Saturday, April 11, 2009

I Have No Reason to Run

From 2009 McNaughton Park 100
I'm back from McNaughton Park. The race is still going on until tomorrow afternoon. I DNF'd at 40 miles. Continuous updates with 10-mile splits and final results are here. I made the right decision at the right time. I took the early start at Noon on Friday figuring to get 40 miles before midnight, sleep until the 6am regular start on Saturday morning, get in 40 Saturday, retire for some more sleep, and finish off this sucker on Sunday morning (that's my patented 40-40-20 plan). I did it last year and had a lot of fun and felt great. I even had aspirations of doing 40-60 (Friday-Saturday) and finishing the whole 100 around midnight on Saturday. There were two problems with this plan...the course was full of mud and I HAD NO REASON TO RUN.

The first 40 miles on Friday afternoon and evening went OK. It was very muddy and hard running, but I met some good people and tried to enjoy the day and night. I easily made my goal of 40 miles the first day. Unfortunately, the mud running really got to me that night as I slept. It was cold in my tent and sleeping bag and I didn't sleep well. I kept thinking about getting out at 6am to run more loops in that mess. When I heard Andy giving the pre-race briefing at 5:45am, I told myself,"Wait until they head out, then grab some coffee, and decide what to do." I was fooling myself...I had already decided this was it for me. I HAD NO REASON TO RUN.

Without motivation, all is lost. I wasn't running for myself (I had finished this 100 before and this year wasn't going to be a PR), I wasn't running for a friend or family member (I admire those that do), I wasn't running for a charity cause...I basically was running to see Andy the RD for the last time at McNaughton Park (the races will be moving to Vermont next year). Guess what? I achieved that goal before the race as I picked-up my packet and said hello to Andy and congratulated him on creating a fine set of races over the years. OK, time is 10:30am on Friday and I've achieved my primary objective. The rain was still coming down and the wind was picking up. It was cold and the trail was looking pretty sad. Water was already digging trenches in the first downhill right at the start. I could hear the creeks swelling with rushing cold water. It wasn't going to be a fun day. And...I HAD NO REASON TO RUN.

On days like this, you need a reason to run. Last year, I had three DNFs to avenge. I KNEW I was going to persevere and finish the race. No matter what. Same for my first 100 miler at Rocky Raccoon. I didn't know anything about 100 milers, but I did know I came to Huntsville State Park with two friends and I was going to finish! I did. So did Jeff & Gregg (even though we all had major problems). If you have a reason to run, you'll run. If you have no motivation, then you'll find an excuse to stop. I didn't need an excuse...I just had my coffee on Saturday morning, yanked my timing chip from my ankle, and handed it to Andy..."This wasn't my year" I told him. It wasn't the course that beat me, it was me that beat me. I didn't care. Why go on for another 60 miles? I could pack up my crap and be home in a couple hours. I preferred clean clothes and time with my wife rather than more nasty mud and stream crossings in Pekin, IL.

I wish the best for all the runners still on the course. Tracy is shooting for a 150 mile win, Jerry is running for his wife, Carey is trying to get his "DNF monkey" off his back. Good luck to them! They have reasons to run and I hope they achieve their goals. Me, I'm back home feeling just fine. Tired, achy, and hungry, but fine. I made the right decision at the right time. If I had stopped and gone home Friday night, I'd have been second-guessing myself. If I was still out there now---my oh my--I'd be unhappy. I ran a good 40 miles, toughed out some miserable conditions on the trail, and decided that was enough. I need a challenge to motivate me and my running. Maybe it'll be the Gnaw Bone 50K or the Buffalo Trace 7-Day Stage Race. Or Howl at the Moon 8-Hour? We'll see.

NOTE: You can click on the photo album at the top of this post to view all of my McNaughton Park race photos. They aren't great, but I was tired and it was getting dark.

PS: I've only had 4 DNFs in my whole life of running...all 4 have been at the McNaughton Park 100. The event moves to Vermont next year. Glad I finished the 100 miler in 2009--I don't want to see what Andy dreams up for his new New England race. Good luck Andy! You're the best.


Anonymous said...

I to cashed in at 2:30 am and 50 miles. My running partner Mike went down hard on the first loop at the halfway bridge and wrenched his back.
I had family plans for today and tomorrow and even though Mike gutted it out with me urging him on for 4 more loops all my head could focus on was Mike and the annual Sat. Easter egg hunt with my 2 little boys and Easter Sunday at my parents. I knew my head would be my end.
I too am satisfied there is always another run and not another Easter with a 4 and 2 year old.
Big Thanks to your Buffalos, awesome aid station as always.
For the record that is my training course and that was the worse I had ever seen it the first few hours.
Glad you're happy and I look forward to the chance to run with you again soon, St.Louis in Nov seems to be calling???????
Let me know when you do your stage race, I might pace you for a few.

Chris Ⓥ said...

