This could be the most boring race report yet.
With tweaks blowing into injuries during the Greenland 50K, I was left in a tough dilemma. I could either sit at home and feel sorry for myself, or I could walk Jemez for 50 miles.
The pre-race dinner was the same spaghetti, and great crowds. Actually, there were more people than ever. It was fun meeting people, laughing, talking, etc. Good for the soul.
After the pre-race meeting, I won an Ultimate Direction 24oz bottle and fanny pack holder. Retails for $36. With tax, that paid for my gas for the whole trip.
Last year, I took my camera and took plenty of photos, so this year I left my camera.
The night before the race, the weather was unbelievable. I slept in the back of my CR-V with the windows open and didn't get cold. The air was so nice and I slept like a baby. Good thing I brought three alarm-clocks - the first two didn't wake me.
4am - breakfast was all the trailbars I got at the Greenland 50K race. Coffee - I had thought ahead and pre-heated my thermos withf boiling water. Then I had driven to Kaladi's for a 20oz cup. I poured out the hot water, poured in the hot coffee, and left it sealed until race-day morning. Awe yes!
Check-in. More meeting of friends and sharing stories and wishing luck. As we headed out, I hooked up with Uli Kamm and he told me how he walks EVERY race.
As usual, We're all talking and suddenly everyone starts moving, so I guess the race is on. Funny how low-key ultras are.
So I started with a nice little walk - but I couldn't keep up with Uli. Yikes! I HAVE to walk this one! If I can't keep up with Uli, this isn't going to happen.
Well, the plan was, no running - not a step. And if I can't keep up, then DNF at Pipeline aid and volunteer until the race is over. That would give me ring-side seat at an aid station that everyone in the 50M and 50K would pass through twice. And because the 50K started an hour later than the 50M, the flow would be constant all day long.
I took a fanny pack that held two 20oz bottles. In the pack was my ultra-skimpy Salomon Fastwing Hoodie jacket, a cotton bandanna, and toilet paper. I always wear hiking shorts during ultras because I like the big pockets. One pocket was stuffed with 5 gel-paks, and a baggie full of 500mg vitamin C, 200mg ibuprofen, 81mg aspirin, Tylenol, calcium, lots of Hammer Race caps and Endurolytes, and omega 3 capsules. See all the pills I pop during races?
When the sun hits your skin, it converts vitamin C into vitamin D. Natural process. Run out of vitamin C and you burn. Lots of sun = lots of vitamin C lost. In intense sun, you have to gulp about 500mg every hour. You can overdose on vitamin C. It's an acid. It's all about balance. You wouldn't guzzle salt capsules during regular life. Taking over 2000mg of vitamin in a day in pill-form is not normally a good idea. Better to feed yourself smaller doses regularly as-needed, with food.
Oh yeah, the race...
So we started out and I could barely stay within conversational distance with Uli. But there's always a traffic jam about a quarter-mile into the race as we get funneled down into a double-track trail. So it didn't do any good to hurry. After the jam, Uli and I were walking together with ease.
Then I got in a conversation with some other friendly guy. The trail is a mixture of light-gray powdery dirt and the rock it came from. The rock seems to be from a pyroclastic flow. For you non-geologist types, that's like a Mount Saint Helens volcanic ash and mud flow that settles and turns to rock. It's a somewhat soft rock. There are ruts a couple feet apart in the trail. I commented to this guy that they look like very old Conestoga wagon ruts. He said he thought they had to be also. The width is so very uniform to have been carved by hand, and sometimes the ruts get too deep for any vehicle to have made, except for a large-wheeled wagon.
The weather was almost uniform all day, and almost the same temps as the night. I started with a short-sleeve shirt and a long-sleeve shirt. After the first couple of miles, I tied the long-sleeve around my waist.
At the out-and-back section on Caballo mountain, I noticed Betsy Kalmeyer flying down rather earlier than I expected. Last year, we climbed together the whole way. Then before the descent, my downhill ability sent me way ahead for good. But this year, Betsy was WAY ahead of me!
The 50K runners were mixing it up with the 50-milers, by then, so it was impossible to figure out where I placed in the whole mess.
One young guy was giving it a good go. He looked very out of shape, but it was good to see him trying. Early on, we climbed a ladder after attacking a couple of ridges up and down. He asked me if it's all so crazy-difficult like "this". I just said, well, yeah, I guess - but you get to rest for several miles in the Caldera. I don't guess he finished, but I hope his spirits weren't crushed by the difficulty of this course. I last saw him going up the bottom of Caballero while I was finishing Caballero. That put him too far back to finish, but I hope he got to see the Caldera. It's my favorite part of the course.
At the Pipeline aid station, I had to sit down and probe my injuries. This was the final check-up. I decided it was a "go".
Basically, I was letting my feet flop around on the ends of my legs. I wasn't using any muscles below the knees, except minimal stability. No air-time, no rising up on toes, no stresses applied to the Achilles or plantar. While this took/wasted more energy, I had plenty of energy to spare. I had to stick to the plan, and the plan was working.