690. buckeye 200

My first ever 200 mile ultra marathon 

It was more than I expected. I’ll never forget it. 

The views were okay, Some were 

breathtaking, others were eye closers. 

We saw along route 45 in Ohio slowly. 

God wanted us to finish was a saying that found its way into the conversation more than a handful of times. 

The night before we all met at the hotel. Coach pete, Sergio, kaylee, Georgetta, Corie, and myself. This was our first time talking about the race together , our first time meeting.

I felt this was an issue, Corie and I talked about it. I should’ve brought it up with the crew beforehand. We probably would’ve changed that and held a few meetings before so there were no surprises for the race or false expectations. 

A “surprise” might have been this to some people, although we made the call that day, a surprise to all of us that we agreed on: 

Since we all felt fully prepared really pete and i, We made a decision to have Corie crew day 2 and Beyond vs every single mile of the journey. In hindsight this was a great call and Corie did an amazing job at crewing not only for us but as a road angel to the other runners. 

The plan was for us five to stick together most of the journey and get Kaylee to the finish. 

Day 1 

The bibs were cool, some pillow case cut outs with Roman numerals and buttons. Feral the race directors prides her self on the cheap side and the 65$ race entry reflects that. It was cool out. 6:30am along Lake Erie. The race started at 7 am, pretty anticlimactic and that’s exactly how we wanted it. We all knew we had long days ahead. 

We stayed together for about 15 miles, Sergio went up ahead of us not to be seen until the end of the day , 35 miles later. We kind of thought he went too fast, but it turns out, it was right for him. A lesson is that: People can have opinions, that’s okay, we don’t have to listen to those opinions either. 

Pete had us all laughing our asses off. ‘Shew’ was said about 456,543 times. He proceeded to explain that he was too deep to quit and how this is the hardest thing ever. 

The amount of roadkill on this road was unbearable. 

Little did I know that Kaylee, the 17 year old girl whom I never met, would be the one clipping out 160 miles with me.*

Not much food along the route, we hit a subway around 8:30 pm, our first real food for the day. gas station food for old quick. I got 3 veggie hoagies, 2 for now and one for tomorrow. 

We stayed at the best west inn in warren on the night of day 1. 

Day 2 is where things got weird. We started our journey when it was still dark. We got into Salem and met a local ultra runner named Dustin who was the MAN. He was just going for a stroll and ran into a few racers, one of them being Sergio. Sergio left and hour before us and we ended up meeting back up in Salem via Dustin. Kaylee and I went to choices for food to meet with Sergio, pete and G went too some Mexican place. 

See we had a game plan to meet back up after food but somehow that got muddled because We never met back up after that. pete and G never called us when they left. We called them when we were leaving and it turns out they made a wrong turn. 

After figuring out where they were, we tried to meet at the circle K. When we got there and called them, no answer. Kaylee and I decided to walk ahead so we didn’t freeze up. After all we figured they would catch us by Lisbon, the next town. 

After some back and fourth phone calls with pete and G, we decided to just stay split, they were staying in Lisbon and we were to push on to wellsville. 

It was just me and Kaylee. We made some serious progress and eventually caught up with Sergio at about 3 pm. Corie came around this time to start to play her role as the crew, which saved us dearly more than 7 times throughout our journey. 7 times to where we would have been fucked without her. Huge help. We’ve said thank you so many times. 

And again, little did i know that It’d be us three to experience some wonderful highs together and crushing lows. After a gnarly section of the course, We made it to wellville by midnight. pitch dark, cold, drizzling out. a storm was coming in. This was the turn around point. Nowhere to sleep we managed to pitch a little tent in the front of the stadium. 

We had to of looked sorry because the athletic trainer came out , the last person in the stadium before he locked up for the night and something amazing happened:

He let us sleep in the locker room – out of the elements – with a bathroom, lights, outlets. A stroke of kindness that lifted our spirits. god wanted us to finish this race.  We tore the tent down, got our gear squared up and tried to get to bed on the concrete floor. We gave Kaylee the massage table for her to sleep on. It wasn’t the ritz but inside with a roof over our head and walls was better than outside. We were grateful. God wanted us to finish. 

3 more people managed to make it to wellville that night, we of course let them crash in our new found suite. We might’ve got 2 hours of sleep total. 

Day 3 

I’m not sure when we left but it was dark out. Maybe on the road by 5 am? This was a serious low point. My shin was causing issues. We slowly walked up this gnarly turny hilly section of the course in eerie silence. Not much was talked about. “Can we take a break for just a second” I said every ten minutes

sunlight broke and that lifted some spirits. Sergio had booked a hotel room in warren. Only thing left to do was to just get there, some 50 miles away. 

