Jenster and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Race – Holston River 100 RR

It’s been a while and I’ve been up to no good. Running hasn’t been very enjoyable this year (other than a few marathons in March) and I haven’t felt like sharing my misery. But I’ll share this miserable run because it’s 100 frickin miles and you gotta share that ish.

On paper, the race seemed so fun and easy. It was a 1.5 mile loop with 6/12/24/36 hour options and a 100 mile option. I decided to go for the 100, because I knew if I signed up for the 36 Hour I wasn’t going to be interested in going farther. The 100 cost more because finishers received a belt buckle. I’m usually pretty frugal but of course I wanted a buckle. Suspenders are for losers.

TL;DR (Spoiler)If I had signed up for the 36 hour I would’ve quit early on. But I finished because I’m a stubborn jerk and nothing is impossible.


I woke up fairly early Friday morning and drove an hour to my friend Laurie’s house. She volunteered to drive the 4 hours from her house to the race and we left with plenty of time to set up camp and relax before the 8 pm start that night. Luckily we left with that big cushion because we ended up waiting for 2 hours for AAA in the middle of no where. You know you’re in for a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad race when you carpool with a friend and her car breaks down on race day.


At 11 pm, just 3 hours into the race, I called my boyfriend to tell him I was already falling asleep. Even though the sun had set hours ago, the temps were still in the 80s and the humidity was near 100% through the night…and I whined and whined about how it shouldn’t suck so much, so early. “So quit” he told me. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr. I put on my angry pants and cranked out some more miles before sunrise.

At 8 am, 12 hours into the race, I had only accomplished 40.5 miles. I told myself I’m slower at night….and it was frickin hot. I swore I’d cover more ground during the daylight.

I did not.

Temps soared into the 90s and the course had little shade. It was an absolute inferno. My friends and I resembled the walking dead.

I took frequent breaks under a friend’s canopy, in his zero gravity chair, with his generator-powered fans lulling me to sweet dreams about moving to Australia (hey, it’s winter there!).


At 8 pm, 24 hours into the race, I was only at 70.5 miles and I wasn’t optimistic about the remaining 12 hours. I was 100% sure I didn’t have a second night in me and even if I did, at the rate I was moving I wasn’t sure I could cover 50k in 12 hours.


Why was I so stupid? If I had signed up for the 36 hour run I could’ve gotten credit for 1 lap. Not only was I going to DNF, I PAID MORE TO BE A DNF. I thought about asking the timing people if I could switch races but I didn’t want to know the answer.


Dusk came and went…and I settled in for  another dark, sticky, miserable night. And then something crazy happened. I started to feel good. Not great…but considering how terrible and horrible I felt for the last 25 hours. An 11 hour marathon? I could do it, right?

I finished half of that marathon as my friend Laurie hit 100, just before 1 am. It was awesome getting to run her in….but I’ve never been so jealous of someone in my life.

She’s done. She gets to sleep! She has the precious buckle. We hates her!

I tried to keep moving, but exhaustion was starting to have an edge over stubbornness. I’m not fast, but in no way did I expect 100 miles to take me more than 30 hours. To put it in perspective, 95.865 miles in 24 hours at Hinson Lake and Javelina took me 27:52. This was torture.

At 31 hours into the race, I finally hit 90 miles. Just 10.5 miles left. 7 laps…42 min per lap. The timing people were kind enough to do the math for me.

It was laughable how impossible that sounded.  Could I really throw in the towel and make so much misery all for nothing?

The aid station must of seen the despair on my face, because one of the volunteers offered to pace me. I was in a foul mood and was really unsure about unleashing that on a stranger….but she didn’t seem to mind my grumpiness or my stench.

Her name was Megan and she was young, but absolutely perfect. She let me keep the pace, which was a slow jog but noticeably faster. The jog hurt so much it kept me awake, and the hurt was less painful than fighting to stay awake.

The timing guys announced with each lap how much I was under my 42 min goal…”You just banked 15 min!” “You’re killing it!” Finally, I made progress. 3 laps to go. 2 laps. Oh yes, my last time seeing any of this junk.

100.5 miles in 33:49:59. Oh yes, I “sprinted” for the last second.


The moral of the story – Don’t give up. If you’re not in danger of injuring yourself, keep on trucking. I’m not special….just a typical mid-packer who’s especially out of shape right now who finished a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad race. This report really makes you wanna do one, huh??


Out of 25 people who started in the 100 mile race, only 12 finished….and Laurie and I had the pleasure of being the only 2 females*. Boom.

Literally boom, as this happened on the ride home. (not Laurie’s car, thank goodness)

*There were people who put up 100 miles in the 36 hour race, including a female who put up 150 miles, but it’s harder to determine the finish rate when you throw in those numbers…


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