Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Zion 100 Race Report - My 2nd 100 Miler!

It was taking everything I had to not throw up. I felt like I was standing in a toaster oven and could almost hear my skin sizzling. My vision was a little fuzzy and I prayed I wouldn't pass out. And I swear I saw vultures circling over me. And then crossed the finish line of the Zion 100.

Now rewind to 35 hours and 100 miles earlier. I was standing at the starting line with 117 fellow lunatics ready to take on a challenge so daunting that you can't let your mind get caught on the details or else you will start crying: run 100 miles in less than 36 hours through the desert, up and down enormous mesas, in the middle of 90+ degree heat, and do your best not to die.

Although there was certainly a part of me that was scared, there was also a huge part of me that was beyond excited. I knew that the course was significantly harder than my first 100 miler, the Javelina Jundred. The first climb of the day starts after only a few miles. The Flying Monkey Trail climbs 1,000 feet in one mile to the top of Smith Mesa.

One of the things I loved most was seeing so many runners on the trails that I call home. I've run countless miles on the course and rarely see another runner so I loved being out with so many crazies. Eventually we neared the top of the Flying Monkey:

One of my favorite things about the whole race was reaching the top of the Flying Monkey Trail and being cheered on by.......A MONKEY!!!!!

I was still feeling good when I got to the top of the hill. My plan for the race was to stay very conservative because I didn't want to explode later in the race. It was already warm in the morning. Seeing the first light of the sun was beautiful, but I dreaded knowing that we would then be battling heat for the rest of the day:

And just a short while later, runners got another surprise. Not just a monkey, but an actual FLYING monkey with wings! This monkey was just so awesome. He was yelling and cheering and giving high fives. I think it's safe to say that this is the only race in the world where you can see a flying monkey:

I planned to run most of the race by myself. I train alone and actually prefer it that way. But within the first mile I seemed to be keeping the exact same pace with a few other guys. I couldn't have imagined at the time that I would end up covering more than 60 miles with them. In those many, many hours I built close friendships with Ben, Travis, and Eric. We were loving the scenery on the top of Smith Mesa:

The scenery in this race really is indescribable. Any runner who was on the course will tell you that pictures don't do justice to how beautiful it was. We were surrounded by it. I looked behind me and saw this image, which became one of my favorites for the day:

At around mile 19 we reached the part of the course I had been dreading. I am petrified of heights and I knew there was a section on a skinny ledge right on the edge of a cliff. If you look closely you can see a few runners getting close to the ledge:

Leading up to the race, I was so nervous that I thought about dropping to the 50 miler so I wouldn't have to do this section. But I was so, so relieved when I got here and realized that it wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined. In fact, not bad at all. And that's coming from a huge wussie. Definitely nothing to be worried about:

They even had some ropes to hang on to. This is a view looking back on the trail we came across:

It was around noon and the temperature continued to climb. We could see that runners were starting to suffer. We came across one guy curled up under a little bush trying to find some shade and almost out of water. We shared some of ours, but this was still so early in the race and I realized how much of an impact the heat would have. Even though I was really hot, I was thankful I hadn't reached the point of curling up under a bush. After the guy assured us that he'd be okay, we pushed on.

I can't begin to express how valuable it was to cover so many miles with Travis, Ben, and Eric. We all kept a close watch on each other, reminding each other to take Gu and salt tablets, and just giving encouragement if someone was having a low time. Each of our races would have been dramatically different if we didn't have each other. We never exceeded a pace where we couldn't keep up a conversation. It was nice to have a little 4-mile stretch of road to have a short break from the technical trails:

This was the first 100 miler for Ben and Travis, but Eric was the wise master of the group. This was Eric's 30th 100 miler, not to mention a handful of 350 milers. I think each of us was a little bit like a middle school girl around Justin Bieber with Eric. He kept us laughing the whole time and was full of insights and tips.

