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Washington DC - Ultimate Day Hike

100km One Day Hike, Take 2
By Craig Tyndall (aka DayHiker)   

It's 5/6/02, about 36 hours after my second 100k hike along the Potomac River, as I sit (the preferred body orientation at the moment) waiting for Roger, another second year participant, to pick me up for a ride to the airport for the return trip to San Diego.  Yes I did this again:  flew across the country to walk 62 miles in one day.  I made the mistake last year of telling friends about my intentions.  They didn't understand, responding with comments like, "you're nuts, what's wrong with you, don't you get bored," etc.  So this year I just disappeared for a few days and didn't tell them.  My feet are still swollen, all muscles from the waist down are in rebellion, a large blister on the ball of my right foot is asking when is it going to be drained, and I'm favorably contemplating next year's 100k hike. 

A hiking buddy once told me "pain and fatigue are just an excuse for failure."  Damn, I wish he hadn't told me that.  And then there's Klaus, a new friend made during this latest death march.  He related how last year he developed huge painful blisters half way through, so he picked up the pace to get through faster, exploding the blisters in situ, and oozing his masochistic way to a fast finish.  He did the same thing again this year.  There are no excuses.  And there was another Klaus who does this thing every year, also in fast times. think I'll change my name to Klaus.

My hobby is extreme day hiking and this 100k (62.5miles) is a classic - right up there with Mt Whitney in a day.  It's all level ground, starting from the nations capital and ending up where West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia touch.  This is not a race, but it is a race, with one person to beat: you.  Not all did the 100k (3am start) since there were 50k (10:30am start) and 80k (6am start) versions.  77% (36/47) of the 100Kers, 70% (14/20) of the 80kers and 94% of the 50kers finished. There were no major injuries or dehydration, unlike some years.  But everyone did his/her personal best.  There were people who had done it before and many who were doing it for the first time.

The weather was the best possible 50-60 degrees, and actually at bit chilly, high 40's in the pre-dawn hours (for the 100k folks).  It did rain for an hour or so around 5pm, but not a real obstacle except for those who assumed the "10% chance of rain" was a good gamble and only wore a tee shirt.  

It was another well-organized Sierra club event.  The check-in/food stops were incredible and makes the walk civilized.  Twice I stumbled to a rest stop chair, pulled off shoes to do some podiatry repair, and two great ladies made me sandwiches while I fiddled with mole skin I put my order in: "plain bagel and plain cheese", then "turkey on wheat, tomato, light on the mayo" ... felt like Burger King.  Thanks ladies ... wish I could remember your names ... wish I could remember more of the hikers names ... wish I could have remembered my name.

Deborah the Physics teacher, and Holly the Physical Therapist.  Wow, these ladies can walk. I had to keep running to catch up with them and I'm a foot taller than each.  It was like a Dachshund and a Great Dane walking side by side, and the Dachshund is speeding ahead.  There are no excuses. 

Ken and Bill, speed walkers all the way.  I'll try to keep up with you next year (they cruised in about 45 minutes ahead of me, and I ran part of the way).

What made this a race a social function was meeting people as they passed you, or you passed them.  People of all ages, sizes, and occupation have a story to tell and you have plenty of time to listen.  Another benefit: with so many people, you have a benchmark to compare your progress, as you switch between being the rabbit or the greyhound.  There were folks from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, even a couple others from the west coast besides me.  Some showed up because they read about it on this web site.  Neat. 

Check out their web site for the next 100k walk and put it on your calendar.  Start walking now and forever. 

Update 6/5/02  I don't call myself a runner, don't run much, and always assumed people who ran marathons were a bit nuts (wow, that's the pot calling the kettle black).  Well another of my life's biases put asunder - three days ago I did the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon, my first.  Yes, it turns out the 100k walk was perfect conditioning for this "short" distance.  Too funny. No excuses here either.  

Update 6/5/03  Didn't do the 100k walk this year ... but just did my second marathon (San Diego Rock and Roll) along with extreme day hikes.    Interesting conclusion:  Walking quickly up lots of  hills and you can get into reasonable shape for a marathon with minimal long distance running.

Update 2/6/05  Contemplating the 100k walk this year ...would be great training for my fourth marathon.  Life is short ... there are still no excuses.

Update 10/5/05  Didn't do the 100k walk this year either.  Did my 4th marathon and 2 half marathons ... I don't like running.    I think its time to go back and do the 100k.  Life is short ... the 100k is long.

Update 9/29/07  Can't seem to get back to Washington DC.  Did the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon - 6 years straight.  Hmmm ... getting lazy.

Update 1/4/13 Will this be the year I do this 100k again?

 Craig Tyndall

Go to 2001 100K

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