Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ghost Town 38.5

I'm haven't been very good about writing race reports, and I know that they can be very helpful. (I'm currently looking for Bighorn reports!)

Here's an email I had sent some friends that is probably as close as I'll get for a race report:

It was difficult! It was 18 degrees at the start line and drop to 12 degrees at the first aid station. The biggest problem I had was trying to keep my fingers warm. My hands start to turn white at 55 degrees, so you can imagine what they were like well below freezing! The altitude caused me to have a shortness of breath for most of the race. It seemed like I was breathing twice as fast.

Since my fingers were pretty non-functional for the first 15 miles, I really fell behind in hydration (not good at elevation!) and nutrition. I knew I was in trouble going up to the 4th aid station (which is the turnaround point). Jeff has some great uphill skills (note to self, MORE HILL WORK!) and I could usually catch back up on the downhill. But at AS 4, I was starting to dry heave (nothing in the stomach) and try to recompose myself so I could get some fluids in and eat a PB&J sandwich and a little Coke. I continued to struggle going back out of AS 4 (which is a gradual uphill before some bigger uphill sections) but continued with forward motion. Jeff was very encouraging calling back to remind me to drink, to power hike, to keep moving. After about a mile or two out of AS 4, I knew I was not coming out of the funk, so I waved Jeff on. He still had enough to finish close to his goal time. At that point, I was upset with myself for not being able to keep up, but at the same time, I had much pride knowing that my running buddy was doing so well.

I continued to drudge on and up the rocky and quite difficult trail up to AS 5. It wasn't until AS 6 did I have a feeling that it might just be ok. I had done A LOT of walking, but still managed to run the downhills and jog along the flats (which weren't many!) I must have had the biggest smile on my face running into AS 6. The volunteer had a great big smile and said that most people coming into that aid station had big ol' grimaces on their faces, but I had the biggest smile so far that day. I think I realized that I would finish, it may be a much slower time than anticipated, but I would finish. I had to smile.

I left that AS feeling much better about the whole situation. My fingers were finally moving again, the lightheadedness wasn't as bad, the air was feeling a little thicker and my legs didn't feel completely like dead lead weights. Maybe I could ran after all? And so I did. I ran until I saw Carroll at the "parking lot". Here I ate a few potatoes and drank a bunch of water. That's what I really needed. I got back on course and starting to run much more and at this time, I started up a conversation with Todd Williams from Albuquerque and we paced each other to the finish line. And when I see a finish line, I always find that last bit of energy to run it in as hard as I can. 8 hours 42 minutes. I think 23 out of 47. Not the goal of 8 hours, but considering everything, I'm happy with my finish.

Lessons learned:
* Warmer gloves. MUCH warmer gloves.
* Even if it hurts, somehow get liquid & food in my system.
* Always move forward. Even if it's at a snail's pace, at least it's forward!
* Respect elevation. If it's above 5,000 ft, it's probably going to affect my running.
* Ghost Town is NOTHING compared to Bighorn. Time to train accordingly!

The race is great. The RD is awesome. The course demands respect, at least from us lowlanders. The runners are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. In a few days, I'll forget the pain and want to do it again.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New year, lots of races

My running bud, Jeff and me up in the Marin Headlands.

As you can see, it's been a while since I've last posted. Lots of life changes..but what's new about that?!?

If you look to the side bar, you'll notice that the list of races are starting to pile up. The ones that have links to the race, I have already registered. Some of them haven't open registration yet and I haven't made up my mind on a few others.