Monday, August 13, 2007

One Down...Many More to Go!

I survived my first (and definitely not last) ultra. I am disappointed that I did not make the cut-off for the fifty miles, but I am more than pleased that I did not stop after fifty kilometers! The temp was 102, so a lot of runners were smart and went home after 50k. Call me glutton for punishment...but 50k was not enough to satisfy me. Missing the time limit cut-off to go 50 miles, I settled for the next best thing...40 miles.

I made the most prevalent mistake made in ultras: I started too fast! I was mid-pack the first 8 miles, moving at a pace that I knew I could never keep after the first loop. I even ran up all the pace never slowing. But, damn it...I felt good! By the end of the first loop, I had beat my PR by three minutes (1:30/8miles). My stamina seemed OK, but I knew that I had just blown it for the long haul. Chalk it up as stupid and keep moving. I promised myself that the next four loops would have to be at my pace.

I have been to the wall and it almost won. The 25 through 29 miles were the longest hour of my life. At one point, I removed my Camelbak and just laid on the ground...wishing it was over, praying for relief. Although I ate what I though was enough, obviously it was not. Nothing tasted good. My appetite was non-existent. I was running on fumes and my body was tired of moving forward. A couple GU's and a PBJ keep me going long enough to climb that damn wall. Once over, there was no looking back. I felt tired, but great all at the same time! I had only hit the wall once before during training at mile 20, and it beat me. There was no way it could have won this time...I was damned if I was going home without at least 40 miles of trail behind me.

I have to acknowledge two things that helped me the most: Clip2 and S!Caps. I am now a believer and will not race without them! Thanks Karl King! Your products kept me moving forward and feeling good! Being the first time I used the S!Caps, I wasn't sure how many to take. I figured one every four miles should be sufficient, but in hindsight I should have taken more with the temperature being so high.

Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers!! They did an awesome job of keeping us fed, hydrated, and safe. The two RD's (Mike Samuelson & Kevin Dorsey) put on one helluva race and were always present to help in anyway possible! Thanks to all those who gave me words of encouragement throughout the race (Susan Donnelly, Jan Show, Kevin Dorsey, Mike Samuelson, and so many others)! There is no way I could have run 40 miles without all of your help!!

My biggest and most heartfelt thanks is reserved for my beautiful wife, Jennifer. Without her understanding and patience I would not have been able to finish this race, let alone start it.

So...after eleven hours and forty-seven minutes of brutal heat, blisters, chaffed skin, and trail grime...I was smiling from ear to ear! When is the next race? Where do I sign up?

Mistakes Made & Lessons Learned:
1.) Too fast out of the gate! As I have read many times: "start slow, then taper".
2.) I ran the hills at first. As I have read many times: "walk the hills, even the small ones".
3.) I did not eat enough food. Eat, eat, and eat...then repeat.
4.) My belly would swell as if it could not empty. More S!Caps solved this problem.
5.) I ignored the blisters instead of taking care of them.
6.) The wall is real. Be mentally and physically ready to climb it. Keep moving forward!
7.) Lubricate everything! This includes feet!
8.) Bring your own toilet paper! You will need it!
9.) Red Bull did not help me, but Boost!Plus and Coke certainly did.
10.) Listen to the veteren ultra runners. They have already been there...done that.

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