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 Welp, I'm outta here!
Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Welp, I'm outta here! Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2006 9:23 am 

Tomorrow, my wife and I head to Barstow for my ultra (Sunday morning). I'll whip up a race report for you all sometime next week!

Wish me luck (and lack of vomiting)!


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Welp, I'm outta here! Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 3:10 pm 

Wow, the big day is almost here! How long is your race again, 50K? How do you feel? Has the training gone the way you'd hoped?

Best wishes for clear weather and safe footing!


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: Welp, I'm outta here! Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:26 am 

Thanks for the well wishes, Richshaw! And yes, I am back, with a monstrous race report. I'll let it speak for the race since I'm so bloody sore that even editorializing hurts.

I ache. I ache in a f*cking way that you have no idea how.

But I did it.

We drove out to Calico Saturday afternoon, about a 2 1/2 hour drive towards Vegas. I registered at the ghost town after sunset (BOOOOOOO...well, not really. It was pretty hokey) and I took an acute notice to the howling winds careening through the canyons and mountains. Welp, maybe by morning, they'll subside and it'll be calm and clear.

*Buzzer*

Wrong answer.

We headed back to the hotel, and I readied my runnin' junk as we hunkered down to watch 3 hours of "Law and Order". I turned in earlier than Dara and passed out. In my unrestful and horrifically unfulfilling slumber, I had stressful dreams about the race. I dreamed that, at some point during the race, I reached down to tie my zip-tie lace and they snapped off my left foot. I woke up and my heart was racing. You know, like a true wussy.

I slept a wee bit and woke up a little before my wakeup call at 5:45, got dressed, grabbed some delicious (read: free) Frosted Flakes down in the lobby, and off Dara and I went to the race.

The start began with the resounding blast of a shotgun, and off we trodded, most of the first 6.8 miles a rolling downhill. I made small talk with a runner doing the 30k, and hit the first aid stationat 6.8 miles, feeling amazing. The sun was beginning to bake us a little, but the headwinds of, are you ready, THIRTY MILES PER HOUR, kept slapping us in the face. I finished that first leg in 1:10 or so and ambled off towards the backside of the mountains, legs alive, breath steady and slow.

Well, that was short lived.

The next leg began a slow, gradual climb into the mountains, and the sun began taking away the chills handed to us by the 40 degree morning and torrential winds. The headwind came to our backsides, making the climbs at miles 10-14 (somewhat) tolerable. I caught a runner who I'd seen ahead of me who was wearing a "San Diego 100" shirt. It turns out he'd just run it in September, his second 100, and this, his 5th 50k, he explained was one of the harder courses. Lucky me.

I began my uphill walking plan as the ascents became a little more extreme, so he ran ahead as the winds began to beat the crap out of us. Eventually, after an hour + of intense climbing, we reached the crest at an aid station that was being ravaged by winds of over 40 MPH. Holy. Mother. Of. God. Beyond that, we were informed, the downhills began. Another runner, an older gent named "Bud" and I began to run together. And this man became an inspiration to me.

The downhills were...how shall I say? FREAKIN' INTENSE. At one point, we traversed down a good 50% grade, half mile long descent comprised entirely of large, loose rock. It would have been a poor mistake to lose one's footing. As Bud yelped from behind me, "This is a real kick in the ass!!!"

Things flattened and more plateaued running began. I left Bud behind me as I continued on to the aid station at mile 22, an RV parked to block the horrendous winds. Munching on PB and Js, Bud caught up with me and we trucked on uphill into the blowing desert mountains, chatting and getting to know one another, and, more likely, trying to take our minds off the aches in our legs. It turns out Bud is a seasoned ultrarunner and has finished The Hardrock 100 Miler 3 times, one of the more grueling 100 milers in the States, and is using this 50k as a training run. Yeesh, was I humbled.

The guy was a stud on uphills, and he pushed me to keep up with him, almost acting as my pacer. He acted shocked when I told him that this was my 1st ultra, telling me that I had amazing legs on downhills and that I had the chops to be competative in ultras, which I took as a compliment to keep up my spirits. The winds were killing us as we banged out the miles together, our conversation dwindling as we struggled along the rolling up and downhills. Each time Bud wound up ahead of me on an uphill, he waved down to me and screamed, "Downhills!!!!" I'd reach the crest to find 200 yards of steep descents...followed by more steep ascents.

The final mile or two was a KILLER. Holy Whomever in heaven, my legs felt like they were about to fall to the center of the Earth. Bud was ahead of me by about 50 yards the rest of the way when I noticed that my left shoelace felt untied, so I stopped to fix the situtation.

My left shoelace snapped when I tried to tie it. Just like in my dream.

