Friday, July 27, 2012

2012 Badwater 135 - Team Cath! - To the FINISH!

A short back track on our Lone Pine check-in and plan. I had told Molly and Darryl that we would get Cath checked in at the time slot, Molly could go with her to the medical to get her blisters patched up for better comfort and if they finished before Darryl and I gassing up the Mothership and grab some food they would start up the portal road but when Cath heard this plan she wanted all of us to wait for her until she was done in medical, not sure why but I'm thinking so she wouldn't be left alone too long or miss the turn to the portal road but Molly knew where she was going.

Now this plan was laid out about 30 minutes before we get to Lone Pine so I am really looking forward to my BURGER! So when Cath wanted us to wait for everything didn't quite make sense to me being as Darry and I would just be sitting there, watching/waiting, as well as Molly, so I made an over ruling decision! Here's how to work with your runner: We parked at the check-in, Darry and Cath arrive and we time check her in, then Molly walks her to medical and they go in the room, now is the time to Break! haha.!! Darryl, I said, let's go, she'll be fine.. and we jumped in the Mothership and went to refuel and get food. We were back before she was even out of medical, so I parked and we waited, eating the burgers and doing the HAPPY DANCE! After we finished a medical guy told us she was done and would be coming out so we walked over and took her back to the Mothership and she sat done for a few more minutes. Molly had went to grab the sandwich and wasn't back just yet but Cath was now ready to go. Sometimes the crew just has to work around the runner during there times of need. I told Cath I would start walking with her and Darryl and Molly could catch up, so we took off but just then Molly arrived so they jumped in the Mothership and we were off.

The Portal Road:
The road from Lone Pine to the finish is 13 miles and pretty much just climbs up in elevation. Starting at 3610 ft and finishing at 8360 ft! It's the last grind that will take you out of your can and leave you naked and wounded! You have minimal energy, your sleep deprived, your feet hurt, your legs hurt, your butt hurts and I'm not even talking about the runners! This is crew! haha.

As we started slowly up the road I told Cath to just find a nice steady pace and power walk. It was going to be a work so just pace yourself. Molly, Darryl and I would all switch out for a few miles with Molly now offering some of the sandwich to nibble on but even your jaw muscles are so tired, Cath did her best to eat as much as she could.

The Portal road is also nice because its cooler in temperature simply because you are climbing up in elevation but also for us because the Sun was starting to set, but not soon enough as Cath once again found it straight in her face. Enough to remind her body that this is Badwater and the Sun is here to stay. Molly added some sun block spray to try and minimize the searing effect of the sun rays. She made her way through the setting sun and now it was time to put the night gear on for the last time.

About mile 126-7, Molly was with Cath and I noticed she was slightly holding her low back. Maybe it was to help her go uphill, maybe it was because it was hurting/tired/achy. I pulled up next to them and Molly asked if I could stretch out her low back as she was feeling achy pain so I pulled up a little farther, Darryl inflated a camping air mattress he had and Dr. John was now in the house! I laid the air mattress down on the side of the road, told Cath she would lay on it face up and Darryl would be my assistant in helping stabilize her opposite leg while I worked on the other.
I had palpated her low back while she walking so I could tell where she needed some Fascial Stretching so when she laid down, I quickly did some easy movements for her hips and then some easy lumbar rotation and glute/hamstring work. Then we repeated on the opposite side and finished with some long traction. I stood her up and as she got her balance I told her to start walking and see how it feels. I walked next to her and she said "Wow, John your the BEST IN THE WORLD!!!" haha... I don't think it was those exact words but she did feel much better and the achy pain was now gone. The best thing she did say was that she she really didn't think it was going to help but thought What the hell, give it a try and now she was feeling better and even her power walking pace had picked up. I continued to walk with her till the finish line, which I later found out was a good thing because my two awesome crew buddies were in a much needed state of rest.

As we approached mile 131.0 Portal road time check at 35 hrs 09 mins, we had 4 miles left and Cath was looking to finish in under 37 hours. I told her she could totally do it as we had just a couple of short steep switch backs then it would be just some uphill work till the last 1/2 mile where it would switch back again and then we would be 1/4 mile to the finish. One thing I wanted to make sure on the steep switch backs was that she took a couple of seconds to look down the portal road and see all the lights/hazards from the runners behind us and Look how far she had come today, as we could see all the way back to Lone Pine and Keeler. It's really an amazing view and encouraging for the runner to feel and think of there accomplishment, no matter how far out of brain reality they may be. The road then turns away from the great view and heads what seems almost into the mountain at night. I remember this is a camp site right before the last switch back and had mentioned that to her but didn't know how far it, turns out it was still 2 miles! oops!

