LooseCrew-JeffO: Walk Wabbit Walk 50


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

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Walk Wabbit Walk 50

The Run Rabbit Run 50 was fun! Paul G and I left Denver just before 8pm Friday and were sacked-out on the ground by 11pm 10 miles from the race start.
There was considerable lightening and thunder in every direction. Hope as we did, the rain didn't pass us by. We ended up sitting in Paul's truck sleeping as best we could.

At the race, we found convenient parking at the Sheraton parking garage, and there was coffee and bagles at the runner check-in. We checked in and pinned our numbers.

I carried too much stuff. Since it was a first-time race, I brought extra. It was for nothing - these people are pros who've been involved in races across Colorado, from Silverton to Steamboat, for many years.

The race started on time, in the dark, and headed up a murderously steep ski-slope maintenance road. At least the road was smooth, but it kept going up for 6 miles until it topped-out on Mt. Werner. Then it headed east along the ridge towards the Rabbit Ears.
It was partly cloudy and warm. The views were great. The aid stations were well-stocked and the volunteers were the best!
Running the ridge, it rolled along up and down on singletrack, then dipped down and down to a half-dry lake where the 2nd aid station was tucked into the trees. A very wild bunch of volunteers cheered us in and out.
The hardest portion to me was between the 2nd and third aid stations, both coming and going. This felt like the longest distance between aid on the course, but I don't know - I didn't bring my GPS. I decided to go light and only fill my hydration bladder half-way. This was a minor miscalculation. I had to run several miles dry when I anticipated only about a mile or less.

Ever since the first aid station, I kept seeing Susan. We'd occasionally lose sight of each other, but between the 2nd and 3rd aid stations we paced each other. In fact, we were within eyesight of each other for about 80% of the race, even though we were not particularly trying to do that. I guess we were kind of gaging our progress against each other, and somewhat pushing and being pushed by each other, even if unconsciously. It was one of the impromptu situations that develop during trail races that adds enjoyment to an otherwise monotonous slog.
We had to do lots of climbing to reach that 3rd aid station, and when they told me it was only nineteen-point-something miles, I thought, "No freakin' way! This is killing me!"
Onward and upward with the Rabbit Ears in sight. We dropped, then traversed, then dropped and traversed, and every time we dropped I kept thinking, damn we'll have to climb this sumbich again.
Nearing the turn-around at 25+miles, we were able to see the placement of all the leaders. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th were strung out so extremely far that there was basically no contests up there. Everyone after that was up for grabs.
I could see I was doing terrible - for me. I was dead-center of the pack and that never improved. My left leg - and the rest of me - still isn't recovered from Leadville. But who cares? It was so fun! And there were so many other end-of-season zombie-runners out there I had plenty of company!
At the turn-around, I took the "wet" option down a steep embankment and across a muddy creek, somehow managing not to get "wet". I tanked and checked-out, but this time I went the dry way.
Up and up, as the day grew temporarily hot, and my butt got soaked with sweat and started to chafe. The salt didn't feel good in the wounds.
Then returning down to the 5th (3rd) aid station where I filled all the way for the long slog to the 6th (2nd) aid station.
And there was Susan again. I was her ghost and she was my shadow.
There were two beautiful lakes between these aid stations that were full of water lilies. They looked so serene.

At the next aid station, I turned-through very quickly and ended up well ahead of my "trailers". I should've worn my Solomon's because my La Sportiva UltraNords have a gaiter that is too stiff. If you cinch the gaiter top all the way against your skin, the folds will saw through your flesh. So without tightening it up, I ended up having to stop and empty my shoes. By the time I finished, my "trailers" had me in sight and passed me. We all kept trading places, though, until I finally took the lead for quite a while.

Finally, the last aid station! Six more miles falling like a rock, trying not to put on the brakes, but my feet were hurting. Ultra Nords don't compare to Solomon XC Pros - sorry.
But I had to crap. I had toilet paper but didn't want to stop this close to the end. So instead of stopping, and instead of listening to the pain and slowing down, I went as fast as I could on the balls of my feet.
My left knee was wrapped so my Leadville injuries wouldn't blow, but my right knee started hurting sharply. My left ankle was swelling where I kicked the rock on Sugarloaf the month before, but I just ran. I passed a guy feeling more misery than I and got passed easily by a guy sprinting like a gazelle (Kent F).
Very near the end, a guy came up behind me from nowhere and asked me how much further. I didn't know and said so, but I knew it was close and didn't want to lose another place. I heard him back there and figured he'd be hanging back there at a strategic distance to sprint past me, but I knew I could out-sprint him so I hung in there. I turned the last corner onto the grass and burst into a sprint. I stopped under the tent and the RD said, "I don't know what that was all about." So I looked back and the guy wasn't there.
I was hunched over with my hands on my knees and they asked me how I felt. I answered, "Like I need to shit." Totally without class or grace.
Then the crowd cheers and I look back. The guy grabbed his toddler and they were trotting across the finish. Oh well - we each had a good finish.
My time sucked, but I didn't care. It was good training for my next 100.

Free beer and pizza for all of us, a beer mug with a rabbits foot, and a great long-sleeve tech shirt. Lots of fun, great people - what more could you want?
Maybe more time to lounge with them?
But Paul and I had to leave for Marble for the next day's race.


At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh the suspense! Until tomorrow, when we can read your next race installment!

You spent a lot of time up high, didn't you? Most of your pics have no one in them, did you spend a lot of the run alone? To finish a 50 and have to drive on immediately to another race, sheesh! Hat off!

Looking forward to the next one... ;)

Google ain't lettin' me sign in, this is Meghan!


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