I said aloud, "Pre-mo-ni-tion!" and scrambled on to my final mile, which may as well have been another 50k, but as I entered the ghost town main street, a steep downhill stared me in the face as I heard "Runner in the street!" announced from the finish. Sprinting to the finish, my wife snapped pics of me and cheered me on as I approached the finish to find...BUD, holding out his hand for a high 5. I slapped his hand as I passed the finish at 5 hours, 43 min, a good 17 minutes ahead of what I'd projected. Bud grabbed me and introduced himself to my wife and said, "You are awesome! I want to see more of you at these races!"

Whatta guy. He was like a guardian angel.

My wife and I celebrated and ate a complimentary lunch in the cafeteria as we readied for the drive home; her, thrilled for my accomplishment and forgiving the amazing scent wafting from my body; me, immersed in my first huge step towards my 100 mile race goal.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Welp, I'm outta here! Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:25 am 

Oh my God. That course sounds like a true ass-kicker, even without the crazy winds. 50% downhill grade of loose rock? How can you even run on that? I'd think even a barely controlled fall would be tough to manage on that terrain.

Congratulations on your first ultra finish, and on beating your time goal! It sounds like your body took quite a punishment. I guess that's probably normal considering the difficulty and distance of the course. Hopefully you have the day off today and can spend most of it in bed. :-)

It sounds like hooking up with Bud was a great stroke of luck for you. What a nice guy! I'd imagine that in a race of that distance, the mental aspect becomes all the more important, and having someone to encourage you or just distract you from your pain could make all the difference. Did you get his contact info? You might try to do some more race together.

That finish sounds awesome. "Runner in the street!" That's one great thing about a smaller race where everyone is plenty spread out-- you get to finish alone instead of in the midst of a crowd, and you know that all the cheering you hear is just for you. I hope it made all the pain of the past 30 miles worth it.

So what's next on your race calendar? Another 50K, or a 50 miler maybe?


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: Welp, I'm outta here! Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:58 am 

yeah, that downhill shocked the daylights out of me. I honestly hadn't ever even *hiked* down anything like that before. At the bottom of the descent were some race workers there to drive you away if you injured yourself.

Yes, I do have the day off, thankfully. Just some light shopping with the wife and a few movies in my future. And red wine. Oh, and steak.

Hooking up with Bud was heaven sent. True, the mental aspect of something like this is overwhelming, even at "only" 31 miles, and having his encouragement really kept me calm. I remember being a little frazzled in the later miles until we hoooked up. We didn't get to exchange info, although he lives in San Diego, I in LA, but I have his full name and he has mine, so who knows? I'd be honored to run with him again.

Yeah, the finish was AWESOME! It was really strange, running down a tourist-strewn mainstreet, people there just for the day, applauding your own, personal finish. Another 50k is definitely in my future, and I'm aiming for a 50 miler on Catalina Island in January of next year. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I'm running the LA marathon in mid-march, so next week, I start ramping up again!


mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Welp, I'm outta here! Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:56 pm 

Job well done Rustyboy! You finally did it...you're now a veteran Ultramarathoner. Your finishing time sounds fantastic. I can only imagine how difficult the climbs and descent must have been. I've been a subscriber to Marathon&Beyond since 2002 and really enjoy reading about the ultra races and the culture that has developed around these types of events. It sounds like your experience with Bud was typiical. I often read about how ultrarunners get to know one another during these events and tend to find one another again at different races. That's something that is hard to do at a road marathon (especially large ones). I think it has something to do with the slower pace (due to the hills) that allows participants to chat during the race and get to know one another. Trudging up and down the hillsides creates some unique bonding opportunities. My goal is to get into ultra running soon and your race story (another good one) has peaked my eagerness to get involved.

Again, good job. Recover well and swiftly....and do it again!


Rustyboy

LA, CA
Joined: 14 Dec 2004
Posts: 225

Re: Welp, I'm outta here! Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:24 am 

Thanks, mfox, and I'm glad to hear about your interest in ultras. It is a great community of people: It's almost like you're all a part of some huge battle, and due to the low number of runners in trail races (usually), you bond quickly out in the middle of nowhere. The slower pace does assist in conversing with other runners, as 95% (I've found, anyways) are there because they love the outdoors and have laid down a personal challenge to themselves; not necessarily to place in the top 10, so it's a more conservative pacing.

Oh, and don't worry: I'll do it again. And again. : )


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Welp, I'm outta here! Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:33 pm 

Rustyboy wrote:
Fortunately (or unfortunately), I'm running the LA marathon in mid-march, so next week, I start ramping up again!


Holy cow, you're not giving yourself much time off, are you? I'm sure your newfound trail fitness will translate pretty well to a road marathon, and it's "only" 26 miles!

I agree with the sentiments about ultras seeming to foster more camraderie that road races. There's a short trail race happening nearby me on Saturday-- maybe I should do a last-minute signup. It would be fun, although this is supposed to be a cut-back week for me, and I could sure use the rest...


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