It was everything I expected it to be, but the end result was so disappointing. But I did all that I could do for as long as I could. I experienced euphoric highs and the lowest of lows. I dry heaved. I felt like crying. I crashed and burned. I saw an armadillo. I felt like Superman. But only to come to the realization that I am just not ready for 100 miles yet. I've only been back to running for about a year now. But I learned a ton about the distance. I really believe with what I've learned I will ace the next one. Here's how it all went down:
I flew into Houston the Thursday before the race only to experience a crappy Seattle winter day. It was overcast, misting rain, some patchy fog, and in the mid to upper 40's. Then Thursday night it just dumped buckets all night long. I hadn't run much in the preceding week because of various injuries, and the entire month of January was rough with sickness and injury. My last 30+ mile run was 4 weeks before in Kirkland. Friday I awoke to some sunshine and made my way to the park and ran a couple miles to see how my ass and back felt, and to wake the legs up after their weeklong slumber. I was a little stiff, but I think it was more rusty than injury. I was optimistic for the next day.
Saturday morning rolls around and the weather is decent - mid 40's and the stars are out. The day is expected to be clear and upper 50's for a high - with night time lows in the 30's.
The first 20 mile lap was pretty uneventful. I ran an easy 10 minute pace and watched people trip over the roots and rocks littering the trail. I bet I saw 10 people fall in the first 3 miles as the run started in darkness. I had to make a pit stop at about mile 9, did my thing and finished the first lap, making sure to eat and drink plenty of calories.
The 2nd 20 mile lap was pretty easy also. I kept running 10:00 or so pace, walked a couple hills because that's what (mere mortal) people do in these hundreds. I made sure to eat and drink plenty as the day was slowly warming up. I finished 2 laps in just under 7 hours.
Lap 3 started off OK as I just kept my simple 10 minute pace, but I made myself take a couple walking breaks because I could tell the legs were going to be running out of power. I knew that if I was patient they would come back though, they always have. Most of the 3rd lap was pretty uneventful. Eat. Drink. Take it easy and be patient. Slow the pace a little bit. I still have over 19 hours to cover 40 miles. But by the end of this lap I was in an irritable mood to say the least.
Lap 4 I tried to talk myself back into the race - walking a couple 15 minute miles and slowly started feeling good. I ran pretty decent from miles 62.5 - 69.5. But I don't really know what the tipping point was that quickly led to my demise. All of a sudden I couldn't run anymore. I could barely walk. My left knee was pretty stiff. It took me about 1 hour and 20 minutes to cover the 3 miles back to the 72.2 mile aid station. I was defeated though. Mentally dejected. Physically my legs were a mess. Ding ding ding. Timer is going off - take me out - I'm done. That was it. I had no fight left.
Afterwards I was super pissed off for thinking I was ready for this. Maybe I should have waited another year before attempting? Maybe I was ready and totally screwed up my race plan? Maybe I should have done some longer training runs instead of piggybacking 50+ mile weekends? Maybe incorporate some weights? Maybe all of the above? Not sure. I just know that whatever I did wasn't enough. I did run over 72 miles. My 50 mile split was 8:40 which is OK for my first 50 miles ever run, and I was holding back for it. But I want to get back on the horse as soon as I can, although I'm not real sure when that will be, but I do know I will never DNF another 100 again unless my legs literally fall off or I pass out, get eaten by a cougar, etc. I received enough motivation in that one day to last a couple years. I hated it so much though. I can't wait to try again. And ya gotta love 301.