mark twain and the epic journey
|2014 MT100 Overall Winner Derek Glos|
Just a few years ago, March 20, 2012 to be exact, I was having a very bad day at work and life was really starting to push me to the point of breaking so I took off on a little jog at lunch. I hadn’t run since the summer of 1998, but I needed something to release a little bit of life’s stresses. I’m not sure why I chose running over all of the other crutches that are out there but I wouldn’t change it.
I remember starting at Sequiota Park and running towards Seminole. I made it all the way down to the rail road bridge before needing to stop to catch my breath. I remember stopping to walk for a few minutes, and feeling this sense of peace and I was calm. This is something that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I knew I needed to add this into my daily routine to help me keep from going crazy.
Fast forward a year and I just came back from Rocky Raccoon watching OMRR members Jeff Jones and David Murphy finish a grueling 100 mile run in high humidity. Then I had the opportunity to see Tara Homburg and Shane Naugher hammer out the Prairie Spirit 100. Little did these 4 people know, but they put a burning desire deep in my soul. I wanted to run a 100 mile race, now to find one that would meet my criteria of close to home, single track and very low key. For those who don’t know me I hate to travel, love trails and was very worried about being close to death finishing something like this. The fewer people that seen me close to death the better.
I had the opportunity to pace Jeff at Mark Twain 100 the previous year and remember the awesome course, support and race directors. So in the back of my mind this was the race I wanted. Now all I needed was to have the balls to sign up for the race. Then one day I was working remote and I took a little nap during lunch, and I must have dreamt about running. I woke up and thought to myself, you will never run a 100 if you don’t sign up. Like any idiot would do, jumped on the PC and signed up. Then I thought, what in the heck are you thinking? I had never raced more than a 50k and honestly didn’t know how to build a training plan for a 5k let alone 100 miles. Luckily I knew David Murphy had started coaching and his race results are all the proof I needed to know this dude knows his stuff. I called David and let him know what I had done. He kind of laughed at me and we started the journey of getting me mentally and physically ready for the task that would be at hand. I had from early April to mid-September to get ready and it took every week of it.
Week by week and mile by mile I trained. I had some very good weeks when I thought I was going to crush it and I had some very bad weeks when I could barely finish a run, but I didn’t quit and kept my eye on the big picture. If I had a dollar for every time David told me “100’s are all about running on tired legs” I could take a trip to Disney Land and run one of those princess runs or something.
In June my mileage was really starting to build up and I was on the way to hammer out a long run with the Idiots Running Club relay for life team. About half way there I received a call from my dad. He told me he had been working out and he hurt his back, but there was nothing to worry about. Wished me luck and off I went. I could tell there was a little bit of worry in his voice, but I figured he was just in pain nothing major. I ran, watched one of the best fireworks shows I’ve ever seen and had the opportunity to actually chat and get to know some of the IRC peeps from down south. I returned home the following day and called my dad to see how he was feeling, and I was surprised to find he had to have a rush surgery to remove a tumor in his spine that was pushing on his spine. A few days later he was diagnosed with colon cancer and it has spread to several other locations throughout his body. What a reality check to what’s actually important in life. So, my training was but on the back burner for a few days as I drove to OKC to see my dad. David and I would speak just about every day and we would work the training schedule around what little time I had to run. After a few days in OKC I returned home, I was mentally broken and physically worn out, but I kept training. All of a sudden running became my stress reliever again just like then beginning of my running journey. I found my focus and motivation and was able to run mile after mile asking questions like why? What if? I would run the trails and have old memories randomly pop into my head. I would run with tears flowing down my face and really didn’t care. I had a freedom out there and it let me clear my mind.
With everything going on in my personal life the race approached a little quicker than expected, but I knew David had provided a great training plan, and I had put in the work. I’m very lucky to have a great training partner in Jeff Jones that had also been making sure I had been putting in the time. Jeff and I would discuss nutrition and game plan on our long runs, so we knew what the plan was come race day. Our plan was to leave from Jeff’s house at 3:00 on Friday, September 12. On my way to pick Jeff up I knew I needed to call my dad since I was going to be off grid due to not having service for a few days. We talked about how he was doing and what my expectations for the race were. As we were saying our good byes and making plans of when I would call him to tell him how things went he said “Do this one for me son” man how could I let him down? I’m not going to lie it hit home and I cried like a baby all the way to Jeff’s house. I pulled it together just in time to pick him up. We headed out and made it with enough time to eat the pre-race meal, do packet pick up and listen to the pre-race meeting. After the meeting we had another 12 or 13 miles to camp. We showed up in the dark and had to put out tents up and get the camp stove ready for the next morning. Once we had everything finished up we found Chris Thomas, who was running the 50 mile race the next morning, and we hung out around a bonfire until it was time for bed. I jumped into the tent and surprisingly went right to sleep. We planned to wake up at 5:15 AM the following morning with a 6:00 AM start time. I rolled out of the tent race morning to the sound of generators and laughter. The exact reason I wanted to run this race, great people and it’s super low key. Jeff and I made some of our world famous breakfast burritos, coffee and I drank a protein/glycogen shake. The 100 miles consisted of 4 loops each being 25 miles long. Jeff and I went over my game plan one more time. I wanted to complete loop 1 and 2 in 5 hours each and pray I could run the last 2 loops in 6 hours each. This would have me finishing close to 22 hours. I honestly didn’t know if I could possibly do this, but I’m a hard headed runner and knew I would leave everything I had on the trail.
