontaneously generated a diverse array of blisters across my toes. Several of them popped as well. So, I stopped for a second in anger before continuing to march onward. As I noted earlier, I hadn’t gotten a blister really in several years, so I was enraged in tranquil defeat. I wanted so badly to just push through and run, but I still had like 20-25 (or God knows how many) miles to go. My primary goal was to finish the race and I just didn’t know how long I could continue pounding my feet with all the blisters. So, we walked; maybe power hiked.

As the miles went along, Allen tried to keep my spirits up by telling me I was doing great, but I was having a such a hard time dealing with the frustration. Allen tried to tell me that the blisters were a legitimate excuse and make me feel better about it. My response was that it wasn’t just the blisters anymore, it was the mental blisters I had built up as well. I told him the race was too long and hard; joking that he should have warned me about how terrible going 100 miles was. I remained well hydrated the entirety of the race and felt sort of alright in many respects, so I’m not even sure how to describe the pain or how I was feeling at the time. It was not a great feeling though.

I largely stopped talking and when I did I was probably complaining or asking Allen if we were still going to make cut-off. I knew that I had plenty of time, but I came seeking reassurance that I was moving for a reason…to finish! Allen did a great job trying to keep me motivated, but my attitude and demeanor were damaged (not to mention the physical affects). He shared one of his mantras from the movie Finding Nemo with me: “Just Keep Swimming”.

Luckily, Allen didn’t call me ‘Mister Grumpy Gills’ because I might have punched him. Although, that would’ve taken to much energy so I probably would’ve laughed. Unfortunately, my mind was much more in line with the Bad Suns’ song ‘We Move Like the Ocean’ as the race. I wasn’t willing to swim toward optimism at that point in time. I did keep moving though…ever so slowly.

Island VI (Down the Drain):

We mercifully arrived at the top of Mt. Werner at 3:32pm per the race timing. All that remained was around six mile with a steep downhill loss of several thousand vertical feet. I fantasized about completing this victory lap many time during training and in the early miles of the race, but this was reality. Reality was painful and slothful. I felt no urgency to get to the finish line, but desperately wanted to get there. I just wanted to stop moving, crossing the finish line was the only way to stop so I moved forward slowly.

Elizabeth and DJ rode the gondola and hike up to join Allen and I on the long road to freedom. It was great to see them, but I was pretty dead by then so I think I only mustered a thumbs up or two when we talked. Elizabeth stayed back with me while DJ & Allen went ahead a little bit. After so many almost silent hours, I was happy that Allen had someone to talk to. By the time we reached the finish line, Allen was probably “running” with me for 11-12 hours, so I owe him a gigantic thank you!

Also, since Allen had completed the race the year before, it was nice to know that he knew how hard the final section was for me. Last year, I rode up the gondola and completed the final several miles with Allen, so I thought I got a look at how difficult it would be. Although, experiencing it firsthand was obviously a different animal completely. I was pretty much just waiting for gravity to suck me down the drain toward the finish line. I simply didn’t have the energy and/or will to give any more effort. I was still moving though…

The views on the way down were incredible, but I was just hot and grumpy.
A look down a random ski run. Speaking of ski runs…it was amazing how steep the road on the way down felt! It was labeled as only a green run, but it was so sharp.
Well, one of my feet is almost off the ground in this picture…
DJ and Allen scheming ahead of me to try to get me to talk me into running the first few miles.
We were getting close, but progress was so slow that it never really felt like.
My team finally broke through to me, so we ran the last 1.5 miles or so to the finish!

My friends Bekah and Kari joined us with about .66 miles to go. Everyone was excited to see me running and that I was finally going to finish. It was almost over! I wrote about this final sequence in Part I, so I won’t repeat here. Although, as I write about the race a second time a few weeks later, many of the negative feelings I had are gone or difficult to remember. Running the final stretch into the finish felt amazing! Well, actually it felt terrible, but it was the first time I’d ran in many hours. I was relieved that I would be able to actually run across the finish line!