She keep looking for that camp site and finally it was there. Molly and Darryl were on the side of the road for the last crew stop! They said they were going to the finish to park and meet us down the road. It's now becoming so real, we are almost there. The Mothership pulls away and as a crew member I am actually glad to see that thing out of site. We make our way around the last steep switch back heading up. I ask Cath, so, you think this has been a good race or bad? As she had said the day before it was a bad race, getting sick, heat issues, etc... and again still answers with bad and some good. I quickly point out that she has just came 133 miles through 115*, the worst wind I have ever experienced in crewing, she over came some serious stomach issues, experienced things she's never experienced before and its a huge success. Good as I made it all sound, she replies: And I don't want to experience it again! hahaha... gotta love Badwater.

We round the top of the switch back and heading for home. We see Molly and Darryl and they join in for the cermonal group walk to the finish. We all line up together and as we approach you can see the finish line tents, lights and some people. We yell out: "Runner coming in!, Runner Finishing!!!" You can see the finish line banner/tape! Cath jogs a little and the smiles start to come. Chris Kostman is there ready for the finish photo. We all cheer, others are clapping and we cross the finish line in laughter, joy and smiles.
Official Time: 36 hours 28 minutes 21 seconds.

Molly, Darrly and I all congratualted each other for a fine crewing job and Cath gives all of us a winners hug. This is the best time of the past 36 hrs 28 minutes! To see her and all the runners I have helped here make this point. It's like nothing else I've experienced. All the hard work and sacrifice Cath put in has arrived and the joy of knowing that she did it is the Best Ever!

Chris Kostman takes some photos of us, then he proceeds to award her the finisher medal, shirt and the BUCKLE! Then they take some photos and then we take our TEAM CATH FINISHERS photo.
Cath described this race as Climbing Out of Hell, and definitely the toughest race she's ever finished.

As we finished the photos we were all so tired we quickly headed back to the Mothership to take us back to the hotel in Lone Pine and get some rest. We all piled in the Mothership and off we went chatting about the awesome event from hell. Long story short when we arrived at our hotel, there was no person to contact and basically we found out there had been a confusion in the reservation and so we had no hotel. All sold out in Lone Pine, Bishop, Independence and Furnace Creek 118 miles away! Luckily, we found a room in Stovepipe Wells, 80 miles away and I started driving. It was late, after 12am and we wouldn't be there till almost 1:30-2am.. by the time we drove into Panamint, which hours before was alive and people were moving, was now a closed up ghost town. I pulled over and parked, I couldn't drive anymore, I was so tired and started seeing things on the road so I knew it wasn't safe. I woke everyone up and said unless someone else can drive, we are sleeping here. Luckily Darryl had been sleeping and jumped in and got us to Stovepipe where we slept. I was so tired, I just laid down on the bed, wrapped myself in the bedspread, kicked off my shoes and went to sleep, running/pacing clothes and all. I would shower 9 hours later after waking up and continue to celebrate the TEAM CATH FINISH!!

Super congrats Cath, I'll crew for you anytime!

 Random Pictures:

The back of the Mothership.
Cath heading into Keeler overheating in the front seat, with a towel on her head and walking with the towel. 

Thanks Everyone for reading along and I look forward to another crewing session next year or maybe being the Runner!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

2012 Badwater 135 - Team Cath! - Part 3

Running into Panamint in the middle of the night/early morning is tough, simply because you can see the lights straight ahead and the dip in the valley is misleading as to how much elevation gain there is from the bottom of the valley. It's not crazy up but there is some gradual climbing while the road goes straight to the town and this is where Cath had it in her mind that we were closer than we kept telling her, haha. Your brain does funny things out there in Death Valley and distances, lights, elevations up or down all look different so when we told her how much farther it was she just couldn't grasp it and questioned our mathematics. Finally, I told the crew, just let her run and when she gets there, she get there, she'll then realize. haha, sorry Cath, sometimes we just have to let you experience the ever last moment but it does help when you see a road sign that says 3 miles to confirm our math. :-)

The run down from Town's Pass is always magical because you can see numerous other runners in the valley and heading up the other side with flashing hazards continually flashing, almost in a dancing fashion between all of them. At times they are all in rhythm and then there's the disruption of one set that throws the dance off but soon all others follow so it seems like it was planned. Again, I love this part of the course as well as the Whitney Portal road at night because you can see many miles to Lone Pine and back to Keeler with this same effect.

