Race Report: A weekend in Kentucky at the No Business 100

Staff veteran trail running Tehra Wieck finished her second one hundred mile race a few weeks back in the wet state of Kentucky. Tehra did an amazing job training this summer through the heat, balancing training, work and family and doing it all with a smile. After the race report is her gear list, so if you’re thinking of running an ultra marathon in the near future, check out the gear she used. Of course, it’s almost all available in our shop.

No Business 100 Race Report by Tehra Wieck (Oct 12-13th, 2019)

One loop, two states, over 14,000’ of gain of relentless rolling hills, ridgelines, cliff overhangs, sandstone arches and sweet, soft single track. That is No Business 100. I came across this race in its first year and drooled as I looked at the description and pictures. I was too intimidated to try it a few years ago, but this year I was determined to tackle it. My 16 year old son, Lincoln, and I flew up to TN on Thursday before the race. As we were pulling up to our cabin, a black bear ran out of the woods and across the street right in front of our car. We couldn’t believe it, our first ever wild bear sighting, in Tennessee no less! I blurted out, “That’s a F‘ing Bear!!”.

The cabin in Oneida, TN

The next day my husband and the rest of the crew arrived. We spent the day race prepping and organizing the gear for the crew. Then we went to packet pickup and enjoyed the pre-race vibe.

Lincoln (son), Joe (husband) and Brock (A great friend!) looking at my race plan.

 

All smiles pre-race!

At 5:00am on Saturday morning 150ish runners headed out into the dark. It has to be one of the coolest start/finish lines. The runners go across the giant Blue Heron Bridge in Kentucky that used to transport coal from the mines. The bridge was super slick, so we all just shuffled across. There are a ton of bridges throughout this course, a lot of them pretty ricketty so it gets interesting as the miles pile on. We heard one of the runners go down on a bridge within the first 5 minutes. Ouch!

No Business Trailhead. PhotoCredit: nobusiness100.com

Within an hour of starting, I realized I forgot to pack half of my nutrition in my vest! I had three gels on me for the first 25 miles! Ugh…but I thought, well you just have to adapt and make the most of the aid stations. Thankfully the aid stations were awesome! Some of the best I’ve seen. Within the first or second aid station, they were already offering boiled potatoes, broth and had bagged cheezits to take on the run (look for that bag of cheezits dangling from my pack in later pictures).

It rained for the first few hours, but thankfully it wasn’t too cold yet. About a mile before we arrived at the first drop bag/crew stop, a spunky guy came running by me clapping and cheering, “You’re doing great!”. I really needed that encouragement, even this early in the race I was already starting to feel a little down and my body was starting to hurt. I did a double take at the guy and said, “Are you Walter?”. It was! It was Walter Handloser, who is running the “half hundred hundreds” this year. His goal is to run 50 100’s in 2019, so this was his 39th 100 of the year. I thought, Damn, if he has done 38 already, surely I can finish one in a year! By the time we arrived at Mile 25 it had stopped raining, but my clothes were wet and I was starting to get cold. As soon as I peeled off my socks to change them, both of my feet cramped up like crazy. It was like my big toe and my second toe had two opposing magnets on them. I was out of the aid station pretty quick, but the first 25 miles were so hilly and mainly in the dark that I was already running on my “worst case scenario” race plan. Not good, but I was still within the range.

End of the Rain!

The next 20 miles were much milder where we ran up on a ridge line. Although there were trees lining the edge, you could see the drop off was very severe. A guy behind me tripped and I looked back to see him pulling himself back up onto the trail. From then on when I was that close to the ridge, especially late in the race, I hiked! For hours of the race I was either behind or in front of someone carrying on a long, loud conversation. This was starting to overwhelm me. Too much input and my introvert self was getting overloaded with stimulus. By the time my friend caught up with me and wanted to chat, I was down to single word answers, until I finally told him, “I can’t talk right now”. With my back and feet killing me, I tried to push negative thoughts aside and repeated the mantra, “Embrace it, Own it, Finish what you started.”.

Gorgeous Waterfall, photo credit: nobusiness100.com

My next crew stop was mile 44 and I was really looking forward to that. I was planning on a clothes change because the temperatures were expected to drop as soon as the sun set. The aid station happened to be at a park and our car was facing the park and field where kids and families were enjoying the day. I of course had to strip off clothes and thought, this will be interesting. Don’t want to scar the kids. We did the best we could to shield them from our view, hopefully my bare ass won’t show up on anyone’s phone out there, but at the time I didn’t really care.

Our plan was to pick up Lincoln as a pacer at mile 64, but I was already making plans to have him start earlier. I predicted I wouldn’t reach mile 64 until around midnight and knew if I went that long on my own I would move slower and dig myself deeper into a hole. Lincoln didn’t bat an eye, and said he would start at mile 56 instead. Cool, that should be 9:30pm. I downed a McDonald’s happy meal (sound familiar, Editor’s note: Tehra at 3 at Chattanooga last year!) and headed out with about two hours of daylight left.

