Stormy 100 Race Report

Posted on August 29, 2007 by



Stormy 100 Race Report

A self indulgent semi-coherent race report about a new 100 miler in Squamish, British Columbia. The race is a low-key event (first year was capped at 20 – 100 milers) that is run in conjunction with a 50 miler the next day.

STORMY 100 Miler

Location: Squamish, British Columbia

Date: August 10, 2007

Me: Patrick Hinds, 42 year old carrying about 5 extra
pounds

Preamble

It has been a while since I wrote one of these as it has been a few years since I started, and even longer since I finished, a hundred-miler.

I came into the race feeling pretty decent as I was in better shape than I have been in a while. Although I never kept a log book during training my longest training run was around 33 miles and I had three runs of 7 hours or more. This allowed me to try and keep a balance between family (Karin and Ronan), work, and running. I did not do any back to back days (30 miles on Saturday followed by 20 miles Sunday) as then I would have had no time or energy to enjoy spending time with the family. I believe my weekly mileage was in the 40 to 50 mile range which included one long run per week. The long run ranged from 2 to 7 hours. I was fortunate to train with Tracy and Derek early in the spring but as summer approached I seemed to be doing more solo runs.

A benefit to having the race close by in Squamish is that I thought I would be able train and run the 50 mile loop prior to race day. I did manage to get up once and run the last 28 miles or so of the course.
This made me appreciate the fact that although the course did not have too much vertical (approx. 13,500 feet up) it would be challenging especially the bike trails as although they have limited elevation change they are so technical it is hard to get into a groove. I would guess that 70% of the course was trail with 25% of forest road (the large climbs) and 5% of pavement.

Race Day

Thursday night I had prepared my two drop bags. One bag I would be able to access at mile 29/43/79/93. The other drop bag Karin and Ronan would use to crew me until bed time and then it would be at the 50 mile point (which is where they slept in the van). I had recruited Tracy, Pete, and Derek to pace me. Tracy would run from mile 43 to 50, Pete from 50 to 68, Derek from 69 to 84, and then Tracy would return to finish it off.

After doing the drop bags I called it a night and turned out the lights around 9:30 and proceeded to have a terrible sleep. I ended up catching
2 to 3 hours of restless sleep but did not concern myself too much as this is the norm for me. Since I was awake early, had time for a bath and breakfast before driving up to Squamish. I arrived around 8:55 for the 10:00 AM start. Around 9:30 I realized I did not have my shoes as I wore my sandals up. Borrowed someone’s cell and called Karin to bring them up and I would change shoes when I saw her. I then asked around and Ryne Melcher was nice enough to lend me a pair of shoes in my size that he had for back up. This is one of the really good things about ultras – anyone of the other people there would have lent me shoes if they had them (including Wade Repta who offered me size 10.5) even though they did not know me. After this excitement the rest of the time was spent just chatting with other runners (there was only 17) followed by GO from race director Wendy Montgomery. So I went using borrowed shoes.

To Aid Station 1- 5.7 miles

The first 5.7 miles is mainly flat as you use mainly trails to get through Squamish. I took it out pretty easy and found myself towards the end of the pack -13th or 14th. I chatted with Shirlee and Janice, who are from Kelowna, about early morning training before they pulled slightly ahead. Before I know it I am at aid station 1. Filled my bottle and pushed on as Karin and Ronan were not there yet. I had prepared a 26 hour time schedule of when I expected to be at each aid station as a guide and I was ahead of it.

To Aid Station 2 – 3.6 miles – 9.3 cumulative

The trails to aid station 2, which was located in Alice Lake Provincial Park, were quite nice in that they were wide and quite run-able. Before I knew it I was at the station but still no Karin and Ronan – the borrowed shoes are not quite wide enough so are irritating my feet. Top of my bottles, eat some boiled potatoes with salt and away I go.

To Aid Station 3 – 9 miles – 18.3 cumulative

About five minutes from the aid station I see Karin, Ronan, and Butter so I quickly change into my shoes. Ah that feels better. I give Ronan and Karin a kiss and I am off. From here to aid station three is beautiful single track which is somewhat technical. About a mile from the aid station I pass Shirlee and Janice and they can not believe we are not at the aid station yet. One of them mentions that she is hungry so I offer a gel but she can wait. By the time I reach the aid station it is 1:40 and I am a little behind my schedule. Also both of my water bottles are dry. This aid station was the same as 1 and both people are very encouraging (Lucy and?). More potatoes and salt, bottles filled and off I go.