We drove up to Panamint and quickly topped off with $5.45/gallon fuel, luckily, we didn't need that much and then drove next door to the check point where we would wait for Molly and Cath to come in, check her in and then Darryl would walk with her while Molly and I went back to the store for some ice and supplies.
Cath arrived at 17 hours 48 minutes (avg. pace 14:48/mile) she immediately moved through on her way to Father Crowley's Point. Panamint is 1970 ft above sea level and Fr. Crowley's is 4000ft, the distance to get here is 7.9 miles so its pretty much continuous UP with some switch backs and steeper sections of the course.

Cath had settled into a nice rhythm after Panamint and when we returned we started to switch out a little more frequently simply because of the continuous grind up. Its just after 4 am and as I am walking with Cath we notice that the crack of light is starting break all around the valley, as the Sun rise is approaching. Cath takes notice and not sure if she remembers but she enjoyed this part of the morning as she commented on the beauty of the light approaching. I'm sure she would be cussing the amount of light she would be getting in about 7 hours heading into Keeler!

Pacing on this section of the course requires lots of attention to the runner and traffic, believe it or not, there is traffic, both oncoming and going. The roads are very narrow and basically there is No shoulder to walk on, just the White Line. Also, 18+ hours into the race your runner is very out of it and likes to wonder off the line towards the road so watching for the traffic and making sure they are close to the line is a must. I stayed with Cath till we hit Father Crowley's, 4000ft and then took a break while Darryl jumped back in. A great part here is now you start getting Cell Phone Reception! But just because we reach the 4000 ft mark doesn't mean we're done climbing, as there is another 1,050 ft of climbing into Darwin over the next 10 miles. I'm telling you, its continuous work from 72 to 90 miles!

By now the sun is up, its about 8 am and other crews have caught up or we have caught a couple as well. This is nice because it allows for more interaction between the runners and at least gives there brain something to think about and talk with as they are all going through the same stuff. Some portions of this course, you are completely alone. No runners, no humans, not even your crew because by now they are Zombies working for you. As we approached Darwin we started catching up to more runners and this seemed to bring Cath's spirits up and as we rolled into the Darwin check point, mile 90.1 at 23 hrs 02 mins. It was a quick pass through and pressing on. The morning was still relatively cool and this is the first time I have seen temperatures drop down into the upper 60's on this course. Talk about a huge temperature difference, 50*+!

The next goal was hitting the 100 mile mark on the course and I distinctly remember last year I was running with Connie at this same point and we were looking and waiting for this mysterious mark in the road but it never came so this year I remembered where it was and told Cath we still had a little ways to get there. Finally, we hit the mark and a great photo was taken by Molly!

After the this mark there is a long straight stretch that gradually declines into Keeler and then flattens out heading into Lone Pine.It's about noon and the sun is starting beat down with the temp pushing 110* and will soon hit 115*. Cath is starting to overheat again, basically, still cooked from the day before but the Sun today brings back quick memories of how it fried you the day before. We start with the cold hats and some cool water on her shirt again. Her stomach as once again decided to shut down and talking small sips of Isagenix or Aqualyte is a huge task but she manages. Just after lunch it is 115* and she has slowed to a walk/shuffle. The heat is winning out and the misery of this feeling is simply winning the battle at Badwater135.

