|The profile...Run it Twice...|
I haven’t run an ultra in two years…it had been all about the bike…and after a sub 5 hour Hotter N Hell Cycled 100 miles…Amber, my cycling teammate, turns to me and ask, “What’s Next?” “I don’t know.” I replied. In truth I had toyed with the idea all summer long to go back to Bandera…for the 100K (62 miles). A week later I had decided that Bandera it was and started lacing up trail running shoes. A month later I was up to over a 20 mile long trail run. I still was in the weight room 5 days a week and one intense leg work out a week. (I had come to love the weight room.) What I had seemed to have forgotten was the time it takes to train for a long Ultra…nearly all of it alone. Training was going well, till early November. On a cold day where I was going to run 25 miles at Northshore trail, I pulled my hamstring…and found myself struggling to determine what would happen with the race..and not being able to run for over 3 weeks. By mid December I was getting back on track…but the weekly miles just were not there…at least for my liking. Regardless…I had signed up…I had my crew together….Amber and Don the Sherpa…and on Friday January 10 we find ourselves headed to South Central Texas….Bandera!
Early on Saturday morning I felt fine…I saw many old friends…made some new ones. I had told my crew I would dial it way back…painfully slow the first loop. I prayed with my crew and the race was started.
The first loop 31 miles went very well…at mile 17 there were some old friends that had fallen into my pace..Monica, Orlando and Sonia… and for the next 5 miles I told stories and made everyone laugh….all was going well. At mile 26 I go up Cairns Climb and Boyles Bump….and back into the Lodge to complete the first 31 mile loop. Despite the warmer afternoon temperatures (73 F), I felt fine…well…as fine as you can feel after 31 miles.
After the first 31 miles, Amber was going to pace me out the next 11 miles to Chapa Aid Station…I wanted some company and the sun would go down this stretch of the race. When it was said and done, Amber had paced me 17 miles, most in the dark over the most treacherous rocks and climbs and with the biggest smile and encouragement.
We make it to Chapas. I was shivering and pre-hypothermia...I was kinda in bad shape and the very thought of going another 20 miles was overwhelming. I told Amber I was done. She looked at me… and told m e that I wasn’t done yet. Don the Sherpa got some calories into me. I changed clothes, put on gloves and hat…Two minutes later we were in the dark with only a headlight on the trail again and hearing the coyotes howling.
Mile 46 we come into the Crossroads Aid station…again…I tell Amber I am done…she massaged the spasms out of my back…Don worked on my legs…rolling out the calf muscles…and two minutes later I am on the trail again…to climb 3 sisters…alone in the dark…and things fall apart…in short…I come into the Aid station at mile 53 barely... nearly crawling. It had taken nearly 3 hours to go only five miles. Amber and Don start taking care of me…and then they look in my eyes…see I have nothing left in my body…Amber knows I am done…totally done…she tries…but there was nothing. I sit there a few minutes…and finally they help carry me to the car. After 16 hours of being on my feet for 53 miles….I have to say those dreaded words…I DNF…It’s horrible…the 1000 deaths in just 3 letters. I wake up the next morning thinking I could have…I know it…then when I get out of bed I remember as I can’t walk and stumble and fall…”you can’t walk dude!”
and for Amy Gould for whom I dedicate the day too...you are a fighter...an inspiration...you can beat this...your are strong!
( pics courtesy of Don Westbrook...aka..."The Sherpa")
|Bandera...Where Rocks go to Die!|
|Chapas Aid Station mile 11...right on time.|
|First 31 mile Loop...feeling fine|
|Lodge...mile 31...About to go out for the second loop with Amber the pacer|
|Chapas Aid Station...mile 42. I look Angry...I really am not...Amber it telling me she expects from me.|