To Aid Station 4 – 4 miles – 22.3 cumulative

At this point I am feeling pretty well. I have been eating a cliff shot
(gel) every half hour and one bottle is filled with an electrolyte drink and one with water. I was hoping that this combination along with potatoes dipped in salt would get me through the run without an upset stomach. Or at least further along – I have thrown up at 70 miles or prior and experienced an upset stomach at 30 miles my last few attempts at ultras. Anyway, this section was half pavement and half forest road.
Mostly uphill so walk and run. I could see someone ahead of me but did not catch him until the aid station.

To Aid Station 5 – 3.1 miles – 25.4 cumulative

Karin, Ronan, and Butter met me at the aid station. After a quick stop left and decided to take Butter on this section after getting the okay from the aid station personnel. This section was a two mile climb on a forest road followed by a descent on a single track trail down to the aid station. Butter and I soon caught Chad Hyson who had just left the aid station before me. He was not feeling that great so my walking pace up the hill put me ahead of him after a few minutes. The only problem was the dog, Butter, was trying to ensure that we were together so stayed by Chad. After repeated calls she finally gave up herding us and joined me. Climb, climb, and more climbing. Hey that looks like the trail. It is a trail but no flagging so I just keep climbing. Finally the climbing ends and I start the downhill on a beautiful single track trail. See a couple of mountain bikers who say hi as they turn off onto another trail. Before I know it I am back at the aid station.

To Aid Station 6 – 3.6 miles – 29 cumulative

This section is downhill for a mile or so then a trail to Powerhouse.
Nothing memorable happened in this section although the flagging seemed light. As this section – along with the rest of the course I had done on a training run which by the end turned into a death march – I had run previously I was not worried. Eventually I found myself at the aid station. Karin and Ronan did not make it there before I left. I think it was around 3:40 so I was ten minutes ahead of my schedule. I actually had not pulled out my schedule preferring to run by feel and only referred to it once later in the race.

To Aid Station 8 – 8.6 miles – 37.6 cumulative

When the section is called nine mile hill you know what to expect. And it delivered in the form of a long climb on a forest road where the rocks feel like they are digging into the soles of your feet. I can not tell you how long it took but it was a while. There was a runner that I could see but never catch. Karin and Ronan drove by me up to aid station
7 which was a water only stop. It was nice to see them. After that, I just kept plugging along walking and running until finally I arrived at aid station 8.

To Aid Station 9 – 5.5 miles – 43.1 cumulative

After filling the bottles and trying to eat a potato that was not cooked enough I left the aid station. I then climbed up a trail called lava flow hill. Towards the top you had a stunning view. It was then down for about three miles on a nice trail. The odd thing was seeing two cars rusting away. After this you ran a section called Pump house plunge which took you back to Aid station 6, now 9. The plunge was a bike trail and pretty technical but it was alright. I remember thinking that I was only slightly slower on the last two sections then I had been in training. It was around 7:00 PM and I was about 30 minutes faster than I had told Karin. Thankfully she and Ronan along with Tracy were at the aid station.

To Aid Station 11 – 7 miles – 50.1 cumulative

After doing my normal aid station routine plus changing into a dry shirt Tracy joined to pace me. The next section I hated in training but thankfully it was not as bad as the day I had run it. It was up and down and twisty and turny but we managed to run it in an hour and 34 minutes.
There was a little aid station halfway through this section and the one person looked like he had brought the supplies in using a wheelbarrow which he was lying down in. Not sure how comfortable it was but he seemed happy.

The start/finish was lively as there were quite a few people around. I actually sat and changed socks before heading out with Pete as my pacer.
I had now been running for 10:35 minutes and covered 50 miles but I still felt good. The sun had not quite gone to bed and I was mentally alert. In fact Karin said it was the best I looked that she has seen me at this point in a 100 miler. It was also nice that Wendy, the Race Director, came by to wish me well as did Enzo. After a couple of minutes kissed Karin goodnight and tried to kiss Ronan who played shy to the crowd. It was supposed to be the last time I would see them until the end. I also asked Rachel, Pete’s girlfriend, to take a long sleeve shirt, more gel, and electrolyte drink packages to the next aid station.

To Aid Station 1 – 5.7 miles – 55.8 cumulative

It was still bright enough to run with out the flashlight so I tried to.
A couple of miles into it Pete and I almost caught Wade Repta and his pacer but they surged ahead. All of a sudden Wades’ pacer (did not catch her name) came running towards us asking if we had seen a headlamp? We replied no but Pete turned around to help her look. I soon came upon Wade and we ran together for a few minutes. Wade was struggling with his stomach so had slowed down. He wished me luck as I passed. Pete did not catch me for probably ten minutes and unfortunately they did not find the headlamp. I think I still felt alright through this section but was not running every step as I had done the first time around. We also had to turn on our flashlights a couple of miles from the aid station. Karin and Ronan met us at the aid station as Rachel did not know how to get here. Final goodbye and we were off.