During this time we have caught up with fellow runner, Jason Rita, a 6am starter and great guy we all met at La Ultra - The High last year. It was good to see him out there and I think it helped Cath at points. At one point she became really overheated and Molly brought out a beach towel that was soaked with cold water. At first she really didn't want to put it one but really there was no choice in the matter, crew wins, and we as I was pacing with her we just laid it over her head and her shoulders. She said it was heavy and we replied yes, but just keep it on for a few minutes to help cool you down, we have another towel that is smaller we'll get the next stop. Water was dripping all over the place and especially down her legs on her shoes which I wanted to make sure it didn't because she had already dealt with a blister from yesterday and this morning. As I walked with her she was a little bit in a sobbing moment simply due to being in misery from the searing HEAT! I chatted with her and just kept telling her she was doing good and that the towel would help, we're moving forward and that's all that counts, even if it is slow. I was holding this ends of this towel and realized it was Heavy, she was not kidding around. Just then Molly returned with the smaller towel and as I lifted the beach towel off I was really surprised how heavy it actually was! No wonder!! haha, sorry for the extra 8 lbs Cath. Now we were on to a smaller towel and continued moving. Just after this Cath asked to take a break and sit in the Mothership for a few minutes. As she jumped in to rest, it was about 5 minutes and we noticed Jason Rita passing us.

Molly was sitting with Cath in the front and Cath had said she couldn't really sleep and then asked Who was passing. Molly said,that's Jason Rita, he has been struggling all morning and having a very tough time but he is  pushing through it and moving. About that time, Cath said she had to go. I'm not really sure what clicked in her mind or maybe it was small bites of food she was nibbling on but she basically got out of the Mothership, started walking with the towel and then pitched the towel on the side of the road and started running! It was like the scene from Forest Gump, when Jenny left him in the night and the next morning he's sitting on the porch and just gets up and starts running! This was Cath, she was running, and just a slow jog, she started running. Maybe it was the fact that Jason had passed her and she didn't want that, I'm not sure but we were all glad to see her running. Her and Jason would slowly play leap frog for the next few miles but as we approached Keeler where the wind was blowing like crazy from the side, like a Dubai sandstorm, she would pull ahead. By the time we hit the junction at Lone Pine, mile 120 she was looking for the Dow Villa hotel check in at mile 122.3.

She arrived at 122.3 in 31 hours 22 minutes. She would tend to medical for her blisters and we would resupply the Mothership with gas, and burgers for us! No supplies were needed as we were still doing on ice , Molly would grab a sandwich for Cath and after medical we would be heading up the Portal road to the Finish!

Stay tuned... The Finish!

ps. sorry so long, but got lots of detail for this race.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2012 Badwater 135 - Team Cath! - Part 2

As left out of Stovepipe it was definitely hot! 115* and the wind was just blowing. We had full supplies once again and soon were back at the crewing job.

Ed, aka, The Jester, just wrote a great piece on Crewing and hits it right on the dot! Crewing is a grind, a totally commitment to the runner of every need. There is no breaks in small crews and one vehicle, its work, all the time. Trying to make the runner eat, drink, take salts, drink more, make sure they pee, drink more, stay cool, give them ice in there hat, spray them down, drink more, salt again, eat more, and continues from about mile 1 till 134 miles! Cath started out to be fairly ease and was the standard of crewing duties but as the wheels started to come off going up Town's Pass things became much more interesting.

By now, Cath has been pretty overheated from the days heat and with the wind beating down about 15-20mph head on it made climbing up Town's pass even tougher. The Sun was setting but not fast enough and the more the Sun went down the more Wind came and by the time the Sun was down, the wind was kicking at a Strong 25-35mph headwind! UGH!!! Her stomach had decided it wasn't happy by now and although she continued to eat small bites of avocado on chips, drink her Aqualtyte, fruit juice, take a few grapes she kept moving along nicely. We had the night gear on by now and I was walking with her for a while, giving her the lay of the land and the distance, converted in Kilometers, to this point and that point, Oh Yeah, another job of crewing is giving the runner update info on EXACT miles/kilometers to a specific point, haha, and you better not be wrong because if its too long than they feel like there moving too slow and will never get there and if its too short than you didn't know where we were when you were asked in the first place, ha! I love it, although Cath was pretty good about knowing where she was on the course, it was the kilometer conversions that got us, sorry Cath. Anyway, at one point she simply said, I want to sit down for a bit and take a rest. Now this was immediately off the plans in pre-race meeting but I know this is Badwater and things change and I also thought this would be good idea, sometimes if your not moving fast enough its better to take a break, regroup and then get moving.

