Memory #3 was a choice between a near record or the race that started my race season...... I went with the latter.....the Rocky Road 100 Mile. I don't think I had a better three months of training leading into a race then I did for this race. Not only did I accumulate a number of 100+ mile weeks, but I did so with no injuries or setbacks along the way. Throw in a diet change and motivation I hadn't had in years and it had the makings of a perfect formula for a perfect race. When looking back this is what I saw, but when I was training for the Rocky Road 100 I had the memories of two sub par ultra running years filled with 100 mile disappointments and countless setbacks with my health. I was less than confident going into the race.
My goal was to run sub 15 hours if possible, but I was just hoping for a good race. Well, as race day approached my family was hit with a nasty flu bug. I couldn't believe I avoided it but unfortunately my wife and two kids all got it. They were planning to make the trip with me however that was quickly cancelled. I would make the six plus hour drive on my own to Coto de Caza, California on that Friday afternoon. I had no pacer.....I had never run a 100 mile race without one....and I had no crew. This was also a first.
After getting dinner, I spent the rest of the evening getting my supplies ready. I knew I would have to be extra detailed about race plans being on my own. Fortunately for me, the each 15 mile loop ended at the parking lot, so I could set up my own aid station next to my car and get aid from there without have to add much distance to the race.
Ben Hian, ultra running legend from So-Cal, was obviously my biggest competition. I planned on running with him as much as I could early on, so I didn't have to think too much about pace. That is exactly what I did. A group of five that included Ben ran much of the first lap together. It got really interesting on the second lap as two runners broke away from the pack. I decided to let them go. I knew what pace I wanted to run and that wasn't it. However, after leaving Ben early on in the second lap, I was able to catch the two lead runners at the very end of the second loop, and to my surprise, I was on my own the rest of the day. It was a surreal feeling. I never felt the urge to walk all day. My stomach felt great and besides a low point at the end of the fourth loop, my mood and energy levels stayed pretty consistent all day.
The only mistake I made was forgetting my headlamp on the last ten mile out and back. It probably cost me a couple of minutes but no worries. I finished in a time of 13:14! It was 2 hours and 17 minutes faster than I had ever run 100 miles. It came out of nowhere. Probably the biggest memory I will have from the race is seeing the spectators gather at the 5/10 mile aid station when I came in later in the race. You could feel the buzz and excitement in the air.