Monday, July 29, 2013

Hi. 'member me? An unnecessarily long account of my fourth consecutive DNF at the North Fork 50 miler.

So I have been putting this off.   Of course that fits with the routine.

I have run every instance of the North Fork 50 mile race, starting in 2010.

You can go back and look at race reports here,     here,     and here.  Though most of them are rather depressing.  They are all DNF's.

In typical fashion, I will give you various versions of this year's race report to adapt to your level of interest.

First off,  the SHORT SHORT version.

DNF

Secondly, the SHORT version.

I made it to mile 46.4, the last cutoff and was 14 minutes past the cut off.

To be honest I didn't have much left at that point.

Thirdly, the Ridiculously, Unnecessarily Long version.

Ahhh good old North Fork.  Site of numerous spectacular failures on my part.  I went into this race with my usual absence of any level of confidence.  I had failed at Cheyenne Mountain 50k due to a weird injury.  My training has been sporadic, and my weight is this side of pianotastic.  That being said I had enough hope/sense of duty/ignorance in the face of facts to show up.

My good friend "FlyByNight" had signed up and had told me he would be doing the early start with me and running with me throughout the race.  This was a good thing.  He has finished the race in the past and it would be nice to have company during the miser-- err fun.

Got up at 3ish and made the drive up, got the sweet parking spot right next to the park (Early Start has some distinct advantages!) and got my stuff ready.  I saw Janice the uber awesome RD and gave her a hug.  She gave me the awesome smile and said "This is going to be your year!"  I agreed and I actually even almost believed her.  I really wanted to finish this thing so I wasn't forced to do it again.

I toed the line with the rest of the early starters and took off.  A few of us bunched up towards the back, I was following Ace's Back of the Pack Ultrarunning rule #3 - NEVER PASS ANYONE.  (There really is no point.)  and SuperFly and I were chatting with some folks from Texas.  They were nice folks and it was neat to see there reaction to the beautiful country we were running to which I take it was a wee bit different than what they were used to.  In a way it was a good reminder of how amazing God's Colorado creation is, when you've been through it several times you take it for granted, but seeing it through someone's eyes who is taking it in for the first time helps you appreciate it.

So the first climb was slow but probably not slow enough.  When I am with people I sometimes let that goad me into going too fast.  I was sweating and grunting up the hill and probably pushing too hard into the aerobic zone.  When we hit the top of the first climb  and started the descent I let gravity do it's thing and bombed down the hill.  We passed a few folks and were moving well.  The first ten miles went quickly, I don't remember the split but it was probably just over two hours.  The jump down to the second aid station also went quickly and we were in and out in just a minute or two.

BTW a quick note on the first aid station.   The crew at this aid station has reached legendary status.  The first time I ran the race, they had bacon.  'Nuff said.  First time I ever had bacon at an ultra.  All other aid stations are second.  Forever.  The second year they just had an amazing level of encouragement and positivity and I actually looked forward to getting there just so I could feed off it and chat with them.  And they had giant pickles.  Then last year they had bacon wraps.  Is it possible to improve on bacon?  Maybe.  Then this year.  Now I will forgive them for not having bacon.  However they had another really great idea of...meatballs.  OK meatballs might sound strange, but I think they may be a perfect ultra food.  They were soft and easy to eat, gave some protein and salt.  Very nice.   High marks for Ryan K. and his crew.

So up to this point happy, fun, giggles, fluffy sun-filled meadows, and bunny rabbits sliding down rainbows.  Then it started to warm up.  The heat was rising and it was supposed to get to around 90 degrees.  It was at this point that SuperFly and I started joking around that instantaneous cloud cover would be really nice.  Then we tried to top that, by saying that an afternoon rain shower would be even better (wasn't a cloud in the sky at the time.) Though that request was changed quickly to a why wait for it, mid-morning rain shower.  Our needs are straight forward.

