2013 H.U.R.T. 100

2013 H.U.R.T. 100

Thursday, January 19, 2012

H.U.R.T. 100 Race Report

"I was doing an evaluation of my decline and i was sort of charting it on this graph in my mind. And it ended, hit bottom long before Auburn. And i thought is there any possibility i can make it to Auburn? I thought no. No, that's ridiculous. Its ridiculous for any of us to even think of that. Well how about Michigan Bluff? And i thought across those deep canyons, no way. Well what can I do? I just asked myself that question. And the answer came to mind; I can still take one more step.  And so at that point I decided I would take one more step until I could no longer take one more step.  And today we would say that's suicidal, we tell people not to think that way.  That there is always another day, just come back.  Well there isn't always another day. There are times when life gives us one opportunity at something."

 - Gordy Ainsleigh

1-9-12          PRE RACE REPORT

Have you ever been put in a situation that seemed impossible, but somehow you pull it off?  How much more proud are you when you think there is no way of doing it, but you made it happen?  When you expect something to happen and it goes as planned there isn't much satisfaction in that.

Before running my first hundred miler I had no idea what to expect.  That's what drew me to it. My mind was having trouble comprehending what I was about to embark on.  When i stuck it out for nearly 24 hours through some of the most rocky and rugged terrain you can find, I was in shock at what I had just done.  It was one hell of a journey and I'll never forget it.  One year later I arrived looking to go sub 20 and possibly win.  My knee locked up and I basically walked the final 30 miles in.  I never considered quitting, but when i finished I really didn't care about what i had just done since I considered it a failure even though it was still an hour and a half faster then last year.  I'm proud that I overcame that obstacle, but I never considered not finishing so when I arrived at the finish it was expected.

Looking at the hurt 100, I'm not sure how I'm going to pull this one off.  Finishing at three in morning at Cactus Rose doesn't quite put you in that sleep deprivation mode.  The average person who actually finishes HURT takes approximately 32-33 hours to finish.  At that point you encounter some major sleep deprivation, and it's hard to keep functioning at that point.  I cannot wait to find out what I'm made of.  I like to say that I'm ready.  I like to say that I'm one mentally tough mofo.  But am I really?  Have I truly been put in that situation when quitting really sounds like the best option.  When quitting is completely justify able, and not a single person will question you.  When you can't comprehend what it will take to finish when the muddiest, rockiest, steepest, root infested mountain lies between every aid station.  Well what did Gordy tell himself that day when his horse went lame for the western states one day?  Back then the race was a 100 mile horseback ride, and nobody ever considered doing it on foot.  Well, without a horse he decided to attempt it on foot and 23 hours and 42 minutes later he arrived in Auburn.  He told himself that one more step was possible.  That will go through my mind when that situation comes in the darkest hours of the night when I'm hurdling roots and slogging up and down those mountains covered in mud.  Gordy also said the darkest hour is always just before dawn.  So if you can just not quit.

The H.U.R.T. 100 elevation profile of the entire 100 miles.  Perfectly flat and fast right?

A map of one loop from the course.  each 20 mile loop is three sections. each section goes up one side and down the other side of the mountain. each section meets at the summit, and each aid station is in the valley.

As far as a goal? Finish.  But if you know me, you know that i have a time goal.  The condition of the course drastically effects the runner's pace.  With good conditions, I would like a sub 26.  If it gets as nasty as it has been known to get out there I believe that just finishing the damn thing will be good enough. Even if it takes 35 hours and 59 minutes. (time limit is 36 hours)



Well, I guess I got what I signed up for.  I wanted a true ass whipping and to discover what my limits were.  Mentally, I was pushed to the max the entire race.  Its hard to stay focused when you feel so bad and have so much left.  It was one long day out there! (or weekend)

I got into honolulu late wed night (4 am Dallas time) so i went straight to sleep.  Thursday and Friday we stayed pretty active with swimming at north shore and a short hike Friday before the meeting.  The meeting was brief and it was nice to meet the RD's and other runners.  Matt got to work milking all the past finishers what their secrets were.  All the answers had one thing in common: start slow!  We went back to the hotel, i packed my drop bags then we set out for dinner.  We landed at a local diner that had all you can pancakes! When we got back i was exhausted and actually went to sleep right away.  That's a rarity before races, but a full nights sleep was important before this one.