Bekah, Elizabeth, & Kari running in with me into the finish!

Off the Island:

Thirty four hours, six minutes, and four seconds. I was finished. It was over and I was relieved. Happiness would come later, but my feet and knee quaked and my whole body was shutting down. I completed my goal and had finished Run Rabbit Run 100! Leading up to and during the race, I had visions of grandeur that I would finish much faster. I didn’t care anymore though, I was proud that I finished and I gave it everything I had.

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR HELP & SUPPORT ON THIS JOURNEY!

Ok, you’re likely tired of reading…so, let’s jump into some of the most common questions I’ve received since the race:

Q: How do you even train for a race like that?

A: Well, I’m still not exactly sure. My training was not ideal and I was in far better shape last year when I diligently trained for the Never Summer 100k. At the same time, I don’t feel like a lot of the issues I experienced during the race had to do with a lack of training. I’ll admit this might be a cop out of sorts, but I felt like my leg strength held up reasonably well. I did a ton of climbing and several long hikes at elevation. Also, I ran the Leadville Silver Rush 50 as a tune up. Overall though, I know I could have trained a lot harder and I sort of wish I did. I did the best I could though and it was enough to finish!

Q: Would you do it again?

A: The answer immediately after these races seems to always be no for me. In this case, it is an especially pronounced ‘No’ for me though. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the race and Run Rabbit Run 100 is a very scenic and well organized event. The real stimulus for my response is that the long trudge to the finish line beat me down. I think this course is too engrained in my memory now and I don’t want to risk struggling through it again. I would say that I’m open to the idea of running a 100 mile race again, but I think I would do better with a fresh start on a new course. I would definitely recommend this race to others, but there are simply too many other races and goals that I’m interested in. Also, part of the reason why I started running trails more in the first place was to get away from the pressure of time goals. I definitely think I could do better or get a faster finish time if I trained harder and attempted Run Rabbit again, but just finishing this race was enough for me. I want to pursue new adventures!

Q: Will you run a 100 miler again?

A: Probably. My current intention is to put my name in the Western States 100 lottery next year. Run Rabbit is also a Hardrock 100 qualifier, so I’ll give that lottery a go as well. The odds of getting into either Western States or Hardrock are quite low, but those races are bucket list sort of opportunities that I don’t think I could pass up. I might consider putting my name in for the Leadville 100 next year as well, but I’m in no hurry to run another 100. This race took a lot out of me, so I’m happy pursuing other challenges. I had such great races at the Leadville Silver Rush 50 and the Never Summer 100k last year, that I’m thinking that shorter ultra distances may be more fun for me. Plus, I still really want to qualify for the Boston Marathon one of these years. After moving unbelievably slow for so long, the thought of going for speed is pretty appealing!

Q: What’s next?

A: I need a break. I want to continue to build off of my fitness, but I’m in no hurry to run any races. The next race I plan on doing currently is the Georgia Death Race at the end March 2018 (GDR). I entered the lottery to get into GDR a few weeks before Run Rabbit Run and was excited to get in. Directly after the race and for several days after, I wished I didn’t have that on my calendar either. I’m still not ready to jump into training or running again a few weeks later either, but I am excited about the Georgia Death Race. It is 68-74 miles (depending on where I looked) with 40,000ft of elevation change (2o,000′ of gain). The race promises relentless climbing and states itself to be “the hardest race East of the Rockies” on the front page of the website. Regardless of if that statement is true or not, it will be incredibly difficult and will probably beat me down.

Q: Why do you do these crazy races?

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” -Charles Bukowski

“You have to die a few times before you can really live.”- Charles Bukowski

“Even if we could turn back, we’d probably never end up where we started.” -Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

“It is not that the meaning cannot be explained. But there are certain meanings that are lost forever the moment they are explained in words.”
-Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

“Mountaineering is meaningless, like life itself. Therefore its magic will never die.” –Peter Wessel Zapffe

“You can out-distance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you.” – Rwandan Proverb

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