Around mile 30 Eric found an old tennis ball on the side of the road with a slit in it. We all laughed at him throwing it around, almost oblivious to the fact that he was in the middle of a grueling 100 mile ultramarathon:

We joked that the slit in the ball looked like a mouth. Someone said "I wish we had a Sharpie marker so we could draw a face on it!" I am not lying - about 2 miles later we were cruising down the trail and guess what Ben saw sitting there.....A SHARPIE MARKER! When was the last time you found a marker on your trail run? Never? Me neither. This was a good omen. Our wish was granted:

We all rolled into mile 35 which was my first opportunity to see the family. They were so happy and encouraging, and this gave me a huge emotional boost. Jackson said "Dad, your eyes are really red. You have dark rings under your eyes. You look like you would pay lots of money to take a nap for one hour." Very perceptive (and accurate!). I will always cherish this picture with them from mile 35:

While we were there, Mel also took a picture of the running posse. This is Travis, Ben, myself, and Eric (who happens to be holding the tennis ball):

At mile 35, a switch flipped for my entire race. It was at that moment that I entered a time warp. My legs were moving and it felt like I was running, but it felt like I was going nowhere. We would run/hike for hours and it felt like landmarks up ahead weren't getting any closer. Mile 35-42 were agonizingly long. It was the hottest part of the day and temps said 92 degrees, but out on the desert floor the heat radiated up at us and it felt much hotter. We were truly running inside an Easy Bake Oven (even though it was an incredibly beautiful Easy Bake Oven):

My stomach had gone into outright rebellion by this point. The possibility of throwing up seemed inevitable. I desperately didn't want to get regurgitated Gatorade on my shoes. The aid station at mile 42 was not a pretty sight. One lady looked like she was barfing up a lung. People were laying down trying to cool off and get their stomachs back. In general I try to smile and stay positive even if things are going sucky. This was one of those points where I felt horrid, but in ultras you have to figure out how to suck it up and just keep going.

I think a lot of people dropped at this aid station. Right afterward, around mile 45, we hit the hardest climb of the entire race - a death march up Gooseberry Mesa climbing around 1,500 feet in less than a mile. My brother-in-law Matt joined me as we began the ascent:

It's hard to grasp just how challenging this climb is. Here is a shot of some people ahead of us:

About half way up, I decided that I didn't really love the feeling that bricks were tied to my shoes and burning lava was filling my lungs:

This was our view of some people coming behind us. Look closely, inside that circle there really are people:

Ben, Eric, and I finally, FINALLY reached the top of the death climb. We earned bonus points for not dying. But we had a problem......Travis wasn't there. We figured he fell behind a little so we sat and waited. After 20-25 minutes of waiting there was still no sign of him. We were very worried and didn't know if we should wait or keep going. We came to the hard decision to keep going, assuming that he dropped at the last aid station. Later we found out that this was the case. I felt sad that he wasn't able to finish. We reached the top of the mesa just in time to see a stunning sunset that gave me goosebumps:

The miles on top of Gooseberry are technical and very difficult in the daylight, but exceedingly more challenging in the dark. We reached the aid station at mile 51 and there were three guys sitting there who looked like very capable runners. They were waiting for a ride back to the finish because they had dropped.

I was so incredibly thankful to do those 18 miles on Gooseberry in the dark with Ben and Eric. Sometimes we got off track and it took all three of us to find our way back to the trail. We met other runners who were alone and got off track and we got them going the right direction.

Around mile 65 I was out of juice. My body was spent, and I couldn't hold with Eric and Ben anymore. I would have loved to keep with them, but I wasn't too worried because I knew I'd meet my first pacer at mile 70. Jess Jensen has been a friend of ours for many years and I was honored that she wanted to spend mile 70-90 with me. This was around 3:30am.

Jess is always happy and positive and encouraging and funny. I was so grateful to have her with me. Exhaustion had fully kicked in and I was feeling weary. At mile 82 the sun was up again. It was so discouraging to come to the realization that I would have another full day of heat. The family came out to meet me at this aid station but truthfully I don't remember much about this visit.

Those 20 miles with her were gut-wrenchingly slow. My nausea kept coming and going, my rear end felt like it was getting kicked by a donkey with every single step, and my feet....oh, sweet mercy, my feet. I told Jess that every step felt like I was walking on nails. But she was patient with my slow trudging. I can't thank her enough.

At mile 90 I met up with Mel to pace me the last 10 miles. Back to 90+ degree weather = no bueno. I was getting a little foggy and hoped that I wouldn't pass out because that would be rather embarrassing. In those fuzzy hours I thought about how complex it is to run 100 miles.

During a marathon, you eat a Gu every once in a while, get some water every other mile, and keep going until you're done in 3-6 hours. I thought about how during the 100 miler you have to:
1) Monitor pace so you have enough energy to get you to the finish.
2) Be diligent about eating around 200-300 calories per hour.
3) Closely monitor hydration. Too little water can cause very big problems. Too much water can cause very big problems. Hydration has to be exact.
4) Monitor bodily functioning. Peeing too much? Too little? Too light? Too dark? (Sorry, too much information?)
5) Take varying amounts of salt/electrolytes depending on temperature, sweat, and exertion level.
6) Closely scan the trail ahead and know where every rock is so you don't fall or sprain an ankle.
7) Pay attention to your feet and handle hot spots/blisters immediately.
8) Figure out how to handle your stomach when you want to barf your guts out.
9) Figure out how to deal with exhaustion when you feel like you can't take one more step but you still have 20 miles to go.
10) Try to ignore your brain when it is begging you stop and yelling excuses for why it's okay to quit.