RD John Salmonson giving the pre race briefings on Friday at the Nature Center

a blow of the conch shell sent us off into the darkness

Loop 1 (getting a taste for what HURT is all about)
About ten minutes before the race start the RD's called us up to the starting bridge.  We all gathered on this bridge in the dark which was only lit by a line of tiki torches the first 20 yards of the race.  We had a brief moment of silence.  I used that time to mentally settle down and think about what i was about to embark on.  The only thing you could hear was the river right below our feet.  It gave us that true rain forrest feel.  The RD, John Salmonson, broke the silence with a prayer, which was a nice twist for this race.  This race is very intimate and you're not just a number out there.  Everybody is on a first name basis, and everybody is out there with the same goal in mind.  Before I knew it, we were counting down from ten and the conch shell blew which signified the start of our journey.  You immediately start climbing up hogs back which is a brutal climb that climbs about 1,000 ft in less then a mile.  No switch backs and probably the worst footing you can imagine. The first 3 miles is off and on climbing to get to the top.  Once up top it travels about half a mile through a big field of roots.  The whole course is littered with roots but in this section you probably wont ever touch the actual ground, you just run on top of the roots which are slick as can be.  Then you start the 3 mile descent trough manoa falls down to paradise park.  Around manoa falls is probably the nastiest section of trail that exist. Its nothing but boulders that are so slippery that it takes a lot of concentration and strength to keep your feet under you.  I arrived at the 7.3 mile paradise park aid station in 1 hour 50 minutes.  I knew it was going to be a long race if the first section with fresh legs took that long.  At that point you turn around and go right back up the same mountain you just came from.  So another 3 mile climb and 3 mile descent and you're at the Nu'uanu aid station.  At this point I had gone about 12.8 miles and been out there longer then it takes me to run a marathon.  This entire course is made up of cliff side trails that are very narrow in a lot of spots.  One wrong step could be bad.  In a couple places there was a rope tide to the cliff side to make sure you don't slide off on the slippery rocks.  I kept the advice of starting slow in my mind and finished loop one in exactly five hours.  

Up Hogs back of the H.U.R.T. 100 course

H.U.R.T. 100 course - hogs back was the opening climb for each loop

Hogs back

Loop 2 (maintaining pace)
I started loop two feeling good still (thank god because I still had 80 miles and 28 hours to go).  I climbed hogs back once again and the worst part about this climb is that since there are no switch backs you can see up the climb forever so you don't see the end of it. I ran most of loop two solo, but you always see other runners due to the layout of the course being out n back spurs.  The rest of loop two I just focused on nutrition and keeping a steady pace.  The first two sections, I had exactly even splits as the first loop.  On the third section my electrolytes got low just like every other 100 at the 35 mile mark.  You would think I would have learned after the last two!  Climbing out of Nu'uanu I started to feel like crap.  My energy plummeted, I started to yawn and my stomach was so swolen that it was actually painful to run.  I was mad at myself for letting it get so bad before fixing it.  Plus we were in a very humid environment so i should have known that my electrolytes were going to be very sensitive this race.  The remainder of loop two I struggled but I did manage to get them back on track by mile 40.  Loop 2 - 5:17 for 10:20 total time when i set out on loop three.

H.U.R.T. 100 course - manoa falls. Always nice to pass every loop.

H.U.R.T. 100 course - staring at the landscape and trees never got old

On the way to the banquet.  Looking back at where I spent a lot of time that weekend

Loop 3 (jammin out and staying focused)
Matt and his wife, Julianna, were at nature center to crew for me and send me out on my final solo loop.  I made up a playlist for loop three so I was excited to listen to some tunes for a change.  Matt informed me of my brother and several other people that were watching the live updates.  He also informed me that i passed about 15 people on that loop.  My energy and nutrition was back up, hearing that, and having my ipod I set out with more energy then I had all race.  I feed off of lyrics big time in songs and this playlist had some killer stuff on it.  The first song that came on as I approached hogs back for the third time was All That Remains "now let them tremble" it put me in right mindset to get things going.  Another song I love listening to before or during a race is Disturbed - Warrior.  If those lyrics don't get you jacked I don't know what will.  Also Five Finger Death Punch - back for more has some great lyrics that are perfect for a race.  Loop three was going great and I was feeling like new.  It got dark after the first section so I knew things were about to slow down.  I still felt good the next two sections but the darkness slowed me to a 5:40 loop. 

