Friday, March 4, 2011

Revalation #9

Wow! I wasn't foolin' around, I was very nervous about the Rocky Roads 100. You guys have to remember it was only two years ago when I finished Western States, not 9th, but Last, DFL!
16th 100 mile finish and 3rd top ten finish. I gotta tell you for most of the race I didn't see this coming.

5:30 am February 26, 2011, Coto de Caza, CA, Sports Complex:
It has rained most of the night and there is a steady rain now. I'm looking at running for 24 - 30 hours and I'm already soaked. A beautiful and young lady, Kylie, offers me a spot under her umbrella. I decline as it would be akin to closing the barn door after the horses got out, as my light jacket apparently isn't waterproof. The beautiful lady asks which race I'm running (besides the 100, there are 50, 26.2 and 13.1 mile races on the same day.) Well, if the course isn't too bad, I guess I'll do the 100. She seems relatively impressed. Wow, I'm hoping to do my first 50 soon. Where are you from she asks me. I'm from Tampa. She says, There's a 50 mile race there called the Fools run. How do you know about that? I ask. I have a friend out there who wants me to run it. Who? I inquire. Andrea Risi, do you know her? Know her? She's my bud! We agree that Andrea is the world's nicest person. That's kinda cool, travel 3000 miles to the foothills of the Saddleback Mountains on America's Pacific Coast and find someone who knows one of my greatest friends!
Kylie, she Rocks!

It's getting close to race time, so I slide under a near by canopy, the weather is starting to get to me. At about 6:15 the race director brings, my good friend Rob Cowan (if Andrea isn't the nicest person in the world than Rob is! He flew me out for the race and put me up in his awesome house. He and his lovely daughter Danielle, and his hubba-hubba, fantastic girlfriend Nicole, made me feel very much to home!) us to the starting line and and sent us on our way. The race quickly turned into the race for first and then the rest of us. Ben and Eric pulled way out in front of the field within 3 miles. As the race was 7 out and backs (6 were 15 mile totals, and the last was a merciful 10 mile to complete the 100 mile journey), we were able to keep track of the other runners progress. As I progressed to the 7.5 mile turn around I wasn't feeling great. Running on a muddy course in the steady rain didn't make me want to quit, I just felt so very sluggish. I felt like I had no speed. This feeling never did change.

Nothing spectacular happened in that first lap, except I had the recurring thought, how can I do this 6 more times? I realized that I couldn't do that out and back 6 more times; however, I knew I could do it once more, so I set out to do that. I took off on the second loop, this time using the excellent music that you all suggested for me. This worked much better. Also, the course had thinned out as the 1/2 marathoners were largely finished with the course, and the Marathon runners would no longer be sharing our same trail. With the music going and the rain letting up, this lap was much easier, but no faster than the first. I got into a better rhythm as far as knowing which hills to walk. Most of the course could be run, but I knew running too much would come back to haunt me later, so I walked when I thought I should.
Two down, five to go.

Mile 30 - 45 (hey, takes forever to read, try runnin' it!): I felt like crap! The music was saving me, but jeez, yuck, boo. Me, I felt sorry for myself, me! I'll never make it! I won't, I won't, I'm going to quit, well, I can't quit, still have the bracelet, gotta keep going, but I'm going to be a real crab apple! This attitude didn't come as a shock to me. Miles 30 - 40 are always my toughest. I've been out there forever with much longer than that to go!

Mile 45 - 60.
I know I'll keep going, but I'm not happy about it. My mood is lifted when I see the lovely Kylie again. I know she won't be able to, but what's the harm in asking? Hey Kylie, you want to run a lap with me? Well, I'm supposed to pace my friend Joselito, says Kylie. Ok, cool, well, I probably won't be running too much anyway. I get ready to head out and she says, you know if I can get Ted to run with Joselito I'll run with you, let me check. She made the deal! After a ten minute wait to change clothes, we are off and running! We spend the next 15 miles yapping and running. She tells me about befriending Andrea 6 years previously through an Ironman website. She says Andrea has offered to put her up if does come down for the Fools' run. I tell her that we're sold out, but I drop this on her, "I'm the race director, and I can probably get you in." Now, she's really thinking about it. Miles 45 - 60 sail by.

