I'm finally home from the race and my holidays that followed it. As I mentioned in my initial report, it was hot - for me, at least. In the 29-30C range, which is in the 85-86 degree range. Some wind, but not a whole lot. Fortunately, the humidity was relatively low.
There were 52 registered for the 100 K. There were only 24 finishers: 16 of the 40 men and 8 of the 12 women. Why is it that the women always seem to have a higher finishing percentage? I came in 13th overall, and 1st in my age division. Disclaimer: there were only 2 of us (that finished at least) in my age division.
We started at 6:30 that morning, and the other 4 races started at half hour increments after us: the 50 K, the Marathon, the Half and the 10 K. It was an out and back course: 25 K to the bring of Niagara Falls. So, there and back twice for the 100K group.
Unfortunately, most of us in the 100 K ran an extra kilometer at the very start. Just 100m in, the course took a dogleg to the left, but there were no markings to indicate a turn, and the field continued on a different path straight ahead. I was in the middle of the pack, and it didn't seem right, but I followed everyone else. There was a guy beside me who was also looking funny over his shoulder, and I asked him if we were on the right course. He didn't think we were, but we kept following everyone else. At exactly the half mile point, a girl on a bike caught up to us and told us to turn around. By my measurements, we ran exactly 1000 m extra. Nobody seemed too happy about that.
Anyway, I ran pretty much as I rehearsed. Aid stations every 3 miles. Refilled my hand held with water and Tailwind and kept on going. The big mistake was running up the escarpment. I paid for that later. Coming in to the turnaround, I counted 22 runners ahead of me. I figured there should have been about 29 behind me, but only counted 24. I may have miscounted, or it's possible 5 runners had already dropped out. At about the 22 mile mark, my legs were dead. Seriously - it felt like it does during a marathon, except I had a LOT more running to do. So, I slowed down significantly, and began walking every uphill. It was a real struggle to continue on to the midway point, and I seriously thought of dropping out. My brain was pretty convinced that I couldn't do the whole thing all over again, and it was making a pretty good case for it's opinion. However, at the halfway point (start line/finish line) there was a stranger who kept saying to me over and over again how amazing I looked after 50K, that it looked like I was fresh and she couldn't believe I was looking that fresh. So, I refilled and kept on running. And then all the red bibs (50K runners) coming in along the next 10 or so miles kept cheering and saying I was amazing for doing it all over again. I'm a sucker for affirming comments, it seems. So I kept on going. I was pretty sure, based on my slowing pace, that I would not make the 14 hour cut off. So, my plan was to run as far as I could in 14 hours, saying I gave it my best shot.
This time, I walked up the escarpment with another runner. We had a nice conversation. Just don't ask me what we said. Coming into the 75K transition was a mob scene this time around. It's a Saturday in late June. Father's Day weekend. Gorgeous day. Midafternoon. EVERYBODY was at the Falls! It was impossible to run through that mob of humanity. Basically, it was a half mile of weaving in and out of people, photobombing their shots, and trying to take it all in stride. Then, after the 75K transition, doing it all again. After making my way though the crowds, however, I was actually feeling great, and I really picked up the pace for the next 10 - 15K. By then, even though I was really pushing it, I knew I would finish the race and that's all I needed to keep going.
So, I did it! I'm actually happy with my time. A little surprised I got an extra medal for coming in 1st in my age category, but hey - I took it! A couple of toe blisters on the left, and a right big toenail that throbbed from about the 60K mark - I'll loose that nail for sure. But all in all, none the worse for wear. It took me just 24 hours to decide that yes - I WILL attempt that 24 hour run in London in September, with a goal of running 100 miles. I'll be looking for affirming comments along the way :)