We saw the most beautiful sun set this day. A quadruple rainbow too. We were on a high. 

And of course, this was followed by a crushing low. It took us forever to get to warren. Maybe 2:30 am. We’ve been up for just about 24 hours, already sleep deprived from day 1 and 2. No naps, and it crushed us. 5 hours of crying with Kaylee and freaking Sergio out. The pain was real, emotionally distressed, it felt like the body needed some sort of outlet. 

Pete and G were behind us, G dropped at 102 miles, her furthest run. They wanted us to stop and get a ride to the hotel, but we had the goal to finish in 4 days, that’d be a 70 mile day on the last day. Highly unlikely and not something we wanted to try to do. We were all in agreement to keep pressing forward. 

In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t listen and pushed onto warren. The day started with crushing low and ended even lower, but it was the highlight of the journey.

To top it off, drug addicts were running around warren. Kaylee and serg went to the hotel room, I stayed outside with Corie and champion in the car. I had a blade on me for protection and would’ve tried my best to stab this mother fucker should he try something  but admittedly it wouldn’t have looked pretty. 150 miles in, 3 days, 6 hours of sub par sleep had me looking like the drug addict. I wasn’t ready to be tested though.

We made a deal that if we got to Warren that we would do 5 hour slumber. That’d put us at wake up 8 am. 

Mission accomplished. 

Day 4 

I woke up at 7 though, with all my gear on. cold, had to shit, and 4 hours of sleep. Got out of the car and went into the hotel room to get a shower. Totally surprising kaylee and Sergio with my appearance smiling “bro where’d you go”

My shin was lit, I looked like death. Walking in, someone asked “marathon legs?” 

Voice shaking, teary eyed “if only you knew bro” 

We got out the door by 8:30 and spirits were high. 150 miles in and we all wanted to finish. 

10 miles in for the day, my shin was completely inflamed causing serious issues. I decided to rest, elevate the foot, and separate myself from the pack.

Although I wanted to finish with them, I’m glad I made this decision to slow down. 

I ended up doing another 20, and called it a day with 30 miles. I’d plan to get rest and do the rest tomorrow, it was already 10pm pushing to the finish would be a 3 or 4 am finish, something I wasn’t ready to do. Although part of me does wish I pressed on instead of sleeping this last night. 

Sergio ran his last 50 faster then his first 50. 

Kaylee finished by 1 am, drove home and then went to school 

We fell asleep in a dollar general parking lot.

Day 5 

I started by 4:30 am, and finished by 10:15 am. It was pretty smooth sailing. 

Hanging my ass off the guardrail and shitting off the side was probably the most unusual thing on this section. 

Or it was the fact that I ran the last 3 miles faster than I ran any three miles for this race. 

An experience for the books and one that I’ll always remember. 

Thanks guys.

Corie, the silent angel. Thank you for giving us your time, for being there for us, and for crewing. We would’ve been major pickled on a few different legs of the course and your tender loving care saved us more then a few times. From fluids, food, moral boost, a good laugh, your energy, seeing champy. Thank you. Not only did you support us, but you were looking out for the other runners too. A true road angel. It was amazing to see you flourish in this type of environment. Plus, now I really know you do care about me – not that I doubted it before – but your actions spoke loudly. I love you❤️

Kaylee, it was real. 160 miles with someone is incredible. You’re a cool cat Kaylee, Thank you for all the laughs. For the tears, we soared some highs and had some crushing lows. We tried not to get too high or too low, but day 3 was like a roller coaster. We imitated coach pete so much that we actually sound like him now😂. I actually never took a shit in front of a female with the door open either, congrats on that one. You’re Inspiring to say the least, and I’m thrilled to be a part of our journey. 

Sergio, doc, it was real. We did hainesport together, and now we did buckeye. Thanks for being you dude. So many laughs. More importantly, thank you for all your help especially with the doc side of things. Without you I would’ve been going through extreme issues. Thanks for imparting your wisdom onto me, for being an open book and not hiding anything, for pushing us to the finish, and for being an example of what we’re capable of. I can’t believe your last 50 were faster than your first. 

Pete shew, it was real. Thanks for caring so much about me – us. You were the dad out there, bringing light and wisdom within the group. Way to soldier on and thanks for letting us bunk in the hotel room. Your 200 meta strategy worked damn good. 

And ma, thanks for the crew on the back half, for the stories you shared. I love the way you live your life especially with that secret group you have going on. way to get that first 100 miler knocked out. 

Until next time y’all.

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