I finished! 6:33:45
No blisters; just tired legs and a huge smile on my face!
Paul arrived at my house at 4:55 am and Kirk pulled in at 5am to pick us up. We headed towards Mohican, looking forward to a great day. It was fun to catch up with each other’s training, or lack there-of, and to share plans for the summer.
We turned off of the interstate and started the trek down the State highways toward the park. We were passing through some nice farmland when all of a sudden, Paul shouts “Deer!” and then that sickening “thud” of something striking the van. All I saw from the back seat was I think a deer leg fly across/over the windshield!
We pulled over into a barnyard and assessed the damage. The left front of the van, hood, fender, and driver’s door was damaged. The radiator was hissing and steam was coming out from under the hood. Kirk said “Let’s at least see if we can get to the park before it overheats” and away we drove.
Less than 2 miles later, we hit another deer, this time on the passenger side of the van. Kirk doesn’t even stop for this one… His only comment was “Maybe I’ll run into a turkey on the trail and make it a hat-trick for the day!” Nothing like some humor to help the day…
We arrive at the park and get ourselves checked-in. Great swag was included with a nice race shirt! Before we knew it, Rob was making the pre-race announcements and away we went!
After a short run through the parking lot with the Galion Girls Softball teams cheering us on, we started the first climb of the day. (Only 2 miles!) I had never been down to Mohican before and the views and scenery were stunning! No wonder people like this park so much!
I had to stop and adjust my shoelaces and I lost touch with Kirk and Paul. I would see them a couple of times later in the day on some switch backs, but never managed to bridge the gap back up to run with them.
One of the many highlights of the day was the trek to Little Lyons Falls. Roy Heger caught up to me as we were nearing the falls. He stated that this is his favorite part of the Mohican 100 course and I understand why. It was so green and lush, almost Jurassic Park-like. Then, we hit the root ladder. The trail ascends a rock face via several tree roots that have formed a natural ladder. Very, very cool… Oh yeah, Roy was long gone by the time I made the climb up the falls. He is a machine!
The trails were in very good condition except for a section near the lodge where we had to slog through 3-4” of mud. I started off trying to pick a clean line through but quickly realized that it was faster and easier to just blast down the middle. It was only mud.
The weatherman had forecasted overcast skies with a chance of showers. We had overcast sky, peeks of sunshine, and about 60 degrees. Almost perfect conditions. The bugs were also taking advantage of the weather to stretch their wings and to feast on the moving buffet of ultra runners! It seemed as if I always had a swarm of them flying around me as I climbed up the endless supply of hills.
The steep downhills were taking their toll on my legs. I was really looking forward to the last segment of the course, which followed the river back to the start/finish line. Rivers are flat right? Well, not here…Rob threw in one last HUGE hill at the end. Just when we could almost see the finish line, we turned left and up-and-over one last hill. This one hurt…
Finally, the last downhill, back through the parking lot and I crossed the finish line. The race director was there to shake everyone’s hand as we finished! Paul had finished 2 minutes ahead of me, and Kirk, 20.
We changed clothes and piled into the van. Kirk had checked the van and it appeared that there were no leaks of important engine fluids. After a stop at the Highway Patrol station in Ashland to get an accident report, we made it home.
Great venue, great Volunteers, great aid stations (Thanks Kim!), very challenging course, great day! Regardless of the race title, I did set a PR since this was the first time I ran the course. Now, I’ll have to see about beating my PR next year!
Photo: Right to Left, Paul, Kirk, Jerry (and Forrest licking his lips thinking about all of that venison!)