The day before the race which I think is crucial to getting off on a good foot I made some mistakes. I did not properly hydrate the day before. I think I drank a liter of water the whole day tops, not really my brightest idea. But we were in the car for a very long time and packet pick up and finding the hotel were in the forefront of my mind. That night we also stopped at Walgreens to purchase a knee brace and throat medicine. The whole week prior my throat-to-ear area were feeling something, I know not what. By the time we settled in that night I was not hungry and not drinking water. I should have eaten, but I didn’t. Also, I was very anxious about my first ultra; I checked, and rechecked everything, eventually getting some shut eye around 1 am for a race that starts at 6am, smooth alex…smooth.
I got up, and put everything on…had laid it out the night before. However, as prepped as I was I was still running around doing last minute things. For example, I wore KT tape to support my left ankle area. I knew I was going to do it, but I did not shave it so the tape would stick. So knowing it would not stick I still put it on and hoped. Over the next few hours the errors would keep piling up.
The morning went off without a hitch in regards to arrival and “getting “to the start. The hotel was a few miles from the start and early in the morning only the crazies were out in full force. We drove to the start and…no breakfast, not even a bite. It was a mistake. I should have had something either the night before or 3 hours before the race…I knew it but I was just too nervous about the start.
Start was awesome. The nervous energy was everywhere and obviously being the gear nerd I am I started checking out the latest styles and what everyone was wearing. Ultra runners are a very colorful bunch, I saw more color there than at the LA marathon.
Knowing I was in trouble I knocked down a Clif Shot (espresso)…I needed the caffeine and the pep since I skipped the most important meal of the day. We ran a loop…out and then back onto the road. The knee braces started bothering be from the first step on. But I still took off with the pack.
This part is the story of the knee braces. You know that whole don’t wear anything new thing they say. There is a reason they say it. By the time I got to the 10k mark I could not feel my feet. The knee braces were brand new and had not loosened up at all. I loosened the braces up and it helped some, but not enough for a sustained effort.
At mile 9 I took off the knee braces, they just bothered me way too much. After feeling my legs free up did I notice I had not freed up. I had not used the bathroom yet and I only now figured that part out. I usually would have gone to the bathroom a few times by this point in the race, but I was jovially running around being dim witted about my hydration. Thus the saga of the non-participatory bladder began. I finally forced myself to go and it was not a good thing. I was dehydrated and although I did not feel it right away I knew I was paying for my shockingly bad prep the day before.
I took these very slow, painfully slow. After not having used the restroom I went at mile 20. I had to wait in line for a good 10 minutes because two runners had gotten to the John ahead of me. I went, felt great, but started drinking water like it was my job. I tried to get water in me, but the combo of that and GU made me feel worse. I was trying to do a patch job during the race and that was stupid. Let’s face it. So I went slow, deciding that going 110% knowing I was not well hydrated would do way more harm than good. So I got sick.
I struggled this mile. A lot of runners passed me…a lot. I am not even joking there was a train of people blowing past me and I could not do a thing. I met a guy from Florida, also running ill. He was really nice and we talked for a little bit before he took off. I would see him again at the cut off, we both had long days. Every time I tried to get a jog going my stomach gave me the bile reminder. So I walked into the mile 22 aid station.
Mile 22 – Beal’s Point
I was a wreck at this point. My crew was awesome; they gave me some stomach meds and Ginger Ale. I threw up a couple more times. But I felt better. At this point a race volunteer said that I better hurry if I was going to make the cut off time at the next aid station!!! My brain went into panic mode. I thought the cut off was at the 50k mark, not the 26.6-ish mark. So I put on a fresh pack and headed off. I passed at lead 10 people in my mad dash to aid station. I was running up hills and just trying to get it going. I did not make it. I knew it about 1 mile from the station I was not going to do it.
Regardless of not making it I was so happy I felt better that I ran the last bit knowing that it was the end of my day. The crew was awesome and really helped me out. This race I was a victim of my own lackluster prep but even then I made it past the marathon point so I can’t get too mad. Later this week I will post pictures of the trail and my train wreck approach to running it.