Blackbeard’s Revenge is a 100% paved point-to-point race starting in Carolla and ending in Hatteras, NC.
It was my first time running a 100 in this format and I registered just FOUR days before the race!
The last day to sign up was 3/17 I messaged the Blackbeard’s Revenge 100 Ultras Facebook a day late on the 3/18. Rich responded that I can register if I could provide a volunteer for one of the shifts. I convinced my solo-man crew to also be a volunteer, but it wasn’t until the morning of 3/22 that I drafted my race plan so I could figure out which shift to sign him up for. Rich said he would have to fight with his wife if I waited any longer to register so I finally pulled the trigger and Rich sends me a special link to register.
My last race was the Yeti 100 in September 2021. After that I took a break from racing, I guess I felt burnt out after 4 straight years of ultras. I went from running 50-60+ miles/week to lucky if I got 20. Running felt like an obligation and I started to hate it. I did get a lot of hiking in! I volunteered and paced at Beast of the East 100 in December and that sparked my love for running again. I’ve missed the [NC] ultra community so much! When the new year started, I found myself volunteering to be Angie’s guide at the Boston Marathon so we have been meeting up weekly for the long runs, but none of them were over 20 miles. According to Strava, my training from January up until this race was 28 runs/58 hrs/282 miles/15088′ climbing.
I started off the morning with a 7mi shake-out run with my dog Raya to see the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. Then I started packing and loading up my truck as I waited for my most important person to get off of work. We left my house and it was a 5.5 hr drive to the hotel due to traffic. I booked a room at the Comfort Inn On the Ocean (dog-friendly!) in Kill Devil Hills, NC which is the location of the packet-pick-up/dinner/mandatory pre-race meeting. However we didn’t arrive until 9 pm so we dialed in virtually for the meeting (hooray for technology) I was bummed about not having dinner with friends, but it’s okay because I would see them at the race! Upon arrival at the hotel, I took a shower and went to bed.
I woke up at 0245 and got dressed. Skipped my usual pre-race coffee ritual. There is a public bathroom at the start, but I don’t take my chances. We left the hotel at 0330, the start line was 45 minutes away at the Historic Corolla Park. While Chris drove, I ate breakfast: Power Crunch PRO peanut butter protein bar and a banana. I used my Theragun to blast some last-minute tight spots (foam roll ya’ll!!!) I went over crewing instructions with Chris. I expected a 25-26 hour finish, but I wrote out a 24-hour race plan and tell him that’s my A goal. He tells me, “Take your time.” and honestly, that was the most comforting thing he could’ve said.
I picked up my bib #188 and Chris downloaded RaceJoy so he can track me. You have the option to pick your own pirate name during registration, but I left it up to the RDs (I keep giving them more work lol) so mine was Theo Stinkalot. They provided large clear plastic drop bags pre-labeled with your bib#/drop bag# if you wanted to use them. I didn’t have drop bags prepared, but I did take those plastic bags so I could use them for trash/smelly clothes/etc later.
My Gear: XOskin 2.0 Short Sleeve Form Fit, XOskin 4.0 MAX Compression Shorts Midi, Arcteryx Atom LT Hoody jacket, XOtoe socks, shoes: Altra Escalante 2.5, Salomon Advanced Skin 12 hydration pack, watch: Coros Apex Pro, Goodr sunglasses. Mandatory during check-in: headlamp, back and front lights. I had my Petzl NAO+ headlamp and NoxGear Tracer360 visibility vest
I never raced in Escalantes for a 100-miler, so I packed Luna Sandals to wear in case of blisters.
Fortunately, I ended up with no sock/shoe change, no chafing, and only 2 minor blisters started forming on the right side of both my big toes.
Start 0500 – The race officially begins! We all make our way down south on the NC-12. Chris went back to the hotel, I tell him I would meet him later when I pass Kill Devil Hills in about 30 miles/6 hours.
I’m delighted to see my friends: Laurie, Emily, Stephanie, Victoria, and Charlotte. For this race, pacers are allowed from the beginning. I would stick to the first half of the race Laurie, Steph, and Emily. We chatted, gossiped, and watched the sunrise. I learned from Emily that Duck Donuts started in Duck, NC! We passed by 4 aid stations before hitting Jennette’s Pier – which is where the 100k race starts.
There’s a saying you don’t try new things on race day. Well, I tried Amy Hamilton’s strategy of consuming 250 calories/hr to see if that would help me. No, I didn’t think I could win the race like she won Yeti 100 (15 hours 23 minutes 30 seconds!) but I was curious to see how I would feel. Huma gels were provided at some aid stations, but I overnighted 48 packs of my own on Amazon the day I registered for the race. I have not regularly trained using Huma gel before. So after the first hour, I started taking one Huma gel every 30 minutes.