As we approached the Mothership, she sat down in a chair and was stating that her stomach was just not happy, achy, hot, burning, all the good stuff with a race like BW. Then she suddenly said "I think I am going to be sick! OMG!!! " and sure enough, she was. I really believe that throwing up caught her off guard and spooked her as she has never thrown up in a race event and as she started to apologize for her poor performance and vomiting, yes, runners do lose there minds out here! We all quickly said for her to forget about apologizing, that it was okay and that this is "normal". After a short freak out moment Cath was calm and we were getting her some water, then she was asking if we had any ideas what to do. We talked with her in that this type of thing is okay and that her system just needed a reset. She was tired of thing we we were giving her and she stated she could not do anything else sweet, which was pretty much her whole bag of nutrition, so right now we were in a little bit of a situation. A few minutes had passed and she thought she wanted to try moving and as she stood up, here comes Round #2, quickly she sat back down and threw up again but mostly liquid this time. As I stood there examining the contents of both vomits, I was like okay there is all the avocado, grapes we gave you over an hour ago and of course the orange color drink. I know this sounds weird but really this is good information as to what's being digested and what is not, pretty much everything we gave her over the last hour had not been digested which means her stomach had completely shut down. Now we had new LIFE! Molly and I were like, Yeah, High-5!! Now we can start with a new stomach and add slowly but the problem was we had nothing from the Runner food cooler that would work. I had thought about it just after the Round 1 but didn't say anything.

Then Molly asked me.. "What about an Isagenix Shake, John".. I quickly said I think so and we mixed up a light mixture of the IsaLean Shake Vanilla. We told her to just try baby sips of it and not big drinks, her stomach was still sensitive and needed time to bring things in slowly. She briefly asked what it was and we simply told her it was an Isagenix shake that Molly had used in India when her stomach was very upset late in the race. As Cath looked at it in the Isagenix shaker she had a puzzled look, smelled it a little and then took a little sip. She quickly said "oh that's quite nice, easy on the stomach" YES! it was going to work. As she sat and rested for about another 25 minutes sipping the shake she was feeling better. Cath then decided it was time to get moving, and with the wind still blowing 20+mph it would help warm her up. She stated walking and took the Isagenix shake with her and would continue to use the IsaLean shake the remainder of the race! It was really the only thing that helped keep her stomach calm and absorb nutrition to keep her going. She would also continue to use Aqualyte and some juice's.

The wind would simply not let up and we were so looking forward to getting to the top of Town's Pass to start making our way down and towards Panamint. But shortly after starting back she needed to stop again but this time it seemed to be more sleep deprived and beat down from the wind and sun, so we cleared out a small space for her and she laid down for about 30 minutes. We also took a short nap but I sat outside the Mothership looking at the Milky Way's Galactic Center which is so visible from Death Valley. Simply Amazing!! As I sat there thinking about lots of things I happened to notice that several other runners/crews were behind us and not moving either, it was almost like everyone decided to take rest at the same time because for the whole time we were there no one closed on us or passed us. After the short nap Cath woke up and started to walk still sipping the shake and funny thing, asked how many people passed us. Matter of fact, Zero I said, everyone is stopped for some reason or other but now made it more interesting as everyone started to move about the same time, weird!

Soon, there it was, the top! and Cath was super happy, the climb/road from Hell was finally over the hump and she started on the downhill. Now she was able to pick up her pace and the wind seemed to let up some in areas. She was also feeling better in her stomach as that rest time seemed to help a lot, secrete key in a race like this.

As we moved closer to Panamint we had the same plan as before, stop and top off with gas, pick up any snacks and get ice. All done quickly as she checked her in and she moved on and we would catch up, Darryl was pacing with her at this time. We also pick up some awesome Chicken Noodle Soup which would help Cath out as well.

Panamint Springs: Mile 72.3 Time: 17 hours 48 minutes. (well ahead of the 28 hour cut off to this location)

On to Darin, Keeler and Lone Pine! Part 3.


Monday, July 23, 2012

2012 Badwater 135 - Team Cath! - Part 1.

Wow 2012 Badwater 135 Ultramarathon, my 4th year crewing for this amazing race put on by AdventCORPS and race director Chris Kostman.

