Thursday, January 18, 2018


Let me begin by saying everything I'm about to say is made entirely possible due in large part to my crew. They absolutely had my back (and Tiffany may have had my butt a time or two) every single step of the way.  Going into HURT100 the only thing that I didn't feel prepared for was having a crew.  Coming from Ironman I was not used to it, I packed my own bike, flew solo most all trips, prepared my own fuel, and then loaded my bike & I up on our own after the races.  No fuss, no clutter.  I didn't know how to depend on people nor did I know how to ask for help, now here I was about to tackle 100 miles with people at my side.  The thing I did have going for me heading to the start line is that each person I asked to be part of my day said "yes" without any reservations. Instant yeses.  Being a single mom, 1st Grade teacher, I also didn't have a bunch of money to offer to buy their flights so that made me really nervous-but they all arrived on Oahu to be there for me and I'm now a HURT100 finisher because they showed up in ways I could never repay them... so to my CREW, I love you and thank you beyond words.  As for the race, it was 31+ hours long.  I landed 5th place female & first virgin (um, not that kind) first 100 mile attempt virgin, across the line.  That sums it was rocky, rooty, hot, cold, I loved every painful minute of it, and I caught two sunrises.  If you want to know more read on...

I was as calm as can be. I'm one of those people that do a pretty good job of taking care of everything within my control, the training, the recovery, the work.  And I've been fortunate to see a lot of sour moments turn around for the good so I stay optimistically calm in situations out of my control.  Mostly I was just really excited.  My dream run day finally arrived!  Holding my bib it felt as if I was about to open a gift that would change me forever-for better.  A couple goals lingered here and there but I tried not to entertain them too deeply for this super ultra distance is so unknown to me and keeping humble was the only surefire way I felt I'd be able to guarantee a finish (my ultimate goal).

Loop 1.
HURT100 is 5x20 mile loops (not really loops, more like fallopian tube looking trails).  But I'll call them loops as I always do because I like loops & we repeat the same 20 mile "loopy thing" 5x.  If you dislike loops you will truly be annoyed in this race.  Pat (my Big Island run partner) and I ran together, mostly because we like to share miles, it would help us pace calm, and its a nice way to keep the mind relaxed before we'd be depending on it just to take a single step forward.  The start was so amazing, under a starlit sky I was about to live my "wish upon a star".  We started in the very back with every intention to just cruise.  And that we did.  Slowly we passed the people who we maybe should have started in front of, but never entertained any placings or frustrations.  It was sheer fun, a lot of, "Can you believe we are finally here?!" This course is by far one of my favorite places in the world.  While it's known for being brutal I still find it unapologetically gorgeous and fun-yes fun.  My loop 1 was about 4 and a half hours, exactly where I wanted to be.  My strategy going into this was probably not one for the faint of heart or realistic people...but it made great sense to me and I know me better than anyone.  Hey, my average heart rate was 105 so that tells me it was chill, too. You see, I have this crazy thing where I fall asleep as soon as its dark out. So I wanted to be strong for as long as I could before sunset then hope to not pass out in the dark-in other words-move in the sunlight! 

The good:  Nicely paced, relaxed, in control, ate and drank well, wide awake, WIDE awake, peed (nicely hydrated), no hallucinations, no rolled ankles, ran with friends, good hair control (that matters to me!)  I have a mop for hair.
The bad:  Nothing yet.

Hot damn we are really doing this!  Seriously, I was like a kid in a candy store.  Just loving it so much.  I may have skipped out of transition to begin loop2.  The first climb is Hogs Back, an absolute beast of a climb that I've yet to figure out the best path to take up it-left, right, middle?  Before starting the race I made myself promise myself that I would walk Hogs Back every loop no matter how amazing I felt.  By doing so I figured it would keep me calm, allow for some eating and drinking, totally avoid using an inhaler, and put at least 3 rolled ankles out of chance.  I came into the first aid station like a little fireball!  See above! It was a lot of "whoooop whooop, do you believe we are doing this!?"  It was a minute or 2 faster than the previous 20 miles so I knew I was being smart with my pacing.  And the fact energy levels were off the charts I knew I was nailing my Spring Energy calories.  Yes sir... off we go!  From Paradise Park to Nu'uanu is just over 5 miles, my favorite 5 miles of the course!  Judd Trail just makes me feel like a girl on her wedding day or something, its beyond beautiful and the climb reminds me that only people willing to work really hard will ever get to experience it, that's enough to make me appreciate good health!  I got into the second aid station still feeling pretty awesome, except this is where Pat left me.  He was going off on a mission and I wanted to keep "my pace".  I still felt like I could run all day long-bye, bye, Stover!