But here's the kicker: YOU HAVE TO DO EACH OF THESE THINGS SIMULTANEOUSLY. If you screw up on any of these, you may not see the finish line. And even if you do them all perfectly, something else may come up. This constant monitoring is extremely exhausting both physically and mentally. Thankfully Mel was there to keep me on track. There is nobody I'd rather spend those last 10 miles with.

The last 5 miles were indescribably hot and indescribably beautiful:

I used some walking sticks for the last 15 miles which helped, but my feet still took the brunt of the pounding. Each step was agonizing. I didn't feel like I had caused an injury or something. My feet just felt shredded and done for the day. I think I gave myself a pep talk in between every single step.

With what little emotion and energy I had left, I was so thankful and excited to make it to the finish line. After 34 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds (we'll just say 35 hours), I jumped across the finish line of the Zion 100. And then I jumped across it a few more times so the fam could get a picture:

Most 100 milers give you a belt buckle at the finish line. Sometimes I think it would be way smarter to buy a belt buckle at Walmart for $10 than to move my feet down a trail for 100 miles. The positively awesome thing at the Zion 100 was that each buckle was unique and custom made from materials gathered on the trail. We got to pick our own buckle at the finish line! How cool is that? Here is mine:

I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father, and the body he gave me. I am so thankful for Jess and her company for many, many hours. I am so thankful for my kids and their love and encouragement. I am so thankful for Mel. She never once questioned me doing this. She was always 100% supportive. I'm so lucky to have her. Thanks to the stellar volunteers, and a huge thanks to race director Matt Gunn who put roughly nine bajillion hours into organizing this incredible event. And seriously, seriously....thank you to you guys for your encouragement and kind words. I wish I could give each of you a hug and a pack of Twinkies.

So finally I ended up standing in the same exact spot I was 35 hours and 100 miles ago. I can't tell you how happy I was to be there. Do you know what I have loved about the finish lines of ultramarathons that I have run: there is hardly anybody there! There isn't thousands of cheering spectators. There isn't a marching band. There is a small group of people walking around like Frankenstein with huge smiles on their faces. And you finish and people give you a high five and say good job. That's it. And it seems so appropriate and fitting because the reward for doing something like this is completely intrinsic. It hurts way to much for somebody to do this for an extrinsic reward. I'll value my belt buckle and the knowledge that I pushed myself WAY, WAY, WAY farther than I ever imagined possible.

60 comments:

  1. WOW Cory! Just Wow. I truly wish I had the words to describe what it was like for me to read this recap. you are an incredible person. this post just screams not only your physical strength but more so your internal and mental strength. i loved what you said about the finish line...and it does sound absolutely perfect. i love how unique the finisher's belt buckles are. i say this so much...but you really are a great inspiration to me. you know yourself so well and you don't spend time thinking "well maybe i could do this" you just go out there and chase your dreams and goals. following you over the weekend was the best. i felt like i would just sit with anxiety willing you to the next aid station and give a little cheer every time the new check in time popped up! im so unbelievably happy/excited/proud/amazed of/by/etc you! i feel lucky to know you and to be able to follow your journey. Congrats again!

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  2. Incredible recap and a huge congratulations to you again. I cannot imagine what the eat must have been like...ok, I can't really imagine 100 miles either. :) Gorgeous photos (as always, makes me want to move) and I absolutely love your sentence about the end of the race and just getting the 'good job'. I know and understand completely what you mean!

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  3. Awesome write-up Cory. Great pics too. I especially love the thumbs down on the way up Gooseberry. As I was trudging around the slick rock up there, I was imagining how hard that must have been on 60 mile legs in the dark. Blasted slick rock..couldn't wait to be done with that section. Kudos on putting into words the 100 mile experience. And extra kudos for jumping at the finish line. Looking forward to my 'ultra yell' at the end kept me going through some of the tough parts. Again, well done on a stellar performance. I look forward to joining you on more of your journeys in the future.

