Hallucination 100 Race
September 9-10, 2016
First off, this was an awesome race! I had a great experience and cannot wait to run it again in 2017. Here is my race report of my experience.
136 100 mile runners started.65 DNF
Placed 43 overall
Placed 11 out of the Females
Placed 4th in my age group (35-39)
Break down of each loop is below
I had all my supplies packed and ready a few days before leaving for Michigan. I took the day off of school on Thursday to get an early start to Michigan. On Thursday morning I woke up at 3:30 am and got ready to head out. The car was already packed and I just had to get on the road to go pick up my friend Matt that was going to be my pacer, friend, driver, and as it turned out a listening ear for a good portion of this trip. I left the house at 4:08 am and started heading to his house to pick him up when I noticed a little dog running along the road. It was a busy road and I worried she would be killed so I stopped and picked her up. She was a cute little mini Yorkie. I took her back to my house and told my husband Matt that I had found a puppy. I left her in the bathroom with the door closed so our two cats, who are twice her size, did not bother her. Matt and Mark were surprised but took good care of her for the weekend until they found her owner from a LOST DOG poster in our neighborhood on Sunday. It all worked out and I was happy she was back home safe with her owner.
Back to the trip. I picked Matt up around 5 am and we headed North. Traffic was good at that time and we made decent time getting to Michigan. On the way, a big fat bird ran into the front left side of my windshield. Luckily the car remained intact but I hope the bird survived…. not sure it did. Odd with all the animals at the start of this journey! Matt and I had a good conversation on the 10-hour drive. We talked a lot about races, running, strategy, and him getting into running ultras. I sipped on a NOS energy drink instead of coffee all the way up there which I think may have been too much stimulation because I had a difficult time going to bed that night.
We arrived at the Red Roof Inn at 4 pm. We went to Olive Garden and had a nice dinner. I ate gluten free pasta and salad. We went back to the room and I tried to relax so I could get some rest. As I got my supplies/clothes for the next day (race day) I was getting more and more excited. I had one glass of wine and a shower to try and wind down and it helped some but not enough. I also took ½ a Unisom to help me get tired. It also helped a little but not enough to get to sleep. So I laid in bed, relaxed, and watched a few Seinfeld episodes with Matt until I eventually fell asleep at 9 pm. I slept well once I was able to get to sleep and slept until 9 am. I had hoped for a little more rest but I felt pretty good with that. I could have slept longer if I could go back to sleep but I was not able to so I went ahead and got up. Slowly started getting ready, showered again, put KT tape on my legs, ate my leftovers from last night’s dinner, and loaded up the car. We took our time and headed out to Hell Creek Ranch in Pinckney Michigan, where the race is held.
We arrived at the campground at 10:45 am. We unloaded the car with all our gear and supplies. We did not get a parking spot near the race start because they were all sold out. We ended up setting up a table and cot I had brought near all the tents where the 100 miler people were staying. It worked out well for the time being. Next year we need to bring a tent and a canopy. It was hot out and not too comfortable resting on the cot in the beating sun. I found a little tree and moved the cot under it which worked out. I was able to get a 35-minute nap around 1 pm which was the last bit of sleep I was able to get till after the race ended on Saturday evening. Our stuff was set up right next to two other runners that I had the pleasure of meeting. One gentleman had run a 100 miler before and was positive about the run this weekend. The other runner was a little younger and it was his first 100 miler. I tried to offer a few tips before the race started as a nice gesture. The younger runner had his wife and little daughter there. She was an adorable little girl and it was fun playing with her a little bit before the race started. I checked in and got my pre-race bag around 1:30. They gave the 100-mile runners a cool shirt, pint glass, 100-mile Hallucination sticker, and some other little stuff. I was pleased with the pre-race bag. I had also brought some rubber wristbands to give out that had little inspirational words on them. Everyone in our area seemed to appreciate them. I wore two of them for the whole race that said “Strength” and “Hope”. I looked at them from time to time and liked them. Near the registration area, they had an awesome blanket set up that was the trading blanket”. It was an area to leave something and take something if you wanted it or needed it. I thought that was a great idea. The whole theme of this race was awesome. Peace and love which was really felt throughout the whole experience. This was the most peaceful race I have run yet (this was my 4th 100 miler).