Off I went, all excited to get back to my crew at the Nature Center.  The entire 7 something miles back I was thinking of just what to say when I saw them...I was seeing and experiencing so much I just had to tell them all about it.  EXCEPT... I left without taking any calories!  Ooops.  So as you can imagine, I was a little nervous.  I got over there about 15 minutes slower pace than my first loop so the day was still pretty much rockstar for me.  Except I panicked and ran into the aid station like a complete tool, so not calm under fire.  There went my something cool to tell my crew, I blurted out, "Grant, help me.  Can you help me.  What do I do? Did I blow my race?  I didn't eat or drink anything for however long.  I'm so sorry guys, so sorry I messed up." Clearly I'm not used to having a crew and the start of "I'm sorry" had just begun.  I think they counted 2,482 "I am sorrys."  It was super hard for me to feel like I was letting anyone down.  Grant gave me two Spring Energy's and I instantly felt back in the game. He reminded me it's better to be under than over so this is salvageable. 200ish calories (my goal is 200 an hour).   He was so right, I could breathe again, I was happy again, let's go...

Good:  My outfit was still working for me, no blisters or chaffing, reset myself after a hiccup, great hair day (as in I have my hair ties!) and I peed again!  Success.
Bad:  Skipped fuel and drinks, ran too long without anything.

Loop 3:
Walked up Hogs Back, my heart was so happy, my day was still going well and I was about to have a pacer!  The next stop I'd get to pick up JD!  I tried the ipod for a song or two and felt all my country music take me back to memories of my long solo runs.  It was wonderful, I was just so damn happy!  Like the kind of happy you don't think happens to a girl like you.  I wasn't worried about my placing or time, I just wanted to remain feeling good throughout my race, this day I worked so hard for, I promised myself to enjoy it, every bit of it.  With that I decided to take SO MUCH SALT (I won't mention the brand or what not 'cause its a good product) but I literally drank two packs of it thinking that will ensure I am full of electrolytes and replacing what I lost from that 2hr period I ran out of fuel.  SO here I blew it a bit.  I'm no scientist (clearly!) so my thinking (clearly!) was not factual.  All of a sudden I got bloated and could no longer take my calories.  Everything went dizzy.  I told myself to just get to the aid station!  I was coming into the aid station about 25 minutes after the first place girl (again I was not thinking about "racing" this) but it made me think I'm not totally blowing the day to be that near the front of the race, but then again everyone told me the race doesn't begin till the dark happens...

I got into the aid station and pretty much faked "feeling fine".  My crew knew I wasn't my ballistic self and that I was going to really need their help getting through this.  Not to mention it was now dark...I like to sleep in the dark.  Loop 3 completely went to hell for me.  Hell.  Right into hell.   Bring on JD!  (Whom I sadly have no photos with because his phone went over the valley during our run!).  Loop 3 was my longest loop of the entire race. It went like this...

Wahhhhh, crying.  More crying. Puke.  More puke.  Lay in the middle of the trail.  Puke.  Take off my pukey shirt because the smell of puke was making me puke.  Tell JD I am sorry (408 times!)  Try to run.  Try to hike.  Puke.  Lay in the middle of the trail again.  Meet Matt at the top of Judd Trail taking a nap, he tells JD and I he set his phone alarm so he will indeed wake back up, I insist we lay down, too!  So I nap with Matt (JD my pacer does not look happy with my plan).  Now let me tell you, JD is the sweetest guy in the universe, he would never tell me no or go or hurry.  He is so patient but I can tell he wants me to keep moving.  SO I get up and make Matt get up (cause strength in numbers!).  It's past midnight now and I keep puking.  The guys are so good to me and totally helpful while puke covers my hair, face, and body.  I am still loving HURT100 though and beg JD to help me, to help me turn it around.  We both don't know what to do.  He breaks out my picture of Kainoa at some point and it gives me more courage than I've ever had.  So I begin to play match maker and tell Matt all about my loop 4 pacer, Malia.  How she's this bombshell and they will just adore each other and he has to do loop 4 with us! The I throw up again but this time it tastes like blood because I have no more food in me and my throat hurts from stomach acid.  I'm having a super good time though with these two guys, laughing and making jokes, but my body is so angry at me.  I can finally see the end of loop 3 and begin to run!  Malia, Malia, Malia I found your future husband!  Matt, Matt, where are you Matt (I dropped Matt), he came into the aid station and I tried to set them up.  Then I threw up...Wendy changed my clothes and socks, my crew made a game plan to get me going, I threw up so much in the grass that it worried me there was nothing left in me, every time I tried to take anything I'd just puke.  Instantly.  And I wanted to sleep so desperately.  Mikey knows my heart better than anyone so he tried to have a conversation with me, I cried to him telling him how sad I was that my legs felt so amazing and all my hard work was being wasted because I can't even take water at this point!  The puddle of puke was so big, I just looked at Mikey, looked at him, then made a fist and smacked the puke puddle in my sadness. It splattered up at Mikey, he kissed my pukey face, and I have no idea what he said.  But I got up, got a grip, and decided to trust my crew...
The good:  Keeping positive, having incredible laughter with JD, still no blisters, chaffing, or injuries, seeing stars, not falling off the edge of any valley
The bad:  So much puke, all those salts, JD's phone falling off the edge of the valley, spending too much time laying down (made me more dizzy).

