Race Report: Born to Run 100K

Official Time Clock of the Born to Run Ultras

“I understand that doing this run with Luis and Caballo might not be a good idea.  If I get bitten by a rattle snake, lost, injured, or die, it is my own f’ing fault. Amen.”

And so began the Born to Run 100K.

The day was outstanding thanks to the attitude, atmosphere and efforts of its fearless leader Luis Escobar.  The event, which consisted of a 10-mile, 50K, 100K and 100 mile distance took place on an 8,000-acre working cattle ranch in Los Olivos, CA.  The course consisted of two ten mile loops that met in the middle. Picture a figure 8. While that isn’t totally accurate, it is close enough. The start, finish, main aid station, and runner check-in all took place in the middle of the figure 8.  One or two additional aid stations were placed around each loop, but they were minimally stocked (water, electrolyte, and a handful of snacks).

Luis Escobar was by far the most fun and supportive race director I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  He personally checked-in every runner after each 10 mile loop.  He made sure you knew exactly how many loops you had completed and what you had to do next.  He encouraged you to eat and drink and then get yourself back out on the course. My gut tells me he was also checking our state of well being with his challenging questions.  

Luis: “You’ve done pink, yellow, pink, yellow and now you are doing pink again.  You are going back out that direction.  Right? Got it?”  

Julianne: “Um…. um… I guess… I don’t really know.  I mean, um, yes.  Right.”

He also was just a cool dude.  His race-day instructions were classic.

“First, you’ll do the pink loop. Then you’ll do the yellow loop.  They aren’t real loops.  Both are ten miles.  Well, not really ten miles.  A little more, a little less.  There’s one aid station. How far away is it? I don’t know. About a water bottle away.” 

“The pink loop is marked by pink ribbons. They’ll be on your left hand side, so always keep them on your left side. If they are on your right you are going the wrong way.  Except for sometimes.  Sometimes they will be on your right.  If you hit blue ribbons you aren’t lost, but you are about to be.  So stop!  And look around because blue is bad!” 

“We are not really tracking your time, just kind of estimating. I don’t care about your time. This is ultrarunning and nobody cares. If you care about your time, I suggest you start your watch.”

“Something bad will happen to you in the next 24 hours.”

And finally, this is the oath Luis made us all take.  We even had to raise our right hand.
“I understand that doing this run with Luis and Caballo might not be a good idea. If I get bitten by a rattle snake, lost, injured, or die, it is my own f’ing fault. Amen.”
Luis Escobar - fabulous race director, elite ultrarunner, and professional photographer - provides race day instructions dressed as a chicken
Oh, and during all of these race day instructions, Luis was wearing a chicken suite.  Why?  I still have no idea, but it was awesome.
Turns out, once you hit the course, all his seemingly oddball instructions made total sense.  The course was super-well marked and as I mentioned, Luis personally checked-in every runner after each 10-mile loop.  He was amazing.

Was it hard to run 62 miles for the first time?  Yes, but not unbearably.  In fact, I think the Tahoe 50-miler took longer and the North Face 50-mile Challenge was harder.  I struggled at the end without a doubt, which was a bummer but it wasn’t terrible.  My energy just dropped.  I know what I did wrong and will fix it for next time.  I know in an ultra I need to eat every five miles and I screwed that up so by mile 55 while my legs were strong, my tank was empty.  But all goodness.  Lessons learned.  Other than that, I felt great the entire time.  
Craig, Carrie, Me, Kevin, Kim - The UltraFreaks of Morgan Hill. Photo taken within minutes of crossing the finish line. 100K done!

I count my blessings every day for my great running friends.  They are really like a second family. Five of us went out for this event, four running the 100K and one completing the 50K.

Carrie, Kevin and I stuck together for 50 miles, which I find incredible.  Kim ran almost the entire 62 miles on her own, which I find even more incredible.  Carrie continues to amaze me with her athletic prowess.  She was 3rd place female, complementing her win at her first 50-miler.  I came in 7th, which was great.  The female finishers placing 3rd-7th were all on the final 2-mile lollipop loop together, separated in total by less than 25 minutes.  (In case you didn’t do the math, Kim came in 6th about 5 minutes before me.)

Had we cared, it would have been a great race to the finish line.  The two women who came in fourth and fifth were new friends Tiffany and Christi.  I bet we ran off and on with them for 30 miles.  At one point, TIffany ran with a 35mm camera strapped to her back! Some of the photos I am posting here are from her kickin’ effort to run and photograph.

Craig, our partner-in-crime who ran the 50K, was awesome.  After running 31 miles, which is amazing in and of itself, he stuck with us as crew and support.  Every time we came to the main aid station he was up, “What can I get you?  How are you feeling?” When I ran in at mile 60 our exchange went like this:


Craig: “Are you OK?”  

Julianne: “No.  I am tired.”

Craig: “I will run the last 2 with you.”

Julianne: “Thank you.”

And bam, he was right there seeing me through to the end.  Not a moment of pause.

Our little crew of UltraFreaks do a lot of talking and guiding for new people in our community who want to try the ultra distance.  We often talk about going slow and how it isn’t that hard.  But the truth is you must respect the distance.  We were out there for over 13 hours and we climbed 7000′.  We were all really well trained.  We had a lot of miles and ultra experience under our belts, and we trained specifically for this event for about five months.  Our discipline paid off.  I was incredibly proud of us.  Nobody got injured, sick, or even thought of not finishing.  


The obvious next question is, “What about the 100-miler?”  Well, Kevin and I made a pact at mile 55 that we would not run a 100-miles.  Three days later we broke that pact with this text message exchange:

Julianne: “Kev.  I am thinking that making a pact at mile 55 of a 62-mile race isn’t the best idea.” 

Kevin: “I wondered who would crack first.  I just thought it would take more than 3 days!!”

Julianne: “Yay! 100-miler here we come!”

Feels like Born to Run 2012 might be the place to give it  a go.


Born to Run Ultras on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_143807819012403

Born to Run Ultras Website:  http://web.me.com/luisescobar/born_to_run_ultras/Welcome.html

Very early in the race. Kim is in the front followed by Kevin and then me.
Heading up. All the climbs were totally doable, but they got harder as the day went on...obviously. You can see Kevin in front, then me in peach, and our new friend Christi.
Heading back down. Carrie, Kevin, me, Christi.
Kevin and I entering an aid station
Main aid station. I will have some vodka with my fruit cup and Power Bar please.
I love this photo because it is Luis helping Kevin remove his number after the finish. So indicative of Luis's hands-on approach to helping his runners. Earlier in the day he personally went and got Kevin a wet towel to cool down.
The Official Born to Run Mascot. Like the Chicken Suit, I have no idea why other than random good hearted fun. You can see me and Craig in the background.
Done! Tired! Happy! You can see the white chalk line behind me. That's the finish.
The official map to the start. Ha ha ha.
The official results. How can you beat this? Best race ever.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jennifer says:

    Great post Julianne and great run! Congratulations! I’m almost inspired to run one myself….after I figure out how to get back to the marathon.

  2. Steve says:

    Wow, great race report, Julianne! Congratulations on joining the 100K Club! Looks like a lot of fun… that race map is hilarious.

    BTW, I think we are ‘hill-dwelling neighbors. I see you running through, and around, and about the HLE neighborhood occasionally — usually when it’s raining!!

    – Steve

  3. runrunrunrun says:

    Hi Steve – I checked our your blog. It’s looking great! So cool to find a neighbor athlete. Keep up the great work and see you around the lake.

  4. Sue O'Brien says:

    This race looks a perfect choice for a first time 100 miler duo. Fun and terrain that varies but is not overwhelming.

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