Rocky Road 100 – Race Report

All of the nervous planning paid off; Coach Jeff  knows, friends know and I know that the mileage up to this point is not where it needed to be for a 100 miler. I expected to struggle and setting up a good first half was critical to completing this race.
Lap 1-6 (15 miles) lap 7 (10 miles)
Lap 1 (1-15)   – 3:04:27
Lap 2 (15-30) – 3:25:49
Lap 3 (30-45) – 3:40:43
Lap 4 (45-60) – 3:56:56
Lap 5 (60-75) – 4:54:02
Lap 6 (75- 90) – 6:11:26
Lap 7 (90-100) – 3:41:36
Total Time: 28:24:59 
Essential Gear
Shorts: Patagonia Long Hauler (they have been my “go to” since Bulldog 50k)
Shoes: Altra Lone Pine (1-15-had to chg b/c I had not added the velcro to use gaiters), Saucony Peregrines (held up well and surprisingly nimble for the remainder)
Headwear: Headsweats Race Cap (mid day), Buff (2x – morning and night), Oakley Radar (my Crowies..just make me look like I know what I am doing and keep the sun out)
Cold/Night Gear: Peal Izumi Arm Warmers, GORE Windstopper Gloves. Manzella Gloves (light), Wells Lamont Work Gloves (from Walmart $9 bucks – they are awesome and vent really well), BlackDiamond Storm Headlamp, Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp
Nutrition/Hydration: Ultimate Direction FastDraw Plus Bottle (Review), Hammer Gels, Hammer Perpetuem Solids, Aid station food (especially soup), Hammer Endurolytes (1st morning), SaltStick Salt caps (afternoon-end)
Miles 1-45 
These first three loops were my best. I ran with an avgerage heart rate of 121 bpm and just let the race come to me. I was in a flow like Bruce Lee with nun chucks minus the “whaaaaa!” sounds. I remember coming into the start/finish aid station at mile 45 and feeling really fresh (probably endorphins), there was not a speck of salt on me… things were just coming together. By keeping my heart rate low I was able to take in plenty of fluids and fuel well so I never had the chance to hit the wall.

Adam W and his lovely wife swung by to support at mile 30. I had actually never met him but we follow each other on and see each other’s training. It was kind of him to come and support especially at this point because my crew had not arrived. It was a huge mental boost when he let me know I was well ahead of my “expected” splits.
It’s a mental battle to stick to the plan (low bpm for 60 miles) especially when I had to lower my heart rate and walk downhill sections. My male ego still wants to just stick it to them, but ultras are all about keeping yourself in check and doing what you know you can do rather than what you think you can. I also avoided the iPod; I know myself too well and if “Eye of the Tiger” or “Welcome Home” (Radical Face) came on…charging uphill was inevitable and my plan would be a thrown aside.
Sam was at the start when I was got to the start/finish at mile 45. She has crewed for me at some big efforts American River 50 (Report) and other successful finishes Bishop High Sierra 50 (report) and rescued me from the rain at 2011 LA 26.2 (report). It was certainly a plus to have her there. I trusted her with full authority to pull the trigger on the race if she thought I was pushing too hard or risking injury. If she said stop that was the end of my day.
Also a co-worker Courtney swung by to support. I have gone on a few training runs with her and she understands how committed I am to the sport and the ultra-running community. I think she was more impressed with the fact runners were throwing down cups of chilli then heading out to run than the event itself. Again it was a huge mental boost to have them there.
Mile 45-90
GPS data is off because I forgot to turn it off when I left it at the aid station. The blister recap is pretty simple. The first loop I did not wear gaiters and had to stop a few times to remove pebbles from my shoes. Loop 2 I changed shoes to accommodate the gaiters but I did not change the socks. Loop 3, finally changed the socks cleaned my feet a little but it was too late. Loop 4, mile 60, the blisters arrived in style.
Health-wise I was “so money” (swingers) and felt solid; nutrition was good, no cramps, no chaffing, just blisters. At this point in the race my family arrived to the start/finish line as well. I saw my crew, parents and brother with his family. I was unfortunately too busy popping blisters to really let them know how much it meant that they were there. I set off with my first pacer, Chris G into the night. 

The race was taking a huge mental toll on me since I was concerned with my caloric intake and hydration so much more than I would be in everyday life and then still running around. Chris was essential to keeping my mind in it and kept me moving. He helped me keep my food intake on a schedule since by this point I was exhausted and could not muster as much energy as wanted too nor stomach everything I needed in order to keep going. My plan had been to really save myself for the night and now the blisters had pretty much taken my plan and shredded it. I was still running but I was definitely not pushing the same intensity. I felt the little baggies between my toes popping then warm, then stinging…that sequence took the heart out of me running very hard. I did manage to run through the loop with Chris and the cold had not really hit me by that point.
After a loop Chris bid farewell and my second pacer Al T. joined me for a few hours. I would have liked to have been closer to being done, but my feet just did not move well. It was one of those times that everything just hits the wall. I was not in a depressed state nor was I as melancholy as I thought I would be, but I was disappointed because Al came out in the middle of the night to help me out and all I could do was hobble and hallucinate. Yup, hallucinate. I started seeing snakes slithering away just out of my headlamps reach, also I kept hearing noises and seeing back shadowy things moving up behind us only to turn and see nothing. I was pretty tired. Al left early in the am and I had to cover 5 miles on my own to reach the start/finish aid station where my Sam awaited. In that stretch…
I tripped over my own feet and had those flashbacks like “fight club”.  One minute I was in one place then I would be 50 yards ahead, I am certain it was a blend of sleep deprivation exhaustion and easily the longest 5 miles of the race.
*note: you know I mentioned hearing noises….turns out some neighborhood kids were throwing water balloons at runners and apparently even set up trip wire., next year I will be prepared and probably run with my cell phone.

Miles 90-100
I know that I mentioned it before that Sam was their crewing and her help was indispensable in this race. She was making sure I was eating solid foods whenever I could and helping not only me get through but other runners and aid station workers as well. I think she really stepped up huge by helping me the last 10 miles. I was pretty much a mess of a person with hamburger feet and not the most pleasant chap around.  I grunted a lot and she was very supportive and showed an unusual amount of patience with me. As many of you know we get meaner as the hours wear on…not on purpose but the body just has to let it out.  I did get to the point where I had to ask her not to ask complicated questions like…how are you feeling?…because I felt I was simply not processing them fast enough, yes or no questions only. We got through it and finished it up.
Took me a lot longer to write this one because what is said on the trail stays on the trail. I ran the first 60 and survived the next 40, but the truth of the matter is I could not have done any of it without the support of my family and friends. Coach Jeff was right, I did bite off a lot and got lucky that I finished because my training was not there. I will defintely try to remedy that next go around. Still plenty of room on the shelf for more buckles.


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