Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Race Report - DNF

DNF, mile 25.2

Sometimes just getting to the starting line is a race in itself. On Wednesday, I was in Sydney for work. I flew to Dallas, arriving after a 15 hour coach flight and crossing the date line to have it still be…Wednesday. I hustled over to get my connection to NYC. I worked Thursday in Manhattan, including standing on my feet til 9 pm. Two nights before the race is important for sleep, and instead I was jet lagged and slept about 4 hours from 1:30 AM to 5:30 AM, when I threw in the towel on a good night sleep and trekked to JFK for my 9:30 AM flight back to SFO. My plan was to land at 1 pm, stop by my place and pack, then head up to Healdsburg. Cue a 80 minute delay, and I landed at 2:10 pm…and hit the beginning of rush hour traffic just getting to the city. Without Karen't encouragement, I would have DNS'ed & stayed in the city. She said "come on, hang out". 

2 hours of traffic later, I was in Healdsburg for the tail end of the pasta feed. Wow! so many runners I recognized from photos, like Karl Meltzer or Byran Powell. I caught up with Karen, and then Jorge Maravilla said "Hey, excuse me miss, you're sitting in MY SEAT".  
"Ohoh, excuse me, sorry, I'll move right away!"
"Oh Edie, I was teasing you! You knew me 30 pounds ago when I was starting out with the Endurables."
Jorge is actually a very nice dude…he didn't know how frazzled I was.

I went to sleep early (9 pm), but woke up and looked at my watch that said 6 AM. THE RACE STARTS AT 6:30 AM!! ARGH! and then I realized my watch was still on New York time and it was only 3 AM. I went back to sleep til 5:15 AM.

All this even before I even started. Going in, I told myself I would get at least to 25.2 (the out) and see how I felt.

The route is absolutely beautiful. Sweeping views of the lake, hidden redwood groves, beautiful green hills. And the course was very well suited to my style -- not too technical. We started off on a paved road, then a wide vehicle sized track, then a single track. I was loving everything. For the first two hours I felt great. I passed Chuck Wilson and he said hi! I saw Karen at the 12 mile aid station & she filled my pack like a pro. I'd worried as I'd forgotten to pick up the mandatory cup, as the race had gone "cup-free". However, I filled my pack with GU, and drank straight from the Coke Can at the aid station. 

Then the sleepiness crept in. Gradually, then more and more, it was hard to run. I slowed to a walk. All I wanted to do was curl up in a pile of leaves and take a long nap. I kept pushing, but it was mostly walking with an occasional jog. I tried drinking more Coke but it didn't seem to help. So sleepy. So sleepy. 

When the elite runners started passing me on their way back in, it was more fun than I expected. They actually almost all said "Great job!" Nice guys!

At ~16 mile aid station I saw a runner I recognized volunteering, and I struggled to remember his name as he said "hi edie, how are you doing?" "So tired". About 4 minutes out of the aid station I realized it was Rick Gaston.  I'd thought I had oodles of time before the cutoff, but now I wasn't so sure. I kept pushing on..where was that turnaround?

I started asking runners how far it was at 12:40. The cutoff was 1:15 pm. One pair said "4 miles", and my heart sank. There was no way I could climb this hill in 35 minutes. Another said "3 miles", and it seemed ALMOST doable. Then I saw Coach Ken & Janeth! CK said "2 miles"…I knew I could make it if I tried…then I saw Mike Weston who said "Edie, you've got less than half an hour to the cutoff…" Then I saw Patrick, who looked at his Garmin and said 1.18 miles. I knew I could do it.

Why was I pushing so hard when I thought I would drop at 25 miles? I wanted it to be my decision…and I did it! I got in at 1:12. But I was done for the day. My legs were good, but I just felt so tired. It was 5 AM in Sydney, and I felt I'd stayed up all night. 

It hurt when the radio call went in of "DNF, runner 174". Chuck Wilson missed the cutoff by about 20 minutes, but it was fun to cheer him in as he carried the "Wrong Way" sign. I rode back with him to the start. When I went to my car at the start, there was a parking ticket (not so fun) and Nick Clark two cars down from me, so I said "I love your blog!" (corny but true). Chatted with Nate Yanko about his bakery. Debated waiting for Coach Ken to finish but I was so tired I worried about falling asleep on the drive back to the city.

Things I did well:
1) Stayed hydrated
2) Ate scoobies & S-caps
3) DNF > DNS, right?
4) Tried to say "Great job" to fellow runners. 
5) Tried to thank volunteers
[I say try as I was so tired I think I got about 50%]
6) Glad I got hotel near start. 
7) Applied BodyGlide copiously, no chafe!

Things to improve on:
1) Just too much travel to do well at a long race. I flew ~25K miles in 17 days, and my sleep cycles went to hell. Didn't get a solid night sleep for weeks. 
2) Food and water all stressful day before with delayed flight. I got a Little Star Pizza when I passed through SF, but didn't eat enough before that.
3) Bay Area rush hour is stressful. It took me 2 hours, 10 minutes to go from SF to Healdsburg… 68 miles.
4) Didn't say hi to Angela.

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