On Saturday Morning, 5am the race began. Not wanting to push too hard in the beginning, I started in the back. We ran/walked along the streets of Wrightwood, to Acorn street, and up Acorn Street to the Acorn Trail, The street got steep towards the end and the Acorn trail was steep all the way up to the Pacific Crest Trail [PCT]. This is where I probably made my first minor mistake, and Pushed too hard to the top, and wearing myself down. It just seemed like it was taking forever, and I wanted to get it over with.
Daybreak was beginning as I reached the top, some 3000 vertical feet to the PCT. The wind was strong, but the run was otherwise pleasant. We ran along the crest, and down along side the Mountain High Ski Lifts. There were a lots of campers up in the camp grounds with there tents blowing hard in the wind. The sun began shining, and the sky's were a nice blue. I reached the 1st Aid Station, Inspiration Point at 7am.
My family was waiting for me, but I just ran straight through, not grabbing anything to eat. That was a another mistake, and would pay a small price later. The next 5 miles was up a small hill,this is when I began being really hungry, and then down steeply, to Vincent Gap,the next Aid station. Upon reaching the Aid Station, and retrieving my sun glasses from my daughter, I began eating about as much as I could. Another mistake.
Not spending more than a minute at Vincent Gap, I began climbing some 2600ft up onto Mnt. Baden\Powell. Instantly my legs felt shot. I began wondering, how the hell was I going to be able to complete this. I had only gone 14 miles and and my legs were dust. I just pushed on slowly, one switchback to the next. Everything seemed to go rediulously slow. then began noticeing the runner behind me was not gaining, as well as the runner ahead of me.I guess they were in the same boat and I just proceded onward, constantly viewing the others, mostly for the comfort of knowing I was not the only one dragging slowly up that hill. When finally reaching the top, I yelled ABOUT TIME, in great relief, then began jogging down the easy grade. I began making sure I was on top of my endurolytes, and fuel from that point forward. I then began drinking some Gatorade I picked up at Vincent Gap, which gave me a stomach ach something horrible.I just kept drinking water instead and it went away. I went up and down a couple of peaks and made a hard swing around a crest, where I dumped the last of the Gatorade, and retrived more water from Little Jimmy Spring. I then ran the last 3 miles out through some sharp brush that cut my legs up a bit, but not enough to worry about. My feet began to hurt, so I ate a couple of Advil, and made my way down to Islip Saddle to the next Aid Station.
Now at mile 25, I needed to weigh in to be allowed to continue, and I had not loss any water weight, and was allowed to continue. I then began climbing Mnt. Williamson some 2000 ft. The climb went well though, and I seemed to have gotten a second wind. Upon reaching the top, I began running stongly down hill and making my way to Eagles roost. I had some good conversations with other runners, and things went faster than normal. Instead of taking it easy and milking this section, I made my one of my worst mistakes. I abused legs a lot on the down hill, and although did not feel it at the time, mostly due to the Advil, I would soon pay the price.
Upon reaching Eagles Roost Aid Station, I changed my socks, had a gatorade,[from my own cooler that my crew provided] and began a long pavement decent [which was a detour].Finally we made it to a campground, and then down into a steep canyon, just to turn aroun and come right back up [the detour is definately adding miles to a already long run]. It was about that time, at about mile 36, that I began feeling a slight pain behind the knee. I had this happen before, and it had turned out to be a bad situation, that took months to heal. This time though, it was happening to my good knee, the knee that never gives me a problem.
The climb out of the canyon seemd to be another LOW, and seemed to drag on forever. Before long though, I was at Sunrise Summit, the next Aid Station. I ate 1/2 a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a orange slice and some boiled potatoes.
Soon after leaving the Summit, I realised that I forgot to grab a knee brace.[I was going to start with some preventive knee braces, but stubbornly did not wear them. I regret this, and would have surely avoided the entire issue] I just continued running and otherwise made great time down the mountain, toward 3 points Aid Station. My knee did not hurt while running, but hurt during the long stepping hiking stride. I could also tell it was not a joint issue, but a muscle tear. It was somewhere here as well, that my new socks were collecting too much dirt, from tears in my gators. I knew I should have bought new gators.
Upon reaching 3 points, my family [crew] was there with everything I needed, includeing the knee brace and the other 1/2 of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The kneebrace did not help much at first, but the Advil soon became affective. It soon starting doing better, as long as I stayed running and avoided heel impact. All the toe running though, began being painful due to the bad socks, full of dirt.
Before long I was at Mt. Hilyer Aid Station, the 1st aid station that had no crew access. So my crew, went to a resteraunt for a decent meal. I wish I would of asked for a burger, cause I was craveing protien.
I sat down here though, and had a cup of soup, and a quesedilla. Not wanting to stay long, I began the rest of the climb up Mt Hilyer, and the slow rocky decent down to the next Aid Station.[Chilao] At this point my socks were tearing me up, and the knee seemed to not getting any worse. Because I was so far ahead of my schedeual, I began walking more, in attempt of keeping my knee strong.
It was now, mile 52,[Chalao Aid Station]. It was a grand set up, I had some steak, and changed my socks, weighed in with no problems and set out with my headlamp. It was not dark quite yet, but soon would be, so I put my light my head in antisipation of the nearing nightfall. Soon at about mile 56, the light was on. It was also about this time my knee began hurting again, and the flashes of what happened last time my knee went bad, began overwelming me. I was physically fine otherwise, but I have so many events planned for the future. I then decided at that point that it would be better to drop from the run and save my knee for another day. The next 3 miles to the next Aid Station,[Shortcut Saddle] were slow and just seemed to drag on forever, probably cause I had decided to throw in the towel. This was also the section I had done my trail work in order to qualify for the race. I was surprised to see how much it was rutted from the recent rain and how high the weeds were.
Shortly after 9pm I arrived at Shortcut Saddle, and a few minutes later I forfitted my wristband and went home. It was slightly embarrassing, but so fustrateing. I had the energy and stamina, and my knee could have been pushed another 40 miles, but it was a gamble. Do I go for broke, and risk not running for months, or do I walk away and be back another day, and chalk it up as a learning exsperience?
I ran 59.3 miles in 16 hours, and had 41 miles left to do with 17 hours remaining. The list entire list of mistakes have easy solutions. From training to preperation, and actual game plan, this race is different. It is very hard, and far harder than I exspected. The way to go about it is also different than I exspected. And I did not make it to mile 75, Mt Wilson, where it is suppose to be the hardest part. But, I have something to aim for, to look forward to, and making the effort and changes in hopes of tackeling this monster.
Now 3 days after the fact my knee is nearly healed. I am glad I pulled off, even though I was defeated. For now I can surf, train, and I am already gameplanning the next Ultra Marathon, The Lost Boys 50 Mile in San Diego, October 23rd.