H.U.R.T. 100 course - these boulders were slick as ice

H.U.R.T. 100 course - typical section of trail

Loop 4 (getting my ass handed to me)
Matt was ready to get me through my final two loops.  My feet had been wet and muddy for a while so I took this oppurtunity to change socks and wash my feet off.  By this point my feet were raw and screaming in pain with every step.  Matt and I set off in the darkness and at this point I was still feeling good and ready to lay down some good miles.  I felt that I had done everything up to this point correctly and had no regrets.  We charged up hogs back once again at normal pace.  Once up top i felt the wheels starting to come off.  At this point I should have taken in some salt and calories.  We slowly made it to paradise park in about 3 hours.  Running this course in the dark is damn near impossible and the descents were tough.  I was starting to fade big time and I was really getting sick of the darkness.  With the thick canopy, night last over 12 hours at this race.  My nutrition was getting worse, but I was getting so tired I was too dumb to realise it and too dumb to do something about it.  I was low on fluid, low on salt, and low on calories.  We slowly made it to Nu'uanu, and I would say half my problem was nutrition/fatigue and the half being my feet.  My feet were so raw and also from running on roots for 20 hours at this point they were litterally bruised.  So every step, especially going down was horrible.  After we left Nu'uanu we had a little energy mainly because I ate and drank at the aid which helped give me a little kick.  Once up the climb, thats when things got bad, really bad.  I was so fatigued that I wasn't eating or drinking.  Matt was doing a great job, but I was litterally lying to him that i was drinking.  I had a camelback so he couldn't really keep that good of tabs on my fluid intake.  On the 4 mile descent back to nature center,  our headlamps started to fade and so did out energy and attitude.  We were both hitting a wall and I had no idea how I would continue.  I knew in the state I was in that there was no way another 20 miles was going to happen.  So for the first time I thought that four loops may be it.  It took my spirits down even lower and brought my attitude along with it.  I knew that Matt and Julianna wouldn't let me quit so I started thinking of what to do.  Hiding from them and purposely missing the cutoff was an option that went through my head.  Sounds crazy but yes thats how bad things got.  We started talking of what to do and after a lot of mumbled talk and sentenses that didn't make sence, we decided that a ten minute nap would be best.  I knew that I was low on everything, but didn't realize that nutrition was all I needed.  We hobbled into Nature Center for close to an eight hour loop. so at this point I had been out for 24:15 after four loops.

H.U.R.T. 100 course - climb from paradise park

H.U.R.T. 100 course - dark and lonely at night (this picture isn't even from night but you see how dark it is even during daylight hours)

Nature Center mile 80 - (the moment of truth)
I arrived and Julianna immediately knew things weren't good.  She pulled Matt aside to find out what was going on.  I plopped down on the grass and said wake me up in ten minutes.  Well, as soon as i laid down my stomach turned for worse and i had to sit up in a chair, just like most of my friends know me to sleep after a long night.  As I sat there I was too messed up to sleep so Matt and Julianna tried giving me everything you can imagine.  When you're low on electrolytes, your stomach does not accept much of anything.  I refused water, rockstar, gatoraid, and every type of food you can imagine.  I finally started to sip on some rockstar and took two or three s caps.  They continued to offer me stuff but I didn't really have the energy to even say no.  I just stared at them with a look that said a lot.  They knew if they allowed that I would throw in the towel.  After 5 or 10 minutes the sugars started kicking in and I started thinking a little more clearly.  I started thinking of those two quote from gordy. I knew one more step was still possible, and I knew the sun was about to come up so I knew that things were about to get better.  I also knew that if I didn't at least make the attempt to get my nutrition back up and give loop 5 a shot that I would be beyond disappointed with myself.  They continued to give me encouragement, and also my stomach started feeling better.  I Slammed down about 50 oz of fluids, and about 600 calories of food.  With the calories, fluids, salt, caffine, and the sun was now coming up, I knew it was now or never.  Im not sure if I ever said anything or not but I just stood up, gave Matt a fist bump and said lets do this.

Loop 5 -
I figured Matt was coming but I set out by myself.  It was now daylight and many of the volunteers gave me encouragement as I set off to get this thing done.  At about the same time I hit hogs back, everything kicked in and I was marching up it as if nothing happened.  By no means was it fast but considering I had been at it for 25 hours now and gone up and down this mountain 12 times already it wasn't a bad pace at all.  Matt caught up to me at the top of hogs back and I had a lot to say.  I thanked him for not letting me quit and made it clear how disappointed I was with myself.  I wanted that true test to keep going when it seemed impossible, and when the situation came, I considered quitting.  When you don't have the energy to respond to question with a yes or no, then you really don't feel like spending another 8 hours climbing 3 more mountains for the final 20 miles.  Matt kept me focused and we maintained a steady pace.  We rolled into paradise park with smiles on our faces and Julianna was releived to see that we had made a comeback.  I took in a ton of calories which isn't hard at this race since the aid stations have the best food one could imagine.  I had a pancake and nutella sandwich, some chomps, a gu and this rice thing.  While I was refilling my stuff, Matt got my brother on the phone which was a nice suprise and I told him that I made a comeback and that I was going to get it done.  It was uplifting, and just what i needed at this point.  The next section (miles 87-92.8) was pretty uneventful.  Just the same making sure I stayed on top of my calories and nutrition.  At this point my stomach was still very willing to take in gus and I had no problem eating one every 25-30 minutes.  We set out on the final section and I knew once we left there was no turning back so it was nice to finally realize that a finish was going to happen.  It was still slow moving, but the uphills actually felt really good to run and we actually ran some of them.  Overall I was happy with the way my legs held up, but my feet were another story.  The final 50 miles they got worse and worse and every step was horrible.  The uphills weren't bad, but the way my feet moved on the downhills it was unbearable.

