Cajun Coyote 100 Race Report
Where should I start this race report? Some books start in the middle and fill in the beginning, others just plain start at the End. I am going to start on Lap 5 of 5.
Lap 5 of 5- Miles 80-100
I really can’t tell you how long this lap took, but it was shortly before sunrise and ended before lunch. After 80 miles of running up and down, up and down, rock and root you get to the point of seeing some pretty cool things. I didn’t really want to think my pacer spiked my hand held, but after seeing the little boy sitting on the bench facing away from me for the 4th time I was starting to think I was being set up for a scene out of strange horror flick that would result in me being dragged through the Louisiana swamp to feed the gators. I didn’t think my pacer Leslie would understand the strange side effects of LSD (Long Slow Distance) combined with low blood sugar and sleep deprivation. I was afraid she would get worried and make me stop running. The little boy continued to show up as the morning went, but eventually I was too tired to look around. Besides all the hunting shacks, deer, and other strange animals running around the wood made me lose focus on the task at hand and that was finishing a 100 mile race. You see on all the other Laps (1-4) I didn’t see things, nor did I walk aimlessly (I purposefully kicked the stump), nor did I feel like I would end up as gator bait.
How does a runner get himself into such a funk… Well its my wife’s fault.
After my DNF at Superior100 I was having one of those sad days were I felt like I wasn’t good enough to finish a second 100 mile race. So I asked her the question I didn’t want answered. With so much going on in our life, I knew I shouldn’t ask it, but I did. “Honey, (That’s not her name, but for blogging purposes) I am a little sad I trained so hard for Superior100 and wasn’t able to continue after 45 miles. I am in really the best shape I have ever been in for a 100 mile race, what do you think I should do?” Her answer was the reason it was her fault… For this was the first time I ever asked her what I should do instead of just doing whatever the heck I wanted to do. I love her for it. She suggested I find another race to run, and after some discussion and looking we realized December 1st or 8th was the only two weekend’s available till after February. So it became my task to find a race that fit into the schedule that didn’t break the bank.
Welcome to Cajun Coyote 100! What a hoot I thought after checking it out, reading the waiver, and checking for how to get there. Villa Platte, Louisiana was in the middle of no where. A 19 hour drive or a hop skip and a flight from most airports. Before registering I asked around in my ultra community and no one stepped up to say “Hay I will pay way too much money to hang out with a grumpy, whiny, snot nosed, red a$$ed, runner for the weekend”. Some friends I have. So I did the next best thing, asked my wife who said no (insert sad puppy dog face). Next best thing was my “not really” brother brother who was always on the edge of his seat waiting to be asked to go. Little did he know it would be such a great experience. Fast forward to race day because I did little to no training Maybe 45-60 miles total for 3 months leading up to the race. I knew I forgot to do something.
We arrived in Ville Platte on race morning at way too dark thirty to be met by a mask less Bat Man and his non costumed assistant who attacked me with a Sharpie marker branding my arm with the number 173. Okay, okay I didn’t sign up for a Triathlon what is up with the number? They replied that that’s the way it is. Thankfully I was quickly distracted by the National Geographic and all the discount coupons to the Haunted Cemetery in my goodie bag to worry about being allergic to the marker. Other like minded fans of ultra running started to gather together with the all too famous, My ultra wasn’t nearly as cool as your ultra statements going around (humble as they are). Being the only runner from MichiganI didn’t recognize anyone in the race, but I suddenly saw one gal I recognized from somewhere… Oh don’t I know you from Western States; yeah you were that group with all the Crew Shirts on in the airport. I still can’t remember their names, but on this day the runner they were crewing would be unforgettable. So we started.
Wearing my Mitten State.com Shirt
Typical start at an ultra, ready set bang walk.
Lap 1 of 5 Worth the Hurt- Kevin’s Lap
The woods around us became brighter as we ran so no one needed a head lamp. It wasn’t long before I met Kevin who had a photo dangling from his hydration pack. The conversation started with “who are you running for?” to “wow you are crazier than I am”. It wasn’t funny farm, but more like Patch Adams “Where’s the sky, Who likes to…?”. The miles flew by and I didn’t pay much attention to anything other then. Number 173 in, 173 out of the first 2 aid stations. By this time nature called me to hang our near a stump for a few minutes longer than I wanted Kevin to wait. Off I went alone for most of the rest of the lap. I missed Kevin soon after her left because of all the stuff I was learning about fundraising on his adventure with the Snowdrop organization.
