Sunday, September 9, 2007

Friday, I drove down to San Diego to visit Bud and train on 30 miles of the race course on Saturday.

Friday night, we loaded up on sushi and rice, hit the sack, and before I knew it, my alarm was screaming at me at 4:30AM, we were up, stopped for coffees, and headed out an hour's drive to the start/finish area.

Fires had stripped about 500,000 acres in the forest about 5 years ago, and the damage was still quite evident: Burned out and fallen trees, not a lot in the way of shade or cover, and singed, blackened and brown mountainsides. It was awesome, in one of those, "Seeing that violent car accident was really...awesome," kind of ways.

We packed all the water and food we could carry, course descriptions and a map, and off we trotted, starting out at 7AM to beat the heat.

The starting elevation of the course is 4,000 feet, and both of us, living at sea level, felt the altitude change immediately. We were running what will be miles 30-50 and then, on the second loop, 70-100. We gained about 1700' in the first 5 miles, and BOY, I felt it. I was short of breath, slightly (barely) nauseous, and exhausted the entire climb. The terrain was, for the most part, very rocky due to erosion, but the views were stunning, and as we wound our way down from the steep climb, I was better able to enjoy them, as oxygen, apparently, makes me happy.

Who knew?

The course rolls steadily for the most part, and I was glad to run what I'd be adventuring on mostly overnight, now, in the daylight. But then the daylight turned into the noonday heat.

We were really hydrated, and there were plenty of water refills along the way, so no problem there, but the sun slowed us waaaaay down, and it wasn't even all that hot (82 F). We'd stopped periodically at trail junctures and rechecked the direction, and at one point, took a little "detour"...also known as getting "lost", which added about a mile to our journey. Finally, after 7 hours 22 msn on the trails, and a bee sting to the thigh during the last 1/2 mile, we returned to the finish area dusty, exhausted, and smelling not unlike a goat wrapped in camel crap (I'm guessing). I figure we did the 50k in 6:30 of actual running, subtracting our map-stops and little side-adventure, and I must admit, I got a little panicked by the thought of how beaten up I was after only 31 miles. But Bud reassured me, explaining that it's a whole other deal when you have a crew, pacers, are power-walking every incline you hit, and know that 100 miles is the final destination.

We stopped at a store at the foot of the mountain and drank the best two, God-damned Cokes® I think 2 human beings have ever slugged back in the last 100 years. Well, at least since they removed the cocaine from the recipe.

So next week, another 50k up north with Ann, then a down week, and then possibly (maybe, if it's not shut down due to fire hazards) the Noble Canyon 50k.

Then, the taper.

Then, the panic.

Then, the 100.


ReneeMc said...

Skip the panic, but enjoy the taper. That run sounds like a blast, and I mean blast in the keenest sense of the word. I'll let you figure out what that is on your own.

Well done.

michelle said...

Woo-hoo on experiencing the course!

I had a goat as a child, and while I never wrapped in camel crap, it had a pretty earthy smell.

As for the best goddamn coke, is coca-cola paying the McGarry siblings? Cause Renee was singing a very similar rhapsody on a long run awhile back.

stephruns said...

Awesome job! I thought of you yesterday while running at Noble Canyon. Guess I wasn't far away!

Glad to hear there were water stops. It's my greatest fear - running out of it.

You're so ready for your 100 miler - I can tell:-)

No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about since I've never run 50k at once in my life let alone more... BUUuuuUUUT, I'm pretty sure that the taper and the excitement of the day and (if you're lucky) someone in front of you who won't, um... lead you on a detour... will bring you to the 100 mile marker 100% alive (although some pounds of sweat and vomit lighter). Come on, when was the race EVER as difficult as its equivalent distance or terrain in training? Never? That's what I thought.

rustyboy said...

I do recall, Michelle, Renee's similar endorsement of said company. Whatever keeps the $500,000 checks coming in. She did tell you about those, right?

Thanks for the encouragement, y'allz. And wetsuit girl, you just kicked my brain's ass. You're SO right: Never has a race felt as tough as the training for it. I suppose that stems from training enough and correctly.

And, apparently, knowing HTML.

Ann said...

Power walking?

Of course, I kid.

This is going to be insane and wonderful! I can not imagine the anxiety associated with 100 miles as I have panicked, and you've witnessed it first hand, the night before the 25K.

Coca Cola,


jun said...

hey sir, good luck on the upcoming long one hundred. yeah, no sh.. about the coke minus that ingredient. i read your blog once in a while to draw humor and down-to-earth stories in your build up. my time is next year, hope. at this point i try to learn as much.

Amanda said...

Wow, so I now am positive I no longer get to complain about any run at all.