Climbing out of the night

The next section of trail had a lot of climbing, a ton of stairs similar to Riverplace in West Austin. Basically the course of this race went as follows: Descend into the gorge, cross a creek or two, climb out of the gorge, run on a ridgeline and repeat. We were constantly climbing, descending or rock hopping across creeks. I was excited to pick up Lincoln and let him experience the beauty of this trail. I picked him up at mile 56 and we kept a pretty good pace.

Expert pacing by Lincoln (not pictured)

He was phenomenal! He would tell me which rocks were wobbly when we rock hopped, asked if the pace was ok and would regularly check in and see how I was doing. Throughout this section we ran along huge rock faces and overhangs and meandered over boulders under a full canopy of trees and a full moon. It is one of those moments in life we will never forget. We talked a lot and he gained a full appreciation of what running 100 miles means. He paced for 26 miles, all through the night, without one complaint. After many hours we were both starting to jump at shadows. It’s weird how the light on a plant that is moving can trick you into thinking it’s a critter about to attack. I blurted out a profanity at one “lunging plant” and then said, “Sorry Lincoln, my mouth is pretty vulgar at this point”. He said, “It’s ok, cursing is for extreme and this is pretty extreme, mom”. Well said, young brilliant son.

He also said,

Mom, I don’t know how you do it. You’ve got a mind of steel.”.

Wow, that about brought me to tears.

 

Husband of the Year

Just as the sun was about to rise, we pulled into the mile 82 aid station where I would pick up Joe as a pacer. We were still ok on time, but not great. I was only 50 minutes ahead of cutoff and we wanted to build a bit more cushion. Joe did his best to get me moving faster, but his tactics weren’t working. He would run way ahead of me, possibly thinking I would follow. I finally yelled, “You’re not making me go faster!”. He also was full of chattiness, and I was shutting down again. I think I just stopped answering him at some point and completely ignored him. I was so tired, in fact I don’t think I have ever been more tired in my life. I knew we had 18 miles left, but I tried to do “ultra math” and figure out how many more aid stations we had. Joe said we just had two more to go until the finish, but I was so convinced the math didn’t add up. I kept thinking it only added up to 13 miles and was cringing we would have a third aid station in there. Joe realized he couldn’t convince me, so I finally just said “ultra math” is not reliable and decided to trust him.

Me in a not so talkative mood around mile 95.

I thought to myself if I could get to the last aid station with three hours to go and only 6.5 miles left, I could safely finish within the cutoff time. We did it, pulled up and I had 3 hours to go the last 6.5 miles. Funny, the volunteers said it was “all downhill from here”. I don’t know what course they previewed, but it was pretty much all up hill. Where the hell is this downhill they’re talking about?! We could hear the band playing at the finish about 2 miles before we reached the finish. That was hard, knowing it was right there, but the trail starts turning away from it and of course veering up. Tears were kicking in and I was crying of joy, pain and just pure exhaustion. Finally, the bridge came into view and totally took me by surprise. I would like to think I could have run to the finish, but the bridge was so slick that morning, I stuck to my shuffle and held on so I wouldn’t fall.

 

The bridge is so long, it’s a like a slo-mo video just getting to the end.

I was balling and relieved to be done, crossing the finish in 32 hours 22 minutes. I immediately hugged the race director and admired the buckle he gave me. That was my bucket list race! Done! I convinced myself I am retiring from this 100 mile distance. We will see what the future holds! (Editor’s note: everyone says this at the finish….)

Going in for the hug!

My AWESOME crew at the finish line!!

 

Nice Buckle Right?! PhotoCredit: nobusiness100.com

 

Well done Tehra! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Rest up and enjoy some much deserved time off!

 

 

Tehra’s Gear List

Bottoms:
Patagonia Peak Mission Tights (x2)
Patagonia Houdini Pants
Patagonia Windshield Pants
Patagonia Strider Pro Shorts

Tops:
Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Longsleeve (x2)
Patagonia Airchaser Shirt (x2)
Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket
La Sportiva waterproof windbreaker
Patagonia Cap Air Longsleeve (x2)
Patagonia All-Weather Zip-neck

Shoes:
Topo Athletic Mountain Racer (x2)

Pack:
Nathan Vapor Howe w/ Hydrapak 500ml bottles (one item we do not stock)

Socks:
Smartwool (one item we do not stock regularly)

Headlamps:
Ultraspire 600 Lumen waist light
Coastal Headlamp & Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

Hiking Poles:
Black Diamond Carbon Z poles

Nutrition:
Skratch Sport Drink
Spring Energy Gels
Real Food

Anti-chafing:
2Toms Sport Shield

Watch:
Garmin Forerunner 945

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