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    1. Congrats to you as well! I'm really proud of you. I was at the finish line when you crossed but didn't recognize you. Either you looked horrible or I was delirious. Or BOTH! Way to go!

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  4. I'm not sure why this made me teary? I wasn't the one running it. I think it's awesome to read about your training, and then to read about you doing it... finishing it...my gosh it sounded so, so hard. Awesome job. Just... wow.

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  5. Wow - what an incredible journey. CONGRATULATIONS in every meaningful way to you, Mel, Travis, Ben, Eric, Jess, and Matt Gunn for your respective accomplishments. 100 miles in 100 degree heat seems downright impossible. True to form, though, you have proven yet again that you can conquer the impossible.

    Tracking your progress throughout the race was both thrilling and ANXIOUS! We checked our phones probably every 3 minutes waiting for updates from Mel. Lincoln is still saying prayers similar to, "Please bless Cory to win his race really fast." Thanks so much for letting all of us share in this amazing and life-changing journey with you. It is so inspiring.

    The tennis ball story is the best race story I've ever heard - loved it!! It did remind me a bit of that Tom Hanks movie when he makes a friend of a volley ball... :)

    Again, congratulations to you and to everyone involved. Reading these race recaps makes life and our human capacity so humbling and inspiring! Love you!

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    1. Tell Lincoln thanks for keeping me in his prayers.

      And your volley ball comment falls into the category of "Sure wish I thought of something that funny."

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  6. I'm almost speechless as I read this. It's absolutely incredible what you accomplished here. What a beautiful experience! This makes me want to do this all the more someday, but definitely not such a technical course. That poor monkey must have been absolutely miserable in that hot outfit, but what a nice addition to help distract from the pain for a bit. In the 7th photo there is a picture you took of some scenery that was your favorite but there is also a picture of a girl who I recognized from another blog. Her name is Suann. Did you happen to meet her up there? She did a write up as well of her journey and posted a video at the end of her blog. You may be interested to read her account too.

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    1. Oops here is her blog link suannontherun.blogspot.com

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    2. I totally think you have it in you!

      I did meet Suann. I think we went up the Flying Monkey trail together but we didn't talk much because we were trying not to die. I'll definitely go check out the blog.

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  7. Amazing job!! You look so happy and energetic in those last miles, well done! I loved reading this report, I hope you don't mind me stealing the Gooseberry pics from your site to my race recap just so people would know how freaking brutal that climb was! I linked to your blog :) I especially loved reading the last part, the part I never got to experience for I dropped at 52. Great job for gutting it out there and getting it done

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    1. I think a bunch of people dropped at mile 52. You're right, that climb up to the top is brutal. If I had known there were slushees waiting on top I would have tried to get there quicker.

      Congrats on making it as far as you did on a tough course! 52 miles is no small feat.

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  8. You make me so excited to run 100 miles one day :)

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  9. OF COURSE I always relate these races to our eternal perspective. I can't help but think what a blessing Eric, Travis and Ben were- to be in your path to help you through those difficult moments, whether it be finding your way in the dark, or pushing each other up Gooseberry Mesa. That is true with life- people are placed in our paths for specific reasons, even when we don't think we need them. I was so worried sick about you that day. For some reason I just couldn't stand the thought of you not finishing this race. I'm so grateful you did. I love hearing about your journeys. Although I don't think I'll ever do an ultra, you leave me feeling inspired every. single. time. I stop by your blog. Thank you. Hope you heal quickly.

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    1. I felt the same way about this race - that something inside me needed to finish this one. Maybe the fact that it was on my home turf. I just needed to make it to the end.

      I really appreciate your kind comments. I often refer back to your comments after the last 100 miler. You are very thoughtful.

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  10. You are such an inspiration. Congratulations on making it out alive. Of the 117, how many finished? Can I be on a relay team with you someday...like a Ragnar or something? I would love a teammate as inspiring as you, and someone who can take a really good jumping picture!

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    1. I heard around 40% dropped out. The heat really kicked everyone's butt. I'm always a willing photographer for jumping pictures!

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  11. So amazing Cory!!! You Ultra people truly have my respect. I hope I have the courage to run one some day. You are truly an unbelievable inspiration. Great job!

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  12. Every photo you're there with that big smile on your face - doesn't matter how much you're hurting or if barf is threatening. You did an amazing job.