Badwater takes place in Death Valley, Ca. starting from the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, -280 Feet below Sea Level and finishes at the top of the Mt. Whitney portal road nearly 8,300 feet above Sea Level.The Badwater course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 13,000 ft of cumulative vertical ascent and 4,700 ft of cumulative descent. The Portals are the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous US. Competitors run through places and landmarks with names like Mushroom Rock, Furnace Creek, Salt Creek, Devil's Cornfield, Devil's Golf Course, Stovepipe Wells, Keeler and Lone Pine.

I was luckily enough to get asked to crew for Catherine Todd, who is a citizen of Australia and resident of Dubai. She would arrive on Saturday with a good friend named Darryl Chiles. We would also have veteran ultra-badass Molly Sheridan of DesertSky Adventures, 2009 Badwater Finisher, and 2010 La Ultra - The High 138 mile finisher, who I also crewed both events for. I would arrange the logistic with Cath via Skype and make sure we had all the necessary supplies, coolers, and all night gear for the trip. The coordination of the MotherShip and race day tactics were all planned.

When Cath and Darryl arrived on Saturday afternoon we finalized grocery store shopping and last minute REI supplies needed. It was then off to bed and I would pick them up early Sunday morning to head to check in at Furnace Creek between 10:30-12pm. We headed out about 7am stopping off for breakfast, Ice, and gas then headed towards Death Valley. As soon as we pulled out of the driveway to head to breakfast and got on the highway the signs which designated Cath's #9, country and residence flew off the side of the van and I pulled over to play frogger in the highway, luckily I made it. When we were about half way to Death Valley, the front sign, which was taped flew off the van and so here we were pulling over, again, to find the magnet sign. This time it took us about 20 minutes going up and down the the section of road we thought it was at. Finally, we recovered it and pressed on which we noticed we were running a little behind on time. We finally arrived at Furnace Creek Resort and runners were already checking in.

It was about 110* and feeling nice and warm. We all quickly got in line which moved pretty fast for runner check in. We were soon inside and as Cath peeled off and went to the right, Molly, Darrly and I, aka Team Cath, went to see all the Badwater gear for sale and take pictures as she picked up her packet, Runners On Road Sign and had a quick reuniting with race director of the Brazil135 Ultramarathon, Mario Lacerda. I remember Mario from last year when I crewed Connie Dockendorf and she had run Brazil in 2010 and introduced me. Mario is such a great and fun guy. After Cath picked up her race number she took her pre-runners photo and photo's with RD Chris Kostman and then we were off to see if we could check in to the hotel as the group photo was scheduled at 12:30pm at the pool. The room wasn't ready so we chilled and then returned for the group photo.

The group photo is great because you get to see all the crews and runners together. Once the group photo and we all chatted with other awesome runners we headed back to the hotel and grabbed some lunch where Marshall Ulrich came over and shared some great words and advice with us. Then it was time to settle into the room, coolers, grab some dinner and then off to bed.

Race Morning:
Cath, #9, was scheduled in the 10am wave, which was great because now I have completed crewing in all 3 wave starts and this would also provide for us to sleep in a little more than the 6am start. We had to organized the Mothership and once we were complete with that we grabbed breakfast and then made our way to the start. I was awesome seeing the 6am and 8am runners already on the road and the feeling of race excitement increased! As we arrived at the start line, Badwater, we took some pictures, Cath talked to the media and then it was time for weigh-ins and the group 10am Badwater photo. Time went by quickly which was good because it was already 109* and the Sun was already shinning on the road where as the 6am and part of the 8am group got some shade coverage in this area from what I remember. Soon the National Anthem was playing and then the count down to start. 3..2...1.. Bang!

We took our time pulling out on the course and gave Cath a several minutes to run before pulling up for our 1st of 3467 crew stops, the joys of Badwater! The first few stops are always figuring out how things are feeling and what she might need. So far she was okay, but stated she felt the pace was FAST, and she wasn't kidding, the 10am group was FAST! We had all talked over her race plan and just reminded her to settle in to Her plan and just run her race, no matter what the others may be doing. I know this can be tough for a competitor and at some points she was feeling like she was getting left behind but in a long 135 mile race that takes 28+ hours time can be made up in many places if the Badwater Gods allow. Cath continued on her way and while Molly and Darryl were crewing, myself driving, she was doing great and moving along well on the course. Yes, she was hot, its about 111* in the Sun and feeling the baking rays of Death Valley. We continued to spray her with sunscreen and she began to mention she was hot, later on we made a command decision and put a long sleeve shirt on her which she gladly accepted because it was so hot on her skin.

