Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rocky Race Report

Ok lets begin with a Recap so for those of you who do not want all of the details you can read this section and head off.  Oh and stay tuned this week because each of the crew members is writing a little something about the race from their perspecitve and I will post more pics as I get them.  Please ask any questions.  I am sure I have left a ton out.

Overall:  The race was awesome.  The course was well marked until night time and for some reason by the wee hours of the morning the glow sticks had run out and it was tough to know if you were still on the right track.  There was tons of mud.  And this was the hilliest "flat" course I have ever ran.  It wasn't super hilly but if you are going to call something "flat" then I would imagine most runners would think it was absent of hills, not the case.  It was well organized and the other runners were awesome.

What Worked: The crew.  Man, my crew ROCKED this race.  They were all over it.  If you are going to do 100 miles you need to find yourself a couple of awesome people to crew for you.  I couldn't have finished the race without them, in fact I might be still sleeping the woods somewhere if not for Tracey leading me to an Aid Station.  My nutrition plan was pretty good to go but I should have had an alternative to Ensure, it started to mess up my stomach and when I dropped it out of the plan I also dropped all of my protien, which none of us realized until the next morning.  Injinji Socks were the bomb digity, used them and blister shield and my feet are looking pretty good considering all of the mud puddles and hills and what not.  Hydration Pack was perfect. 

What Needs Work: Nutrition (mentioned above).  I need to train harder for the next one (yes, I said next one).  I need a better run/walk plan (or to use one at all especially in the beginning).  Need warmer clothes for the middle of the night. 

Ok, lets get long winded: Here is a picture of me at packet pick up.  I was so psyched to find I got a fleece jacket for the race instead of a shirt.  It is awesome, wearing it now.  All of the girls were taking pictures so I felt like a super star.  It was great.

Race Morning: We all got up around 3:50am to be on the road by 4:15, I somehow woke up on my own at 3:45 and made coffee and waited for Cathy's alarm to go off.  We left our hotel picked up Jack (Cathy's DH) and headed to the course.  The race began at 6am but, they told us a million times that parking would be an issue and none of us wanted issues on race morning so we got there early and waited for the gates to open.  We parked and then of course being super nevous and type A I had to move the car once I figured out we could get closer.  Why I didn't just have Tracey drive is beyond me, she would have driven around and found a close spot to begin with for sure.  Lesson learned there: don't let super nervous first time 100 mile runner drive to the race :).  We went to check in (at ultras you have to check in before the race so they know who is on the course at all times).  In line to check in I reallly felt the nerves start to kick in, all of these people around me were talking about all of the ultras they had run and I was beginning to feel ansy plus all the driving the day before had made my back super achy.  After Jack and I checked in we went back to the car and just sat in there until closer to race time, Cathy handed me a card with a coin in it that said "shoot for the moon" of course I almost started crying. Then I got in the back changed into my race gear and began to frantically tell the ladies one more time all about my gear.  I was getting hyper and nervous by this point.   Tracey wisely took hold of the situation asked a few questions, gave me a different flash light and walked me to the start.  Jack and I (see picture below)  went into the starting area together and nervously chatted as we waited for the start.  It was amazing there were all of these people all geared up, some howling, waiting to charge onto the course.

