Wednesday, March 10, 2010

15 and more! A Lot more!

I was really glad to hit the top of the big ol long road and see the valley below because I knew there was going to be lot's of time running down hill and that was just fine with me, even though I knew in the back of my mind that if we were going down this year in the mileage we had to be going back up after that valley but it was so far away I didn't think about it.

The road down was quite fun with various conditions to run on, severe rocky, a regular dirt road and some small rough road sections. Again, I am trying to take in nutrition but my stomach is just not happy with anything I am trying to give it and really only likes water at the time being but I do know that at 15 miles-ish I need to get more food at the next aid station or I am going to bonk later in the day. I come to Aid Station mile 19 and it's decision time. Here's the deal: It's the Catholic Lent Season and I have forgone Soda's, Energy drinks and crappy fast food. I know from all my race experience that Soda, flat coke helps me and I feel great so I said softly.. Lord, I am really Sorry and I know you will forgive me! Glup! Glup! down went the Coke. Immediately I could feel my stomach happy, not only from the small amount of carbonation and sugar. I then grabbed some chips and potato's and was off again. I walked for several minutes because my stomach was full but no worries because the road soon turned on to a dirt trail/road and it started leading UP! I TOLD YOU! and not only that but the wind was blowing directly head on and so running was really out of the question for me. I stopped at this point to take this picture:
My finger points to the top-ish of the mountain/hill-top where I just came from.

After this there was some good climbs and runs spots to get to Aid Station Mile 25. By the time I got there I was actually a little hot because the sun had came out and I was ready for more food. As I pulled in I see Jimmy and he says he will wait for me to start the 4 mile dirt road climb back to aid station mile 29. I load up on food and coke again and off we go. There was actually about 5 of us that left about the same time and we all ran together for about a mile until the road really started to turn up which then I changed to power walking and Jimmy kept running. As I powered up the road I noticed it was pretty boring and nothing happening, nothing to look at but then noticed some water coming off this rock wall and walked over to put my hands in because I figured it would be cold, and yup, it was nice and cold. I then wet my hat in there, took a picture and off I went power walking again.

The last mile up to the aid station was lined with posters that some kids had drawn up with all kinds of great pictures and sayings, this was the one I liked:

I was glad to reach Mile 29 aid station and get my portable Garmin charger that I had bought from BestBuy and made by Energizer, which totally works! and I grabbed some more gels but felt okay with food and headed out of the aid station. Right when I got there I saw Jimmy pulling out and that would be the last time I see him till the finish.

The climb back up to mile 33 aid station was the same single track trail we ran on in the morning downhill and so it was not too glorious power walking back up it for the next few miles and was glad to reach mile 33. I was again once in need of nutrition so I grabbed some Dr. Pepper, potato's and chips. I took off my CEP compression socks simply because the aid stations people said we were about to hit all the river/stream crossings and I didn't have socks until mile 40 aid station drop. As I left the 33 mile the run actually became fun and I really started to feel better. The course was marked really well and by this time I was basically running all by my self. I could see no one ahead of me or behind me.

I had a lot fun for the rest of the day with the river crossing and the difficult spots of the course where we were actually running in the river bed!

Now getting to mile 40 was awesome but I had to pass this one sign first:

Aid station mile 40 was some chicken soup, coke and more chicken soup and Gatorade. I took off and with 10 miles left I was ready for sun to go down and bring on the night running. As the final trail snaked around the water crossing I was pretty good not to get my feet wet and although it took me a couple of extra minutes to plan my rock hopping crossings I was excited each time I crossed and didn't get wet and even gave myself a fist pump! I did manage to get my heels wet one time and gave myself a big BOOO!!! my feet and shoes quickly dried with no problems. As the sun ducked behind the mountain I thought how amazing it was that I began running at 6am and it was now almost 6:30pm and it was about to be dark again. Started in the dark, finish in the dark.

I don't really remember when I actually had to turn my head lamp on but somewhere I did and as I was running along this road I see another runner coming towards me and he is hanging glow sticks on the trees and trail. He yells out "your doing great man, your gonna finish this sucker and get your buckle! The next aid station is about 2 mile up the road, what for the left turn onto the trail" I said OKAY thanks!!! By the time I made that left turn on the trail it was completely dark and I could hear some people behind me and could see there lights as well. I started running faster because I was not going to get passed this late in the game!!

As I pulled into aid station mile 46 I quickly grabbed some more chicken soup, coke and I was off. I could see the other lights coming and as I was about 100 yards down the road they reached the aid station. By this time I was calculating my time to finish and I figured I could break the 14 hour if I just ran so I did. Like Forest! Every time I stopped the only thing I could think about was losing time. The trail was pretty nice by this time in a grassy type trail and I was moving along quickly. I did see another light coming up ahead towards me on this dirt road and soon it was right up on me, I thought it was another person marking the trail with the glow sticks again because some of them were starting to go out but next thing I know the voice goes "Is that John Vigil?" I said said, Yeah that's me! Then the voice goes, It's Bill. I said hey Bill what's up!

He said he wanted to check on me and Jimmy and make sure things were okay and said Jimmy was about 10 minutes ahead of me and was having problems with his feet. I said, Great let's try and catch him! I told Bill that I was trying to break the 14 hour mark and was almost there but he quickly let the air out of my balloon when he said that the course was actually LONG!! and that I had an extra mile to go. SHIT! I knew then I would be about 15-20 mins after 14 hours and then slowed down a little and we chatted about the day. I would run some and walk but kept moving pretty quickly because I wanted to minimize the time. Bill was also helping navigate the trail for me and closing the gates behind me. I soon passed 3 others on the trail and within the last 1/4 mile I caught two others but didn't pass them heading to the finish line.

I crossed at 14 hours 17 minutes! The race director came over and handed me my belt buckle!!! I saw Molly cheering from the pouch and then I say Jimmy come over to congrats me too. 14 hours later it was amazing to be standing back in the same spot we took off in the opposite direction. I quickly got some real food, Hamburgers! down my throat, sat down and was in a surreal place. I really couldn't believe I had run another 50, no wait 51 miles and mostly all by my self for most of the day, doing my own thing, running and walking to my own beat. IT's simply AWESOME!

I finished! I accomplished and I totally loved it. There is just something about these ultra's that I'm attracted to. I will recap the what I learned, What I would do different and What's next on the next post. Until now.. #2 is complete and I am super proud of that buckle!



Stef said...

You write such awesome race reports. Felt like I was there with you. Excited to see what's next as well as what you learned this time around.

You should be proud of that buckle, you earned it!!!!!! Hell YEAH.

priaovan said...


Josh said...

congrats! and i totally agree with Stef, great report! I feel like I know the course (filing it away for potential future)

Kristin said...

So unbelievably impressive, congrats to you!

Formulaic said...

Awesome RR! Felt like I was there!

Glad I wasn't!

You totally deserve that buckle. Way to go!