As we approached Furnace Creek check point, we had plans to restock with gas, grab some Mtn. Dew, and fill with gas. This would take a few minutes so Molly would stay by the road and make sure she got checked in, this is also the place where a pacer to join the runner. Once Darryl and I got the ice and snacks, Molly had said she had passed about 10-15 minutes ago and we should go check on her and then return to the gas station. Darryl got ready to jump out and pace with her when we caught up with her. Molly and I return to to fill the car with $5.05/gallon gas and off we went to return to them. This is really a quick and somewhat high anxiety time simply because we only have one Mothership and no second crew car and so its imperative that the runner not be unattended for long periods of time, even with a pacer! This would be one downside of not having a second vehicle, as well as if something were to go wrong with the Mothership you have a second vehicle to replace the Mothership but you also need more crew members to man both vehicles which also increases the runners financial cost. So as we returned to Cath she was definitely hot and we started using a little water to spray on her shirt and keep her cool. She was still drinking and eating fruit which we had started before Furnace Creek. From here Furance Creek to Stovepipe Wells we would continue to rotate out in crewing and handing her supplies. The wind was starting to pick up and the only thing that seemed to bring some relieve was a pair of fighter jets practicing maneuvers overhead and using smoke to track there path, it was pretty neat watching them.

Somewhere here Darryl was taking pictures with his brand new small camera and somehow set it down on the side of the white line where we were parked and ran over to help crew Cath as she came by. Then we all jumped in the Mothership and took off to the next crew stop, then by the time the 3rd stop Darryl realized he left it on the side of the road. With it costing more than $200 we had to go back quickly and see if we could find it. He would stay with Cath and pace for while with a couple extra bottles so Molly and I returned to where he thought it left it and somehow, just as me stopping the magnet on the side of the road I saw the 2"x2" camera lying on the side of the white line that had flipped over. We quickly pulled over, grabbed it up and hauled ass back to them. We were getting closer to Stovepipe Wells and still with the wind beating down and the temp now 115* with the Sun straight into our faces.

In Stovepipe we would have to refuel, get ice once again and pick up some more juice-lemonade that Cath was drinking. Here once again we would leave Cath for short time as Darryl checked her in, mile 41.9 in 7 hours 24 minutes. Molly and I were tending to the gas and store needs which was quite busy compared to the 6 and 8 am starts I've come through on. We were soon back on the road and caught back up with Cath who was now heading up Town's Pass, into the wind, and Sun.

This is where the wheels start to come off... stay tuned... Town's Pass and night time to Panamint.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

a quick recap of No Angels 100.

What happened was a complete lack of regard for my stomach, thanks to Cracker Barrel. The trip started out great and as we drove out the van was all packed and ready to go. Stopping in Flagstaff, AZ for morning breakfast was at the famous Cracker Barrel, I've eaten here before, matter of fact at this same location. So we all ordered breakfast and as it came we all dug in and although I thought it all tasted pretty good there were a couple of things that just tasted mediocre, nothing special like country cooking. Anyway, we all finished and back on the road we went. I could feel my stomach taking a long time to digest the food but figured it was simply because of the butter, grease, and what ever else they use in country cooking.

Later that night I could feel my stomach just a little upset but thought it was more nerves than anything. As we arrived in Las Vegas, NM. at a friends house and settled in things just got a little more uneasy as I had to use the restroom a few more times that customary and I knew my stomach was not happy. By now, I knew this was not nerves but from the days food and finally decided to take half of an Imodium pill, which I don't like taking because they really plug you up and that's just not good when you have bad food running through your system, it needs to come out. The night was about the same routine back and forth to the bathroom and when I woke up Friday morning I seemed to be feeling better with less problems but not fully out of the woods so I took the other half of the pill and the rest of the day I was fine.

We drove up to Angel Fire Resort Friday morning and got settled into the condo, which was great! I had been eating throughout the day and all was fine so I was much more confident that I had gotten through the shittiest of times. Dinner that night was nice and relaxing with some simply boiled chicken, rice and broccoli.
I was ready!

