Okay so let’s start from the beginning why I even had the desire to run a 100 mile race. Back in 2010 when I was attempting to run my first marathon I read a book called born to run. And in the book they talked about this thing called and ultramarathon, which I had never before heard of. When I found out that humans could run further than a marathon, distances of 50 or 100 miles or even more I said I have got to try that. So that first year after running my first marathon I also ran my first 50 miler. I didn’t know exactly when I would be able to run 100 mile race so I just put it off for the next few years accomplishing other goals. So I finally signed up for this race and decided to give it a go. Going into this race there were a lot of things to be nervous about besides the distance. First of all it was all on trails, and I never run trails. Also it’s so early in the year I had to do all of my training on treadmills which is different from running outside. I was able to do all of my runs on the treadmill including one 50 mile run which took about seven hours at the gym. Which was pretty crazy itself. I started doing all my runs outside about three weeks before the race, trying to run off-road as much as possible to see how my racing flats would do on the gravel and dirt. So I was pretty nervous going into the race especially since the furthest distance I would have ran would be half the distance I would be going during the race, which is something I’ve never done before. So the day finally came, it was time to do this, run 100 miles. The forecast for the race was not looking good snow and 20° weather during the
Driving to the Race from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.
The race start time was noon so I ate a big breakfast with my family, waited a few hours and headed out. Stopped off for a bean burrito at Carl’s Jr. took some ibuprofen and drove out to the island.
I showed up at the finisher tent and got all my stuff together. I got out of my car and I was already freezing. I had two drop bags with all my stuff in them. Gu’s, headlamp, extra shoes, extra socks, granola bars, ibuprofen, everything I could possibly need. It was getting closer to race time. I was looking around at all the other crazies that were about to do this with me. Most of the people doing it were real outdoorsy people with long hair and beards and really tan faces.
Pre-Race from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.
Getting ready to start.
It was five minutes to noon so we headed out to the start line, it was really cold with the wind blowing iin our faces. I lined up at the start I was next to Karl Meltzer. Who is kind of a local running legend and usually wins this race every year by about five hours. So the race started and I started off pretty fast. I thought, well let’s see how long I can hang with these guys.
We were doing about a seven minute pace which is way too fast for an ultramarathon for somebody Like me. The beginning of the race have some pretty good climbs and some tough wind blowing but I kept pushing it up the hills staying with the lead pack. I didn’t even stop to walk until the sixth mile or so. Two or three guys had pulled ahead of me but I was still pushing it and going way faster than I should have that I was okay with it. I figured let’s get some good speed in the beginning because later in the race I’m going to be tired either way. I ran with one guy I named the ponytail Mexican for a few miles finally he died off and I kept moving. I came to the first aid station and just blew right through it when everyone else stopped. After that aid station I hit some nice down hills. I was cruising and having a lot of fun I was in like fourth-place I even hit a 7 minute mile. There was a smile on my face, I knew it wouldn’t last but I enjoyed it while I could. I finish the loop and a short out and back and I was at mile 13 and the wind and snow really picked up at this point. It was blowing hard and real hard to run against. I was talking to someone for a while but then I couldn’t hear anything . Pushed on for a few more miles getting a little more tired, crossed the start line aid station at mile 19. I headed out to the other side of the island. This is about the point where I started to run out of steam.
Mile 20 update from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.
Switching over to survival mode. Also came across a spot of wet cold mud which was really hard to get through. I had to keep my feet dry I didn’t have socks on and it was cold out there. I hadn’t been eating a whole lot of real food just some Gu’s and Gatorade. Made it to the lower Frary aid station, at about mile 27. This was the point where in 50 more miles I would be meeting up with Jimmy Joe. That seems so far away, and it was. The next 6 miles were pretty miserable, my stomach was not feeling good at all and I was real tired, I decided to call this the cryin’, dyin’ stage. It happens in every ultramarathon that I do. It’s the point where you start to question your sanity and start to agree with everybody that said you were crazy to do this. There wasn’t much running at all during this point. A lot of people were passing me and I did not feel good. After six long miles I made it to the ranch aid station. Mile 33. Only 67 left ugh! I was able to eat a little bit of food but nothing that set really well on my stomach. The thing with ultramarathons is, the eating is almost more important than the running, you have to really figure out how to keep your stomach under control. Six more tough miles back to the lower Frairy aid station. On the way I took one more gu and I almost threw it up, so I knew I could no longer eat those and would have to eat something else and drink something for caffeine. When I got to the aid station the nice volunteer offered me a wide variety of food I ended up drinking some chicken broth and ate a canned baked potato. And chased it down with some Coke. This combination of food was heaven sent. It completely settled my stomach and I had a few miles of just awesomeness after that. I also switched from sunglasses to headlamp at this aid station. The sun headset and it was getting dark. I knew that this was when the real adventure was about to start. It was cold and windy already and with the sundown it was getting bone chilling cold. And without my sunglasses to protect my eyes and the wind and snow blowing in them it was real tough. It was past 8 o’clock by now so I knew my little brother Jimmy Joe was on the island somewhere.
10pm update. Jimmy Joe waiting in his car. from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.
