Mohican 100 Race Report by Carol Youngblood

Carol is one of my training partners and a great friend. She completed the Mohican 100 miler last weekend and wanted to share her story. I was honored to get a chance to share some miles with her as her pacer once again. I hope she inspires you as much as she inspires me!

The Second Half is Where the Magic Happens: Why I Run 100 Miles

I have never written a race report before, but this year I decided to give it a try. I was so excited to run the Mohican 100 mile Endurance Race for the second year in a row. Mohican is my favorite place on earth to run and I had been training and planning for this day for months.

Twas the night before Mohican

Me going over the race plan one more time with Rachel before bed.

Me going over the race plan one more time with Rachel before bed.

So excited to start!

So excited to start!

I will not bore you with the first half of this race. It was HOT. I sweat like crazy. I drank a lot and ate a lot. I tripped over a root and fell once. I saw a lot of people I know and it made me happy. I made my way through the aid stations.

Eventually, after scarfing down a handful of perfectly cooked bacon and a snow cone at the last aid station, I made my way to the pavilion at the campground that serves as the mile 54.3 aid station. It is also the spot where I pick up my first pacer. If you are not familiar with ultramarathon pacers, they are people you sucker into running with you to keep you safe and from going crazy in the second half of the race. This year, it was my old buddy Steve’s turn to slog out a handful of miles with me. After changing, downing a 4 inch sub and coke, I was on a caffeine and sugar fueled runner’s high and was ready to start moving. So we headed back into the woods while I wolfed down another 4 inch sub.

Coke is perfect race day fuel!

Ultra Coke Classic addict. I swear I am only a recreational Coke user.

100 mile pacer

Hopped up on caffeine and sugar, ready to conquer the trail!

Steve has wanted to run part of one of these with me for years, but it never worked out until now. One of the secrets of being my pacer is that I always give my pacers a breakup speech before I dump them for another pacer at the designated aid station. But knowing Steve, I thought it would be a lot more fun to fire him at the end of his portion. Early on in our run I asked him if my sister gave him his thank you card yet and he said no. I explained that it had a gift card in it so essentially I was paying him $5 per mile to run with me and I expected to get my money’s worth.

Steve is fascinated by the crying mental breakdowns I have often described in these races and he was really hoping to see me cry. He wore a special shirt that day and asked me if I knew why and I said no. “This is the shirt from the marathon where we first met!” I said, “Aww. That is so thoughtful and sweet. Thank you.” Then he excitedly said, “Did I hear a sniffle?!” I said no. He was very disappointed but not about to give up. He would say things like, “Look at that poor sad tree, falling down in it’s prime and never getting to live like it should (sniffle, sniffle)!” He never did get me to cry.

A little less than a mile from the next aid station, I told Steve about my tradition of ending it with my pacers. Then I informed him that his performance was sub-par, he was a terrible employee and he was fired. Steve pleaded for his job but I was not having it. He offered me $3.50 if I would make a scene and could convince the people at the aid station that I was really mad at him and firing him. But I told him no, I already fired him and would not do it again. He asked if I could at least give him a good reference. I said I would think about it.

Mohican 100 aid station

I was done with Steve.

Pacer swap out

“It’s no use, Steve. We’re through. I’m with Kelly now. I should have never hired a man to do a woman’s job!”

I ate some food at the next aid station, and was off with my next pacer Kelly. Things were going along fine but I stared to get a little nauseated, which happens every now and then. I told Kelly how I was feeling, I chewed some Tums and took a couple of pepto and it went away after a few miles. The sun was getting lower and lower in the sky and the woods were slowly getting darker. The miles passed, and it was finally time to break up with Kelly. She knew it was coming, but that probably didn’t make it easier on her. I gave my traditional, “It’s not me, it’s you,” and “There is somebody else” speech, but I was particularly inspired and creative with this one. I told her, “You know, for a lot of the time we’ve been together, I’ve just felt nauseated,” and “The longer I have been with you, the world has become a darker and darker place.” I told her Aimee was waiting and I was going to trot off into the woods with her and that would be that.

Mohican 100 pacers

Dumping Kelly for Aimee.

Aimee has been my pacer for all three of my 100 mile runs. We have shared many looney laughs and she just gets me out there. She was the first pacer I ever broke up with. Long story short, she knew what was coming. She repeatedly tried to sweet talk me throughout the 15 miles we shared. We were navigating the trails by the light of our headlamps with me leading the way to set the pace. I had 2 reflective strips on the back of my shorts and Aimee would say things like, “Your butt is absolutely glowing!” and I would reply, “I’m still breaking up with you.” I lost count of how many times I said that. She was giving it her best shot. I got REALLY fatigued this year because the 90 degree heat of the day and high humidity took so much out of me and there were many more crying spells than usual. I told Aimee she was a bad friend for not finding a shortcut for us, but we got through it. I broke up with her but told her even though we were broken up I still expected her to fill my water bottles at the next aid station.

Reflective strips on running shorts

My “glowing” butt.