There was a quick pre-race meeting for all the 100-mile runners at 3 pm. It didn’t take long and I had plenty of time to use the bathroom one last time, stretch, and get my last minute things together before the race started promptly at 4 pm. These 4 pm race start times are tough since I find it difficult to rest enough before it starts. I was feeling good though and very ready to get started. I wore a light weight purple tank top, black legging, my Peace and Love skirt, pink calf compression sleeves, and trail sneakers. I used my Hydro-Quiver and put hippie buttons all over it. I also had a stick on peace symbol on my right upper arm. I enjoy dressing up and it was fun to do at this race. Not many of the runner dressed up but that was ok. The staff and support crew dressed up and that was fun to see. Matt took a few pictures of me before the race started. I had on my hippie glasses but did not run with them, they were just for photos.
The race was on a 16.67-mile loop. We had to run 6 loops with a little extra part in the beginning of the race. The weather was warm but not too hot….84 degrees at race start. There were 136 runners that started the 100-mile race. I placed myself in the middle and felt good as we got started. I listened to my music on my iPod for the first lap. I am going to break down each loop and how each one went. Seems to be easier that way:
Loop 1: Too Hot! The race started at 4 pm sharp and it was much hotter than I had expected. I was wearing below the knee yoga pants, calf sleeves, a cute “Peace and Love” skirt and a tank top that was thin. I overheated right away. I could not wait to finish this loop and get the pants and skirt off and into my normal training black short tights. The trail was beautiful and I was happy to see it before the sun went down on the next loop. I listened to music on my IPod touch the whole loop. Didn’t sync enough songs onto the playlist so I knew listening to those same songs over and over so frequently would be an issue eventually. Felt good and did not start out too fast. Ran this loop in 3 hrs 30 min. Nice easy pace but dying to cool down. The humidity in the woods was intense and I never expected that. Used a water thermos thing I got from Target but it was no good. It was hard to open the straw part each time I needed a drink so I didn’t use it again after this loop.
Loop 2: This loop took me 4 hours. I was so much happier in cooler shorts. The sun started to go down so I ran half of the loop in the dark. Was feeling good and strong. I listened to the movie “Cool Running” as I ran. A funny and inspiring movie which was nice. My iPod was acting up but when I restarted it, it worked ok. I used a plastic water bottle and it kept falling out of my quiver pack. That became annoying. I hit a root really hard with my left big toe. I knew that would leave a mark and sure enough my toe had a big bruise on it. I almost fell when I hit that root and kind of tweaked my left arm as I quickly braced for a fall but it worked itself out in time and I was ok.
Loop 3: 4 hr and 30 min loop. This loop was my favorite! It rained, then rained hard. It was starting to cool down and sprinkle at the start of this loop and the coolness felt great. It felt refreshing running through the misty rain. I stayed in my tank top and enjoyed the feel of the water on my skin. Halfway in it started to rain harder. The mud became very slippery and people were falling left and right. I fell once down an embankment but was able to stop when I fell into a tree on my butt. Thank goodness for that tree because the mud was so slick that if I fell further down the path I may have really struggled to get back up on the course. Major problem averted without injury…whew! I put on the movie “Old School” and just plugged away. I really thrived in the rain and loved every minute of it. It feels wonderful and it was fun. I held my hands out and cherished the feel of the rain coming down. This really energized me and I passed a whole bunch of people on this loop. The last 30 minutes of this loop the temperature dropped and the rain picked up big time. It got really cold and I was glad I carried a lightweight waterproof jacket. A lot of runners did not have a jacket and were in too little clothing. I felt bad for them and knew they were freezing. I Found out that the older gentleman in our camp area dropped out after this loop. I hope he was not injured.
