Monday, February 28, 2011

ROCKY ROAD 100 Mile Endurance Run

A few weeks leading up to the race, I began training on the coarse in Cota De Casa, here in Orange County. Cota De Casa is located in the foothills of the Saddleback Mountains, and is gated Suburban community that surrounds golf courses and parks. The homes are all million dollar+ listings, and it seemed like a peculiar place to be holding a ultra marathon.
The coarse follows horse trails, that runs on a bed of crushed gravel. There are white planked fence, commonly found on suburban horse trails. Starting at the high point of the race, the community sports park, the trail begins with a very mellow down hill for 2 1/2 miles. Crossing a few side streets, some orange groves, to you quickly arrive at the 1st Aid Station, [hillsdale].
Leaving Hillsdale Aid Station, you continue downhill another 2 1/2 mils, along side a creek, a pond, and begin climbing to next Aid Station, [Hawthorn].
From here you begin getting into the little bit of hills the race has to offer, as the trail rolls up and down for another 2 1/2 miles, eventually making its way to the Fire Station, the final Aid station. This is the turn around point, where you have accumulated 7 1/2 miles. This section is my favorite, mostly due to the rolling hills and views, even if most of the sites are of residents homes. There is a great view of the local mountains which were dusted with snow, both during training as well as race day.
In order to accumulate 100 miles, a runner would run 6 up and backs, and one run to Hawthorn and back. Also sharing the course were 50 milers, a Marathon and a 1/2 Marathon.
I probably trained 6 or 7 times on the coarse, mostly running 1 out and back. A couple of times I added 7 1/2 to make it 22 1/2 miles. I found it was a real easy couse as far as speed, but the lack of hills and hard crushed gravel were hard on my body. But all in all I was looking forward to running the race with a goal of sub-24 hour completion.
RACE DAY-Saturday, February 26th- 6am Start time, I parked just feet away from the Start/Finish line, which was great for useing my truck as a huge Drop Bag. It was raining pretty steady and I had a stockpile of extra clothes and gear at ready need. I also put a drop bag at Hawthorn Aid station [5 miles]. Because aid stations are so close to ne another [2 1/2 miles] and my drops were at 5 miles, I did not entend to carry anything between stations.
At 6:00am, still dark, we all began running in a steady rain. It did not take long though and the rain subsided, but had left plenty of water on the course to create mud puddles. The 1st out and back [15 miles] took 2:42. Shedding my jacket, drinking a recovery drink, couple of advil, and a caffein pill, I did not waste time and set out for another lap.
I arrived back at the start/finish [30 miles] at 5:35 hours into the race. I was still feeling strong and did not do much but eat a potatoe, and a cup of water. But my feet were soaked, and in my mind I began planning my 1st sock change.There were also quite a few runners on the course by this time for all the races were going simtaniously. This was making the mud puddles larger and deeper.
At mile 35, I changed my socks. I had began getting hot spots, so I figured this would help. It did not, my left foot was beginning to burn. Whe I completted my 3rd out and back [45 miles, 8:45 hours], I just changed the left sock.This seemed to work.
I then realised I was about to complete 50 miles while creating a new personal record by more than a 1/2 hour. I completed 50 miles in 9 hours 55 minutes.
Upon reaching the start/finish the 4th time, I was at 60 miles in 12 hours and 10 minutes. Needing a headlamp now I began thinking to myself, "ok, when I make it back to the start/finish, It will be much easier [mentally]".
Well, things were now slowing down. It was now hard to navigate through the mud without getting soaked, and my legs were not able to run as fast as I could hike. I arived at the start/finish the 5th time in 16 hours 25 minutes, and things did NOT feel easier. I should of changed shoes and socks, but instead I ate 3 advil, another caffien pill and set out for my last 15 mile out and back. I began running don the hill, but it was just too painful, so power hiking it was. I was doing all the math in my head and I actuaklly was only loosing a couple of minutes between aid stations. I was still thinking though, " when I finish this last 15 mile out and back, the last 10 miles will be easy". As I made my way over the hill section for the last time I was actually glad, knowing I was done with that part of the race.
Arriving at start/finnish for the 6th time, I was at mile 90 in 20 hours and 20 minutes. I was beat up, my knees were worn and both the bottoms of my feet were on fire. I grabbed a wind breaker, and took off in the morning cold for my last 10 miles. Things never got eisier, but I knew I had it in the bag. Even if I injures myself, I was going to make it in under 24 hours, and low in behold it almost happened. I was 100 feet from turning around at mile 95 and a blister popped. It felt like a big hole was now in the bottom of my foot. Without stopping, I made the turn around and began jogging down the hill, only to fall in a rut that had been created from the rain. My eyes were blurry and just did not see it. I tumbled head over foot and dropped my flashlight. My body was so stiff I found it hard to bend ove and pick it up. After getting back to my feet and progressing forward, I started laughing.
Those last 5 miles I just marched out as fast as I could speedhike, and was soon at the finish at 22 hours, 29 minutes, and 10 seconds. It was now 30 degrees, and I was not going to stick around too long. I knew once I stopped I was going to be as stiff as a board, so I collected my silver buckle, and headed for home. What a day! It just never got easier.
Home now, I am recovering much quicker than my last 100, and can say I am not only happy with my accomplishment, but honestly gave it my all.