What seemed like a “Blink of an Eye” I want from 2nd, to almost dropping out, to finishing with 45 minutes to spare. Starting at mile 62- mile 65 things went downhill fast, despite running downhill slow.
September 2011 I entered my first Ultra, Run Rabbit Run 50 miler. Read my race report here
In 2012 the race director added the Run Rabbit Run 100 miler (it was 110 miles) and there were 2 divisions, Tortoise and Hare. I was convinced to run RRR 100 as a Hare since big prize money was on the line and it was a new event, not many participants, they paid top 5. Hares stared at 1pm and had a 30 hour cut off. Tortoises started at 8am and have 36 hours to complete the course. Training is 2012 consisted of lots or running with a couple marathons and one 50 miler. Besides RRR 50 miler in 2011, I ran Running with Devil 50 miler in 2012. The event took place in Vegas, on the road, in 108 degree weather. Not really a race to prepare me to run at altitude with 20000 feet of elevation gain and loss. Come race day I was injured and over-trained. Not the mental and physical state you want to be in to start running 100 miles. Despite being in 5th place at mile 70 (in position to win $1000), the other 16 women had dropped out, I did not make the 70 mile aid station cut off and was forced to stop. It was bitter sweet. My mind wanted to finish, my body was glad to be done. I was determined to finished in 2013. Revenge Rabbit Revenge.
I raced more this year to practice pacing and nutrition (PowerBar Performance Energy Blends) at Pocatello and Leadville 50 miles as well as Bighorn 50k, I trained smarter I was confident and excited to Run Rabbit Run. The #1 goal was to finish this year.
The first 20 miles felt “easy” like I was holding back and in control of my day. Fish Creek falls is the most technical, rockiest part of the course.
Headed towards Emerald Mountain, mile 20-30 then back over to mile 40, my favorite part of the course. Uneventful, expect I reached the aid station at mile 30, about 30 minutes before I told my crew. They missed me, I missed what food I wanted, and I continued onto mile 42, when I picked up my first pacer, 6pm.
We headed back up Fish Creek Falls, feeling good, happy to have company. Quick snack at Long Lake aid station, mile 50, as we continued to hike up to Summit, mile 56, then to Dry Lake, Mile 65 where I would meet my crew again and switch pacer.
Mile 62 is when things started to change. My quads hurt, progressively worse with each step. I did not realize how much “cramping” was occurring cause I never cramp (I never run that far either). Then a small downpour about mile 63. “OMG are we there yet?” Although I had my rain coat, I started to get really cold. Those last 2 miles to Dry Creek aid station took forever. I could not wait to change cloths.
Mile 65, finally met my crew and started to strip off my cloths. I could barely lift my legs, my quads hurt so bad. It was still pouring rain. I put on 3 layers, a winter jacket and winter gloves, tights and rain pants. I was a little over dressed and still shivering. Between my quads cramping, my shivering/hypothermia and then sudden nausea, for the first time I did not think I would be able to finish. I went to the aid station and there was not much room to hang out, I just wanted to keep moving. Slowing inching forward, barely able to lift my legs, the next half mile took like 30 minutes. My pacer Jenn suggested we turn around because I was still shivering and barely walking. I did turn around and took 2 steps and decided I was not ready to quit. If it took me 10 hours to cover the next 5 miles I was going to do it. I continued to walk towards aid station mile 70. Thanks to Jenn for feeding, forcing me to sip on my gel because that is what revived my quads, took away the cramps, and within an hour I could walk again. We reached mile 70 in 3 hours. I was able to drink 2 cups of Ramen and 2 cups of coffee. I felt like a new person. We turned around to hike the 5 miles we just covered back to mile 75, same aid station as mile 65, to meet my crew. This time, going uphill, only took me 2.5 hours.
During those 10 miles, 5.5 hours, my mind was set on not running any more. I needed to do what was comfortable to finish the race. The thought of almost dropping out at mile 65 was not an option and I did not want to put myself in a situation where I could get hurt and not finish. I had 20 hours left on the clock, plenty of time.
Mile 75, Excited to see my crew, change my cloths, shoes and socks, my crew was not there. The next 30 miles was no crew access. Thankfully we were headed back up to summit on a dirt road and they were able to drive up to meet me at mile 78. I forgot about changing my shoes and socks and just put on shorts and kept warmer gear. Slowly I made my way walking to the finishline, wanting to jog expect my feet hurt with each step.
I did not realize the damage done until I finished.
I wanted to finish. Cramping and hypothermia almost caused me to drop out. The first 65 miles took me 16 hours, the last 35-40 miles took me 19.25 hours. 35.25 hours later, I ran across the finish-line. In the world of Ultra running time is not important, finishing is.
As I reflect on my race, a little disappointment that I did not recognize the cramping in my quads, nausea and shivering meant I needed some salt. I also realized that jumping into a 100 mile trail run in the second year of running Ultras is not the best thing to do since I lack experience of pacing and nutrition as well as the technical part of downhill running. Both can be mastered with training and racing. When I started triathlons back in 1992, I never raced a sprint triathlon then an Iron Distance the following year. I raced triathlons for 5 years before my first Ironman. I know with a few more years of Ultra running experience, I will have this 100 miler thing figured out. Yes I do plan to finish 100 miler again.
Thank you to my crew, Edie, Eddie, Jenn and Debi. Thank you to Timex and Powerbar and Pearl Izumi (Shannon Price) for your support during the years.
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