1st Loop: We headed out at 6am.  There were so many people that it really bottle necked for the first 6 miles, it was truly stop and go, you would run until you had to walk because the flow of traffic was walking and then run again when the traffic picked up.  During this section I met a man from Minnesota, two teachers (men) from upstate New York and an awesome lady (Rhonda) from Tennesee, she runs a 100 mile race every year.  She told me she had two words of advice "Don't Quit."  And I thought: ok you got it.  I would see her again at the very last aid station, how awesome is that?  At around mile 8 I ran into Alan, nice guy who let me know that I would learn to hate this stretch of the race as the day wore on.  Alan was right.  The Damm Road loop became the Damn Road loop by nights end.  For the first 20 mile loop I just tried to run easy and walk the up hills and meet as many runners as possible.  I love talking with other runners at these races.  They are just awesome.  I met one guy on this loop he was from Ireland his advice was to run hard until 60 so that I could meet up with my crew.  Oh I met Katy from Colorado Springs who knows Jamie Donaldson, yes the one and only.  And she told me Jamie was at the race (Cathy had said she thought she saw Jamie's name on the entrants as well) so from that point on I was on the look out for my hero. I mean she had to lap me at some point right :).  I came into the Start/Finish (S/F) and was ready to go.  Man, my crew was all set up and ready for me.  Tracey ran off with my pack to refill it and Marny took me to the place where they had set up camp and helped me quickly find what I needed.  I changed to my skirt, hit the head, had Marny tape a toe, got some new supplies and headed on out.  I think with their help I was in and out in a few minutes. 1st loop took just under 4hrs.
2nd Loop: I ran the first 6 or so miles by myself.  But, I saw Jamie Donaldson.  yep, she was already on her way finishing the 2nd loop as I was running out on it.  So I did what any crazy fan would do: I shouted "Jamie Donaldson" she looked and I said "You are my idol." What?  That was all I could think of, :).  It was awesome to see her flying by.  Just after Damn Road and  I ran into Marisol, well I sort of tripped into her.  As I ran by her I tripped over a root, and stuff went flying from my pack, she helped me put it back in.  We ran the next 6 miles together.  She was awesome, she is a chiropractor and yoga instructor who lives in LA.  She runs ultras all the time but this was her first 100 as well.  We chatted the whole time we were together it was great. Oh and she knows and runs with Barefoot Ted.   I don't remeber anything else super exciting about this loop. Ran it in just under 4hrs as well.  When I got to the aid station Marny was gone but Bethany was there and so was Cathy.  Nice to meet Bethany.  Tracey took my pack and Bethany and Cathy took me to the gear.  I hit the head, I drained a blister and duct taped it, we refilled my food and I headed back out.

3rd Loop: Boring!!! I was pretty much solo the entire loop, thought about walking until Marisol caught back up.  But instead I put on my Ipod and jammed my way through those 20 miles knowing I got to run with Marny at the end.  3rd loop took just over 4hrs.  Ladies were waiting, Tracey did her thing, Marny was ready for me, we changed me into compression tights (thanks ladies, they had to help me pull them on but, as promised, I had shaved :)) I also grabbed a vest and my warmer hat for my pack and gloves.

4th Loop: Marny is a Rock Star.  She was awesome.  We took off out of the aid station and I had forgotten something, man she was on the phone, called the crew and they met us at the next aid station.  I was totally amped to see her and I think that adrenaline kept me going for the first few miles but dang I really felt bad for her as the night wore on.  Somewhere after Damm Road we added my ski hat.  It was getting cold.  For a while all I would do is walk but, finally Marny got me going on a good run/walk pace that was working for me, I am pretty sure she tried a few different intervals until she found one that would work.  We began to realize if I kept it up there was a still a chance to break 24 hrs (I didn't but, there was chance).  She said 20 miles is a long way to pace someone, she had to constantly be watching where she was going and checking on me and checking time and asking me if I was eating and drinking and doing the same for herself.  But, I promise to pay her back when she does 100.  This loop took over 5hrs.  Tracey was waiting to run with me when we got in, someone filled my pack, someone else helped me find the gear I needed.  Marny tried to massage my legs a tiny bit and put some biofreeze on them but, I think my legs were gonners by this point.

