LooseCrew-JeffO: LT100 2007 - Mayqueen all the way to Winfield


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Thursday, August 23, 2007

LT100 2007 - Mayqueen all the way to Winfield

I inserted a couple of photos into yesterday’s posting.

Recapping yesterday, I’d have to include…
Mistake 1: I didn’t get enough sleep leading into the race.

Mayqueen was a clusterfuck. I was told that each aid station had one person yelling out bib numbers and another grabbing bags. That bags were all laid-out in numerical order. That way your bag was handed to you as you entered the tent. Well it didn't work that way. Most people didn't mark their bags nearly as well as I marked mine. So finding any number at all was nearly impossible. So where to start looking?
Finally the overwhelmed - and only bag-person - handed me my bag. She was doing her best but there were nearly 600 runners that started the race.

The lack of sleep was obvious. I'm afraid I don't remember very much. I'm used to waking up at 6:30am. The first 20 miles are barely there.
I don't remember the trail from Mayqueen to Hagerman road – about two miles. It's gone. I remember that last ten feet of trail as I came up to the road. I remember most of the road, then we turned onto the road up Sugarloaf and I zoned-out again. Amnesia.
My memory started to turn on – although still not all the way – coming down Sugarloaf.
I don't remember kicking two rocks, but after the race there were two big bruises that were unmistakable. I had kicked a rock into the air with my right foot and batted those rocks with my left ankle. I was wearing my Dirty Girl Gaiters so I couldn't see the lower, worse one. Since I was so sleep-deprived, I don't remember one of those rocks. I barely remember the worst one. Does that tell you how sleep-deprived I was? I didn't feel sleepy at all – I was pumped. My brain was dazed, though. One of the rocks I kicked up crushed the ligaments between the bottom of the shin and the top of the foot. Between the endorphins flooding my body, and everything starting to hurt everywhere, the knot on the front of my ankle hid under my gaiters.

Basically, I woke up running down Sugarloaf about the time I must've kicked one of those rocks. I remember things much better after that. Everything before that is a vague dream.
Coming down Powerline on Sugarloaf, I wasn't sure how fast to go. It's so freakin' steep. Powerline is an extremely ugly piece of work. The buzzing power lines overhead, and pine trees lopped off 6 feet above the ground so they don't grow up into the lines, and serious erosion created weaving, convoluted ditches. You can't just run down one hump. One hump ends and you have to hop over to another – carefully while falling hell-bent. Then again. Hop this way then that.
While I was doing all this, my left ankle would give me a twinge to tell me it was made of glass. It would shatter at the slightest twist. Yikes, thanks for the warning. How am I going to go another 80 miles without the slightest twist?

Fish Hatchery. I had a drop-bag but my crew met me. It was nice to see them. I wanted to move, though, and not stand around talking. I headed out to hit the pavement and make some time.

My crew was supposed to meet me at Treeline, but they didn't show. I even spent 4 minutes in a porta-potty, but even after that, they weren't there. I could see hundreds of cars were parked to the southwest. Too many cars – too many people. It looked like we all drastically underestimated the traffic at this point. I couldn’t have warned my crew because I had no idea. Apparently neither did they. I thought the crew vehicles could drive onto the shoulder of the road, but that wasn’t possible. It was a healthy walk from the CR-V to the road, and they couldn’t make it in time. I’ll know next year, but this time I was FUBAR. So I headed for the Half Moon aid station up into the forest.
I was low on electrolytes. I wanted a Muscle Milk from my crew, and a fist-full of e-caps. The aid stations didn't have any e-caps. At Half Moon, I screwed up. Since I had missed my crew, I should have gone after salt. Instead I took my usual two gels and filled with half sport-drink/half water. By the time I got to Twin Lakes, I had an electrolyte crisis on me, even though I'd been given two e-caps by another runner during the run. Wow I was sweating during the day, even though the temps never got past the mid-70's and it was partly cloudy.

Mistake 2: I didn’t fix my electrolyte situation at the Half Moon Aid Station.

Twin Lakes was so cool. The crowd cheered as we ran down the steep trail towards the aid station.
Oh, man the outside of my left knee was hurting on the downhills. Slight downhills weren't a problem, but steep ones were very painful. Lucky for me, one of my crew was a sport therapist and wrapped me up. Unlucky for me, I was now very late, the rain was early, and it would've been foolish to run south over Hope Pass without a jacket.
Here's where I got stupid. My Crew brought my heavy GoreTex jacket, but I didn't want the heavy one. I wanted the ultralight. Well, the CR-V wasn't anywhere near the race course.
There were WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE! If you're not involved directly in the race, please get out of the way!
So my crew vehicle was inaccessibly far away. Stupid-me, I forgot I had a cheap Tyvek jacket in my Twin Lakes bag. Instead, I took the heavy GoreTex jacket.
Total time was over 20 minutes. An aid-stop disaster. If the crew vehicle had been right there it would've been half as long. I mistakenly thought that even with traffic, runners would've been spread out enough at mile 40 that crew vehicles could all park in the lot we run through south of town.

Mistake 3: Main crew vehicle wasn't available at Twin Lakes. Only in hindsight could any of us figure out that we had a possible advantage we didn't use - we had two vehicles with crew tags. The minor vehicle could have reserved a space in the main lot. Then when the main crew vehicle came by, they could've traded places.

The river crossing was great. Before crossing the river, you have to go across several puddles and smaller canals. Then you hit the main river. It was crotch-deep and cold. It felt SO GOOD! It didn't last long enough, though.

Heading up towards Hope Pass, the rain left an inch of black mud as slippery as grease. It was very treacherous. Somehow this didn't bother me. Everyone complained about it, but I'd been training in every kind of weather, so it was normal to me. The lack of sleep certainly slowed me down going up, but then I was on the other side. That's when the ligament in my knee slowed me down.

Eventually I made it to Winfield. Dave and Paul had a sweet spot for my CR-V, with the lounge chair set up. Dave had thought to buy a bag of ice (brilliant) and threw it on my right quad, which had taking up the work my left couldn't because of the bad knee.
I couldn't sit long. Paul followed me through the aid station. I checked in, looked for gels and anything else I might be able to eat, but I was too nauseous.
The aid-stop took too long, and the affects of sitting were counter-productive.

Lesson 3: The fluids that normally build up in ultra-runner feet/ankles/legs will coagulate if you hold still. The more 100-milers you do, the less this happens, but your 1st one it is critical not to hold still. Just like a cement truck, you can't let the concrete stop moving or it'll set-up. After that, you'll never be able to mantain the same fast pace. Every time you stop, your pace will fall down a notch. If you stop way too long, you'll lose several notches of pace. One extremely long stop can destroy you.

After the first half, I felt fine.


At 11:35 PM, Blogger Meghan said...

Oh, Jeff, I'm just riveted by your story. I can't tell yet what the reason(s) for the DNF is/are. You are doing some miraculous foreshdowing.

I know this is much more than a story, it's your life. And it's a heartbreaking read so far. Really, my heart does go out to you.

I hope you're not beating yourself up, though, as hindsight vision is always 20/20.



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