Tuesday, November 03, 2009
photo credits: Diana Triester
Lap 1. Halloween morning, 2009: Mile 0, 6:00 am - Mile 15.5, 8:51 am
RFM > relentless forward motion. Respect the sun. If the bone ain't showing keep on going.
Phrases like these keep my mind churning. I have a big smile on my face thinking how ridiculous is it that I'm out in the middle of the desert running 100 miles.
It's dawn. It's dark. As the moon sets and the sun ascends the horizon, the surrounding landscape turns blue and the sky becomes red. Ominous.
I set in with a very manageable pace. I'm going to run as effortless as possible and try to just keep steady all day and through the night. My goal is to finish, and maybe between 24-27 hours.
I feel good. For calories/nutrition I decide to go with liquids and gels for as long as possible, as they work quicker and are less difficult to digest than solid foods. I take endurolytes/salt pills every hour to start, with the plan to go every 30 minutes later as the heat increases.
Lap #2: Mile 15.5, 8:51 am -Mile 31, 12:29 pm
I'm doing the same route but in reverse. It's refreshing to know exactly what's in front of you. This will be the rhythm throughout the day.
It feels like you have a bit more of an ascent, still very gradual, but more than the original direction.
It's getting hotter. No shade to be found. I'm concentrating to stay on course, pursing and checking off aids stations - Javelina Jeadquarters, Coyote Camp, and Jackass Junction.
I make back to Coyote Camp, now at mile 25. I'm already showing signs of heat exhaustion. Brian Krogmann, a training partner with the SoCal Coyotes, tells me to quit screwing around with my electrolytes, and to up them to at least every 30 minutes. Also advising me to take the bandanna from my wrist and fill it full of ice for my neck. I do it all and instantly start to feel some relief. But the heat has definitely done some work.
Lap #3: Mile 31, 12:29 pm - Mile 46.5, 4:47 pm
I make it back to Javelina Jeadquarters. My coach, Jimmy Dean Freeman now has a native american headdress on with war paint on his chest. He's screaming my name along with all of our club's support crew. Now this is a real welcome. They're offering any and all help. More sunscreen, a taste of coconut water, a bathroom break, some ginger and a pb & honey in hand and I'm off. Jimmy reiterates the electrolyte testament, adding that I need to take at least 2 at a time every 20 minutes for at least the next hour to finally get back on track.
3 miles later, I'm attempting to take another few pills and one gets stuck in my throat. BARF. About a bottles worth of water and an assortment of food, including some spicy ginger decides to come flowing back out my nose and mouth. A runner dressed up as a hippie strolls by, acknowledges the scene, I apologize and we discuss how this is part of the deal.
This loop is hard. I've gotten sick and it's still hot. I've been on my feet for over 10 hours in the sun and it's getting me down. Then I think, 'hey it's the 3rd lap, if I can pull it together for 1 more that will be at least 62 miles the 100k mark'.... I can't think of the rest of the miles now. Just one loop at a time to keep things manageable.
Lap #4: 4:47 pm, Mile 46.5 - Mile 62, 9:18 pm
Caitlin hands me a bag full of night running gear. Sunset will come at 6pm sharp. Lights out. Then it will get cold. I put on my tights, a new shirt, lube everything back up, get my leg's biofreezed, and refill my necessities. As I'm about to go, I notice my friend Erin. She's coming with me! It was a big sign of hope. Only hours earlier, I had my first thoughts of quitting. The heat had gotten to me, but I progressed. Now I would have company on the trail and into the darkness, what could be a very lonely time in the race.
I had drank a coke when I saw Caitlin at Javelina Jeadquarters moments earlier. It gives me wings. That combined with Top Ramen seem to be my recipe every 5 miles from here on, along with my gels and water. We run for 3 minutes, walk for 1, walk the uphills and run any downhills. Talking about growing up, Los Angeles, running, not running, anything. A lot sooner than I thought... we were rounding it off and I say 'this will make 100K, the longest I've ever run!!' and 'if I can make it to 100K i can finish this...'.
Lap #5: Mile 62, 9:18pm - Mile 77.5, 3:08 am
Deva is my anchor. She's my official pacer for the last 3 loops, mile 62 - 101.4. We met through the race forum, and have stayed in touch through facebook, but only met face to face for dinner after the race check-in last night. She knows the plan. Talk, talk, and more talk. Help keep me in the right direction. Make sure I'm eating, drinking, and peeing... and we're good.
Well, it started out fine. Another big swig of Coke and we busted out of the Javelina Jeadquarters on a mission. Again, the first part of either direction had a small grade slope. We walked that. But I don't really remember running much more after. Every step beyond mile 62 was into the unknown for me. When I tried to run all that Coke and Ramen would come revisit the party. Not fun.
Mile 67.5 - Coyote Camp, departing again. I feel like I'm drunk. I've been on my feet for way too long. It's time to close my eyes. I'm running, but it feels so good to just close them for a sec. I open them quick, so to not fall asleep and Dominic comes flying down a hill. I look up and we're hugging. We have a quick way-to-go, man this is some tough shit moment and we continue.
