Monday, October 29, 2007

Finding Joy Through Pain and Suffering

First off, I must thank everybody for their support throughout my time here in AZ. When things got bad, I could feel your positive vibrations lifting my spirits!! I am grateful for all of my friends and family. You rock!!
Okay so here's the unofficial race report thru the eyes of the Mayor!!
It would have been a real treat to have Friday off but I went into work bright and early at 5:30 am. Sometime around 6am when I was typing up the days menu it hit me, "Holy S$&t, I'm about to atempt running 100 miles!" Concentration was difficult throughout the day, and the crew ended up letting me go around 1pm. I pack up the car and headed north to Phoenix, while jammimg out to Bob Marley!!
I arrived in the middle of the runners briefing. It was a fairly low key race, and everybody seemed focused. I really didn't know what to expect so I just went with the flow and drank my coconut water and spirulina for dinner with a few celery sticks. I did get a few strange looks as most of the runners dined on lasagna and bread.
One of the points the RD focused on was that it would be very warm out come mid day. He did say that you may wish to bank time early while it was cool so that you could slow down during the heat of the day. But he also mentioned that lots of runners drop out after the 3rd lap because they pushed to hard to ealry and are just exhausted come night time. This left me with a bit to think about.
After the briefing, most of the runners went on to set up their belongings with their crew. I rolled out my yoga mat, creeped into my sleeping bag and said goodnight. I woke up around 4:15, and tried to mentally prepare myself for the adventure I was about to partake in. At 5am I saw the medical director and got my feet taped up. I would see him again after the 1st and 2nd lap. I never knew one could blister so badly!! I think I had a bister per toe!
The race started promptly at 6am and except for maybe 15 runners, everyone seemed to take their time to get started. After a quick prayer I took a deep breath and tried to go out slowly. I said to myself I would take the first lap slow and try to finish the 15.3 mile lap in 3 hours. I ended up coming in around 2:35. As I crossed the mat at the start/finish I heard the words "That's what I'm talking bout!!" These words would be shouted throughout the day and night as every runner came and went. I overheard some crew members saying that they would have a sip of water everytime he said that, and that would stay hydrated that way!
Lap 2-
This time I did take it a bit slower, but felt really good and strong. I wasn't sure how I would hold up seeing that the "running" part of my training was really low. I maintained my fluids and mostly ate bananas and continued to push. The odd number laps, counterclockwise, were considered the tougher direction because you start with a 5 mile incline. This course is a bit tricky. Any runner could very easily run this course. There are no major climbs and I don't think any part of the course really pushed my breathing. The tough part, was not going to hard and pacing yourself since it was 100 miles. I came in a little over 3 hours and was happy with my performance for the first 50k of the event.
Lap 3-
This is when things got ugly!! Lap 3 was hot!!! Seriously hot! I think it was around 95 degrees during this lap and most runners walked or slowly ran this course. I remember looking at my arms and just seeing a coating of salt. I met up with a lady, who actually finished Lean Horn with Johnny Muir, and had knew Ultra when I mentioned a friend who had a tough time at Wasatch. Small runners world!! Around the halfway point of the 3rd is when my knee started giving me problems. I pushing along with 3 other runners and just started to fall back. I couldn't keep up with them. The last 5 miles of the course, is when mentally, I began to doubt if I could go on. I knew that this wasn't just a pain that could go away. The more pressure I put on my leg, the more it hurt. I walked in the last mile or so with a lady from Tennessee. She told me she hyperextended both knees in her first 100 and walked in the last 40 miles. I had 3.5 laps to go and my goal was to run 100 miles, not walk 100 miles. I got to my car and was ready to call it quits. After spending 15 minutes or so, I decided to go out for one more lap. This would put me over the halfway point and I could atleast recieve credit for completing the 100k. Slowly I put one foot in front of the other and made my way along the course. I felt a bit embarrased as I limped along while being past by many of the runners who ealry on I was close to lapping. It was a beautiful night, as the full moon gave enough light to where I didn't need to use my headlamp. There were certainly a few times where i thought of stopping and laying down but I had to keep going. Once you 14 plus hours into an event, your mind says one thing while your body does another. I finally finished the 4th laparound 10pm. I had spent 16 plus hours out in the desert. Certainly not a qualifying time for any major ultra, but a huge effort on my part.
After calling it quits, recieved my belt buckle, sat down and watched a few runners come in before heading into my car and falling asleep for
the night.
The only dissapointment i really have is that my body really felt so good throughout the event, except my knee gave out. But I did double my previous farthest distance and tripled the time I had been out on the course before. My body was also nourished throughout the event on raw-vegan fuel!
So will I do this again, you bet your ass I will!! I do appreciate all the support that the runners and crew gave to eachother. Since you head in the opposite direction each lap, you get to see the runners behind you. Everyone always gave a head nod and some words of encouragment. So I need to rest and get my body back into shape, and maybe, just maybe the Rocky Racoon will see me come February!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You were brave to start, determined to continue, and wise to stop. Congratulations on an impressive accomplishment.
You have decades of running ahead of you, "push" but don't "rush".