5th Loop: Oh the 5th loop.  Poor Tracey.  So I guess at the begining of the loop I was still trying to run/walk, I quickly gave that up and we just walked.   I felt awful.  I told her I thought I needed to sleep.  Have no idea what else I said or did but I do know that 3 miles took us 1hr and 20 minutes to get through.  I know Tracey kept pumping me up and was talking but can't remember much of anything.  I checked in at the Aid Station and they said I could go take a nap in the car.  So we headed for the car.  Next thing I remember is shaking uncontrollably and how bad it hurt.  My insideswere shaking, teeth were chattering and the ladies were talking but I don't know I just wasn't with it.  I wanted to sleep but I was so cold.  The ladies took me to a First Aid station they said I was good to go, get me warm, and let me sleep.  The ladies piled a ton of blankets on me and I slept like a baby for I think an hour (not sure on that).  I woke up from the lap ready to go.  We changed some of my clothes and Bethany and I headed out.  Poor Bethany had to Death March with me for 12 miles.  In Ultra Running they call it a Death March when all you can do is walk because once you get to that point pretty much all running is over and you are just putting one foot in front of the other to get to the finish line.  The ladies had figured out how long I could sleep based on how long they thought it would take me to walk the last 17miles.  At this point getting me to the finish line was all out team effort.  And all of us were ready to fight for it.  So Bethany walked with me, pointed out every root, kicked limbs out of the path, tried to get us around the huge mud puddles, we just walked and walked and then walked some more.  We kept doing the math and it seemed I would be able to finish.  I kept trying to walk faster but there was only so much I could do at this point in the race.  My legs were zapped.  When we got to the last Aid Station there was the crew cheering us on.  Oh man I was so dang happy.  I knew I was on the home stretch.  Bethany and Cathy traded off and we headed out.  Cathy was awesome.  We just walked as fast as I could and got it done.  I was so dang excited.  I even sang to her :).  So after running the first laps in about: 4hrs, 4hrs, 4hrs, 5.5hrs, the last one took me around 10.5 (including a nap). 

 Cathy and I finishing the race up.  I was so dang happy I can't even put it in words. Oh and Bethany, you were right I should have changed gloves at the Aid Station mine were soaking wet, hadn't noticed.

This is me crossing the line.  The lady in blue is the wife of the race director and she gave me a big hug before my team rushed me.  It was the best feeling EVER!
The Team: Cathy, Marny, Tracey, Bethany and Me (I am the one sitting, I think Bethany and someone else lowered me into the chair).
The buckle: worn yesterday.  Love it.
The toes.  Not bad.  We had both big toes duct taped during the race.  I think I will just start the next one off that way.  I had to work to get the piece of duct tape off that you see here but it is off now and toes feel great.  Well, great for having put in 100 miles.


Kari said...

You are a one tough Mother Runner!!! What an inspiration!!!

Anonymous said...

You did it!! Run walk or crawl, you never gave up and that is pure awesomness! Jimmi

Unknown said...

LOVE IT...I will definitely return to re-read. Such a great journey. I cannot even imagine all you learned about yourself on this adventure...and how many crazy songs went through your head...you know how we like our crazy songs..."THE RED HOGGGGGSSS".
Thanks for posting...and I am anxiously awaiting the crew stories.

Anonymous said...

Tara, you did a great job, I loved reading every word. I can't wait to read what your crew has to say. L/Mom

Paula (Adventure Junkie Mom) said...

Tara, Awesome job! And great post. Many times reading it, I got tears in my eyes for you and the crew. What an experience. And what an accomplishment for you. WAY to GO!

tara said...

Thanks everyone. It was honestly just an awesome experience and the crew was beyond amazing. I am one lucky girl. Oh and Reyna, nice that is one song I failed to sing during my 28hrs, :), wonder why?

Anonymous said...

you are a complete inspiration! i can't imagine all the determination it took to keep on running...never quit! jill (momma2claire)

the Lewis Family said...

Chuck!!! I am so proud of you!!! How awesome! Thanks for the detailed account - I felt like I was there -- I would have been on your support team ;-) much love, Chuck #2

Daniela Dobson said...

Oh, wow, all I am thinking when did she have time to write all this up. Awesome story and I can't even imagine! I learned a ton of new stuff just now. Awesome job!!!!!!! So proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this with all of us. You are amazing and inspiring. Megan

tara said...

Thanks all of this support is making me want to stop stuffing my face with cookies and go for a run :). Chuck, dang it would be fun to run one of these with you.