I dnf'd at mile 33.5! 11 hours 10 mins into the burning depths of the RDL100 course.
I was totally dehydrated, dizzy, throwing up, and had a slight chest pain, I knew my day was done.
The morning was great, waking up, excited ready to go. I ate a bagel on the way to the start and showed up with about 10 mins to go, I didn't want to get there too early and just wait around so my timing was good. I quickly checked in and did last minute checks for things I needed as I would not see Dez, my awesome crew support till mile 15 or more so I needed to be prepared. It was dark for the 5am start and we would be running in the dark for at least an hour. The temperature at the start was low 70's and felt okay. The great race directors gave last minute instructions and then lined us all up and here is where I found Tim Duffy, who also ran LOL100 with me, he was ready to go as well and at the count down we shook hands and this was the last time I saw him as the we all started.
The excitement was great and I was nervous. I told Dez I wasn't sure why I was nervous because its not like a sprint, its a long ass day and it will be slow and steady but I loved the way I felt and that made me realize that I enjoy preparing, training and getting to the start line! I started running nice and easy but the pull of pack of 80+ runners was immediately noticed and I knew I was running fast but thought I would hang with everyone for 3 or 4 miles and then settle down. I ran with Ed Ettinghausen and caught up on his Badwater135 run from July and we talked about AltoLabs, La Ultra - The High and other cool stuff. After about 2 miles I knew I was just running too fast and started slowing down and was chatting with other runners at the back. It was approaching 6am and the Sun was starting to shin as we moved through to the single track portion of a lot of this run, soon the headlamp was off and I was enjoying the morning.
I could tell it was warming up but running in and out of the trees along the Folsom Lake was a great feeling. The rolling hills of the course also made it fun and somewhat interesting as I knew I could run these little rollers but then made me think that these little rollers could come back and get you later in the miles, as I learned at JJ100k last year, even after Sweet Baboo warned me about them. I would continue to run some and walk some but overall was just taking my time, my current pace after 6 miles was a nice 13mins/mile and although I knew it was too fast I was taking it because with the Sun coming up I knew I would be slowing down per my race plan and I would need the extra time bank.
The first 15 miles were pretty nice running on the trail, its really a neat place to run and even though there were some rocky sections and some shorter climbs it was great. By the time I hit Rattlesnake Bar aid station, mile 15.71 I was feeling good, eating well, drinking and not really too hot, although I was sweating and fighting off bugs who seemed to like my chap stick I came refilled all my bottles, took a great picture with my friend and aid station captain Dr. Bill Andrews, CEO of Sierra Sciences and off I went.
When I left Rattle Snake aid station I had grabbed a couple of small PB&J's but soon noticed that my stomach was not to happy about that. I had been drinking Succeed - Ultra since then and at Rattle Snake I dumped it out as I noticed it was changing my stomach as well. (I think I actually used too much of this in the early hours, I double up and sipped on it but I think it was enough to throw my system off early in the day.) Being as it was starting to heat up I started taking my electrolytes, S-Caps, one per hour but it had already been about 4 hours since I started that I had take my first one, as Ultra drink has electrolytes I wanted to make sure I didn't over salt myself.
Rattlesnake Bar to Cardiac Hill aid station was 6.28 miles. This section of the course was more technical, rocky at times and lots more of the shorter steep climbs. I remember thinking that this section was going to be tough at 3am!! I was starting to get a hot spot on the ball of my left foot, something that I have noticed in a couple of my last longer runs so I knew I was going to need to take care of it at Cardiac and apply BlisterShield, great stuff. During this section I was really noticing the heat starting to come out and we were in less covered areas, I was still running good at times when I could but I would start to heat up so I would slow down or walk just a short ways. I had already started using ice under my hat to keep cool and since I was in miles 15-21, my standard Suck-Zone I was feeling it. I am not sure why this is usually my "wall" area but 18-20ish is always a low spot for me and today was no different. I was hot. I had cramped already one time in my lower shin, so I took more salt and seemed to walking a little more than I wanted to, even in nice areas where I should be running but nothing I could do but keep moving and get the aid station. When I got there just before 11am Dez was waiting and I was glad to see her. She helped me with my BlisterShield in my socks, refilling my bottles, and ice in hat and bandanna. I also took a small Dr. Pepper bottle to carry with me and get something to calm my stomach. I hadn't anything in a while but knew I needed to as the couple of gel's I took were not going to be enough. Just before I left out of Cardiac there was a Rattle Snake crawling across the trail just about 20feet from the aid station table!! crazy!! but cool to see. I left feeling better after about 10 mins of getting cooled down and some hydration.
