Tuesday, August 04, 2009

2009 Burning River 100 - Brian DID IT!!


This past weekend my brother ran the Burning River 100 which starts at 5AM Saturday and finishes at 11 AM Sunday. This was his second stab at the 100 mile distance after going about 65 miles at MMT. I agreed to pace him from Pine Hallow (Mile 75) to the finish.

On Friday, my friend Marc came up and we went to the Winking Lizard on Saturday. On our way there we saw the Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile on Rt 8. At the Lizard, I got a Great Lakes Burning River beer in celebration of the race :)


After eating, Marc drove back to Cincinnati and I drove to the Station Rd. Bridge double aid station (Mile 36.6 & 43). I was surprised to find out that I had missed Brian here and that he was pretty far ahead of schedule.


So I drove to the halfway point at Snowville Rd (50.6) and watched runners come by there. Brian eventually came by and looked in great shape. I met my parents and sister Jamie there who were also cheering Brian on.

At that point, Jamie and I drove back to Ottowa Point to see a few more runners come by. As we were leaving to catch Brian at Boston Store, Kimba ran past and we wished her good luck.


There was a big crowd at Boston Store (Mile 56 & 60.6) as expected. After we saw Brian, Jamie got changed into her running clothes to pace Brian. We were hungry and had some time to kill so we got some food at the Winking Lizard. Our food took longer than expected and when we got to the next aid station at Pine Lane (Mile 64.7) we missed Brian.


At Happy Days (Mile 70.3), Jamie joined in to pace Brian for about 5 miles to Pine Hallow. Brian came in doing jumping jacks and still looking good. However the section coming up between Happy Days and Pine Hallow is pretty technical by the ledges and especially in the dark so they had to be careful.

Finally my time to run came as Brian showed up at Pine Hallow. I was pretty excited since I had never run through the night and into the morning before. I bought a newPetzl headlamp at Vertical Runner on Thursday and was ready to go.

After about 3 or 4 miles, rain started falling. It wasn't bad at first under the tree cover, but it quickly became a steady drizzle and a soaking rain. It persisted the whole night until the sun started rising.

The section between Pine Hallow and the Covered Bridge (6.5 miles) felt like it took forever. Brian's feet and legs were pretty tired and sore so we walked a majority of the time I was with him. The area by the cornfields and the loop at Covered Bridge were a mess. The rain turned them into a mud fest!

At the Covered Bridge double aid station (Mile 81.6 & 85.7), we were greeted by our old friend Mike Keller. It had been awhile since either of us had seen him since he moved from the area, so it was a welcoming sight.

After we ran the 4-mile loop and came back to Covered Bridge for the second time, Brian was feeling really tired. He got the blisters on his foot taken care of as best as possible and we tried to get him to eat and drink. He got pretty dizzy when he tried to stand up too quickly, so we stayed a little bit longer. When we left, Brian said he was feeling cold and told me to run back to see if anyone had a long sleeve shirt. No one did so I took off my shirt and let him wear it over top of his.

Covered Bridge to O'Neil Woods (3.3 miles) was a pretty lonely stretch. It traveled down Oak Hill Rd. for quite a ways past Hale Farm. The rain was still beating down on us and there was no sign that the sun would rise. I was freezing with no shirt on but reminded myself how many miles Brian had gone and how few I had gone in comparison. I tried to keep Brian's spirits high even though he was hurting pretty bad.

When we got to O'Neil Woods (Mile 89), we were welcomed by music, a tropics-themed aid station, and 4 or 5 screaming high school girls. We didn't want to leave but knew we had to. They gave us glow stick wrist bands as we departed dancing to "Crank That" by Soulja Boy.

Our spirits were lifted for a bit, but it was quickly back to the rain and mud! We had about 12 miles left at this point. That seemed like a daunting task for me with sore legs and feet so I could only imagine what Brian was feeling like. We did a mixture of walking some then stopping for a bit. I knew we had to keep moving though if we wanted to come in before the cutoff. You can lose alot of time in 12 miles! This section ran on the Towpath for a good portion of it. The hard surface did not help any for Brian's sore feet.

At Merriman Rd (Mile 93.5), Ron Ross passed us. Ron is tough guy, so this made Brian feel good that even he was struggling today. It also helped that it was now getting light outside.

It was a relief to finally get to the last aid station, Memorial Parkway (Mile 96.4). Courtney Baker and her pacer caught up to us. We talked for a bit then all headed out for the final stretch to the finish.

I could tell every step Brian took hurt like nothing he's felt before. I told him the pain wouldn't go away and the faster we got done, the sooner he could sit down and relax.

Each mile felt like it took hours to complete. I kept estimating on the lower end when Brian wondered how much was left. Either I was trying to help him mentally or just really hoping we actually didn't have much left!

At about 3 miles left to go there is a series of staircases that must look like Mount Everest after completing over 95 miles. We made our way up those one step at a time.

After the steps, we got to a long section of asphalt/grass trail underneath power lines that also lasted an eternity. My dad called me on my cell phone several times wondering how close we were.

We finally got to the bridge at Front St. and just had 1-1.5 mile left on Glens Trail. Brian was pretty thirsty and was starting to get hot and woozy. I didn't have any water left in my Camelback so I sprinted to the park by the bridge and filled up the Camelback with water from a fountain.

My dad and sister drove down to Glen's trail and were waiting there for us about .8 left of the race. Even this seemed to take forever until we got to Front St. for the final straight-away.

Brian planned on "sprinting" in when we got closer to the finish. He also had a chance to beat 29 hours. As we got closer, someone behind us started a final push to the finish themselves. I told Brian about that guy chasing us. Brian went into a full out sprint. I was having trouble keeping up. I yelled "GO GO GO!!" then split off to the side as he took a few more steps and crossed the line in 29:00. What a day!

I ran over to Brian, jumped up and down and congratulated him. I was so happy for him that I felt like I had finished the 100-mile race. I am so proud of him for sticking with it. It would have been easy to quit, but he dug deep and endured the pain.

2 comments:

Mike said...

Awesome job Brian! And you too Jeff, you really helped make it possible for him to go on. You guys are great for each other.

Jeff said...

Thanks Mike! We had a fun time out there minus all the pain. Let us know when you're back in the area, we'll go on a run!