Jeff and I walked to the start finish line and found the rest of the guys the crew. OMRR and the IRC were represented very well. Houston Wolfe and Chris Thomas both had their sights set on the 50 miler, and Jon Wilson, Eric Tripp and I all 3 were trying to tackle our first 100ers. We snapped a few pictures and got in line ready for a long day of single track trail. Jon and I started pretty far back in the pack. My plan going into the start was to eat so much that I couldn’t start to fast or it would hurt my belly. I need the calories and I didn’t want to do anything stupid early on. The clock rolled to 6 and the race started. I was blasting out a solid 16:00 pace early on. It took a few minutes, but the trail started to open up. Jon and I talked about life and the kiddoes for a few miles then I decided to pick it up just a little.
The rest areas were conveniently 5 miles apart, so I needed to hit each station in an hour and that would have me right on pace. I rolled into the first station feeling great. I had drunk a full hand held of Gatorade and the station works filled it as I grabbed some food and off I went. I knew I needed to drink 12 oz of Gatorade and take in approximately 200-250 calories every 5 miles to stay strong, so that’s what I did. Before I knew it I was finishing up lap 1. I was a little faster than expected, but I wasn’t pushing the pace so I wasn’t too worried about it. As I ran to the crew, I seen Jeff and Shane and they had my protein/glycogen ready and I slammed it while they filled my bottle and hydration pack. Jeff asked how I was doing and I think I said great, and off I went on loop 2.
Things kept going great so I didn’t change anything on this loop. Lots of Gatorade and food from the aid stations and I just clipped off mile by mile and before I knew it I was at the mile 45 station. I thought about skipping this aid station. I had plenty of water in my pack and some food left over. I was ready for my pacer to jump in. If you don’t know Jeff, he’s a running comedian/story teller/Karaoke singer. I did decide to make a quick stop knowing it was still very early in the race, but I made it a quick stop. This was the hardest part of the race for me. Knowing Jeff would be with me for the rest of the run was huge. He was my security blanket. I knew he had done this before and knew what to do if and when things started to go south. I finally finished the last 5 miles of loop 2, I was a little faster than I wanted again but again I was letting the race come to me and I hadn’t pushed the pace at all. Jeff and Shane were spot on again. Everything was ready for me to drink and I grabbed a few pieces of fruit and off we went.
I was a little worried about loop 3. I figured this would be the most difficult to maintain pace and nutrition, but every time I would start to hurt a little I could hear my dad say “Do this one for me son”. What I was going through was self-inflected, no one made me do it and in the bid scheme of things it really didn’t matter if I finished or if I did finish what my time was. Jeff knew exactly what to do and what to say when I needed it. I mean who doesn’t get fired up when a tall white dude is running in the woods singing This girl is on fire or busting out a little Beastie Boys? We took off super quick like 12:00 miles quick and as I thought Jeff made the miles fly by. We planned to run this lap in approximately 6 hours. My watch was dead and I was relying on Jeff to watch pace and mileage. About 2 times into the 3rd loop I asked Jeff what the distance was, and I hear of crap. I forgot to gain satellites and start the watch. We both just laughed, knowing in it really didn’t matter. It was a little comical watching Jeff run rock covered trails with his left arm straight up in the air trying to get satellites. Don’t act like you haven’t done this before. He had finally got everything rolling and ready as we ran into the first aid station of this lap. John Cash (Course record holder and winner of the race the past 2 years) He was trying to help Jeff fill his water bottle and Jeff was thinking he wanted to shake hands, so every time John reached out to Jeff for his bottle Jeff would shake his hand. I’m not sure how many times this happened before John said do you need any water dude? Those are the little things that make a race ☺. I don’t think we seen anyone other than aid station works for the next 20 miles, but that’s typical for races like this. We finished loop 3 and Shane was spot on with my drink and filling my Gatorade bottle and hydration vest. I slammed the drink and off I went. Starting my last loop.
|Derek Glos and his pacer Jeff Jones|
Starting that last loop was a great feeling. I knew the next time I seen the start finish this journey would be completed. It was a huge boost and gave me a little energy that was needed. Jeff and I started knocking out mile after mile hour after hour and we started to lap people. Jeff is a freak and if he ever sees a light he subconsciously pushes the pace until you catch them. We passed several people and it made time go by a little faster. Everything was great until about mile 97 or 98 and I thought I could see a light gaining on us. I’m not sure exactly what I said to Jeff but the pace really picked up. It felt like he was pushing a 5k pace on the last climb and I was giving all I had to keep up. He made sure I gave everything I possibly could those last few miles. We finally could hear the crowd and generators running. Jeff started hooting and hollering to make sure everyone in 3 counties knew I was coming in. I can’t explain how awesome it felt to cross that finish line. All of the training, family sacrifices and time that gets put into a race like this is crazy. It’s not just the person running the race either. Jeff sacrificed lots of hours to run with me and crew for me, David took calls and answered stupid questions for months and Shane was there for anything we could possibly need.
I will never be able to repay you guys for everything you did making sure I was ready for the race and making sure I was good on race day.
Derek finished in 20 hours 19 minutes securing a coveted sub 24 hour finish and 1st place overall at the 2014 Mark Twain 100. Not bad for his first attempt. The IRC is proud of his accomplishment but we are more proud of the character and humility he shows to other runners. This type of behavior, while common among many members of the IRC, is not something we see enough of on the trails, roads or through social media. Congrats to you Mr. Glos – your future is bright. Thanks for bringing us along on the journey.