To Aid Station 2 – 3.6 miles – 59.4 cumulative

It is much harder to run in the dark partly as you are trying to light your way and partly because your biorhythm says it is bedtime. It was also during this stretch that my stomach started to get queasy. It was kind of funny as all day I did not want to puke until at least mile 70 as I knew I could deal with it for thirty miles. Anyway as a result of my queasy stomach gels were no longer appealing so it was just liquids for a while. So we left the aid station and ran the easy trails and walked the harder ones. Discussed Pete’s hiking trip to Skagway (he just returned that day) and also how trails seem to close up on you at night.
Eventually we made it to where the aid station should have been. It was not there so we kept going. I asked Pete “Are you sure we did not run by it?” “Positive” was his reply. Sure enough they had moved it about a mile further. Did a quick potato salt dip and refilled my bottles. Saw Tim Wiens sitting in a chair looking like hell. He said that his stomach was off and he had been throwing up since the 50 mile mark. Wished him luck and told him I would see him later.

To Aid Station 3 – 9 miles – 68.4 cumulative

Once Pete and I got away from the aid station I told Pete that I just passed two runners, Wade and Tim, that should be ahead of me and probably will by the end of the race. Anyway, this section I was dreading as it seemed to go on forever in the day so I could not imagine the night. Sure enough I died like a dog. Relentless forward motion is what I tried to practice but there were a few times I had to stop. It was partly fatigue and partly I was battling my stomach. Wade and his pacer caught us through this section and we played leapfrog but a couple of miles from the aid station they passed us for good. Wade would end up just squeaking under 24 hours – 23:59 – and he ran the last 7 miles in 70 minutes. I do not think I could run that section that fast fresh.
Anyway, Pete and I trudged on and finally I saw the last trail – Rollercoaster – so I knew that the aid station was close. Finally we popped out of the trail to the aid station. Derek was waiting – he and Pete had a few phone calls as Derek thought he would be late but as I slowed so much he had no worries – so I had some potatoes and filled the bottles. Soup would have been good but they did not have a stove but said the next aid station would have it. As I was emptying my shoes, Rick, who was wearing bear bells, came into the station. He had been just behind us for a while as we could hear his bells and I had expected him to catch us prior to the aid station. So thanked Pete and off Derek and I went.

To Aid Station 4 – 4 miles – 72.4 cumulative

Derek had come from a wedding to meet me at 2:00 am (not sure about the time as I had stopped caring long ago) and had another wedding Saturday night in Whistler. And here I was only able to walk. Anyway, as this was the pavement section I think we made decent time although Rick passed us as he was running. After chatting about the wedding it seemed like we were at the aid station. Chicken Soup. Well okay all I had was the broth but it still tasted good. The aid station personnel remembered me from earlier and asked where the family was and how I was doing to which I replied bed and my stomach is off. She said that the chicken soup seemed to help as there were a lot of people with stomach issues. She looked at my bottles and said I had enough so off we went.

To Aid Station 5 – 3.1 miles – 75.5 cumulative

As we started to walk up the forest road I had a case of the burps. But everything settled down so up and up and up we walked. This section should take about 70 minutes and took us 90 plus. The downhill trail in the dark was interesting as was my route finding ability. I swear from this point on my brain just could not function and without Derek and later Tracy I would have lost time going the wrong way. I also could not run the downhills very effectively as I would have to slow.

To Aid Station 6 – 3.6 miles – 79.1 cumulative

As we came into the aid station Tim and his pacer were sitting down. Tim looked even worse as his stomach was still giving him troubles. I asked if anyone had started up the hill since us and was told no. Also, asked Tim where Gilles was (Gilles is a really nice guy I met in Portland a couple of years ago at a 100 km and I beat him by about 30 minutes) and Tim said he was about half an hour behind. For some reason the rest of the race it did not matter where I was just that I was ahead of Gilles – no idea why? Had a cup of broth, filled my bottles and we left. We did not see anyone as we went down the road for a mile before we cut over on trail so I figured I was 2 hours ahead of Gilles. Eventually we make it to Pump House just as it is getting light enough to shut off the lights.

