Friday, March 25, 2016

2016 Hom 100 Recap

For the 4th year in a row, I've been fortunate enough to have the awesome support of friends, family and neighbors who come out and help me put on this crazy charity run to benefit ALS. Most people think that running the 100 miles is the hardest but in actuality, the planning and coordination is what really what makes my blood pressure spike! From permits to porta-potties, food, supplies, trash bags and ice - the list is endless and can really stress a guy out. Like I said however, I have an amazing wife and friends who make sure everything was ship-shape throughout the day all the way to the finish.

As you might imagine, running a 2-mile loop endlessly is far from exciting and doesn't provide much in a change of scenary but I'll do my best to recount the day and those memorable nuggets from this year's Hom 100.

    Start (9 am) to Noon

    Truthfully, if I had my way I'd start this event at like 4 am so I could enjoy the cool morning air and really knock out some miles. Unfortunately, this is the real world and most reasonably sane families (including my own), don't even contemplate getting up until 8. It's one thing I used to stress about but the reality is whether you start at 4 am or 9 am, you're still going to be spending 24+ hours on your feet.

    We had a healthy gathering at our house to begin the event. 25-30 people, most donning their Hom's Homies t-shirts, were anxious to get under way knowing that the temperatures for the day were expected to (again!) be unseasonably hot.

    You had a group of stroller moms. A group of walker moms. A group of kids on bikes. There was also a group of cyclists, led by the eldest Hom daughter, who planned on riding 100 miles that day. Collectively, we took up the entire road and proudly marched out to the aid station to kick off the actual run.

    I was hoping to get more miles during this segment while the weather was a bit cooler but there is always the excitement of the start, various folks showing up to run and massive amounts of pictures being taken while we're still fresh and smelling somewhat pleasant.

    Approximate miles - 15

    Noon to Midnight

    Yep, it feels like 93 F!
    If there is one universal constant in this galaxy, it's that the Hom 100 will be held on THE hottest day imaginable. I'm not sure who upstairs thinks we need 90+ temperatures, but it's honestly not funny any more. So of course around noon, the sun was out in full force, keeping everyone toasty. Kids were getting red and puffy-faced. Adults were camped out under the tents (with adult beverages I might add!)

    I tried to keep moving through the heat but found I needed to take more breaks than normal to clear my head, hydrate and lower my heart rate - it was racing through the roof! It always surprises me that noon to 6 is usually the most popular time to come out and run...go figure! Everyone loves the heat (or getting a nice runner's tan) :-)

    I found myself getting behind in calories throughout the day due to the heat. One of the great things about this course is that the aid station is every 2 miles. Oddly enough, one of the hardest things about this course is that the aid station is every 2 creates a stopping point both physically and mentally but it's also where everyone comes to join the run so there are pictures, laughter, kids and something always going on...everything except eating (in my case). I was easily distracted by friends and wardrobe changes so much that I wasn't eating as much as I should have.

    10-mile Marcus
    Mr. Hangover
    The Double Mint Twins :)

    It wasn't until about 11 pm that my body was crying out for solid food. What kind of food?! Well, pizza! Duh! I gobbled up 5 small squares of pizza and asked my wife for more. She told me there was more at home and that she'd have it 'delivered' to the aid station in a few laps. Of course, within 15 minutes I was starving again and looking for anything that sounded about a solid PB&J sandwich? Sure. With LOTS of jelly!

    This went on for about an hour until I was comfortably 'full' of pizza and sandwiches. I managed to sit down a few times to eat but quickly realized that while it felt great to take a load off, it was much harder to get going after your muscles have had time to relax. I made a mental note to stay on my feet as much as I could the rest of the night to minimize the chances I would remain permanently parked in one of the chairs.
    The night-crew
    Somewhere around 50 miles I also changed my shoes and socks. While I love my Saucony Peregrine shoes, the cushion under my ankle bone had irritated it all day and caused both pain and swelling. A fresh pair of socks and my Hoka's felt like I was on Cloud 9.

    Approximate miles - 60

    Midnight to 6 am

    Magnum PI came out for some laps
    All went well into the midnight hours. Spectators thinned. Kids had gone to bed. Only a couple runners remained to keep me company. My wife stayed on at the aid station until about 1 am before calling it quits herself...such a trooper.