Ozark 100 miler in November, eh? My heart is not in it (for now). Want to run a 5K together sometime? I'm getting pretty fast! I think I can pop off a sub-19 minute. That's sounds better than 30 hours on a Missouri trail. Actually, the Ozarks are pretty that time of year...

Enjoy Easter with the family.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great, but you will need to wait for me at the finish, it takes a 5K to get this ass moving!!

GTI said...

Heya, Chris & Z, too,
Been thinking all week about both you guys, and a handful of other friends at McNutty. I saw the weather reports with all the rain and the cold in the days leading up to the weekend. It was clear that it would just be business as usual out there for all of you at McP again - and I didn't envy you one bit.

Chris, I can see in your photos that there was even a mud pit on the trail leading up to Golf Hill. Never seen that before. Yuk

A few years ago, I know I would not have been able to admit to myself that sometimes the DNF is ok. I've learned that lesson now. Good for the both of you for knowing that it was one of those days for you.

(Maybe in some magical, mystical future utopian universe, it will one day be possible to run an Ultra at McNutty when it is dry and balmy.)

Z, I hope Mike's OK. (I assume that's Mike K. you're talking about?)

Chris, you go and enjoy your 5K. Just imagine that Shalane Flanagan is watching. ;)

Dan Fossier said...


Dan Fossier said...


What I meant to say ... It was good seeing you and chatting with you a bit on the trail Friday. I couldn't keep up with you and Cary and Alan on that 4th loop, but I did keep it going and got my first 100 finish.
Actually ran the 9th loop with Cary, and we finished just as it was getting dark last night. I ten walked loop #10 with Greg Lundt and we rolled back in sometime around 1:00 a.m. today.
One of my motivations for keeping going (in addition to the belt buckle, of course) was that I wanted to keep my streak of ITUGS races going. I'd be curious which of last years finishers have now done Clinton and McNaughton again this year. I know Matt Condron ripped through the 50 yesterday, and I saw Donna Creditor heading out for her 8th or 9th loop pretty early this morning.
So, tonight I sleep. One of the memories I will have of this race (in addition to wading through that damn frigid creek at about 2:00 a.m) will be all the good times I had visiting with Brian and his crew at the aid station. We really can't say enough about what they do out there. I hope they realize the role they play in helping people like me stick it out.

Chris Ⓥ said...

Glad you finished your first 100 miler Dan. It was a TOUGH first one! Good job.

Jerry Davison said...

Thanks for the mention, Chris. Running for a purpose, my wife, motivated me like never before. I can't imagine doing it again, but hopefully my 2 "short" races in the fall will be just as successful. I enjoyed your photos. Every time I don't take the time to take photos I wish I had ... pass the brats!

donna said...

it was crap out there Friday, I might have thought of a DNF too had I not been chasing this 100 mile dream for awhile......

See you at Gnaw Bone.

donna c.

Sean Reeder said...


Sorry I missed you there. I impressed by everyone that ran on Friday as it sounds like the conditions were terrible.

I was attempting my first 50. I went down hard and pulled my groin and then stopped at 20. I feel terrible about not finishing, and already want to go back to do a 50 sometime even if it is by myself.

Anonymous said...

Dammit, Chris, had I known you needed a reason to run, I would have asked you to run on behalf of my 170# fat ass and would have seen to it that someone went out there with my horse switch and batted you on the butt each loop! I would have gladly done it myself but had to stay out of the cold and get my rest, doc's orders.

I'm sorry to hear things stopped for you at 40 miles but if the race lives on, even without Andy, then there's no reason you can't there, too.

I'll make ya a deal.

If *I* can end up getting myself together and manage to tow the line there next year, there's no reason *you* can't finish.

I will make you my new motivating factor. Tracy is one reason I'm wanting to move around again, but after reading your race report, you're going to be the catalyst behind the whole "movement reaction."

See you in Pekin next year...

Happy trails,

Connie :)

Chris Ⓥ said...

I'll wait to see what happens at Pekin next year...maybe it'll be a 30 miler, 50 miler, or 100 miler. I doubt a new person could pull off a 150, but you never know. I hear that Mike Siltman has a permit in for a 10 & 30 mile event in October. Rumor has it that someone else is shooting for a spring race (not sure what distances). Always good to have more ultra options. I'm not up for anything right now...although I'm already signed up for the Gnaw Bone 50K (it's only 31 miles).

Congrats to Jerry for finishing his 50 miler and Donna for a tough 100 miler. Already gave Dan his congrats. Sean, sorry you went down hard. You'll do a 50 miler somewhere soon.

Bob Yehl said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures. What a great representation of the trail this weekend.

Anonymous said...

All I will say at this point, there is a 99.9% chance McNaughton will continue and at all the current distances......stay tuned will be decided soon

Chris Ⓥ said...

Darn, I was hoping I wouldn't have to sign up for another 100 miler at Pekin the rest of my life...or 150 miler!