Monday, June 29, 2015

Running through the night- Pedernales Falls

   Captain Karl's Pedernales Falls 60k was simply a gut check for me. After being somewhat in a fog mentally & physically the last 30 days I needed to complete an ultra for my own sanity. At Cruel, after it got dark I had some issues running- most were physical from not being able to much but it put a huge mental block in my head so I decided the only way to fix it was to simply run all night. The month of June I hadn't really had a schedule but still managed to log over 160 miles since Cruel. My gym work has been lacking some but it's been sort of a nice break from the daily grind. I felt pretty confident in my legs and when they failed me then my heart could get me on across the finish.
 I signed up over a month ago and my buddy Dale decided to go and get some aid station duty and help in the driving home as well. Dale has been a godsend to me in several races and this one was no different. If you ever see him at a race and you are really sucking, just ask the dude and he will get you back going. On to the race- we got to the state park about 2 hours before the race starts and it gave me plenty of time to chat with people I only see at races or creep on em on Facebook so the face time makes running races well worth it. Chatting with everyonr and catching up is where it's at! The race was set up to be 2 17.2 mile loops and at the briefing we were informed about having to cross a pond??  I was like ok. The RD got jokes tonight.
  The race starts and as usual I go near the rear- yes I am proudly a middle to rear pack runner. After getting going I feel great and pass up as many people as I could until it went to a single dirt trail. We had to do a short out and back to get some extra mileage to make the 60k and so during that I walked a uphill n dang my calves were on fire walking so I had to run. We hit the "duck pond" and the jokes were on us. It was knee deep and I'm just guessing 200 yards across. They had kindly put flag sticks in the water. I was hoping they had snake proof netting attached but I doubt it.  I got across that and soon just found a comfortable slow pace. It was hot and my only goal was to complete the race without needing a long term recovery period. A lady from FTW soon joined me and we hung out chatting. We passed a few people and got passed by the 30k runners who were doing 1 loop. It was really uneventful. When it got dark, my light wouldn't fit my head so when I stopped to fix that I lost my running partner but I really needed the time to work on my running in the dark on a new trail. The loop was great as I walked the hills and ran the flats n downhills. Well great til mile 15 and my kidneys started screaming when I ran. I had dehydrated myself without realizing it so I power hiked and jogged it to the start line. I ate 6 salt tabs, as nuch watermelon as I could stand and sucked down water. Immediate relief but I took it real easy leaving for my 2nd loop.
Loop 2- uneventful as well and playing it safe as to not risking a dnf. The "duck pond" at 1am alone was a little weird but I figured this part of Texas didn't have gators and I just shuffled on through it. I ran when I could and walked a ton. I hit Dale's aid station twice per loop and when I passed him he gave me a little advice on some things I didn't know. Thanks man! I pushed on through without seeing a soul until mile 30 or 32 at the far aid station that was unmanned. I was changing my headlamp batteries and a guy comes in and we decide to get back to Dale's station together. Through talking and working on stuff, I skipped nutrition but felt great. We just had 4 miles to Dale n 2.5 after that for the finish. All is well and good for about 3 miles and then I totally bonked. No energy and no way to make good decisions. I guess our little power hike turned into a death march because we were getting passed by people I hadn't seen since the start. I was able to tell a friend to have some coke ready at the aid station to get me back going and when I finally stumbled in it was iced down and waiting.  I'm not a proponent of soft drinks but that's like jet fuel and I was able to run the last 2.5 miles with my fastest miles of the day. I'm not ultra competitive and for me that's not what running is for but it was nice flying down the trail at the end and passing people. Another ultra was in the books and I found out what I needed to learn about myself that night. No blisters,chafing or soreness so it's all good!
Biggest takeaway- When you get your butt kicked, don't stop. EVER! Sign up for another race and go find a way to finish it. DNF's are going to happen but it's not the end of a running career. I wallowed around in self misery for 2 weeks after Cruel. The only thing to cure it was to cross a finish line.
Now it's off to Denver this week for 4 days of running up mountains and hopefully hanging with some cool people. A runcation I guess but it'll be fun. No race- just run free. Til next time #RunStrong

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