Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rocky Finish

So, I did not end up with the results I wanted at Rocky this year. This is the first 100 where my goal going in was not to just finish but to finish well and try to push it a bit to see what I could do. It worked pretty well for the first 60 miles.

The first loop I started up near the front of the pack so I wouldn't get caught up behind a lot of people. My plan was to start pretty quick and stuck to that. I ran the entire first loop and ended up coming through at 2:58. A few minutes faster that I had planned.

Second loop I was still going pretty strong. I just wanted 3:30 on this loop to try and shave off about 10 minutes from last years 2nd loop. I hit the marathon and 50k point on the course strong. If this would have been a marathon or 50k I would have set a PR for either, hmmm, maybe not the best idea? Once I got through the 50k point I started having some bad quad cramping and was trying to put down enough fluids and S-caps to alleviate it but I just kept cramping for the rest of the 2nd loop. I ended up finishing the second loop in 3:30 and was nailing by time goals but was pushing a little too hard to get there.

The start of the 3rd loop I was shooting for 3:50ish. My quads were starting to hurt a lot from all of the cramping. I have been through this before and it is miserable to have cramping for so long. My legs were already hurting and the cramps make them soooo sore that it is almost unbearable for me. I kept checking my times and trying to not walk too much so I would not give up the 25 minutes I gained on the first few loops. I came through the 50 mile point at around PR pace for that distance also, man f I can just hold it together......Just keep pushing, get this loop over, I always run strong at night, just give me the night. I came through the 60 mile mark at 3:57 or so but may tank was on empty and I was struggling.

My back was really starting to hurt me and I was spent. I had not planned on stopping to sit down but I was pretty tired so I sat down changed my shirt, washed my face, ate some food and got my lights and night gear. Tiff was trying to be positive and help me as much as she could. Rick and I left and I just kept thinking how much worse I felt than I was expecting.

We left the on the 4th loop and ran the first mile or 2 and I got very bloated and was having some bad stomach issues. I walked most of the way to the next aid station. Stomach was gone and my back was just getting worse. By the time we got to Dam Rd I could not run at all. My back hurt so bad just to walk, every time I tried to run it just screamed out in pain. The last 14 mile of the loop were a mix of shuffling and fast walking. I had to keep 1 hand on my lower back, keeping pressure on it was the only thing that allowed me to move forward. It made staying upright hard because I was almost having to arch my back and then I was unable to look down enough to see the trail. So, that continued for the last 14 miles of the loop. I was mad, tried to run a few times but it just did not work. I took Ibuprofen and tylenol but the pain would not go away. I wanted so badly to run but just couldn't.
We finished the 5th loop and I knew my time goals were pretty much shot. The loop took about 40 minute longer than planned. Tiff said I could still beat last years time, I just need to run some, I just decided that all I could so was keep moving forward and not worry about anything else.

The last loop I was in a place I have never been. I am used to passing a lot of people at night, getting my second wind and running relatively strong. There was nothing there, I just shuffled along, pissed of and cussing to myself when someone was passing me. Rick kept me from walking too long at a time and was getting me to shuffle along for a 1/4 mile intervals. A lot of thoughts went through my head that last loop, I faced it that I made too many mistakes to reach my goal, I started a little too fast, I did not eat enough the first 1/2 of the race. I went through many aid stations and would fill up my handheld but forget to refill my waistpack bottle and then run out of water before the next aid station which caused alot of the cramping. Most importantly I used a waistpack which I only ran a few miles in previously. I destroyed my lower back and was the reason I was unable to run at night.

Rick asked me what I wanted about half way through the last lap and I said just finish I just want to get this over with. I told him, you know what this means right? This means I got to come back here next year and make this right. He just laughed and said I was going to have to pay him to come back next time. He told me a few times that I can't expect to run a PR every time.
I ended up finishing in 20:57. We sat in the tent for a while, I was disappointed that I fell apart so bad the last 40 miles. The pain got the best of me. It is a strange feeling to finish 100 but not be happy.
Once again my wife and Rick came through for me, gave up their weekends and spent their time taking care of me while I ran through the woods. Tiffanie is unbelievable at these races, she is the best I could ask for. Rick did a stellar job again, I think he likes to see me suffer :)

Congrats to Darrin, Nick, Danny, Colleen and everyone from K.C. who finished, attempted, crewed and paced. The KC nerds put in a good showing, hopefully the same will happen next year.

I cannot wait to get back at it again. I am pretty good at taking a negative and using it as motivation. I think I am capable of a lot more, at least I hope so. I fell apart but still kept going which is good, I know if it happens again that I can get through it. Now it is time to train for Western States. Everything I do training and racing will be centered around preparing to run my best in the race I may never get a chance to run again. I am looking forward to it and already have a plan of attack. I keep thinking of the 6 million Dollar man " Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology, we can make him better, stronger, faster."


Thomas Bussiere said...

20:57 is still very awesome Gabe. May have not hit your mark, but more importantly you know what not to do for the big race (WS). I also had issue, different from yours, and could not recover from them. I was running strong for 70 miles, no cramping, mentally sharp, and also enjoying the dark cool air when my feet went out. Tried to patch them up but the pain was too great with each step (front pad of both feet separated and turned into several huge blood blisters) - Never had this problem before. I need to figure this one out – maybe different shoes.

Rick M said...

That was the most pain I've seen you push through yet! It was beautiful man. A DNF would have been a lot more painful.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing brother how you can finish those things with an accelerated ramp up in mileage. I guess once you've actually been there then you know what to expect right? Good luck to you this season man.

olga said...

There is nothing to say now that it's long behind. You know the lessons given to you, and you just have to hope to remember them. I know the feeling, but it is not going to make you feel any better. Each of us has to go through our own disappointments on their own:) I know I still have a few regrets I can't overcome, but the truth is, I can't go back and re-do things. So, your only way out is to get mad and train hard for WS, plan better - and stick to the plan. Yet, you and I know, things still can go wrong. But we keep coming back. Something to it, huh? There was an article on addictions, so, as with gambling examples, an addiction to running an ultra is because the result is unpredictable. Almost never. There are just too many elements in a play. That what makes it fun:) So go out and have fun!!!

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