    2 am would be the only time when someone wasn't running with me. However, I'm fortunate to have a great neighbor who doesn't mind staying up all night or riding his bike in circles with me. We continued on through the night for a couple hours - chatting, eating potato chips and solving the mysteries of the universe (ok, we just contemplated them...not sure we solved much)

    It wasn't until about 4 am that an early crew of runners showed up at the tent to take over and keep me company. I'm sure I was overly emotional from being up for 24 hours and very tired, but I couldn't help think of how lucky I was to have friends who would give up their Sunday morning to come out to keep me company and share a sunrise together. We chatted, laughed and made small talk but it was clear that the lack of caffeine was an issue for me as I started to fade in and out of consciousness while walking through the night.

    Laps with Jon
    About 5 am, I stopped at the tent and sat down, wrapped a blanket around me and took a 2-minute cat nap to try and refresh my body and mind just enough to get me to sunrise. While not completely refreshing, it was enough to help me push through another 45 minutes to meet the rising sun (I think the couple shots of Mountain Dew also helped).

    Once that sun came up, it was amazing how invigorated I felt. Still on my feet and still 'running', I was now bound and determined to try and get done by 10 am - putting me at about 25 hours for the run.

    Approximate miles - 82

    6 am to Finish

    Once again, hunger struck in a bad way about 7 am. Much of the aid station food had been decimated and picked over at this point - not to mention that all my personal race food...gels, bars, chews...had been thinned out, leaving only the gross unappetizing flavors (like peanut butter).

    Leave it to my wife to have impeccable timing however - she brought down english muffins with Nutella and sausage/egg biscuits to the tent just in time for me to INHALE several of them as we kept moving along the trail. SO good!

    Fresh runners, kids and other friends started showing up again with the new day - always encouraging and invigorating. Now I could have walked much of the remaining miles - my 'running' pace wasn't much faster than a brisk walk but my ankle was still in bad shape and I couldn't tell if I had blisters on my heels or very bad heat rash (turns out it was both). As they say, 'If it hurts to run and it hurts to walk, then you might as well run' I kept going.

    There wasn't anything very magical about those last 4 hours. The sun had come back out and I applied a new layer of sunscreen on top of the nasty, sticky and stinky layer of sunscreen from the day before. You know it's bad when you can smell yourself! Ick.

    Finish line attendants
    Despite my stench, more and more kids, friends and neighbors had made their way onto the course to keep me company - all very supportive, talkative and attentive to my needs. Lap after lap I was counting the miles down until the time I could sit down and put my feet into a bucket of ice water...

    At last we came to the final lap - which is always a lap plus a little extra (because each lap is just short of 2 miles). A ton of folks joined me for the last lap (or at least half of it - they hurried back to take pictures and video). There is nothing more glorious that heading around the last corner, hearing the final 100-mile beep from my GPS watch and knowing that in 0.25 miles, I'll be able to bask in the glory of another 100-mile finish and another successful charity event for my friend Tony.

    Final Thoughts

    When we started this in 2012, Tony never believed we'd raise more that a couple hundred bucks. I'm sure he's still looking down and shaking his head at me. Our event this year has raised over $10,000 bringing our 4-year total to just over $105,000 (so far).

    The littlest Homie
    I'm so very fortunate to be surrounded by loving and caring individuals and families who may not have known Tony like I did, but support me and my passions just the same. You are all amazing people and I'm lucky to know you all.

    Thank you to my 'village' who has become exceeding efficient at setting up, breaking down, keeping kids entertained, donating food and providing post-race fluids :-)

    Thank you to everyone who came out to run and/or donated.

    Thank you to Cadence Running for the aid station nutrition.

    A HUGE thanks to Dean and Missy for supplying participants (and me!) with the medals and pint glasses.

    The hugest thanks of all to my wife. Co-race-director, (temporary) aid station captain (#WheresDean), bringer-of-food and noise-maker extraordinaire. Love you babe.

    Remember, the Scottsdale Walk to Defeat ALS is October 29, 2016. Stay tuned for more ways you can participate in the walk and our fundraising in memory of Tony. If you're still interested in donating, please go to

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