After this loop, I was getting tired. I decided to take a rest while the rain was coming down so heavy and I was doing good on time. I was soaked but wrapped up in a blanket and laid down on the cot for 30 min. I was not able to sleep, unfortunately. I was all wet still and could only remove so much wet clothing, plus the blankets and cot were wet. When I laid down the rain was hitting me so I started getting really really cold. I began to shiver uncontrollably at this point. Matt was good support and laid next to me and shared his body heat under a blanket. I just started to warm up when it was time to get back on the trail again. I layered up in all the dry sweaters and vests I had brought….one sweater, one jacket, tank top, two vests and a fleece hat. I looked like an Eskimo but at least I was warm.
Loop 4: This was a 4-hour loop. I took 1 ibuprofen before starting this loop and I was feeling good after resting a bit. I started out a little chilly but warmed up really quick and ditched a vest within the first mile. At the first aid station, I left my fleece jacket and pullover jacket. The aid volunteers were laughing at all my layers and style. I had crazy colors and nothing matched at all. I definitely was not a fashion statement but at least I was warm and ready to run. I did keep one vest and used it to carry my head light as the sun came up. I carried a water bottle on this loop which was not the most comfortable thing to do but it was ok.
All of the sudden I started getting passed by a bunch of people. They were spread out so I didn’t think anything of it at first. Started thinking that the cold and rain had taken a toll on me and that everyone was just cruising as the sun came up. Then I realized that as they passed they smelled pretty fresh. Deodorant or detergent filled the air briefly as they passed. That’s when I realized the divisions for the 50 milers, 26.2, milers, and the 13.1 milers had started at 6 am and 7 am. They were fresh and smelled good unlike me who was covered in mud, wet, and a sweaty mess. But the sun came up and I was happy. The trails were so muddy I cannot even explain it. It was like a massive mudslide. It was fun getting all dirty and adding the tough mudder feature to this hallucination hippie race. All in all, this was a good and strong loop but I was getting noticeably tired and felt the wall coming soon. The lack of actual sleep was an issue at this point.
Loop 5: This loop took about 5 hours. Matt paced me through the whole loop and I was happy to have him. I was so tired of my music playlist and left my iPod at the camp area. I led the whole thing so I could run or walk at the pace I needed to go. He was patient with me on that. I took 1 Ibuprofen before the start of this loop. My knees and feet were starting to hurt. The blisters were noticeable on my feet and my knees were stiff. The KT tape had washed off in the heavy rain so no extra support since then. After mile 4 we missed our turn into the woods by accident (in the daylight things looked different and the white arrow on the ground washed away in the rain). We ran approximately 1 mile before I realized it. We backtracked and made it to the trail where we needed to go. I did get a little discouraged from this but not upset. I was still doing very good on time so I was ok, time wise, with this error. Still wasn’t great to add extra distance to an already long race. BUT!, I ran 102 miles and can say I PR’d and ran farther than I have ever run before and that is worth it!
We passed the younger runner from our camp area on this loop and he, unfortunately, had to drop out due to chafing and an ankle issue. He made it to mile 77 which was great considering the conditions and his injuries.
Matt and I did a lot of talking on this loop. Talked about how peaceful this race was. How I want more peace in my life and relationship. How I need to create a more peaceful environment and make those changes if I want that.
After this loop, I was really tired and took a 15-minute rest in the car. Couldn’t actually sleep but it was nice to get off my feet for a bit and relax. After the rest, I got up, changed shoes and sock so my feet were dry, took 2 Ibuprofen, ate a GU with 50 mg of caffeine, put on some music and took off to tackle the last loop with a vengeance. I was good on time but ready to get it done and finish.
Loop 6: This loop took 4 hours and 45 min. Matt paced me for this loop as well. Again, so happy to have him and talk to someone. We didn’t miss our turn this time and got it done. I was really tired but felt better than loop 5 and knew I was going to finish with plenty of time to spare. I listened to music the first 7 miles then got tired of it and talked the remainder of the race to Matt. I was in a goofy mood and called him a Banana runner since he was wearing a bright yellow shirt and navy blue shorts. He took my humor in good stride and didn’t seem to mind. I was feeling proud of this race and adding another race finish and experience to my race resume. I finished right before the sun went down. Got a lot of positive comments, high fives, and smiles from other runners. The support at these races is great. They know how it is because they are out there getting it done too and are in pain also. I tried to be motivating as well. It got breezy at the end and I finished just in time before the temperature dropped. I was so happy to finish and be done! It was a great surprise to come in 4th in my age group. They gave me a Medal, belt buckle and prize for the age group placing.