The finish
As we approached nature center our spirits were high and I was beyond pumped to have finished this thing.  Also, I was pretty darn ready to be done after more then 32 hours of it.  This race has always meant a lot to me and to think that I was actually a HURT finisher now was just unreal to me.  I was flooded with emotions and the finish was even sweeter then I ever imagined.  Claude was there which meant he dnf'ed but he was in good spirits and was the first one there at the sign.  I was really pulling for him and wanted him to finish so bad.  PJ (one of the race directors) gave me my buckle that I had been out there for 32 hours and 45 minutes to get.  I sat down in a chair and Julianna had my Negra Modelo there as I wished.  We all grabbed one and gave a cheers to one hell of a race.

H.U.R.T. 100 buckle - well earned and damn proud!

a touch of the sign is required to be an official finisher


The Course-
Worse then I thought.  On loop one, it wasn't too bad. But once your legs get tired, the footing and technicality of this course makes it impossible to navigate.  The entire course is either mud, slick roots, or slick boulders.  I learned that I couldn't use my usual handhelds because you use your hand a lot at this race.  So a camelback was much more efficient.

Post race-
What makes this race truley special is the HURT family and "aloha spirit" as they call it.  Monday night was the post race banquet and dinner.  They RD's spoke and joked about the race and runners which a slideshow of the runners played on a projection screen on the wall.  They had all the finishers come up for pictures and also all the first time finishers had to get up there and introduce themselves.  One day I will return, but with a better game plan, better socks, and my usual racing weight ( a lot lighter).

Matt and Julianna made this trip much more pleasurable and we had a lot of fun hanging out at north shore, eating plates and plates of sushi for lunch, and hanging out at the banquet.  Without them, who knows what kind of stupid stuff I would have done during the night out there.  They really made this race successful.  Also, our other room mate Claude Hicks Jr was great to hang out with.  He is a cool guy with a neat story and I highly respect him.  He has been out to Hawaii three times now and hasn't gotten the 100 mile finish yet.  Next year will be his year.  He's got the heart for it and thats what it takes.

at the H.U.R.T. 100 post race banquet - all the 100 mile finishers.

at the H.U.R.T. 100 banquet - all the first time 100 mile finishers

Post Post Race-
Tuesday morning I woke up by myself and figured I would make the most of my only day in paradise.  I felt a little like forgetting sarah marshall being by myself in Hawaii at the bars.  I had the idea to walk the length of waikiki on the beach and stop in every beach bar and have a beer.  I tried every local beer and 11 hours later arrived back at my hotel.  I spent a lot of time on the beach, at the bars, saw a seal emerge first hand out of the water, got those damn fish tacos i had been craving all trip, and made the most out of my day!

our hike on Friday before the race up to lighthouse piont

right place at the right time along waikiki beach. I watched this seal emerge from the water.

some well earned beers at an oceanside beach bar.


  1. Best RR I've ever read. Awesome stuff bud.

  2. Thanks. yeah i could probably re-type it and it be 10x longer with all the momories from it. now for some fun 50's and 60k's! no more 100's til october!

  3. Awesome, just awesome. Way to fight through it all. So glad you made it to the end. Very inspiring! Congratulations for sure!!

  4. Just simply amazing. Congratulations! You should be so proud of yourself! I loved the Tejas Trails facebook updates while you were slugging it out. Great job!

  5. Thanks! and i loved reading it all after i was done! without matt crownover and his wife to keep me going, not sure if i could have pulled that one off!

  6. Fantastic read, great comeback. I'm inspired.

  7. Thank you so much for such a detailed and inspiring race report! It sounds like you were pushed to your absolute limits but still perservered and achieved an incredible accomplishment! I really enjoyed reading this and gained a lot of useful insight on the race as I prepare to run HURT in 2016.

    Take care,