Pistol 100 Ultra Race Report

492 366 Patrick McCrann

Athlete Name: Ginger Ropka

Race Name: Pistol 100 Ultra
Year: 2024


I ran the Pistol 100 Ultra last weekend, and it went quite well IMHO.  I can highly recommend this ultra.  It was a 10 mile loop on a paved park path that meandered around a creek and through some woods. It had lamposts lighting the entire way, so headlamps weren’t even needed at night. The heated aid stations were the bomb with fresh fruit, hot coffee and all kinds of delectible treats to keep you satified thought out the night.  The loops made it possible to have all your junk in one place and you passed by every couple of hours.  So no need to carry too much. It did rain most of Saturday, and there were some punchy short climbs and decents on the loop which grew in magnitude by loop 10.   But the terrain kept it from being boring.  The RD was super nice and someone was always present to cheer you on to the next loop throughout the night.  They also had medical assistance at the main aid station where I was able to get some KT tape applied to my knee after 20 miles as my knee was still recovering from a meniscal tear and MCL sprain.  The KT tape was helpful

My goal for this Ultra was to implement a 4/2 Run/Walk for as long as I could keep it up.  I was interested to see how long I would last.  It was a science experiment and I was the subject.  LOL  I wanted to remain true to my mantra:  Fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith.  2Tim4:7 

I am pleased to say that I was able to religiously hold this interval until mile 70 (and I am really pleased with that).  Eventually the wheels started to come off gradually.  I was still able to run/walk for the next 10 miles, but my run was pretty pathetic.  By mile 80 I figured my walk was better than my run, so I walked the last 20, but at a good pace. I only had 13 total miles that were over 20 minute splits.  I did a wardrobe change at mile 50 and shoe change again at 70.   I seemed to develop tendonitis in my foot which was literally a pain, hence the constant shoe changes.

Another goal was to keep moving.  I did, however, sit down more than once for a minute or two when I hit aid stations.  The only real low, was in the middle of the night I transformed into the walking dead it seemed.  I sat at an aid station and put my head in my hands and I am pretty sure I fell completely asleep and had a full-on dream for an entire minute while I waited for coffee.  Other than than that, I kept moving.  I PRed, with a 25:15.  So I was thrilled. 

This was the first 100 I did entirely on my own, and it pretty much reinforced the concept that you have to run your own race.  In the prior 100s, I was in it for the fun and camaraderie but also security.  I was always a little spooked by being alone late at night, in the dark.  In an ultra,  when you are sleep deprived, your mind will deceive you, and I have experienced that first hand and DNFed at mile 84 of my first in-person 100.  (Talk about the pain of regret.  Ugh!)  I was hoping that past experience would pay off in this race and I wouldn’t fall prey to the deception. LOL 

Additionally, going in to this race was a lot of emotional drain.  One of my best running peeps, a guy who is 43 100s towards his goal of 100 x 100s, found out he had cancer and was given a very grim initial prognosis.  He is the reason me and the other 2 running peeps signed up for this race.  He was supposed to run it.  He is the inspiration that makes me even attempt this stuff.  So, literally the last 3 weeks leading up to the race were not fun.  I questioned whether I even wanted to go.  My training runs were more like Run/Cries.  But me and my other 2 peeps decided to do it for Fernando.  So we went and we conquered!  In all honesty, it was his inspiration that fueled me throughout.  He goes and runs these 100s every other week, and he never has crew and he sleeps in his car before and after because he is too cheap for a hotel.  LOL  He has done them in the rain.  We did one in a hurricane.  He’s done them puking from nausea, etc…  He is 62 yrs old.  I am praying he will be victorious with his battle through chemo and radiation and be able to resume his goal of 100 x 100s. 

Finally, this accomplishment has left me with the thought of “I think I can do better.”  Shave off a bit here and there, and perhaps get that Sub 24 buckle.  Also, Fernando has made me commit to going back with him next year…  If he’s up for it;  so am I!  So I will be back for another at some point, but for now, I need to shift my focus on Leadville MTB 100.  😬

Thanks for reading!