The 1:00pm start time was a little bit funky; Mel, dad, Luna, and I enjoyed a short hike up to the dog park off the Spring Creek Trail during a morning of lounging after enjoying a hearty breakfast. I got my goodies together, got a smile stuck to my face that would not easily be shaken, and headed to the Start/Finish at the base of Mt. Werner. Then it began.
Everyone started out with a light jog to begin the initial 5 mile/ 3,500 ft ascent of Mt Werner which utilized the mostly insanely steep and rugged ski slopes before switchbacking on some forest service roads at a more modest grade. The climb to the top was leisurely, to say the least, conversation was plentiful, laughter echoed, and I couldn't wipe the grin off of my face.
Once on top of the mountain we rolled along the Mountain View Trail for about 6 miles en route to the Long Lake Aid Station. Unfortunately, about a half mile from the aid station I (along with innumerable other people) followed the wrong flags and began a premature descent of the Fish Creek Falls Trail. After about a mile of this some other runners who suffered the same fate were running my direction and informed me of our folly. We were disheartened but not defeated as we scampered back up to the aid station. Once at the aid station, I felt far more rushed than I should have and elected not to rummage through my drop bag to replenish my gel supply and carried on after filling up my water bottles. Another mile or so from the aid station I reached for my gel supply in my waistbelt where, much to my dismay, I was only carrying one gel!? I scolded myself pretty heartily for this as my primary objective for the day was to take my time and never lose control of my nutrition. To top things off, I had tainted half of my water supply by adding a Hammer Fizz to a bottle, which promptly aggravated my stomach upon consumption.
After about 5 miles of descending on quite technical terrain I reached the base of Fish Creek Falls and knew I was in for an easy 3.5 mile cruise down the road to the aid station at the high school. But wait?! What's this?! No...no...NOOOO- there goes my lunch. Another step... there it goes again!? And again, and again!?
I didn't begin to worry, though, thats all part of the game. You throw up, feel better, then replenish the calories and fluids that you lost. Oh wait, I botched up at the previous aid station and don't have any calories, nor do I have any fluids that don't make my stomach turn. Shit. Well, at least its all downhill. So I began running.
About ten feet later- BOOM! Lost my breakfast, too. My most sincere apologies to the mother and her two children that saw and heard my most unfortunate situation. I began walking, figuring the stomach would quell itself. Okay, we're good, lets run. Five feet later- WHAMMY!. Damn-y is more like it. My slog down the road continued. 1, 2, 3, *yarf* 4, 7 people passed me. The temperatures were quite warm and the road quite exposed, so I had no retreat from the heat and, still, nothing to settle my heat exhaustion. I began walking at a brisk pace up a hill, my head began to spin, I lost my balance and last night's dinner. I was feeling beyond defeated. With a mile left to trudge to the aid station I would spew another handful of times before finally arriving. Mel and dad greeted me, wondering how and why I had taken an extra two hours to descend than I should have. They attempted to refuel me but my stomach lurched at everything.
Mel and I eventually started the walk across town to the next aid station together but with my body completely void of any nutrition, I couldn't do it. I found myself sitting down, hardly able to speak, hanging my head, and, ultimately, hanging my hat for the day.
So I made it a whopping 22 miles (24 with the detour) into the day, without a bit of soreness in my legs to show for it. I'm glad I didn't find reason to beat myself up about the outing though, I mean, one DNF may be a good thing, its just the nature of the beast.
We returned to our lodge where my body expelled my innards again once I was in the shower. Mel and dad treated my to ginger ale and saltines, and the trusty pedialyte to turn me around, just has they had in my childhood. After a good nights sleep, I was rejuvenated and we went out for a run.
I would've loved to finish the race alongside the few and the proud (15/50 finished), but it was not my day. Fortunately, not being injured or sore, I'm able to continue running as strong or stronger than before and will be smarter and more prepared for my next adventure.
I want to say that I am incredibly grateful to everyone who made this effort possible through their love and support. Most notably my lovely wife, who was there to crew, there through all the training, and ever-willing (how should I take this??) to drop me off in the wilderness somewhere so I could run back to civilization, if that's what we're calling Leadville... Of course my dad who was there to crew, and my wonderful mother, though she left Colorado the day preceding the race saying "I just can't bear to stand around watching my loved ones suffer", certainly respectable. The WNC Trailrunner crew for texts and posts of encouragement, the thousands of runners I've had the pleasure of befriending at City On A Hill this summer in Leadville, and of course Luna for being the most steadfast (and downright fast) training partner a guy could ask for.
I also just registered for the Devil's Mountain 50 next weekend in Pagosa Springs!
|Mel, me, and Dad at the startline|
|Me and Sandi, ready to roll.|
|A line of Tibetan Monks? People waiting to summit Everest? No! |
The first climb of the Run Rabbit Run 100.
|Feeling crumby upon arriving at the high school|