At the next aid station, I found my handsome prince charming had surprised me and stayed awake half the night to meet me and play a twisted version of Cinderella. In this case, Cinderella takes off both of her magical, filthy Hoka trail slippers so prince charming can pop her blisters with a pocket knife because we lost our pin. All the while her dirty/sleep deprived step-pacers and crew watch in horror, snap pictures, and point out the blisters he missed. Each popped blister got pain relieving Neosporin and a dab of cotton before my feet were mummified with a new layer of dressing tape. After sitting for so long in my sweaty clothes I was cold and my teeth were chattering. Thankfully since it was a muggy 70+ degree night it would only take me about 3 minutes of running to be warm and sweaty again.

Race crew

My face during the day as Aimee attempts to distract me while Justin pops my blisters with a pin.

Night time foot care

Cinderella and Prince Charming with his pocket knife.

Setting out for that last 22 mile loop, I have never felt so strongly that I had no idea how I was going to do this. I thought about all the literal hills I had to climb. I thought about how days ago Justin made me shake his hand and promise I would quit if I thought my health was in danger.  I knew my health wasn’t in danger because I was eating, drinking and peeing like a champ, but part of my brain was trying to think of a way to fake it. I am the worst liar who ever lived so I knew I’d never get away with it. The thing about covering 100 miles on foot is if you really think about it, you think it’s impossible. You only get through it by taking another step, and then another and another. So that is what I did.

Start of last loop

Setting out with Krystal for the last 22 mile loop.

It was Krystal’s turn to lie to me and tell me, “You’re doing so good! You’ve got this!” I tell all my pacers that they are required to lie and tell me such things because my amnesic running brain forgets this and thinks, “Wow! I must really still look good and strong!” For those that have seen most people attempt to run in the late miles of an endurance race such as this, the term “run” is used very loosely. It’s this bizarre shuffling zombie-like gait that is equal to most pacer’s walking pace. There was lots of crying and whining. Krystal did her best impersonations of our pacer friend Roy saying, “Come on baby girl! You got this! You’re a beast!” I was really struggling and was starting to chafe in my greater armpit areas and it HURT. Krystal had a medicated wipe she gave me to use as we were coming up on a tree across the trail. I got one leg over the tree and decided it was a good place to sit for a minute.

A good place to sit for a minute.

A good place to sit for a minute.

We got to the next aid station and I requested first aid for my chafing. The lady told me we would address it with the “Warrior Princess” look. She used gauze to cushion my skin against my bra which was fileting my sweaty armpit skin open. She tied felt bands of fabric around my arms to keep my skin from rubbing. An again I was off. The sun was up and I was feeling a little better and my stomach was growling. I told Krystal I was breaking up with her, but since I didn’t have a phone she needed to text my next pacer to stop at McDonald’s on her way to meet me because I wanted an egg mcmuffin.

Melissa and I in earlier, less whiney times at the Dam.

Melissa and I in earlier, less whiney times at the Dam.

I left Krystal to ride off into the sunrise with Melissa’s husband, and I was off with my warm egg mcmuffin and Melissa. Melissa and I went to high school together and have known each other for almost 25 years. The beauty of Melissa is that she is so cool and doesn’t even know it. She is so fun, and funny and inspiring and never seems to understand why I always ask her to run with me. Trust me, it is not just for the egg mcmuffins. At this point we really did not have much further to go and I was a woman on a mission to get this thing the heck over with. We started navigating the bitchy hills of the Mohican Adventures campground and finally with about a half mile left I could see the finish line. The waterworks came. I cried, and cried, and cried some more. I crossed the finish line sobbing into Justin’s arms. I was out there for 30 hours and 55 minutes straight, making the cutoff with an hour to spare. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I was better prepared and trained this year and finished 90 minutes slower. I had so many friends there waiting to watch me finish which meant so much to me that I ugly cried like I never have before.

Mohican 100 finish line

Finished!

Post 100 mile emotions

Sobbing with my “Warrior Princess” chafing bands on my arms. I wonder what my dog smelled?

Ugly crying to Kathy about how hard that was.

Ugly crying to Kathy about how hard that was.

My wonderful little family with my medal. Justin, Rooney and me.

My wonderful little family with my medal. Justin, Rooney and me.

Running 100 miles is always hard and I still have no idea how I managed to bust it out this year. There were 184 registered runners. 12 could not make it to the start line. 95 runners started the race and did not make it. I was one of only 77 runners to complete the race and one of only 13 women finishers. I am tremendously proud of this medal and there is no way I could have done it without the incredibly selfless and hilarious cast of characters around me.

Pacer Aimee, Pacer Kelly, me, Crew Chief Extraordinaire Rachel, and Pacer Krystal.

Pacer Aimee, Pacer Kelly, me, Crew Chief Extraordinaire Rachel, and Pacer Krystal.

This is what I mean when I tell people that running 100 miles is a really weird kind of fun.

Post script:

My sister did not get a chance to give Steve his thank you card. I sent him a photo of it and a text, stating the payroll department screwed up and I needed to get him his last paycheck. I received a text response stating, “My lawyer advised me to have no further contact with you until we have a favorable judgement in our wrongful termination suit.”

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Comments

  1. Ladd clifford says:

    Great job Carol and crew. It was a pleasure to see you out there and be one of those 77 with you. The heat was brutal but we beat it unlike 60% of the field. Hope to see you out there again soon.
    Ladd

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