Sunday, October 2, 2016

The post I didn't want to post. My very first DNF

Okay, you know the drill.  This session of training has been less than ideal due to some nagging injuries.  My original foot injury seemed to have healed, but then I had some tendonitis happen that had moved down my leg and then into the attachment point at the navicular bone.  I had some very aggressive taping done to ensure I could at least try to run.  We headed up to Ellsworth late saturday afternoon to do some carb loading and get settled into our hotel.

We found a cute little steakhouse right next to our hotel that had some yummy chicken alfredo pasta plus lots and lots of bread.  They cook found out I was a runner and made it especially for me, and later for Pat and melly was well.  Unfortunately a little later, we all had horrible gas and had multiple bathroom trips, so lesson learned, stick to what you know, even if the cook makes you something special.  It looked harmless, but had to go buy indigestion meds!

The race started late so we didn't have to get up super early.  We stayed about 30 minutes from Wilson lake and the trail head.  Note to self:  Be wary of races that start at 9 am.  Honestly, I know that it is a toss up in October as to whether or not it will be hot or not.  At the start, we were all bundled up as it was around 50, but it quickly warmed up to the low 80s.  

We had heard how brutal the trail was from Robin (who did a 15K out there previously), but we still were not prepared for how crazy it truly was.  There was pretty much NO shade the entire course.  IF you see trees, there is no trail there, believe me.  You basically ran a switch backs up a large hills and then topped the hills and ran back down switchbacks on the other side.  The trail itself was a bike trail,  so at times, the run-able surface was not much wider than a bike tire.  It was super hard for me to run in, because my feet tend to go out when I run, and they don't want to stay in a narrow track.  

The views were spectacular.  I am afraid of heights, so sometimes I had to not look down, especially when we were on cliff faces or over water that had big open holes in the rocks.  One time we were running up and between the cliff face and the trail was a rock.  On the rock were hundreds of lizards!  I was almost afraid to run by for fear they would all jump on me.  The biking trails also had funny names.  What wasn't funny when one was called homestretch and it was NOT the homestretch. 

 I mostly ran by myself the entire time.  At the beginning, there was a 5 K, so had a little congestion to start, but as soon as they were done, we pretty much spread out.  I was probably last the entire time but oh well, I knew that was probably going to happen.  The surface varied with the terrain from big boulder like rocks that we had to navigate up and down (and I honestly have no clue how you would bike on) to sandy soft soil, and then back to hard pack dirt or rock.  The trails kept you on your toes literally. I almost tripped 6 times and fell twice.  Both times I was able to kind of catch myself before hitting hard.

Most of the aid stations were manned by one or two people, but a few just had tables and coolers with ice.  I had started up a conversation with the guy at mile 14ish aid station.  I was telling him how the heat was really starting to kick my butt.  I had my pack and my two 17 oz bottles, but I was not taking a chance and filling them up at every aid station just in case.  He suggested I dip my hat in the ice water left in the cooler, and then he took a cup full and doused my back.  Wow, it felt so good and helped me put major pep in my step.  So much so that I caught up with Melly.  I had seen her several times during the race and we always called out and waved to each other.  She was pretty far ahead of me for most of the race, so when I caught up to her I was super surprised.  She was nursing a leg injury that she couldn't figure out and also was feeling pretty sick.  At that point, we were in between aid stations at mile 15.  I didn't try calling my hubby right away, who was at the trail head, as I didn't think I had cell service.  I left her at mile 15 sitting and resting even though I did NOT want to.  I went head to tell the next aid station where she was.  She had water and was resting, and I just wanted to run as fast as I could to get her help.  I decided to turn my phone off of airplane mode and try to call and low and behold, I got through to tony. He alerted Melly's hubby, who had already finished his 30K (and won first place overall!!!!) and the race people and they headed out to retrieve her.  I later heard them honk at me as they were heading back to the trail head to shower and rest.  

It was about mile 18 or so that I started having major issues as well.  I started getting super dizzy going up hills, and also was having huge issues with nausea.  At one point, I had to just sit down on the trail in the shade.  I had been having no troubles getting my honey stinger waffles down, and had been drinking water like a boss.  I got my pretzels out and started munching on them, and surprise, the nausea went away.  I got back up and continued on, and any time I had that feeling, I would munch on pretzels and feel better.  I was still doing a walk/ run and was slowing down mightily.  I had previously been accomplishing a 14:30 mile, which made me so happy.  That would put me finishing around 8 hours, which wasn't great but doable.  At every aid station I was dipping my hat in the ice water in the coolers and washing my face as well. 

It just wasn't enough.  I just couldn't beat the heat.  At one of the last aid stations before the trail head, I chatted with the lady manning the station.  She suggested to take the 30 K loop at the end and be done as all of the runners were struggling.  I decided to be stubborn of course and go ahead and finish the 50 K loop, and then make a decision.  Well, that decision ended up being stopping at the 22.5 mile mark, which was at the trail head.  I was toast.  I had stopped sweating all together (at this point it was 82) and was walking pretty much all the time. I probably could have attempted that final 9.5 miles, but it would have been stupid to try.  Much of the second 50 K loop was back into full sun. My body was telling me to stop, and I had to honor it.  I didn't feel like I hit a wall, but more that the heat was too much for me to overcome.  

As I sit here typing this, I feel sunburnt, tired, still sick to my tummy, and I think in denial.  I hope that I really am not too upset tomorrow still, because right now, I just feel happy to have gotten as far as I did, and happy with my decision to end when I did.  I so hope that I keep that feeling, that I gave it my all, and even if I fall short of my goal, I still tried as hard as I could for as long as it was safe to do so. I am still waiting to hear results, but I think only 4 people actually finished the 50K of the 12 that started.  I know I was in good company with many others at the trail head relaxing before their long drives home.  Many of us just had to stop.  I will attempt another 50K for sure.  Maybe not one as brutal as this one.  There is one at the end of October, but that probably isn't a good idea with my foot and all.  Signing off now, going to bed and licking my wounds.  Going to enjoy biking this week and then a few months of easy runs before marathon season starts!

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