Loop 4:
Malia is my lucky loop 4 girl.  She is one of Hawaii's absolute best and fastest runners so I knew she'd be amazing for me-not because speed is needed in HURT100, at least not for me at this point!  But I believe in order to be as talented as her it takes a strong mind, a strong mind is what I needed more than anything right now.  Off we went, hiked up my shirt, new socks on, fixed my hair, Tiffany washed my face, I was ready to introduce Malia and Matt!  hehehe.  All the way up Hogs Back we girl talked, about weddings, men, sex, food, running, work, children, you know-all your typical slumber party stuff!  This was a runber party!  I was starting to feel a little better so I began some calories...barf.  This was going to be a loooooong night.  Malia sat me down at one point and told me I won't make it through to the finish if I try to keep going with no water and no food.  I just didn't know what to do anymore.  My mood was good, laughter was at an all time high, and my legs felt so amazing, they kept begging to run.  We had such a blast barfing our way through the night and meeting so many cool people!  We had lots of them tell us how funny we were and how loud we were, hearing us miles away!  But I couldn't figure out what to do.  We made it to the first aid station and one of the "Pirates" told me to literally stop eating and drinking, that I could go 3hrs without anything!  I thought I was hallucinating but decided to trust him anyways.  SO my plan was nothing all the way to the next aid station.  Well.... wouldn't you believe it!  Good thing I had one of the best runners in Hawaii with me, we were eventually running!  We moved so well to the next aid station, totally awake and fired up!  I had to hug Freddy (the race director for Peacock 55 miler) and the aid station leader, he was so supportive of me on my sick loops, just reminding me how strong I am and that it will come back to me.  He was so right, it came back and my legs got to run.
Homeward bound Malia and I went with Matt hot on our heels.  Now that my superpowers were back (or forward moving progress as some call it) I had to finish playing "dating show of the trails".  I told Matt I was going to be running with Grant loop 5 and he can have Malia if he wants for his loop 5...hehehe.  I am sure my friends were totally embarrassed,  but I'm a sucker for all things love and romance!  Malia and I flew into our final aid station, now it was about 6am...I was back on my regular fueling plan that worked for my first two loops and the sun was about to rise!

The good:  Malia. Staying so insanely determined.  Peeing on a frog.  Getting back my nutrition game. My crew taking great care of me, so much so that I never felt anything but happy and appreciative despite the puke I was going through.  My outfit again being on point- as far as chaffing goes cause I was not using any Vaseline! (Seriously! Was I going to make it through my first 100 in one piece?!)
The bad:  I don't know if it was bad or not, just a lot of learning, rookie mistakes with nutrition for a race this long, first one, clueless when to force calories and when to remain empty.

Loop 5.  Say what!?  80 miles down, one to go, got my Hawaiian Ola and my Spring Energy, no more salt stuff and no more "other things"...ready!  It felt like my first loop... we ran out of there.  And we just kept cruising until Hogs Back where we began to walk...
The sun was just about to rise, it was hot pink!  I was so in love with my day (and night) and new day that I was now tears of joy all over again.  I told myself loop 5 was all about soaking everything of my first 100 up!  Last 20 miles I wanted to run, er race!  I felt that good.  But I was reminded that 20 miles is still 20 miles, so you know-cruise.  Grant and I totally cruised.  We were less than 30 minutes off the pace it took me to get to the first aid station on loop 1!  And that was like 80 miles ago!  It felt so nice to run happy again and with Grant, one of my best Big Island training partners.  It felt like just another day on the trails like we always have.
It was also so good sharing the day with Wendy, she definitely did not go out on the course to pace me, she hates running more than anyone I know. But she she stood at my side every single aid station making sure I could run if she could help it.  Anyways, Grant and I clicked away the miles...

