100 Miles! Coldwater Rumble Race Report

In 2007 I finished Ironman Coeur d’Alene and was looking for a new challenge. I turned my sights towards running a 100 miler, and started up this blog to record the journey. Last weekend I got there, finishing the Coldwater Rumble 100 in 30hrs, 41min.

My pacer Malcolm and I at the finish line (photo: Jesse Ellis)

Here’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly…

The Good

My main goal was just to finish, so I took a pretty conservative pace from the beginning, and had time booked to account for slowing down as night fell, and as I got increasingly tired. For big chunks of the race I was able to stick with my plan of jogging the flats, walking the ups, and running the downs.

A beautiful sunrise to start the day!

Hydration went really well. I had 60(!) scoops of my custom Infinit blend distributed across 8 soft flasks. The course is comprised of two 10 mile loops, and three 27 mile loops, so getting access to the bottles was super easy. I then drank course water from a 3L water bladder in my pack. I also took two SaltStick capsules an hour. Dehydration has been a race-ruiner for me in the last year or two, and I’m SO done with that!

I was sure TSA was going to question me as a Drug Mule!

I had a pacer join me for the final 27 mile loop, and that was super helpful. Malcolm Bennett volunteered to pace me after a friend posted my request in her local running group. I was losing focus on the second to last lap, and knowing that he was sitting there in the middle of the night waiting for me to arrive was a powerful motivator to move along quickly. There was also a time, probably around hour 28, where my mind was starting to drift – so I just started asking him lots of questions about his work and hobbies, and used his stories to get me back on track. Thank you Malcolm!!

Malcolm getting a much deserved foot massage at the finish

I’ve got to give a shout out to Aravaipa Racing – the race organization and aid stations were about the best I’ve seen.

The weather was awesome – I wore a light wool shirt and shorts the whole way, and a light windbreaker the first morning. It did rain some, but it was warm enough that I didn’t bother putting on a jacket or gloves.

Early on in the race. This is a good view of what the trail surface was like

And a special thank you to the Mariele Wardian, another United In Stride guide. Mariele got me connected with my pacer Malcolm, and was a big support through the weekend…all the while pacing another runner for 27 miles!

Me and Mariele – glad that it’s done!!

The Bad

Rocks. Not “oh, there were some sections with rocks”….but rocks Everywhere. I’ve worked very hard to increase strength and flexibility in my ankles, and that saved me. I had kicked a couple rocks, and was so happy that my shoes protected my big toe. And then a little while later BAM, and I knew I’d lost a toenail. An hour later BAM – same toe. Looking at the toenail now, I don’t think I’ll lose it, but it’ll definitely be looking like I painted it with “Ultra Brown” nail polish 😉

My toe after a couple days

The rocks and uneven surfaces also gave me a couple minor blisters, I suspect because my toes kept clinching to try to “grab” the ground – a bad habit I’ve been working on breaking. My Brooks Cascadia shoes mostly protected the bottoms of my feet, except for one rock that felt like it poked right through into the ball of my foot. That one spot still aches today, and the rest of the bottom of my feet are still complaining “Dude, what the hell was all that!?!?!?”

Here’s a picture I took of a nice uphill section

While I was mostly able to run the flats, by the end of the last lap I was reduced to walking pretty much the whole time due to shin splints in my left leg. I was able to run, but it felt less like “yeah, running hurts sometimes” and more like “I’m doing some serious damage here.” My evaluation turned out to be correct. When I got to the finish line and looked there was a hand size splotch on my lower shin that looked like a pretty bad sunburn. It’s a week later now, and the red has mostly gone away, but there’s still an inch long knot on the shin tendon.

I really should have arrived at the race venue earlier. I was busy getting my “camp” area setup, went to the bathroom, and got to the starting line just as the race director said “go”. So I got just about no warmup or stretching in. I did allow myself a mile or two at the start to just walk, and get going. But I wonder if not doing a my normal warmup and flexing routine contributed to the shin problem I encountered later in the race.

The Ugly

Somewhere near the middle of the race I started battling diarrhea. I suspect this was caused by food poisoning from the lunchmeat I was carrying. (I’ve since looked it up, and the consensus guidance is that lunchmeat is edible for 2 hours at room temp…I was trying more like 7 hours at 98.5 degrees. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.) Aside from the three or four emergency trailside stops, I lost a lot of time walking, because trying to run (before those emergency stops) really aggravated my backside. I was thankful that all the trouble was only going in one direction, and I wasn’t throwing up or feeling nauseous.

And back to The Good

I finished! A 17 year old goal: Done. So happy. I guess it may be time to come up with a new name for the blog!?!?!

They gave out great race swag:

The coveted 100 miler belt buckle
A nice workout bag
Finisher’s mug, wooden “medal”, table top thingie, and buckle