The climb from the bottom of Cardiac Hill to the top is a little less than mile but pretty much straight up with just a couple of switch backs, about 700foot climb and once at the top another 1/2 mile to the next aid station at Maidu. I took my time climbing up and had passed a great lady attempting her first 100, as she had passed me earlier in the day. I actually felt good climbing up and although it was hot I did my best to keep water on my head and stay cool but now after 11am its just getting hotter out, luckily this section has more trees so shaded areas were nice for a short rest. At the top I started running along the water canal that is here and would stop and wet my head down instead of using all my water in my hand held. I got to Maidu and was feeling good, another short refill stop with Dez, a couple of gels I picked up and ice and off I went to Auburn Damn overlook another 1.52 miles.This section at first was great because it was still along the canal and I was feeling good so I started running as much as possible and making up some time, I passed a couple of runners here but soon hit a couple of short steep climbs getting up to Auburn but was still moving good even though I was really feeling the heat and pouring water on me every few minutes. My stomach was still not happy even though I shoved a couple of gels down it along with more S-Caps. It seemed the more I tried to get a balance on my stomach the more it seemed to go the opposite direction. I got to Auburn Damn and again refilled all water and ice. Dez tried to get me eat something but I was just not having it, I didn't want anything. I put more sun block on and Dez had made a great duct tape job on a different hand held bottle I wanted to use because it help 4oz more and was insulated. This was a great idea and worked great but I also noticed the extra weight of it and had to switch hands more often.
Heading to No Hands Bridge from Auburn was 4.34 miles away and now I was just overheating like crazy. This section also was more exposed to the sun and I found myself walking a lot! I simply could not run as I would start over heating like crazy and I just felt worse, so my walking pace was about 18 mins/mile at times I would get to 16s but it didn't last long. I was bummed at this point because this part of the course is very runnable and I wanted to run but the heat was still killing me and I knew this was not part of the race plan. Stick with walking as fast as possible during the hot portion of the day and then we'll run at night was the plan. It was great seeing the leaders during this section of the course and encouraging them on as they did the same for me but it only last for minutes as my thoughts were fried from the heat on my head. Have I mentioned its hot? I forgot how far it was to No Hands Bridge and as I saw others coming towards me I would ask them which wasn't a good idea because the first time I asked the guy said 2 miles maybe a little more!! SHIT!! I kept moving and soon got close enough that one guy said, Just around the corner, maybe 1/2 mile probably less!! Yahoo!! that was great news as the dude before him said "yo man, your pushing the cut off, you need to run".. WTH, no shit dude! I was irritated by that comment but kept doing my race not his! As I came around the corner I saw No Hands Bridge and I was just about out water. I had used all 64oz I was carry, drinking probably 45oz of it but in 90 mins that may not have been enough in this heat. I was glad to see Dez on the far end of the bridge at the aid station because we had talked about her not stopping her as she would have to walk a little ways to get to the aid station and so I would just see her at Cool Fire Station but nope, she was here! As I was walking across the bridge I got closer to her and she was talking pictures and I had posted on my facebook that I would be Planking at No Hands Bridge and now was the time, unfortunately, one of the aid station ladies was not aware of this and I felt bad because I scared the shit out of her as I moved to the edge of the bridge and laid down on the edge as Dez was getting closer to take my picture, Sorry nice aid station lady for scaring you. I really think she thought I was going to jump or passing out or something. Anyway, we took the picture and I got into the station, mile 29, 2:00pm.!!
I sat down for a few minutes as everyone helped to refuel my bottles and get me ice, I must have looked bad because they were all over me with cooling aids, which I welcomed. Dez said I needed to eat something as it had been hours since I had anything so I ate 1/2 a cookie and drank some Pepsi. I drank lots more water and took a S-cap, sat around for about 5 mins and started to head out to Cool Fire Station which was at the top of K2!! 3.31 miles away and 1200 feet of straight up climbing, no switch backs in less than couple of miles. I was still in good spirits and was ready for K2 leaving out, I told Dez I would probably be a 30min/mile pace so at least 90 mins before I got to Cool Fire Station. I was still ahead of the lady I passed at Cardiac but we were pretty much together by 4-5 minutes.