Mile 60 -75.
As we pull in to mile 60 Kylie asks if I want her to run another lap with me. Heck yes! Would you, could you, will you? Yes, yes, and heck yes! Now, I'm rejuvenated. After some uniform changes, we take off again. We get all the way around, the rain came again a bit, and the course has a bit more mud on it, but I don't care because what a bonus. I thought I'd be trudging all by myself and I have this great company with me. What a blessing! Mile 75 comes way to fast.
Mile 75 - 90.
Ok, I have 25 to go. I cannot do 25 by myself at this point, but I can run 2.5 to the next aid station. If I have to do that ten times, so be it! I drop off a Kylie, thank you Kylie! She tells me after she gets some rest if she feels well and if I want her she'll run the last 10 with me. I say, well, I'll want you, but I'm going to be awhile on this loop, maybe 4 hours (I'd been averaging about 3:15) and she may be over the whole experience by then. So I give her a hug and waste very little time and head back out for what I know will be a miserable loop. I put my music back on and Beethoven's 9th comes on almost immediately. This music couldn't have come at a better time. It inspires me. And I actually take off running. I run a few of the hills I had been walking up. Thanks Ludwig! I actually pass a few people, but after the turn around my energy wanes and I'm sure I've taken almost 4 hours for the loop. Nonetheless, I did make it to mile 90 without hurting myself, and I absolutely know I can run 1o more miles. The last question is, can I make it within 24 hours and receive that Silver buckle I want so badly?

Mile 90 - 100!
When I pull in to mile 90 two things help my spirits soar. 1- I finished the loop in about 3:20 leaving me a full 4 hours to run 10 miles to get my silver buckle. I am not feeling that badly, I know I can do this. I hold the emotions in-check because knowing you CAN do something isn't the same as doing it. 2- I was Kylie and she asks, "Do you want company?" Hell yes! (sorry kids, but I didn't say heck, I wasn't thinking heck, I was ecstatic! Kylie was going to get me through! Another word on Kylie. Obviously she is a tremendous athlete, but her only ultra had been a 50K, and she had never run farther than 33 miles. She had already run 30 with me, and even after a 3:20 break, she was willing to go another 10 for her longest run ever! What a pleasant surprise, what an Angel! We take off, and it's all I can do not to sprint out of there. I tell her, just make sure we do this in under 4 hours, I want silver. Silver, silver!! Hi-ho Silver!

On our way out, right before the turn around, which is now at mile 5 instead of mile 7.5, a mighty treat that is! we pass a gentleman I'd been gaining on for about 30 miles. I don't know where I am in the field. I wasn't even going to try math. I do know no one has passed me since a guy in a yellow shirt passed me around mile 30. While I don't know what place I'm in, I do think there is an outside chance that I can finish in the top 10 if I pass one more person. While I haven't been fast, I've been steady and I haven't had stomach issues (I only threw up once and it cost me no time, I was able to turn my head to the side and just keep running. I didn't even have to put my hands on my knees, it was a clean execution of cookie tossing!), and unlike Pinhoti, I had not bathroom issues either. Now, with 5 miles to go and feeling ok I knew I just had to keep going for my silver buckle, but now I couldn't let the dude I'd just passed pass me back! Nope, gotta keep running! So, I hauled down the hill at the turn around and ran up the next hill. before too long Kylie's watch announced that only 4 to go. I wanted to run more and faster but my stomach would only let me run so fast and I knew if my stomach revolted 24 was no longer guaranteed. Approaching mile 3 I see the yellow shirt that had passed me around mile 30. I cruised up to him, told him great race. Less than 3 to go, and I took off. Now, I had two guys to keep behind me, and also a chance at the top ten.

Mile 2.5 came. The last aid station, I didn't stop. Kylie had to use the facilities there, but she had stopped at all of them and had NO problem catching right back up. She's the fastest Port-a-let in the West that one!

Mile 99 and it's my 14th time by Southfork, A huge Citrus plantation named after the ranch on Dallas. Then 1/2 mile. Then, wait, is that the turn? It is. Come on Kylie! Come on Andy! There we go, we slog up the hill. We hit the right onto the final trail only a few yards...... 22:21! I'm finished! I find Rob and give him a hug. Great Job Rob! I introduce him to Kylie, he's like, "Wow no wonder you ran so fast!" Thanks bud. By the way, what place did I finish? Let's see, 1,2,3, looks like..... 8th male and 9th overall. GREAT! Those two I passed in the last 5 miles put me in the top 10! Keep on truckin! Don't Quit. Wow.
Western States 2009 - DFL
Pinhoti 2010- 26+ hours
Am I done? Can I still break 24?
No I'm not done! 22:21! Yay me! I aint dead yet!
What's next? Probably Black Hills 100 in Sturgis, SD. Then maybe I'll retire!


Roger said...

Pretty awesome Andy! No retirement talk! Run them until you drop.

Mr. Matt said...

Roger, great to hear from you. I only hope Andrea and Andy B blow me away this weekend in Georgia, they are both en fuego!

Star said...

You are SO amazing Andyman! Great recap. CONGRATS to you (and Kylie)!!!

runsforbeer said...

What are you doing in Georgia? Back to back? YOU ROCK!! Congrats on a great race in CA. Hope to see you soon ;-)

superdave524 said...

Way cool, A-Man.

Anonymous said...

Very inspiring Andy :) I want to be just like you expect the puking part. Did you really puke without stopping? I don't know if I'm impressed or disgusted.
Anyway great job. You're awesome :)
-Wendy V.