Mark Tanaka - 2011 HURT 100

Friday, January 21, 2011

HURT 100

By Mark Tanaka

Last year it was new teammate and fellow San Francisco Bay Area resident Nathan Yanko who represented the Mountain Running Team at the grueling Hawaiian Ultra Running Team (HURT) 100 mile trail race.  He finished in 22:30:00, good for an age-group course record and 2nd place overall to Gary Robbins, who set a new course record.   Click here for Nathan's report on his personal blog.

Brett Rivers, Nathan Yanko, Gary Robbins (3rd, 2nd, 1st in 2010), photo by Devon Crosby-Helms

This year, La Sportiva had to make do with me.  Still I was hoping to finish somewhere between 25 and 26 hours if things went well; the course has lots of elevation change and gnarly technical trail, but nothing too far from sea level.  I'm a big fan of oxygen.

About 60 hours before the start of the race, I started coming down with a non-respiratory but very fluidly gastrointestinal flu-like illness.  Thursday morning I could not have run even a mile if you'd paid me a dollar per foot ($5280!), and I ate almost nothing until that evening.  I figured my chances of starting the race were about 50%.  Friday, after flying to Honolulu, I didn't feel too much better, but I was there, and had trained and paid my entry fee, so showed up at the Hawaiian Nature Center for the pre-race meeting to pick up my race bib and goodie bag, say "hi" to friends, and....use the bathroom.

miles of beautiful trails with amazing views, and you get stuck with this?

To make a long story short, almost 36 hours after the race started Saturday at 6 a.m., I was still running and had almost caught up with Wily Woo, but apparently he wanted to be the bridesmaid and put another minute on me.  Also, I had just a few hours ago blown a 35-minute cushion on the cutoffs for the last two aid stations from muscle tightening that I am convinced was due to diarrhea-induced hypokalemia (low potassium)-- it's not always the salt, so I didn't think an end-of-the-race sprint to become the 2nd Sportiva bridesmaid in two years straight was wise.  Better to stay #1-- even if it's from the bottom of the list.

the longer race report from my personal running blog   Warning:   parts of it are kind of gross

less than a quarter mile from the finish, with two wooden friends I picked up around mile 84.  one of the few pictures taking of me during the race when I'm smiling.  photo by HURT 500-mile club member Andy Kumeda

I finished dead last ("DFL" as another race's director puts it), in 35:54:21 and very glad that I hadn't blown an 5 1/2 extra minutes during the entire race.  (To give myself some credit, only 29% of the 111 starters finished the 100 miles within the 36 hour cutoff.)   Guess what, when you are running for 36 hours, there are PLENTY of non-productive ways you can blow 5 1/2 minutes.

After this grueling ordeal (though with a happy ending), the rest of my ultra-distance races this year should seem like easy and pleasant jaunts in the woods.

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