The race meeting and packet pick up was at the Resort hotel conference room and pretty standard with a quick briefing of safety and rules. It was announced that a mandatory 50 mile 14 hour cutoff time would be held for the 100 miles and a couple of other cut times after that. I was a little disappointed and bummed because one of the main reasons I choose this race was the 32 overall cutoff and no cut times and now we have a 50 mile 14 hour cut which in all my running I have not run a 50 in less than 15 hours, so now I was going to have to PR a 50 just to make the cut, which is something that I really don't think you want to do in a 100 mile event on a new uncharted known course, ughhh!

The next morning I was up and ready to go and feeling good, no more problems. I made it down to the start line with just a few minutes to go, chatted with the Sweet Baboo on his Western States 100 Finish! and then we were off down the road.

It was a short portion of road running to get to the trails with some asphalt through the neighborhoods, about 2.5 miles and the rest was all on trails, expect two road crossings and one of them you had to run about 1/2 mile down to get to the aid station then back on the trails. All total I would say 3 miles of asphalt in the whole route of 12.5 out and back. The first aid station came quick and I ran through it with no problems. The course soon dove onto single track and woods right after rounding the lake where this aid station was and we started climbing. Some of the climbs were challenging, others just uphill like another other race. I was chatting with another guy from the East coast and he said he picked the race basically for the same reasons and now we had to break 14 hours to keep going.

As we continued to run somewhere about mile 6 my stomach started to knot up and I thought it was because I was drinking too much too fast so I slowed up but then felt like I was getting behind on hydration so I kept sipping. Once I was at the top of the climb in a more flat area of the mountain before we start heading back down my stomach was cramping hard and I had to slow down and the guy I was running with passed me and kept on. Luckily, the downhill came and although seriously rocky and technical I was glad to be going down as it seemed to help my stomach settle. The downhill was nice and finally rolled out on to a fire road which was much more manageable to run on although still somewhat rocky and technical but still easier.

I rolled into the turn around at 3 hours 8 minutes and was pretty happy about that. Dez had just pulled up and I gave her a quick update on the course and my thoughts on time and my stomach. I grabbed a small snack at the aid station and said I should be back at the start/finish in 3:30, which would still keep me on track for 14 hour 50 miler.

As I started back up that steep rocky part it was seriously tough and had to stop and catch m breath a couple of times but worse yet I could feel my stomach just wrenching down on me. I knew by now it was still not settled from the food incident. As I made my way to the top of the climb I sat down for a couple of minutes to regroup because I knew I had about a 6 mile gradual downhill push and I could make up some time. As I started out I was simply not comfortable in my stomach but I kept run walking to help ease it up. After a couple of miles it became harder to run because with each step my stomach/lower intestines now would just cramp like someone was squeezing them but when I walked I was okay. So I switched to power walking as fast I could to maybe let it settle. I would take short runs to test it but immediately it would cramp so back to walking I went. I had cell phone service and I text Dez and told her to meet me at the 2nd aid station which was not our plan but I thought by eating some soup it would help, especially since I was about 6 hours into the race and had only eaten one snack of about 150 calories. I came into the aid station and quickly found Dez and went to the van to sit down and eat. I also grabbed some Dr. Pepper and the combination seemed to help settle things. After about 15 minutes I started walking and although I felt full I felt better. I kept walking and soon my stomach returned to the same state as before, by now I was already 2 1/2 minutes off the maximum avg pace to finish the 50 miles in 14 hours. I continued run walking as much as possible because I wanted to get back to the start/finish.

By now several of the other runners were already heading out again and one lady I had chatted with who has run numerous 50's and 100's was that this course was superior difficult for a 14 hour 50 mile cutoff and stated she told the race director that he needed to extend the cut time or overall 32 hour cut off of the race.

As I approached the start/finish area I was not 4 minutes behind the max avg. pace time and being as I wasn't in any better shape I decided to pull out. My race was done. I guess I could have continued and missed the cut off but I would have been walking for an undetermined time.

I returned to my condo and laid down for a couple hours and when I woke up I felt better. I showered up and sat around relaxing and had dinner, again still feeling better. The next morning, Sunday, I woke and still felt good. I went down and had coffee with Sweet Baboo and Misty. They finally took off to head home and I spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying my time at Angel Fire.

The rest of trip was all good and although just a little too long I returned home and prepare for Badwater 135! crewing..