Wednesday, May 25, 2011

101.6 miles

You read that right.

Over the weekend of May 14-15, my insane husband ran in the MMT 100 mile race in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. 

The race started at 4am Saturday morning.  Friday afternoon we drove over to the start/finish area, which luckily was only about 90 minutes from our house.  After the pre-race meeting talking about the course, markers, crew instructions, and more, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for a very early dinner...we walked in at 4:50pm.  It was us and lots of old people!  But - I love Cracker Barrel - sweet tea, chicken and dumplings, green beans, and yes, the mac and cheese too.  YUM.  After dinner we checked into the hotel and got reorganized and ready for the early wake up call.  Husband was asleep, out cold, by I finished a bottle of wine left over from earlier in the week and read for a while...until maybe 8...and finally willed myself to sleep. 

Because the alarm went off at 2:30.  AM. 

By 3:30am we were down at the start line, checked in, and waiting...

 Then the 5 second countdown to 4am came, and the runners were off!

And I went back to the hotel and back to bed.

A couple of hours later I was up, showered, and packed...stopped for ice, coffee and 2 Boston cream donuts (for the runner), and was heading out to find him.  By the time I saw him for the first time, it was around 12:30pm, he was 32.6 miles in and looking pretty good! 

He made a quick pitstop at the Elizabeth Furnace aid station and changed his shoes, had a few sips of coke and handful of pringles...and he was off again! 

After he moved on, I packed up the chair, repacked the supplies bag, held my breath as I started the 'disgustingly smelly bag of dirty clothes/shoes' and walked back to the truck to move to the next stop.  At Shawls Gap he was still moving great - came in rocking to his iPod and the Zac Brown Band.  This stop was even quicker, and he was off again...37.6 miles finished...

So now, I had about 4 hours to kill before I would see him I went back to wait for another runner, Andy, and chat with his wife Becky and cutie baby Brynne.  Andy and Husband went to high school together, and it's been great for them to reconnect at the races and it's so nice to have Becky to chat with!

After Andy came through, I headed up to Front Royal...I had some time to kill, and was waiting for our pacers to drive out to the mountains.  Plus - there's a Starbucks in Front Royal.  It was coffee time!  I wandered around Target for a while, stopped in WalMart to get Tom a watch since (shocking) he lost his, and then headed back to pick them up.  Tom was up first to pace, so he was getting ready as we drove back into the woods to meet our runner at Harbon Gap, mile 53.6.  He was faster than we expected, and came into the station right as we walked up.  He wanted to get out quickly, so with a change of shoes, extra bug spay, and some more pringles and coke, he was gone...

The next few aid stations were much different...he was having a rough night.  Camp Roosevelt at 63.1 was around 10pm.  It was dark, and he just wasn't feeling it.  We had a few times where I thought we were packing up and heading home.  Andy did decide at Camp Roosevelt that he was finished, and they headed back.  I told husband that he needed to at least beat Andy!  5 miles.  The next station was just 5 miles away.  Now, granted, those were probably 5 of the hardest miles of the whole course.  But, we got him going again.  Tom high-fived me for my pep talk ability as they headed back onto the trail, and I told him now it was his turn.

MK and I drove down to the next station and took a quick 2 hour nap...and around 1am they came into Gap Creek, 68.7 miles.  Again, I really thought we were going home.  I even said fine, if this is that miserable then lets just go.  The other runners and aid station people looked at me like you can't just say that to a runner who's wanting to quit!!  But, it worked.  He was having some horrible blister problems on his feet - after running through streams and in wet shoes for so long, it was starting to take a toll.  But, the he said something about duct taping his toes...I could tell that he really didn't want to give up.  So, holding my breath, I taped up his toes...just with medical tape at this point...and off they went.  MK and I drove down to the next station and took a little cat nap in the car...listening to the pouring rain...and hoping that he was doing ok...

AND he was!  Visitors Center at 5am!  77.1 miles.  Tom was finished, and it was MK's turn!  He changed shoes, ate some bacon and eggs (no joke, the aid station workers were making a mean breakfast), and was ready to go.

Pretty excited about his new peppy mood, and knowing that MK would push him along, Tom and I moved down to the Picnic Area, which was less than a mile for us to drive.  We parked right on the road that they'd be running in on, snuggled up and grabbed another hour or so nap.  We were waking up, getting ready to haul our stuff down to the aid station, and Tom asks, "Do you want to say hi to them?"  "Who?"  And, there they are, walking right to the car!  They ran that section in record (for us) time, and we were totally not expecting them for another 15-20 minutes!  So we quickly went down to the aid station...right at 9am and 86.5 miles!  He was in great spirits, but his feet were killing him.  My poor tape job needed to be redone...and apparently several other runners were having the same work done.  Volunteer Nick saved us - as he bravely and expertly duct taped M's feet all up...

Once the tape was in place, and we put glide all over it, shoes went back on, he at a pancake, and hobbled off. 14 miles to go...

Back to the Gap Creek station. 95 miles done. 6.5 to go. It was the last station that we'd see him at before the finish...

Tom and I packed everything up one last time, said goodbye to the runners, and headed down to the finish line.  It was at the same place as the start, at the big text, and we waited...and took a lot longer for them to do the last 6.5 miles than we expected...through a couple of crazy downpours, too...

They started the awards ceremony at 3...which Tom and I were really surprised about.  The cut off for finishing was 4pm, and there were still about 15 runners on the course. ended up working out ok because they announced each runner, (which they did for everyone) and since they had a full audience, everyone cheered loudly for them as they came up the final stretch.

Also, they had the pacers move to the side, which I really liked - it gave the runner a 100 yards of glory, coming into the finish line!

Gary, who's 67, finished his 14th MMT about 45 minutes earlier.  He came over immediately to congratulate M on finishing - it was very cool.

The best crew team ever!

101.6 miles.  35 hours, 20 minutes, and 59 seconds.


  1. I'm tired just after reading that... :)

  2. Wow, I just read your blog!! Good for matt! And youre a good wife cheerleader :)

  3. Daaaaaaannnnnnnnnngggggggg, Gina!