September 28, 2016

Death Before DNF- Dusty's Latest Adventure

Back in February I got Dusty two races for his birthday: a 60k night run that ended up being moved to the daylight in scorching heat in June (which he placed 1st in and had one hell of a run, but I spent the time at the ocean with Wyatt instead so had no media to share) and The Death Before DNF event that was booked for September.

Wyatt in his Sea Monster boots, super excited to see Dusty coming down the trail

Death Before DNF was an intriguing race. The main goal was 100 miles in 24 hours, but the race wouldn't end until the last runner  quit and was named last man standing. It was being held only 1 1/2 hours from home by a beautiful lake.

Mommy, can you take my shirt off cuz Daddy has his off and I want mine off too

Saturday was the day and Dusty went up for the 8 am start hoping to complete 100 miles. Nobody knew anything about the course beyond the fact that it was a 2.4 mile loop that you had to do at least 41 times. It was billed as single track with good views of the lake.

Unfortunately the heat hasn't let up here yet and Saturday reached triple digits yet again. I saw Dusty off at 6 am to head to the trail while I hunkered day for a day of Curious George story time with Wyatt planning to meet up after afternoon nap.

Wyatt off running with Dusty. He told me I wasn't allowed to go because I had my short on and runners go shirtless.  
As the morning progressed I knew the run was taking its toll. Apparently the trail was difficult and the heat was taking people down left and right. Dusty was making decent time all morning and pacing himself the best he ever has, but then it got scorching hot out.

The only flat section of trail on the entire loop
By the time I grabbed the cheese pizza he asked for and headed his way at 330 pm only 6 runners were left out of the 30 starters. This includes the organizer who did one lap before deciding it was insane and hanging out at the one and only aid station the rest of the day.

Going up the first hill. All climbs were short. but steep and full of roots. 
Dusty was hot and tired when I got there, but was still moving pretty well. We ate pizza and then Wyatt wanted to run a loop, so off we all went together. Once we hit the trail I understood the issue immediately.

The loop began on asphalt as it left the tent camping area and then quickly dove into a single track trail in the woods. As we made our way along it was apparent that this trail was never flat. It either went up or down at all times and some sections were so steep you nearly had to go on your butt to get down. Add in tight turns and so many roots you could barely see the dirt floor and it was as much a mental workout as it was a physical one. You just never could get into a rhythm or good stride.

Gong back down and around and through
I loved the creepy twisty trees through here.

There were some wonderful views though and the fact that you did it so many times made it a bit easier as you could learn where to move out and when to slow down.

I left him at 7 pm at 31 miles down and no longer hoping to make 100. His PR in a 24 hour race is 64 miles and I knew he really wanted to at least beat that.

More creepy trees. I don't think I would have liked them so much at night. 
My heart broke for him at midnight when he texted that he was done. There were only 4 of them left at that point and he had 42 miles done. He had stopped sweating and began to shiver despite the heat and he knew he wasn't metabolically stable enough to go on.

Going down. I was proud of Wyatt for navigating this so well, but I couldn't imagine having to do this 41 times. 
I felt really bad for him. He had wanted it so badly and he tried his hardest. Unfortunately, buying his own veterinary practice in June put a stop to his lunch hour runs and his training wasn't what he had wanted going in to this race. Had the trail been easier or the weather been cooler I know he would have at least reached his PR if not the 100 mark, but things were just not working out.

The lake views were amazing though
The next morning we found out the results. Only 3 of 30 made it to 100 miles. One of the runners is well known in this area for his speed in the 100s and typically finishes in just over 17 hours. He took 1st in this event and it took him 33 hours to cover 100 miles. Dusty informs me that most 100s have a 30 hour cut off. The 3rd and final finisher completed in over 35 hours.

Lake selfie
Going down again. 

It was a very brutal course and I told him he should be proud of the 41 miles he fought for. I'm not sure what his plans are from here. I know he really wants to do a point to point 100 instead of these 24 hour loop runs that kill you mentally. Burning River 100 is top of his list for next summer as long as things at work settle down again. A friend invited him to run another 100 miler close by here in December, but it is a 1 mile loop and he just can't fathom going around the same circle 100 times. We will see what he comes up with.

Going donw
And coming back up


  1. Ack. Sorry to hear this didn't go so well! But at least you got a great family photo from it =)

    1. He was really disappointed, but the trail was not an easy one and the temperature didn't help at all.

  2. Those trails are intense! No way would I want to be out there in the dark.

    1. He texted me a picture of a copperhead snake on trail at dusk. No way!!!

  3. That trail really sucks. I cannot imagine doing it so many times.

    1. It did basically suck. Fun to hike around once, but I have no clue how people did it so many times.

  4. That. is. insane.
    So much respect.

  5. Wow, that is pretty intense. Sounds like he made a hard/smart choice to retire when he did...hopefully the weather cooperates in the future :)

    1. I give him credit for knowing when to stop. His body just shut down once the sun went down and the humidity went up.There is always a next time!

  6. Damn. Amazing he did that much! Commendable and crazy. I've never heard of an ultra on a short course 40+ times, holy repetitive trail! Hope it works out better next time for him.

    1. I don't know how they all went around that trail so many times. I think I'd rther run on the treadmill than do that.

  7. Hi there!

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    Aryelle Stafford