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  13. The one, the amazing, the Cory has done it again. Phenomenal achievement and brilliantly written! You make it sound achieveable. That an average person can do it. I love finding friends in a race, they are the best ones to make because they are just as crazy. Congratulations on toughing out the barf. Nothing is harder then fighting that with all the other obstacles you were facing. Last thing you need is loss of hydration and fuel. Thank you for sharing your stories of adventure. One day, we will do one. Until then, I will read and learn from your adventures. Happy healing. Good Job-that goes a long way at the end. Because even if nobody said it, you will always know in your heart and body what you achieved. The support of friends and families is what keeps us going. Keep moving and enjoy a twinkie for every mile trudged....

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    1. Thank you! I agree, it's great to meet new friends during a race. I am always impressed with how kind and supportive and encouraging other runners are. That's one thing I really, really love about races.

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  14. Cory - I'm so impressed with both your perseverance and attitude. I can't begin to imagine being out there for TWO days. In my opinion, the most important thing in ultras, even more so than training, is attitude. A positive attitude can get you through about anything a race throws at you. Congrats on #2! Waht's next??

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    1. For those of you reading this previous comment from Jay, he won the race! KILLED it! After winning the Salt Flats 100 miler two weeks ago. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

      I'm starting to see the same thing Jay - trying to stay positive seems to fill in the gaps for my lack of running ability.

      Amazing job at the race!

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  15. Cory, this is awesome! Congrats! You are so impressive and I cannot believe that you did this! What's next?! :)

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    1. I'm considering taking up stamp collecting.

      Actually, I'm not sure. I've really fallen in love with these trail races because I'm not a fast road runner. As long as I'm on dirt I'm happy.

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  16. Congrats Cory!!! I was the gal from Texas who was behind you at Smith Mesa and then saw you later in the race. I just noticed you snapped a picture of me. I was following you guys for quite some time until about mile 19 when the technical stuff slowed me down. I'm so glad you had a great race! It was great meeting you! Loved your race report! Hope to see you at another race again! Suann

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    1. It was great to meet you out there! I hear you about mile 19. I think that mile took me 28 minutes because it was so technical. (Plus I dropped my baggie of salt tabs in the river and had to fish them out.)

      Way to go!

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  17. I just came across your blog, and holy crap! Best post on a blog EVER! I want to get into ultramarathons and so reading this was incredible... You are so awesome! Congrats!! :D

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  18. Wow Cory, I really don't even know what to say! I cyber stalked you all during the race for updates on FB and the non the website, I just knew you were going to nail this thing but when I didn't see your results come in at 4pm as your friend on FB said, I started to get worried. I am so very proud of you...you are such an inspiration to us all and I know I will think of you often when I am having a really craptastic run (such as today when I cut my 10 miler to a 4...how's that for pathetic?!?!). There is nothing you can't achieve...more than God giving you a resilient body, he gave you a mind of steel....most people never could have endured the mental aspects of a race that tough. Way to go, Cory!!!

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    1. Thanks Jill, the trail running guru! When I was out there I saw how important the mental part of it is. I've realized that it's important to be very stubborn and not give up even if your legs are begging you to. I appreciate your kind words.

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  19. Is it weird that I cried a little reading this recap? I love that Mel was able to run the last 10 with you. You are do lucky and blessed to have such a supportive wife. ( me too, Greg is my biggest cheerleader ) this course sounds tough. I KNOW I will attempt a 100, especially after stalking you this weekend and reading your inspirational recap.

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    1. You have a big advantage over me....you're actually fast! You're a 50 miler expert, 100 is the next logical step. Doooooooo it!

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  20. Oh and..... Seriously amazing that you were able to jump that high after 100 miles.

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  21. What a phenomenal race, Cory! I feel like I was there with you. We're all so proud of this huge accomplishment...AGAIN! Way to go, Buddy! Get some rest!

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  22. Love this race report! I remember seeing you guys all together. I was crewing/pacing Suann (who commented above and was in that really awesome photo you had in your report)... just before the mile 35 aid, I was sitting on a mound of dirt waiting to run Suann into the aid station! I cannot believe the strength it takes to go for 35 hours straight. Wow, just wow. Such a tough course, and I love your closing words.

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for coming to pace someone. That is such a HUGE help when we are beyond exhausted and our brains are fried.

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  23. Fantastic achievement and a wonderful report, well done Cory! This is one of the best 100 mile recaps I've ever seen. I felt as if I was there and it was awesome. You are incredible. Love the way you feel about the finish line. That's what I like about races like this as well. Recover and rest well. Be very proud of yourself.