Aid Station 5/Mile 41.4 – Everything was going well. I reach this aid station expecting to see Chris and refill my gels (the aid station didn’t have any) Unfortunately, the left rear tire in my truck was punctured by *two* nails. We got so lucky he discovered it while we were in the very last town with tire shops open to get it patched up. Crises averted!
Aid Station 6/Mile 46.6: I take off my jacket and Chris wipes down my salty face with a towel dipped in ice water. So refreshing! Earlier I had him looking all over my truck for my visor, but I forgot that I left it in my pack before we started. Luckily he bought a “Salt Life” visor from Parrot Bay to shield my face from the sun.
Aid Station 7/Mile 49.9: I’m delighted but also terrified to find out that I’ve made it to this aid station an hour earlier than the race plan. We all know the real race starts after mile 50 and I was a little bit worried I started off too fast. I also feel regret taking off my jacket, as I feel my energy zapped trying to fight the wind. I don’t dare to call Chris because I told him I would meet him at Aid Station 8 where he was going to take a nap. He must’ve intuitively felt me being in need so he skips the nap and finds me before letting me know he bought a burger/fries from Neptunes that I asked for earlier. I don’t eat the burger, but I put my jacket back on and ask for my Ankar phone charger and Tiger Balm to apply around my lower back and hips.
Aid station 9/Mile 63.4: Here is where I would lose Chris for his volunteer shift. He loaded up my pack with enough gels for four hours. He also put half a burger in a Ziploc for me with potatoes/chips. I picked up my headlamp and Aftershokz headphones so I could start listening to music. This is the first out of eight 100-mile races that I allowed myself to listen to music. All my other races have been on technical terrain and/or it was raining. I have Spotify Premium, but the only playlist I had downloaded for offline listening was “This Is Doja Cat” so that’s the playlist I would listen to for the next 8 hrs. Connection is very spotty for streaming the further south you go.
As we moved in the darkness, I definitely wish I had a pacer or at least my crew to look forward to. I feel a little regret for giving up Chris and not having an additional crew member, but I hope the staff and other runner appreciates having him there!
2300 – Chris’ shift ends and he drives 40 min to my exact location using the RaceJoy app. I am so freaking happy to see him. I asked him to bring some potatoes from the aid station and Celcius sparkling grapefruit energy drink. My mouth appreciated the bubbliness, but my stomach didn’t agree with this mix. Luckily I had a pack of ginger chews to calm it down. The wind really picks up, I am so thankful for my Arcteryx jacket. I also carried a tube of Lucas Papaw Ointment all day so I applied that to my lips/cheek to protect them from the wind.
Aid Station 13/Mile 85.4 Entrance to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Park
The aid station volunteer said, “Go straight and grab an eye patch.” Instead, I mistakenly made a left turn and look for an IPad😂 Yes this was also mentioned in the pre-race brief, but I missed that part apparently. Chris watches my location from RaceJoy and redirects me to get back on the road and to the chair where I would grab an eye patch and return to the aid station. I had turned my phone volume down earlier so when I turned it back up to listen to music, RaceJoy also notified me that I was back on course.
Mile 90 – 100 Finish at Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
I got back on the 12, definitely sick of gels having increased to taking one every 15-20 minutes. I only had caffeinated ones left and I felt a little paranoid about my caffeine consumption. I should have grabbed non-caffeinated ones when I exited the lighthouse, but I felt bad about taking all the aid station gels. Another thing that annoyed me was how I lost the battery lid of my Noxgear. Chris put duct tape over it, so a handful of times often I would have to reach back to press the duct tape down for my light to work. The extra mile I put on going off trails to the bathrooms/getting lost kind of messed with me as well making the last real mile feel like forever. I finally hear the music and run across the finish line with a new 100-mile PR of 23:06:09, 4th female, and 16th overall out of 53 finishers!
Thank you to my Heavenly Father for giving me the strength and endurance to finish another epic adventure!! As Chaplain Tippery said, Jesus has given me a gift and I am so thankful for that.
Chris -thank you so much for being my crew AND volunteering. You were amazing being that it was your first time ever experiencing an ultra. You kept me moving and I definitely would not have accomplished a sub-24 without you.
Trivium Racing staff and volunteers – thank you for hosting a great event and taking me on the last minute! It’s definitely a great way to experience the OBX and I will recommend this race to my friends! Especially those who are wanting to try out their first 100-miler.
Registration for the 2023 event is now available at: runsignup.com/Race/NC/Corolla/BlackbeardsRevenge100
See my activity on Strava and contact me if you’d like a free copy of the race plan