Kettle Moraine 100k. I have been thinking about this race as a pie in the sky goal on my way to another pie in the sky goal of eventually running 100 miles. My first 100k seemed achievable yet unachievable at the same time. I posted about it as soon as I registered because if the goal was out there in public I would be more likely to have to work towards it. As I got closer to the race and I told more people about it I started to get a little nervous. “What if I DNF and then have to explain to people that I didn’t actually run 100k?”. Silly, I know. As I went through my taper I felt very strong and confidence level increased. If there’s one thing running has given me, it’s the ability to push aside worrying about the things I can’t change or do anything about [lots of long runs to work things out in your head can do that]. I was healthy, I had prepared, and I made it to Wisconsin without forgetting anything I needed, so it was time to just Go and accept whatever this race brought.
My husband and kids joined me in my trip to Wisconsin for this race and they agreed to try and crew me. I knew a little better about what to expect after some past experiences, especially ECS New York, so I went ahead and packed my drop bags anyway. The Kettle 100k course is an out and back with two drop bag areas – Emma Carlin (15.7/47.4) and Scuppernong (31.6 – turnaround point). I liked how they were spaced so that I could just carry 3-4 GU on me at a time. I ended up not needing majority of what was in the crew bag, but of course if I hadn’t packed it I would’ve needed it!
What I packed in my drop bags ~
- Bug spray
- GU (7 for EC and 3 for S) and 1 stroopwafel each
- Coconut water and Nuun Performance (S)
- Nuun tabs (EC)
- Deoderant (S) – should have had this at EC instead
- Head lamp with new batteries (EC)
- Outfit & socks change (S) – dry clothes at 50k makes all the difference!
What I packed for my “crew” ~
- Bandaids and blister shields (didn’t need!)
- First aid cream
- Rain jacket
- chargers for Garmin and phone
- Coconut water
- Change of clothes for after race
- Flip flops
- Medicine (mainly for my kids but also just in case) – Benadryl, Zyrtec, Tylenol
- Snacks for crew
I started out the race running with Ali, both doing our 1st 100k. We ended up running together for about 50 miles. Running with Ali really helped me out, especially in the first half of the race when she would pass people that I was thinking I may have just settled in behind. Running with someone really helps the miles go by and I swear the majority of the race felt just like going on a long training run! Ali posted about me helping her as well; it’s funny how you can be focused on how someone is helping you get through something but don’t realize that you’re doing the same for them.
I didn’t even listen to music and didn’t really miss it. By the time I thought I might want some, somewhere before getting to Emma Carlin the 2nd time, my phone had died so it didn’t matter anyway. We made great time, coming in to Hwy ZZ in about 5:30-6 hours and the Scuppernong turnaround just under 7.
There were parts of the course with more technical single track – pretty sure that’s the horseriders section – but there was also quite a bit of prairie. I was loving the prairie on the way out – slightly overcast skies, upper 50s/low 60s, beautiful breeze. I was cursing that prairie on the way back – sunny and warmer and pretty sick of the consistent terrain and view. All I could think of near the end of that section was “I. am. so. sick. of. this. prairie.”
When we were almost to Emma Carlin, someone from the race was running back towards us and told us we had .25 (I think?) to go, which was motivation enough to keep running until the aid station and get out of the prairie!
After Emma Carlin we got back into the forest and tree cover, gratefully. We also went back through Horseriders and plenty of hilly single track. It was after Emma Carlin that the race started to feel a bit hard and I was starting to get over it.
The next aid station after Emma was Horseriders (unmanned), and after starting out from that station I decided I needed to pick it up a bit in order to get through. I ran ahead and did the rest on my own. I came into Bluff feeling strong again as well as determined. I had some PB&J and oranges and went on my way. After Bluff it started to get dark so I put on my head lamp. It also started to drizzle, thankfully not much more than that for the rest of my race (it was a different story for the 100 milers, as there were thunderstorms later in the evening).
Between Bluff and Tamarack was only 2.7 miles, but felt much longer. It seemed there was a steady stream of 100 milers running back towards me. Near the end I was really happy to have them coming back out so that I knew I was going the right way! There was a guy running the 100 who had a pacer and we were chitchatting for probably the next 2-3 miles. I just kept thinking “I am SO glad I am not running the 100 mile today!”.
At Tamarack they had started putting hot food for the evening and I was treated to a freshly made 1/2 grilled cheese sandwich that tasted like the best grilled cheese ever. The aid stations for this race were really awesome – well stocked, well-manned. There was always ice, plenty of water, s-caps, Hammer gels, and all the ultra food you could ask for (chips, candy, oranges, bananas, wrap sandwiches, PB&J, pretzels, and probably more). After dark they had grilled cheese, and at Nordic (finish or turnaround for 100 milers) they had chili and soup. Even at the unmanned stations there was sometimes a volunteer there to help out. I definitely plan to go back at some point to volunteer for this race.
From Tamarack to finish was 4.8 miles. Just knowning I only had a little less than 5 miles to go was plenty of motivation to run more than walk. When 100 milers ran by and remarked that I was looking strong or when I was able to pass someone, it was just added motivation. I ran it in to the finish at 10:24pm, 16:24:04 official time. Well within my “hopeful” range of 15-17 hours. I would definitely run this race again. My only change for the finish is that I would bring beer (why did no one tell me it was a BYOB finish?).