I have never loved running more than I did during HURT100.  It was so special to me, to learn just how resilient the body is, how strong the mind is, and more importantly how grateful it is to have people to share it with.  My crew played such a huge role in my day, Mikey, Wendy, Grant, Janet, Malia, JD, and Tiffany, I could not have done this without you.  I needed you more than I have ever relied on anyone to get me through to the other side of a dark place.  At no time did I ever entertain the idea of quitting or wanting it to be over, in fact I wasn't ready to be done, I loved every single puke covered minute of HURT100. The guys made sure my head and heart were always aligned, they had my dream gripped firmly in the palms of their hands as if it were their's too. I am so sincerely blessed. 

I got to kiss the sign and ring the bell!  It was a year long goal that all of a sudden happened.  Just like that, 31 hours and 41 minutes felt like a single breath and I was a HURT100 mile finisher.  The team at HURT is beyond words, beautiful.  Each every person truly makes this race the best race I have ever been part of.  So much love and passion was evident from the way everyone cared for us like family to the way they kept the event true to the core of what running really foot in front of the other.  Yes, I already know I want to do it again and again.  I want to try and do it better.  But mostly I want to continue to be part of something that is bringing so much life to my life.  
Oh!  Loop 5, the Good: I finished! No blisters, no chaffing, all 10 toe nails. The bad:  I lost my hair tie crossing the river (I had back ups!)
Pat made it, too.  About 20 minutes before me.  This is probably where I should thank all the people who shared miles with me.  The men from my first for real long run, Mikey, Pat, Billy, JE, and Tyler, I am so grateful you all took me out on that 42 miler and set in motion the entire year of long running for me.  To Billy and Mike Sullivan for the most difficult run, Hilo to top of Mauna Kea, that was the mental workout I needed that got me through my puke moments!  To Kawika, Pat, and Justin for my mid night Mauna Loa run, oh my stars how that run came into play during HURT hurting!  To Justin, Pat, Patrick, Joe, Lindsay, JE, Amy for the Saddle Road day, it was by far the most fun run bucket list run EVER!  Kainoa, all those rides on your bike next to me.  Mikey, all those Kaloko runs as dates, always my favorite date!  Pat, for every single Waimanu mission that made us HURT strong.  Grant, for showing me that getting lost doesn't always mean your lost, you're just adding mileage!  hahaha...more laughter than I knew possible.  So many people shared so many runs with me and I can't even begin to thank them all...
Now for you, Mikey...
The love of my life.  I think we may have run each other into the ground during my HURT100 year, not because running ever got in the way or took up too much time, it was because we run so different.  My pace is set to the beats of my heart and your pace is set to what your head tells you.  I think we dropped each other here and there but what I realized is that, "When you want to go far, go together.  When you want to go fast, go alone." We are so in this for the long haul that if I have to wait up for you (hehehehe) I will. And if you have to get out of your head to run with me, you will.  Thank you for that, for always being by my side, weather it was 100 miles a month, 100 miles a week, or 100 miles a I may have picked another 100 I want to do... you ready to run with me?
I am a very happy girl, happy to have experienced what I got to do, happy that John and PJ (the awesome race director seen above) let me into their race, happy that my parents came out to watch Kainoa while I ran far on Oahu, and happy that this is just the beginning for me...

Also thanks to Bike Works Kona for continuing to lavish support on me, Jesse for the body work, Spring Energy for the fuel, Hawaiian Ola for the noni goodness, Shane for my super pretty compression socks, the Nelsons for helping with Kainoa, Dr. Traub for being in my corner last minute with my health, Coach Steve for still giving me chit chats when I need them most, Becky Prater for finish line cupcakes (hehehe), Amy and Jeff on Oahu for opening your homes to my crew and I so we had places to rest and feel welcome, the Club in Kona for letting be use and abuse your treadmills before school when I needed to run, and a million other people that did little and big things for me, I counted every one of them as fuel when my body physically ran out. I felt so loved and supported out there... hey, WE DID IT!  

Bree xo