This is my 4th time doing this race and every year I DNF..this year was no different in that I did not finish the 100, then again no one did, but I did come in first among my fellow dnfers
: ) 11 out of 15 laps completed each lap 6.5 miles so 71.5 miles on snowshoes in 28 hours taint so bad. The race went from 8 am Friday until 5 pm Saturday, but I stopped at 11 loops at noon Saturday to just hang with people and eat really yummy soup at the finish.. I knew I would not be able to get the 4 laps done in the time left and I still felt good so I made the choice not to knock myself out for a 13 lap dnf : ) Truth is so many awesome people had traveled to the race (many fellows death racers) that I wanted to just go hang out at The Clear and eat lots of chicken wings : )
I never have an issue DNFing at a PEAK race because they are so hard...the odds of finishing are often slim to nil. Last year I tied for the DNF first at the snowshoe with 12 laps...I felt this year was a far more difficult course, and the overnight temperature pummeled to minus 7 causing every racer but myself to hide away in the unheated pony barn. I don't have an issue with cold...I have an issue with cold and WET...I can suffer through cold temperatures as long as I am moving and dry...I don't like getting sopping wet and then having to sit around suffering...my body just can't handle that....
|At the start with Don, Doc and Robin (I think that was Robin)|
I decided after my first loop that for this race I was in a very good place... I started off second to last as I always start off races in the back. I NEVER "go out strong" as they say...I am like a little mole popping its head out from the ground and tentatively sniffing around to make sure an owl does not bite it off...
My mantra is and always will be:
slow and steady wins the race...
maybe not wins the race,
but slow and steady helps you to finish the race
In the case of PEAK races I do believe it is the person who runs a solid pace throughout that does well in relation to a person who goes out on fire...they usually peter out pretty quickly and then get discouraged when their lap times get slower and slower. My first lap is always my slowest and then I get the mental boost of negative splits compared to my first and second loops. I find that passing other runners on the second and or third loops makes you feel really strong..it is not a competitive thing it is just it FEELS good to FEEL strong enough to pass someone. So all of the guys who went out faster than me I ended up passing or they quit because they burned themselves out quickly. It is hard for many competitive people to start out so slow...to be the person "turtling" up that first hill just after the RD yells go...
|Obviously early on in the race note big smile|
I could give a flying spider monkey
I run my own race in 90% of races..the other 10% I let people get into my head....but that is for another blog
The temperature was on the cold side for Friday but not unbearable. I wore a Smartwool long sleeve as a base layer and then a second layer topped by a light weight down jacket. I wore gloves and a neck thingy which ended up being a hat as my bangs kept on getting into my eyes and I couldn't see where I was going...for my bottom silk undies and then a pair of warm tights. last year I had destroyed myself on the first lap wearing Catalyst snowshoes instead of my Dions, and wearing low back trail runners instead of high backed lightweight boots...I had a blister that was horrific on the back on my right heel that made the entire race excruciatingly painful. This year we went to REI Thursday night and Doc bought me a pair of Asolo(sp?) hiking boots and these ended up being my saving grace...so lightweight and comfy I had zero blisters and absolutely no foot pain throughput the race.
I will bring these to Peak 500 for the rainy muddy early days and for overnights as they are really easy to run in but give me the support I need.
One issue I did have was with my bladder hose freezing up on the first loop. I could not get any water for the first 6.5 miles. When I got back to the gear bin Doc was doing timing so I just threw off my bladder and grabbed a free Zico chocolate coconut water off the aid table and a bar and put the coconut water down my shirt and the bar in a pocket and I was off. The key to this race is to take as little time as possible in transitions..you need to get in and out as every second counts. To finish this race you must do each loop in 2:18 and that includes water, food, bathroom and clothes change breaks...6.5 miles with that elevation...well the 34 hour cut off is pretty difficult to achieve for 15 laps...
I spent less then 3 minutes at my bin between loops for the first 8 loops. I came in after the second loop and got a Gatorade bottle half filled with water half with orange Gatorade and another bar..shoved the Gatorade down the front of my shirt...it was heavy so I tucked my base layer into my pants and the bottle just kinda stayed stuck there...when I needed a drink I had to reach down the front of my shirt and grab out the bottle..not ideal in the least, but I only brought a pack and no handheld water bottles so I had no other choice.