To Aid Station 8 – 8.6 miles – 87.7 cumulative

I probably stayed at this station the longest somewhere between five and 10 minutes. Rick was just leaving as we got here. Had a gel (as I had zero energy), salt (as I was starting to cramp), soup, refilled my bottles, dumped the flashlights and changed my socks. I was actually feeling decent when we left – around 5:10 AM – but soon felt cold. Derek ran back and grabbed one of my t-shirts that I wore over my long sleeve shirt. There was a bit of down on the forest road we were walking so Derek encouraged me to run knowing that we had a long climb up starting pretty quick. So I did but could only manage little bursts of 30 seconds before stopping. Then came the hill. And I just bled time as I struggled up slowly. Very slowly as the bottom of my feet were sore. Well to be honest everything was sore and it was hard to differentiate points of pain. Finally by the water jug Derek and Tracy switched off a couple of miles from the aid station. By now conversation was a bit of a struggle and I just wanted to reach the aid station. Not even sure if I thanked Derek. Tracy brought her dog Riley with her. Relentless forward motion, one foot in front of the other. It was just around here that I started to hallucinate. “Tracy there is the bridge”. “Where?” “Um I guess I just saw some trees”. It was quite interesting as the rest of the run I would see a lot of people, a car, and many turns. However, I knew they were not real so I just kept quiet. Finally, we crossed the real bridge and the aid station was just past it.

To Aid Station 9 – 5.5 miles – 93.2 cumulative

After the aid station where I had some soup, filled the bottles and off we went. Climbed up Lava Flow hill and we started the down. There was only one thing wrong. I was slower than molasses. Any time I tried to run, my stomach reacted negatively. It is too bad as this was a pretty easy trail and I should have picked up time. Instead I slogged on occasionally running a few steps. Every turn or trail junction seemed further than it should have. And it was getting pretty annoying. Finally made it to Pump House Plunge and I probably ran straight for ten minutes. After an eternity we arrived at the aid station.

To Aid Station 11 – 7 miles – 100.2 cumulative

Refilled the bottle, had another gel, and had some flat coke for the first time in the race. As my stomach was still off I figured it might come up but I had 2:20 minutes to finish under 26 hours so I wanted the energy. Dumped the long sleeve shirt and off we went. I pushed the pace as much as I could – fast hiking up the hills. Tried to run the downs.
All of a sudden I was getting sick, only liquids. It was kind of funny as Tracy and Derek had discussed who would be the one to see me throw up. Derek had planned to get a photo. Fortunately, it was over pretty quickly and just as we started moving again, at a much slower pace, Karin phoned asking for an update. I had promised Ronan he could run across the finish line and Karin wanted to make sure Ronan was ready. In reality this promise was more for me. I used it both for motivation for me and as a way to say thank you to Ronan for letting Dad disappear for runs. Also he wanted to run with Daddy. Anyway I kept walking and we were soon at aid station 10. I had some melon and off we went. I had to take it easy for quite a while as I was worried about throwing up again.
Finally, about three miles from the end I started running. I was grunting with pain when I ran but I was running. I was also so tired and messed up mentally I would have made a lot of wrong turns without Tracy correcting me from behind. Oh yeah, Tracy, Derek, and Pete were always behind me or beside me as I like to lead. I figure that way I can control the pace. What a pacer provides for me is company, encouragement, another set of eyes, and the odd reminder regarding eating and drinking. Anyway it was just as we arrived at the Climbers parking lot that I got emotional and teary. It was not because I knew I would finish. I never really doubted I would finish. It was more that I had pushed so hard that I was stripped down to my core (physically and mentally). That does not explain it but that is as close as I can come.
From this point we ran and walked to the finish. Tracy had phoned Karin to say we were about a mile out. So when we finally hit the parking lot Ronan was waiting. So Tracy dropped away and Ronan and I crossed the line together. I had tears in my eyes and almost do typing this. I was done in 25:34 and finished 7th out of 17 starters.

Post Ramble

People always ask why I run these and it is a question I find impossible to answer. For me it is a reason to train on trails. It is fun (or at least starts out that way). But more than this it is a chance to push yourself against the course, the distance and mainly yourself. You come away knowing that the task was hard and you gave it all you had. And for me there is something immensely gratifying in that.

I also seemed to have done some damage around my ankle tendons. The area is still swollen (a week later). I will go see a PT soon.

I would like to thank Karin, Ronan (for crewing and giving me the time to train) and Tracy, Derek, and Pete (for pacing and running miles before the race with me).

Pat Hinds

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Posted in: Trail Running, USA