June 15 and 16, 2019 were the dates of the 30th running of the Mohican 100 at Mohican State Park in Loudonville, Ohio. I chose to run this race as I was born and raised in Ohio and Mohican was an important part of my upbringing. I also DNF’d this race at around mile 55 in 2015 due to the effects of heavy rain.
I came into this race with absolute certainty that I was going to finish it this time, if not for myself, then for my family members that were there to provide crew support. Included in that were my wife as an overnight pacer, and aid station support from my mom, aunt, sister, and her husband.
My sister, in addition to helping with crew support, is social media manager at her work and orchestrated a pretty thorough on-line telling of the story of my race (to a degree I was surprised by when I finished). Through screenshots of her posts and others, below is the story of my 100 mile journey.
There was some rain in the forecast and it sprinkled on the way to the start line. My family joined from the various places they stayed at. The race started promptly at 5am.
Mile 14 was the first I’d see my crew. I didn’t plan on stopping at any aid stations, but wanted them at the approximate mid-point of the first race loop in case something went wrong. Fortunately, nothing did. I just snagged some extra calories from them as I went through.
The end of loop 1 was the first time I’d sit for a bit, as planned (in the station a total of seven minutes). I ate a bit, got to rest my legs, and my sister finally noticed the mud on my legs that had been there when I saw them at mile 14. That happened, by the way, on the barely-there trail to Little Lyons Falls, which was steeply sloped on the edge of a stream. I fell and managed to lodge myself between the ground and a fallen tree. Fortunately, the mud made for a soft landing and nothing was hurt.
The sun was out here and it was starting to feel pretty warm. I was feeling a bit worn because of it. This bin of ice water was a miracle in the forest. Splashing some on my face perked me back up and a few pretty good miles afterward.
The second visit to Pleasant Hill Dam, about 41 miles, was where I really started to feel the miles and I noted as much to my crew.
Grilled cheese and a Guiness = better. Nothing much else to say.
It started raining hard right as it got dark, and right before I got into the aid station at mile 62. I was very tired. I thought that taking a nap would be beneficial, so I could feel a bit refreshed when heading into the storm with my wife.
I usually have stomach problems late in races. This was the only time I puked during the Mohican 100. My wife had enough dignity to document it for posterity.
The second half of loop 3 was extremely difficult. It rained hard all night. It was windy in places. The trails became waterfalls. Slopes were difficult to traverse because of the slippery mud. Streams escaped their banks. Large trees fell in the dark somewhere close. My wife and I huddled at a late aid station under space blankets with a heater to avoid hypothermia, while others dropped from the race at the same point. One runner was carted off with a broken leg. I ended loop 3 dangerously close to time cut-offs and near sunrise. I determined I needed to nap and change clothes despite the time crunch, certain that these two things would help me feel well enough to make up for the time. In fact, I wasn’t certain if I didn’t do those things that I could go fast enough to finish. I later heard that some of my crew were convinced that I would not get it done this year.
I sped up a lot after daylight, absolutely determined to get the thing done. I think my sister here was surprised that I was still going.
I broke down as I crossed the finish. Of urgent need was getting my shoes and socks off. Medical personnel took care of my feet.
I ran on these flesh bags for about 40 miles. It hurt. A lot. But it was somewhat masked by the pain everywhere else, just from running for 100 miles.
Thanks again, to my crew support. These included my wife Emily, my mom Sandra, my aunt Sue, my sister Karyn, and her husband Lance. Thanks to the Mohican 100 organizers and volunteers for putting on a great race. It was an experience that I will not soon forget.