Lap 2 of 5 Loner in the woods
Run when I could, Power hike when I could. I felt really good on lap 2 and moved along faster than I anticipated. Wasn’t much to think about other than planning a run fromMichiganall the way toEthiopiato get my son. I had big dreams about mile 34. I soon was running with a guy who grew up in Greenville,MI(where I work) and he pushed me a little on the pace, but what a surprised. A funny thing happened at Aid station 4, I forgot my Hand Held, and after being picked on about something I turned my I pod back on and Fred Bear was playing and here are two “Bearded Hippy looking Biker dudes” running the aid station, so I was laughing and shared some Air Guitar with them before grabbing my hand held and getting out of there before any medicinal smoke started flowing. It wasn’t long and the lead runners were whizzing by (not latterly) and I was able to yell out to all of them and make a big scene for each. Some were from the Ultra list which was cool, because none of my friends hang out there, but these cool runners do. Toward the end of this loop I ran into Rob from Pennsylvania. In and out of the Start/Finish I went, but I forgot my Hand held again, thankfully Jeff (my not brother) was there to save me. I also met Leslie my pacer for the first time who drove all the way in from Baton Rouge (1 hour ½ hour) away to help me.
Lap 3 of 5 Walkers in the Night
Boy could Rob power walk. No matter how I tried I couldn’t keep up without running a few strides, which rocked the pace. This was another one of those flying by hardly remembering the trail or anyone else on it times. Rob and I talked for hours about Genetics, Proteins, Neurons, Pharmaceuticals, and all the stuff I normally don’t get to talk about because I surround my self with people like me who want to talk about poop, farts, and running. Rob was so excited because he received the call his son had been accepted into a great college. The good news made him walk faster and me try to keep up. Aid stations took longer, because we would sit down break bread with the volunteers until we both felt we made the world better and continued on like Louis and Clark. We pioneered our way almost to the Start/Finish before I lost touch with him. I left him behind to fend for himself and the painful muscles.
Lap 4 of 5 Leslie and Dance moves
After a wonderful massage by my not real brother Jeff (who learned playing football how to massage… Don’t ask me what they do in the Locker rooms). Leslie took up her post behind me and away we went. Little did I know that while I was running she was playing a game called Dance Dance Revolution. More frequently than you could imagine I would hear her toe hit a stump and then she would fall forward calling out “Dance Moves”. We laughed and talked for hours under the stars while we ran. It was nice having someone’s first 40 miler be with me on the trails in the middle of a swamp. I feel kinda bad leading the way for most of it, but I was so afraid she was going to fall, because the two times she lead, she tripped within a few hundred yards. I liked leading the way through the jungle I knew so well. I played tour guide Brandon thus not being my first trip around this circle. She got to see Wolf Spiders that had eyes glowing under the leaves. At first they were here and there, but soon they were everywhere. Enough of them to keep me from laying down and sleeping anywhere.
Wolf Spider in Louisiana
Lap 4 was so quick we woke Jeff up who was sleeping in the back of the car. I felt kinda bad for him being so tall fitting into such a small car. Without a mutter of complaint he was up and taking care of all my needs for my final lap. I ended up getting about 20 minutes of sleep while propping my feet up on the picnic table and letting my muscles relax. Something that had worked so well all day turned into a bad thing. My muscles ended up getting really tight.
Lap 5 of 5 – Quiet as a mouse just slammed in the door
Leaving the aid station I forgot my ability to run. I was so sore that I started running and stopped quickly, walking was working, and so we went on. By the time we got to aid station 3 I was so tired I had to sit down. I fell asleep for only 3-4 minutes and I was ready to run… FAST until I had to stop. It only last maybe a ½ mile, but I ran like the wind, and it wasn’t till a hill slowed me down did I stop. I couldn’t run much more after that. It wasn’t long until we were caught by Rob, and then we caught another runner that Leslie knew at Aid Station 4. I wanted to run with them into the finish, but I couldn’t go any faster. On we walked. I felt bad for Leslie having me in just a quiet mood, but I couldn’t bring myself to talk or listen. Quiet as a mouse we walked, but like one shut in the door my form sucked. My feet hurt, chaffing between my legs screamed, and on I walked. Never wanting to quit, but wanting to finish sooner than I was able.
It ended 1731 minutes after it started, I wasn’t first, and I wasn’t last. I finished my 2nd 100 mile race, (3rd attempt in 2012). I earned the Awesome Belt Buckle and a Coyote skull to acknowledge my finish.
Jeff became an even bester friend after the race. Taking care of me like any brother would care for their dying father, me being the older acting man of our group. I don’t remember much, but I remember how awesome the weekend was. An adventure in Louisiana, the 9th state completed on my quest to finish 50 ultras in 50 states.
This story seems to end so happily with a man finishing 100 miles with little training leading up to the race, but its not a happy ending yet. I never felt like quitting, but I never felt I finished. My race isn’t over. I still have a 4 year old boy waiting for me to come get him inEthiopia. The entire race I thought about what it would take to run to him, to hold him, to play with him. I ran for the 10 people who pledged $0.75-1 per mile for me to run. I couldn’t stop, and I feel I am still running.
Can you help me get him home? – Our Adoption Blog