By the 5th lap I had passed everyone
except for Courtenay and Eric who were both ahead of me. I felt strong and happy and was glad for the flu the week before as it made me rest up. I went into the race doing nothing for like 10 days. After the 5th or 6th loop Doc had bought me a hamburger from the General Store so I changed out my Gatorade bottle for another one and grabbed the burger and was right back out. I could only eat half of the burger while I climbed that first steep section to the Mtn Bike cabin as the Gatorade was effecting my tummy ....I was starting to fell nauseous. With about 2 miles left of that loop I was very sick to my stomach and was happy to suddenly need to stop and throw up all the Gatorade and burger. When i finished this loop I said "ugh no more Gatorade just water please!!!!.
The overnight started and the temperatures fell as I turned on my headlamp. I would see lights in the distance but they turned out to be car headlights or house lights from the valley below...I noted no other people on the course. I found out later I was alone for the night. Courtenay and Eric both dropped after their 7th lap and Courtenay was really cold and wet and in trouble. Doc helped get him out of wet clothes and into his sleeping bag in the pony barn where all the runners bedded down for the overnight or those that had dropped were warming up. When I came in from my 7th lap Doc said how proud he was of me and I headed right back out.
The night was gorgeous and I was super happy. The sky was so clear and the stars looked close enough to touch. I spent a majority of the overnight just breathing in the cold air and trying to relax my mind and just pick up a rhythm to my running. Everything for this race came together for me, and I wondered if I had finally moved completely beyond all the pain of the past 4 years. Clarity has come to me in Bikram, but it had never seemed so close at hand when running....this was the first time in a long while where I felt...
This is where I belong
I came in for the 8th loop and still felt great I was even a bit warm in big puff. I changed into Doc's wool gloves and headed right back out. I normally don't drink a lot of water and this race wasn't very different. I would drink about 1/2 to 3/4 of a Gatorade bottle for every loop. I ate pretzels and sucked some ginger and hard candy but I did not feel hungry during the overnight. When I came off the mtn and saw the truck ahead it was so inviting. Eric was with Doc in the truck gabbing and Finn was snuggling in the back. Even though it looked warm and toasty I had no desire to stop. I quickly got my stuff together and headed back out for my tenth loop. The picture below is me at the finish of that loop.
|Big puff was my savior on the overnight|
When I finished my 11th lap it was close to noon. There were so many people at the start/finish and hot soup and rolls. Doc and Eric where there hanging out so I grabbed a cup and started to eat...I had 5 more hours to complete 26 miles...not possible, but I could get at least 2 more laps in. Robin and Jack were up and heading back out for more loops..Dan and Stephanie had decided to stop she had a long drive and Dan was fine with what he had accomplished and was just enjoying himself at the finish. Andy, and Peter asked if I was going to go back out and I said probably not I felt good and I was happy..Andy said take a medal, but I never did....I don't do races for the medal..I do them for experiences exactly like I was having...playing on a mtn all night long with people I love and admire, good hot soup and rolls, laughter, and the knowledge that in a few hours I would be sitting at The Clear ordering a glass of pinto and wings with so many amazing people!!!!
Highlights of this race was meeting Don's Lisa in person, meeting Jane's daughter, seeing Matt Batz whom I adore, spending time with Doc, going to The Clear with everyone, watching Doc and Eric Geek out and gaining a large adopted son in Eric...seeing Lisa L, Laura S, Dana W and Jane BC some of the toughest coolest women I know...meeting Chris's and Kevin's wives who were funny and sweet and down right as awesome as their hubbies...spending time at the General Store with Don and Doc talking about love and life..staying at Swiss Farm and seeing Roger and his wife...seeing Jack C, Robin C his gorgeous wife Melissa and Dan G(one of my fave people on the planet) on the trails...meeting Jack's adorable GF who was running the marathon..talking poop with Eric while the three of us bunked down at Swiss Farm..falling asleep at the restaurant and Kevin Lowe making me into a giant puppet..Kevin's "kitty sweaters" Owl Bars from the store, Seeing so many familiar wonderful local faces including Marian Dane Abrams who spent Saturday taking pictures of the race (these are her pictures I stole)...
it is like a second home
and it always feels good to come home....