As soon as I left out of the No Hands aid station I was walking up the short switch back in the covered tress and it happened. My stomach had decided no way and out come contents from previous aid station 5 minutes ago. Maybe it was too much at one time, but the cookie seemed to be the factor that pushed the button. Blow and Go as I'm told so that's pretty much what I did. It didn't seem all that bad and I wasn't worried about it other than, Okay, let's drink some water. The trail here is pretty much a straight up climb with 6 or 7 false summits, so unless you're at the top you're not at the top! I mean this thing was so steep I could only walk a few steps at a time before I was wobbling all over the place from over heating and exerting myself. I took it slow and steady but that didn't seem to matter to my stomach a 2nd time as I had to spit up a bunch of water I had drank, again, too much at one time. About half way up I finally just sat down on the side of the trail and rested as I poured ice water over my head and cooled down. Some other guy came storming up the trail with walking sticks and blew right by me, the first time I had seen him all day. I got up and kept moving, now just about mile into the climb and then I got dizzy again, this time it was a little different. Dizzy followed by a sensation to breath deep but couldn't, followed by a slight pain in my left chest.! NOT GOOD! I immediately sat down again, more water on my head, body, and sipping. I knew my race was over!! I had two options: go back down the trail to No Hands or continue up K2 another mile-ish to Cool. Well, I wasn't going backwards even if I wasn't going to finish this thing and the stubbornness of I will get to the top of K2! Just then the lady was coming up the trail and asked how I was, I said okay but severely over heated, dizzy, and puking, she laid down on the trail about 10 feet from me and said yeah me too! I kind of laughed as I though, well at least I am not the only one but I do believe our feelings were quite different. She encouraged me to get moving again and so we started but she soon dropped me and I caught back up a short distance later but then got dropped again. On this climb, I felt the worse I have ever felt in any endurance event. An all time LOW in my experience, I wanted to cry but couldn't, I wanted to scream but couldn't, I wanted to stop but couldn't! I was a little lost in my feeling and what to do so early in a race but I knew the heat and dehydration had dealt the winning hand. I finally made it to the top of K2 after all the false summits and was walking a great open meadow area and off to the right there were 4 deer's standing there watching me, Yes, they were there, I was not hallucinating! and I enjoyed the mutual stares we shared as I passed. Knowing that Cool was still a little less than a mile away I kept moving as much as possible because I wanted to be done. I started seeing runners coming towards me again so I knew I was closer and then I saw the top of the Fire Station bldg in the distance but also this helicopter flying circles overhead like a vulture waiting to start eating me. It eventually landed at the Fire Station and as I got closer it was a good distraction to the fact that I was done.
I got to the aid station, mile 32.5 and Dez approached me asking how I was but I was in a pretty low place, I just said not good! Not Good at all. I quickly checked in and saw Tim Duffy standing here, he had fallen down 4 times during the day and said he was dropping from the race, he was at mile 39. I quickly told him that I was done too but wanted to get to the car to cool off. I sat down in the car and Dez was checking on me to refill my bottles but I told her I was dropping, that I had a pain in my chest and that was not a good thing. My body was telling me to stop or it was going to shut down on its own. Just then the aid station lady came over and said that if i wanted to continue the 100 I needed to go now or if I wanted to drop to the 100k I could just continue back down but I needed to make a decision. I just said I was dropping overall.
Tim was here and we were chatting about things. I was still very over heated and it was hard to focus at times. Part of me really thought about going on but I just knew it was not a smart thing to do. The lady came back and asked if I was dropping to the 100k and I said no, I was dropping completely. She said okay and I called Molly to inform her. There was also another gentleman that had just dropped and needed a ride back to Auburn so we all piled in the car with the AC and left. This guy was done because he was over heated and exhausted and realized he was going to finish a 100k in 21 hours and didn't want any part of that. Matter of fact this guy had actually left Cool heading back and turn around and was walking back to Cool when I was coming in and I saw him turn around and thought what the heck but just eventually thought he was heading into Cool Station for the first time and I had caught up to him.
After getting cooled down and drinking more water and taking another S-Cap I was feeling a little more with it. We dropped off Tim and the other guy and headed back to the hotel. Dez and I got showered and cleaned up and headed to eat. I was feeling so much better, just tired and some soreness. After dinner we returned to the hotel and as I laid down I was restless and slept restless with a calf cramp in the middle of the night. The next morning we packed up and drove back to Vegas.
I am feeling totally good now, still some minor soreness but normal stuff. Ultimately, my demise was the Heat and lack of preparing for it and some training. I feel if I would have had known we were going to have 96* heat I may not have changed from Wasatch and taken the climbs and elevation more but when I made the decision I was still having some climbing issues with my hamstring, which are okay now. I learned that I have a new low in feeling like shit and despite the heat I made it to the top of K2! I know I need more heat tolerance when picking a race with these temps, especially Badwater! I know I have some training in the next 7 weeks to get ready for Javalina 100 as I am not going down in an dnf there!
I learned that my stomach shut down completely in the heat and will need to find some sort of nutrition to use, maybe Amino or Clip from Succeed would have worked but I didn't try it. All I know is I can't wait for the next one!