2017-12-02 - Devil Dog 100k Race

~63 miles @ ~19 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Devil_Dog_100k_pre-race_flags_z_2017-12-02a.jpg"No Sleep Till Brooklyn!" A Beastie Boys song plays on the car radio Saturday morning at 3:30AM — quite an appropriate ultramarathon anthem. Devil Dog Race Director Toni Aurilio laughs and wishes she knew the lyrics. "Devil Dog" is a nickname for a US Marine; her husband is one. She has two big Vizsla hounds, Toofy and Gunny, whose names honor two of the aid stations. Marine Corps Base Quantico is nearby and mid-afternoon we hear the boom of live fire training echo between the hills.

"I'm a hugger!" says Toni, wishing runners success and awarding warm embraces before the start. Her red-white-and-blue flag-theme outfit goes well with patriotic ensigns that decorate the stage. Toni ran the 2013 and 2017 Stone Mill 50 Milers, where in both years our paths crossed near mile 29. Today, she and fellow RD Bob Gaylord are in charge.

"Only the 100k — I am unworthy of the 100 miler!" The 2016 Devil Dog ended in a DNF (Did Not Finish) when a hilly course plus an ice storm proved beyond my feeble abilities. This year's 100 km attempt has a happy ending: at 1:30AM on Sunday morning I cross the line officially in 19:27:45, 79th of 83, not counting 19 who didn't finish and another 19 who didn't start.
It's a long day: Lap 1 takes ~6 hours for the first ~23 miles; lap 2 is another ~6 hours to do the next ~20; and the final lap in the dark is ~7.5 hours. At the end of the first circuit ultra-buddy Stephanie Fonda awards a hug and then efficiently kicks me out of the start/finish area where she's volunteering. Onward!

The woods are beautiful but fallen foliage covers some tricky rocks and roots. At mile ~6 I roll the already-sore right ankle, but fortunately it settles down after a bit of walking. At mile ~15 a fall onto hands results in only minor scrapes. Another fall at mile ~50 decorates the gray beard with brown leaves.

Awesome-mindful Sirisha Golla meets me before the start, and we compare notes on recent races. I remind her to soften, let go of goals, and accept what is. Today she undertakes the 100 miler, but terrain is too tough and she calls it a day at 100 km. Wise decision, Sirisha!
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Devil_Dog_100k_mile_42_Jennifer_Hotchkiss_z_2017-12-02_t.jpg"Look, a halo around the Moon!" Ultra-kind Jennifer Hotchkiss meets me at Camp Remi just after the sun sets and paces the final 20 mile lap through the woods of Prince William Forest Park. It's her revenge on the Devil Dog last year, when she missed a turn, went miles off course, and DNF'd. As we journey together we're joined at mile ~54 by Dipak Bhattacharyya. He has already run a flock of ultras this year including the 2017-04-29 - C and O Canal 100 Miler. But now he is sick as are others we meet. Perhaps they ate something unfortunate at an aid station?

Emmanuel Odebunmi introduces himself before the start. At mile ~40 as the sun sets he's sitting on a rock without a light, and not feeling well. I lend him a backup flashlight; he makes it safely to the end of his second lap and drops there, leaving the lamp with race officials who return it to me.

"Remember Shelley?" At the mile ~48 aid station happy RD Bob Gaylord chats with me about the 2017-11-11 - Stone Mill 50 Miler where he was a course official. But no time now for long reminisces — Jennifer leads me out to finish today's event.

At 2AM comrade Lucas Moten, just back from Las Vegas on a red-eye flight, relays folks back to their cars in the satellite parking lot. It's a great day and night, and a great ultramarathon with great people and great scenery. Thank you, everyone!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2017-12-25