What wasn't straight forward was my gastro intestinal health.  It was about four-five hours in and I was starting to not feel so good.  From about mile 16-20 things got worse.  Then krakatoa came and my shoe shouting was magnificent.  In fact it was so good, that my puking actually caused my friend to throw up a little.  Now that is some serious vomitting.  I caused a Barf-o-rama.   So I didn't accomplish nothing.

After the puking I started to have major problems with the plantar fascitis in my right foot.  I had told my partner that I needed to make sure I didn't walk for too long in any one stretch because I knew the foot would tighten up to the point that running would become almost impossible.  However the extended walking during the vomit sessions caused my foot to knot up in a very gnarly way.

I really did not want to go any farther.  Twenty miles in, ready to stop.  Our pace slowed and slowed, repeated knife-like pains in the back of my foot.  Eventually I told SuperFly to get on going because I knew he still had a chance to finish.  I stopped completely and started stretching my point in the hopes I could walk to the next aid station.

After stretching a good ten minutes I started walking again, and then I started jogging.  Then my foot started to feel no pain.  I don't really understand it but at this point I felt good.  And then it started to rain.  No really.  The mid-morning rain shower request?  Done.  For the next twenty miles I actually felt great.  I was singing some hymns at the top of my lungs while running in the rain in an amazing forest cruising along some sweet trails.  No really.  It was actually fun.  I was making up time on some folks and staying ahead of the cut offs.  I met up with SuperFly at mile 38 and unfortunately he was dropping.  I had no intetnion of dropping at that point (funny the way things can change) and took off again.

At mile 38 I was about 1 hour and 20 minutes in front of the cut off.  I knew that mile 42-46 would be the last major climb and I would need as much time as possible. I was running.  It was rather strange to be running sections of the course at far different times than previous instances.  The mile 38-42 section  I had done all three times before but usually much earlier.  I felt good for the first couple of miles and then my stomach started sending signals again.

I pulled in to mile 42 aid station and was REALLY not feeling well.  I had gained some time and was about 1 hour and 40 minutes ahead of the cutoff.  100 minutes to go approximately 4 miles.  Albeit it is four uphill miles with about  1200'+ of elevation gain/  It's hard to imagine that anyone could not cover that distance in that amount of time.  But I could not.  I tried to sit down at the aid station and almost immediately felt like throwing up.  I took a few gels and just left knowing it wasn't going to get any better.  I made it about 100 yards and the mega Krakatoa eruptions started.  And kept going and going.  Pretty much uncontrollable.  Usually you feel somewhat better after such things but in this case I did not.  I would just walk a bit more and throw up some more.  I was done.  No energy, no motivation, no mental capacity to move forward.  At one point the serious thought crossed my mind of wondering how long it might take for the search and rescue to get to me.  I did not want to take one more step.  However knowing that I was in the middle of nowhere and really had no choice but to move to get out of there I kept moving.  I reached the last aid station about fourteen minutes past the cutoff.  I think there was some consideration to letting me continue.  However I honestly had nothing left to give.  I had given everything I had to get to that point.

Part of me looks back and feels good about the nice stretch I had in the middle and making it that far when I really thought I was done at mile twenty.  Part of me agonizes over a few minutes and those last 3.6 downhill miles to a finish...

Mostly I am thankful for the opportunity to get out in God's creation for the day and give it my best shot.  Thanks to "teh fam" for making it possible.  Thanks for mid-morning rain showers on request.  Thanks for the aid station crew and RD.  Thanks for SuperFly and your entertaining banter (sorry I wasn't much of a conversationalist in return.)  Thanks for many blessings.






3 comments:

HappyTrails said...

Love the fact that you have no quit in you bro - I am proud to know you! Hope The Ace clan is well :)

Moriah said...

Super proud of what you did that day. Also enjoyed our adventures on the trails this week. Looking forward to seeing you strut your stuff in Leadville in a few weeks.

Moriah said...

I just realized that your blog picture was taken where we ran the other day!!