Finished the race in 28 hours and 12 minutes. Felt very happy and accomplished. So thankful to be done. I got my belt buckle, finisher medal, and a Hallucination 100 toy Volkswagen Beetle car for coming in 4th in my age group. (top 5 in each age group got a prize). Took a couple quick pictures and then went to get some dinner that they served to the runners. They gave us Lasagna, salad, bread sticks, and a chocolate muffin for desert. I thought that was a great touch to feed the runners after the race. I was hungry and did not want to go anywhere so having the food right there was great. I wish I had enough energy to go to the nude area and hang out with everyone there but I did not have the energy to go all the way back there. Maybe next year.
Then I went and got some clothes to change into and took a shower. They had facilities there which was great! Felt really good to get clean and brush my teeth. There was a guy that seemed like he was part of the staff that constantly kept coming in the girls’ bathroom and shower area to mop and clean up. I didn’t think that was too appropriate to do but I was honestly too tired to care much at all. If he got an eye full then so be it. He did a good job of keeping the floors clean since he literally mopped three times during the time I was in there. After getting cleaned up I watched the concert with live music and everyone playing with LED hula hoops that were going on. People were hanging out in chairs, drinking, and enjoying the music. The atmosphere was great! People had bonfires going and people would just walk up and hang out as they wanted to. The temperature had dropped to the low 60’s so the fire felt nice. I didn’t hang out too long and went right back to the car. I was getting really sleepy at that point I crawled into the back of my car on an air mattress and listened to the music outside till I fell asleep at 11 pm. Before I went to bed I let Matt, Mark, and my Mom know that I had finished the race and was safe.
My friend Matt relaxed for a little while then wanted to start driving back towards NC. I stayed asleep in the back of the car on the air mattress while he drove about three hours and needed to get some sleep also. He pulled into a rest area and slept until 7 am then we both woke up and kept driving back to NC. I had slept very hard when I was finally able to get to sleep and by 7 am I felt good as new. We listened to music and talked all the way home. I dropped him off and his house and drove home that afternoon. He drove the whole way from MI to NC which was very much appreciated.
Things to Improve:
No major chafing on this race. I was diligent about putting anti-chafe cream on spots I have had a problem before. I did chafe under my bra some but nothing serious. I need to get many more songs to add to my playlist to listen too. I really got tired of listening to the few songs I had. I hope to run with a new running pack that is a little more comfortable than the quiver pack I use. I have Nathan’s blue/teal one that I may use on the next race in November (Tunnel Hill in Illinois). The biggest issue I had was with a blistered toe again. The second toe on my right foot became blistered badly again and got a little infected. I think running in wet and muddy shoes for so many hours played a part in that but regardless it is still an issue and needs to be improved. Nutrition is still a problem. I brought a variety of food but again did not seem to want much of it during the race. I had brought stuff to make some wraps but the turkey and cheese got submerged in water and I did not want to eat it. I need to bring more food variety with substance that will fuel me for a longer time. I need sandwiches, wraps, or even a veggie burger or something along those lines. I did eat a good amount of watermelon, sandwich squares, and fruit from the aid stations. I ate some chips I had brought and a can of tomato soup which was good. I also drank two protein milkshakes at the end that gave me a noticeable boost when I needed it. I did change my clothes a lot as I got hot, then wet, then cold, then hot again. Glad I brought throw away clothes because I used them all. I need to try and get more rest before and during the next race if possible. I ordered a little tent that is waterproof last night that I want to use on future races. I hope to have a small blow up mattress set up in it before the race start so I can try and rest more comfortably in the future.