He was going to be my pacer once again and the gate To get in to the island closed at 8 PM. So that was giving me some energy knowing I was getting closer to running with him. I made it to mile 45 and had to head around Buffalo point. This was a real hard part of the race, the trail was hard to see, it was hardly even a trail at all, but Luckily they had it marked well with reflectors. But I was all alone with no one in sight. It was a complete blizzard blowing straight into at me. My eyes were burning from the cold and snow. They were even starting to blur. Kind of like how it feels when the eye doctor dialates your eyes for an eye exam. I made it around the mountain and hit one more aid station, the volunteer there told me great job on making it through the first half. He said “remember the first 50 is physical the second 50 is mental, don’t tell yourself you can’t do it”. Which was so true. I had to constantly keep telling myself that I could do this. I made it back to the start/finish aid station where Jimmy Joe was waiting for me. He had been there for hours. Talk about the best little brother in the world. I ate some more potatoes, chicken broth and Coke which were sitting so well on my stomach I was just loving them. I told him to go take a nap and that I would be back at this point in 19 miles, probably like four hours or so. The next 19 miles I don’t really remember a lot of, my GPS died at 56 miles and it was dark and freezing cold. With the wind chill it was easily in the teens. The snow kept coming and going. I just kept trudging forward. 4 ½ long, hard, cold hours later I made it back to the finishing tent at mile 69. Jimmy Joe was there and it was so good to see him. He had originally planned on meeting up with me at mile 77 but I convinced him to start sooner.
My eyes were glossed over from the cold.
Mile 69 Uodate from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.
Jimmy Joe starts running with me from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.
It was really great running with him. In there I also saw the ponytail Mexican guy that I ran with it the beginning of the race, and I said what are you doing in here, and he said I’m finished. He had to drop out of the race. I told him that I would finish the race for him. As we headed out of the tent he pulled Jimmy Joe by the arm and said in a very serious voice “make sure he finishes”. As we headed out it took a long time for Jimmy Joe to get his body warm. He was running and shivering for the first three or 4 miles. We were getting into a nice pattern of running and walking over the next 10 or 15 miles. My eyes were getting real blurry by now, I told somebody at the aid station about it and they said one guy had gone completely blind in one eye. But I have a lifetime guarantee on my LASIK surgery so I figured I’d risk it and keep on going. The long road from lower frary to the ranch aid station was a tough one. There was snow on the ground but my feet were okay. We were getting closer to sunrise so they started having some different things to offer at the aid stations. We were eating quesadillas, they had bacon and waffles and tons of great stuff to eat. Everything tasted so good.
Mile 78 update from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.
As it started getting closer to morning I was quite surprised that I never got sleepy tired. My legs had been tired for the last 60 to 70 miles. But I never felt like I needed to fall asleep. At one station they said one guy was in the back and they were supposed to wake him up in 20 minutes. I thought that was pretty funny. Also at the aid stations I started seeing bib numbers hung up. Which were from people that have dropped out of the race, they had a little notes on them like IT band or something like that. It was like they were casualties of war. I came to find out later that 40 of the 90 people in the race weren’t able to finish it. The sun came up at about 91 miles.
Mile 90 update (phone died) from Davey Orgill on Vimeo.
It was a beautiful sunrise. We were so excited for the sun to warm us up but it took a few more hours before it started to get warmer. Finally by mile 95 it started to get warmer and we just had the five-mile stretch around Buffalo point. The buffaloes are roaming free all over the course. We only saw them a few times. Once at night, and once in the day. Our survival instructions were, if you see a buffalo don’t look them in the eyes and if they charge you had for rocks. There was one we saw during the night that was about 10 feet from us we did look it right in the eyes but we had our headlamps on so it couldn’t see anything. It was just blinded and we got out of there pretty quick. Then coming around Buffalo point there was one directly in our path and started coming towards us. So I went ahead of Jimmy Joe I made a big circle around it, it kept walking towards us and there were no rocks around so I was kind of scared. It started coming towards us so I just started running away and I remembered that I don’t have to run faster than the buffalo I only have to run faster than Jimmy Joe. Ha ha just kidding but not really.
The buffalo that was in our way.
We made it the long journey around the buffalo point and stopped off at one last aid station. Had some fig newtons and we were on the home stretch. The last few miles were great. We ran more than we did over the last 20 miles. I was excited to be done with this journey. I saw the finish line. I saw my family. I stopped for a second and waited for my kids to run me across the finish line. What an amazing feeling to know that I had just completed 100 miles. It’s always such an unforgettable feeling to see your family at the end of the race. My beautiful wife was there who I am so thankful for her support through all my craziness. She is the best. My mom and dad also made it out there. Who have always supported all my racing. I got my finishers belt buckle, had some great buffalo stew, and a massage and it was over. I took 17th Place in a time of 22 hours and 49 minutes. One thing I want everybody to know is that they can do anything. There is nothing special about me, I just set a goal and did what it took to complete this goal. Most people may not have the desire to ever run a 100 mile race but hopefully I can inspire some people to get out there and do something, do a 5K do a half marathon, a marathon or triathlon do something. Get out there be healthy! You can do it. You never know what you can achieve until you try it. As for me it's time to start training for the Vineman Ironman in July.
Buffalo that gave us some trouble
Swollen hands and Feet. But no Blisters.
Me and my pacer Jimmy Joe
Tools of the Trade
The potatoes that saved my stomach
My Super Wonderful Awesome Beautiful Wife
Playing around with my fat hands
Enjoying some Buffalo stew.
Zade Helping out with the Massage
This is some guy who was throwing rocks and rattling a fence during the race. He could have been killed. Glad that wasn't us.