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  25. So happy for you, Cory. You put so much into this and when I saw you running the home stretch (from my car as I was speeding away to find a runner that called 911) I was overwhelmed to know that you were going to reach your goal. I think that it can officially be said that Cory Reese is an optimist in the worst of conditions. I think that the next step would be death, but you've pretty much proven yourself all the way up to that point...

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    1. It certainly felt like the next step would be death. I'm sure I looked a little too much like a zombie toward the end.

      I can't thank you enough for directing such an incredible race. I really felt honored to be participating in something like this.

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    2. Cory and Matt you are both inspiring. I feel pretty lucky to have met you both and been able to rub shoulders with such genuine people who have big hearts and a passion for life. I am better for having met you both and feel like I can do hard things after merely volunteering for this race.
      Amazing report Cory! What an emotional read.

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  26. what an incredible experience, this race report was riveting. just awesome. huge congrats!

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  27. Like so many others have said, you are an inspiration. I only "know" you through reading your blog, but you inspire me in Ohio to be a better, stronger runner. The love that exists in your family is so obvious, it's written all over the photos you post. Great job!!!

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    1. You better stay in Ohio. If you met me in person you'd just say "Hmmm, he's pretty nerdy and he eats a lot of cookies."

      Your comment was so nice. Thank you.

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  28. All I can say is WOW! Also that you are amazing and inspiring!

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  29. What a beautiful race recap! You are so strong to do such a race. It looks incredibly difficult!

    I often think as I cross the finish line at a race how it may feel after we die to cross that finish line. Will there be lots of cheering, or will it be more low key? (I get a little crazy by the end of marathons, an ultra is totally out of the question.)

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  30. Simply amazing! I cannot even come up with words to describe how proud of you I am. You once again proved just how strong our bodies are and I am totally in awe.

    Out of complete curiosity how many of the 117 that started the race actually crossed the finish line?

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    1. Thank you! I believe around 40% dropped out. There was one part of the course that needed more marking so some runners got off track. I also think there would have been a higher finish rate if we weren't battling temps in the mid-90's.

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  31. So very amazing. I followed you through the link they provided off an on for both days. I can't even begin to imagine running something so far, granted beautiful but insanely far. I think only 56 people finished which is a testament to how hard it was an how great you did. I think I will stick with marathons and possibly an ironman (which is its own level of insanity) in a few years. My hat is off too anyone that can do a 100miler though.

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  32. It is difficult for me to put this race into proper perspective. It is what legends and campfire stories are made of. I have hiked the hills and mountains of southern Utah in the heat and I can hardly imagine the difficulty of this race.
    I almost exclusively read biographies because I am fascinated by what people can accomplish due to their physical, spiritual, and mental prowess. Not only are you so amazing because of your depth in each of these attributes, but also because of your great humility in your accomplishments! Thank you for sharing this experience with us and providing another great testimony of what people are capable of doing if they are persistent. I consider your blog to be one of those inspiring biographies.

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  33. congrats on a great race Cory! Always love reading about your adventures

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  34. Dude - you da man! Congrats on the finish! There was definitely suffering and carnage out in the desert. That's what makes the finish so much sweeter. :) Thanks for the photos of the course ahead of time. Your UR article-ette was great, too!

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  35. What an awesome recap. The scenery was breath-taking. I cannot come up with the words to express my thoughts reading this. Congratulations!

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  36. Cory, another one in the book. Great job! Sounds like you had to overcome some big obstacles out there...I'm sure it made it an even more valuable experience for you. Way to gut it out.

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  37. You are completely amazing. You have definitely found your niche in the running world. I hope to join you someday.
    A couple of things: First that monkey suit had to have been hot. Second, good thing he wasn't later in the race or you might have thought you were hallucinating.
    Really nice belt buckles, I love that they're unique. And I'm sure sharing your love of your home trails made it a sweet run.
    So great to run with your sweet and supportive wife the last 10. I love it.

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  38. Amazing on another 100 miler! I can't imagine even staying awake for 36 hours straight, much less doing 100 miles over that time!

    The temps sound insane, hopefully no one died out there or had serious problems.

    That monkey was pretty hilarious, haha

    That tennis ball reminded me of the movie Castaway!

    Serious congrats on doing the race, I can't imagine going beyond 26 miles, so to go x4 beyond that is insane.

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  39. AMAZING!!!! So glad you visited my site - what an amazing person you are!

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  40. That is completely amazing!! way to go!!! What an inspiration.

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  41. I was just able to read this this whole post... Amazing! Inspirational for sure!! It is hard to really grasp what you put your body through without having done it. Glad you had a wonderful experience and was able to have people to support you all along the way.

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