Overall this was the most fun race yet! The energy, costumes, decorations, and theme of the race were great. The staff was wonderful and so kind. The aid station volunteers could not have been any nicer and helpful. The course was not easy but I have been on much worse. The weather was a challenge but I think it worked to my advantage at points. Running through the rain was magical and I felt so connected with nature during that loop. It was my favorite point in the race and I loved every minute of it. I loved the low stress of this race a lot as well. Not as many people to worry about during travel. Less fussing and drama to have to worry about. I was for the first time really able to leave my phone, unplug from the world and have a truly memorable race. I felt free and simple. I felt energized by not being weighed down by little worries or concerns. It was me out there in the woods, appreciating it for what it had to offer and I loved it! My phone did seem to have service but once the race was about to start I put it away and didn’t look at it until it was all over and I was able to relax.
This simple and free feeling was thought about in great detail as it applies to my relationships. I did not realize the heavy and bogged down feeling I was under when being caught up in the stress of the relationship. I am mainly talking about the relationship with Mark. Mark and I have had our ups and downs and I did a lot of thinking out there about him and I while on the trail. I am fed up with the excessive fussing and arguing. The drama that has occurred in the past and more recent past. It worries me more than I realize and I noticed it when I stepped away from it all for the weekend. I have communicated repeatedly with him that the communication and issues need to be better. I reached a point that I am just fed up with it all. I hope he does change for the better and gets his act together. It is not something I can control or take responsibility for. I wanted to desperately for things to work and be easy. Things remain easy for a brief time until something else happens that raise concerns. I am not going to try and control the relationship anymore. I see now that I cannot do that. A person is responsible for their own actions but I can be in charge of how I react to them. The issues that are not healthy need to be reacted to differently. It is not worth the stress and worries I go through. This whole race was about peace and love. I thought about having more peace, especially in my life a thousand times out there. I want harmony, happy times, less stress, a simple life that is still fulfilling and full, love, adventure, and peace. I can create that and try to eliminate the stress. I am in charge of my own life and choices so I need to do better in creating a peaceful environment.
I am going to try not to get sucked into stressful issues that are not good for me or anyone else more. More effort in creating peace. This whole race and experience were peaceful and I liked how it feels. I plan to run with this thought and feeling and make peace more of a priority in my day to day and long term goals. I really look forward to running this race again next year. It would be a great first 100-mile race for someone since the loops are relatively short and you get plenty of aid.
As with every race, I reflected on the opportunities in my life. Again so grateful for my family (the ones who are close and mean a lot to me). Grateful to be able to run and be out there in the woods and feel what nature has to offer. It is so beautiful, the sight, smells of the wood and rain, the cool air, the humid afternoon, the darkness and sunlight, the sunrise, the little frogs on the trail, and watching the sun come up. The other runners are a great part of the experience as well. Everyone gives so much positivity to each other, especially at the end. They say encouraging words, high fives, smiles, and admiration for being out there and doing the work to get it done. Pushing through even then it rains hard, you over heat, you are so exhausted, and in so much pain. The blisters and my stiff knees really bothered me at the end. With all that I had the best time and am truly addicted to the joy and pain of the whole experience. You can’t appreciate joy without feeling despair and you really get all of those emotions out there.
I woke up on Monday morning and my first thought was that I was stiff in my legs (not terrible but a little achy) and the very next thought was when do I get to do this again! Luckily my next hundred is scheduled and paid for in November. I would seriously be sad if I had not had another race to look forward to. These experiences are more than I can put into words and I really crave each one. I get so excited before each one because I know I am in for a great adventure but don’t have a clue of how it will go. A race like this is very predictable and Unpredictable. I love both aspects of it. Needing to have a strategy but also being willing and able to roll with the punches as they are handed to you out there. Each one has a significant challenge and it’s fun going through all of it and coming out the other side with a belt buckle and sense of accomplishment. Ultra running forces you to respect the trail and nature, learn about yourself, see who you are and what will power you have. Great feelings and experience!
Next on the calendar is the full Ironman in Cambridge MD on October 1st, then Tunnel Hill 100 in November. The Ironman will be fun to change up the disciplines and force me to cross train. Cambridge looks beautiful and I can’t wait to have my second full Ironman experience. If you got this far in the report, good job and thank you for reading. I hope you are able to relate to some of this and it makes you want to challenge yourself to new levels as well.