I've now convinced Deva that the best thing for me to do is to get to Coyote Camp aid station and rest. Lay down. Minutes later, I then convince Deva that sitting down is a better option, because I don't want to be stranded unable to move laying down 5 miles from Javelina Jeadquarters, with the temps now below 50.
I sit by a heater. We're getting close to make it of break it time. I walked most of this loop. I walked much of loop #3 too, now I was faced with getting back to camp, and walking the next 24 miles. Confirmed that running was no longer a possibility, I struggled with my next move. 40-50 miles of walking, wtf?!
Got to get up and go. I was wrapped in a neat silver space blanket, which I left wrapped around my shoulders for the next hour and 40 minutes. All the while, wandering back and forth, spells of dizziness on set by exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Deva keeps me reminded of the water/food/salt schedule. We've added even more caffeine to the mix now, with espresso flavored hammer gel, but it's like a roller coaster - awake and alert, tired and confused. The door is still open. There is still hope.
I round back to Javelina Jeadquarters. As we approach I even say out loud, 'I hate confrontation' thinking about how my support team won't let me stop, just as I've coached them to do... I have to lay down. I have to. I'm shaking, my knees are weak, everything has become unraveled. I'm simply NOT willing to turn back around and walk out on the trail. There's a glimpse of chance provided by my peers, to rest/recover, get back up and go. It's only been a little over 21 hours. I have 30 to finish. Even at a walking pace, I can make it. AND I have planned on the last few loops to take 5 hours and 3-4 hours. THIS IS DO ABLE and it's part of my original plan, but it doesn't make it any easier to get back up.
I sat in the chair, then in the cot, then in the tent. Hope turned to anguish, anguish turned to pain, pain turned to relief, relief prompted my choice. I don't want to do it. I don't want to go back out there. I'm not having fun. I've thrown up countless times, my feet feel like hamburger, and yet I still imagine the finish. But, here it is. I just don't want it that bad. Another race, another day. I've given it what I will, and exceeded what my saftey limit-comfort factor-meter + 10% of tollerence could put up with. I've had it with the pain game. I decided to pull the plug. In an instant, you feel so happy and so sad. What was it all for? Who am I now? This isn't the way it's suppose to go. Or is it?
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. - Robert F. Kennedy
21 hours 8 minutes. 77.5 miles. #232 is out.
Hey, this wasn't my vision. But a lot of time in life things don't go the we way we plan them. And life always seems more interesting when you don't always succeed. Hell, wasn't my mantra... Always bite off MORE than you can chew?
Roll call for shout outs.
Wife, best friend, hot chic, main crew chief, the reason why I get up in the morning. She made this happen. Without her support even the pursuit of this race would not be possible.
Coach, cheerleader, freak. This guy came to the race with enough energy to run it, but focused all his time to help any of us with anything. You name it.
You paced me. What, when, who? How did that happen? So glad it did. One extra bit of help to keep the race going in a positive direction. I can't thank you enough.
I still feel like I let you down. I wish I could have demonstrated the power and will to progress. You did everything and more than you had to as a pacer and friend. I only hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did. It was epic from the start to end.
Bev, Erin, Julie, Robyn, and Peter,
You guys are why I like to run. Meeting good people makes the world a better place. Each and everyone of you showed respect, humor, and dedication to helping every runner with their needs. Pacing through the night and cheering until everyone was done. None of you are selfish.
Runners: Kate, Katie, Katelyn, Dom, Eric, Guillaume (and all the others I met on the course),
What a weird, fun, crazy, interesting, dark, sunny, hot, dry, cold, dirty day. I wouldn't have wanted to do it with anyone else. Seeing each of you out there made this one of the funnest races I've ever done.
Can we get a beer now? Thanks again for all of your time and creativity in support on my goal and cause.
MLA Parnter Schools,
If our donation can help buy a book, pay a teacher, provide a lunch for a child, anything... then everything was worth it. The patience to a run like this reminds me of school. Sometimes you can't ever see the light at the end, but you always have to try, learn and respect - yourself, others and your environment. The success and enlightenment you can achieve is only limited by your imagination.
$3000 raised for a great cause.
Two goal races, Miwok 100K and Javelina Jundred both DNF'd/did not finish or as my friend Jimmy likes to say 'did nothing fatal'. I think, 'too much for me to handle' or 'have I had it with the pain game'? I now realize trying to run 100 miles has less to do with actually running, and more to do with walking and dealing with interesting amounts of pain and challenge for the later part of the race. The training for these races has been some of the most rewarding and enjoyable time for me, but also some of the most physically and emotionally difficult stuff I've had to do. How can I hate at times, what I love so much?! This has got to be the quintessential running dilema.
Until next time,
Be the change you want to see in the world. ~mahatma gandhi