Monday, October 12, 2009

My 1st UltraMarathon! January 2009

FALLS LAKE 50K+(34miles in 20degrees)

As I finally begin to feel my legs again I am still amazed with completing a goal I never really expected to 1st Ultramarathon!! 50K+...*sighs* let's say that again.. it was actually more than was a 33.6 mile course that I added even more mileage by may have guessed it...getting lost playing connect the white dots on the tree....How many times you may ask??? I got lost 3 times! I also managed 3 falls, and a million times tripping over GOD knows what. There were creeks to negotiate, roots and rocks to jump, and several wooden bridges. Nice work Eagle scouts!! Most of the climbs were reasonable but tough nevertheless. Any hill that attempted to rip my legs off were walked up!! I used a generic camal pak from Target and it was fantastic!! Loaded with Gatorade, Tostitos chips, fig newtons, athletic tape, OH YEAH bar, camera, and Vitamin "I", I had no other thought but to finish this adventure!! Check point after check point Jeff Dufour kept me on pace to survive. Each check point was full of snacks and drinks we had all helped give to share. Did I mention how cold it was? Temperatures ranged from 25 to 40 degrees. I was so thankful for the winter gear my wife and daughter recently gave me for Christmas and my 40th Birthday. Later on Jeff took the worst fall of us all but did an awesome roll to save him. He realized his knee took a little more damage than imagined. After 18 miles we all had to listen to our bodies and do what we could. I had rolled my ankle once and somehow kept going off of instinct distracting me from pain. We all started doing paces which were good for us individually and off and on ran into each other again. At one point I realized I had to make the next check point of about 26.7 miles by 1530 or I would not make the cut off for daylight. So my current heart rate of 150 and about a 12 minute pace changed to a HR of 175 and a 9 minute pace through hard terrain and a forest of confusion actually wanting and trying to see WHITE SPOTS. I knew if I could just make it to the check point I could ease off and "rest for a few miles". I had left my understanding partners Jeff and David at different points in hopes to finish what I set out for...the finish line! I got there exactly at 1530. I got my second or ok ok ..maybe my 5th wind. A few miles later I felt the wrath of me charging to the previous check point. Suddenly my body was screaming for food and a slower pace. I called my wife to say... ok ..I'm alive and well....I will finish this be ready at the finish line. I ate the last of my fig newtons and 1 more bite of my OH YEAH bar. I drank the remainder of my Gatorade and soon I was energized. I had lost a sense of time. Those who don't know me won't know I normally eat about 5000 calories in a day. I had been running on fumes relative to my usual habits despite larger amounts of drinking. It was during this time I had problems finding some white spots again. It was the last stretch...nothing would stop me now. Afterall, as a wrestler in HS I had often survived on small amounts of food to make weight classes. This was a fight that I could actually eat. No problem I kept on saying to myself. You do a lot of thinking about life in general when you get into LSD. Now, I get a call from my wife....where are you? Are you near the next check point?? "Not sure" I said but I am fine.... ok she said you only have a mile left after the last check point. Not even a minute after the call I reached the last check point. Now this group gave me the last drink of water and Gatorade before the end and said I had about 1.2 miles left. They then told me that all other runners had been "swept". I would be the happy last place finisher if I good just do this last part. I began to realize I will actually finish this but had to beat the night. I kept a good pace and took a few pictures. Afterall, I wanted to remember this self induced torture I call FUN!! This last part of the trail was less travelled and playing connect the dots became more difficult. It didn't matter. I was on a mission!! I had eased my pace to a steady one. I was actually feeling rested if you can believe that. Despite the good pace my heart rate dropped down to 145. Soon I could see people in the distance. I took my camera and put on video. WOW! I survived! I probably ran at least 34 miles... well that's what I will call it... 34 miles in 8hours 29 minutes or a snail pace of 14:58!! I don't think I've ever been happy about finishing last but I WAS!! *Sighs* At the end I was joined by others and a cup of chicken noodle soup. I don't think chicken noodle soup was ever so good! My wife Gina, daughter Morgan, Jeff Dufour, and several others were supportive. IT WAS A GREAT FEELING! The Falls Lake 50K was part of the NC Mountain Sea Trail. I guess the plan is to eventually continue this trail from Tenn to the NC coast. I thank Jeff Dufour for his encouragement to try this race and my family for their unwavering support. OF course, my wife and daughter did pace walking as they did their power shopping at various malls etc. Hmmmm....I'm sure they didn't mind the shopping trip! *smiles*If you are interested, here are some links to some pictures and a video! some pictures during the race.... of my finish! the next adventure