GREAT PICTURES FROM GLENN
25:05, that's 5 Hours and 17 Minutes faster than last year. I've never pushed myself so far for so long.
First off I want to thank James Varner for helping at Tacoma and Stampede pass and for lending his Patagonia jacket for the climb up to the lookout. I think I would have froze to death right there. I also was lent a couple of bottle holders one from team Barnes and another from team Y-run at Hyak. Thank you all!!!
Also thanks to all the A/S helpers that kept saying how good I looked which I know wasn't true but I didn't realize it then. Thanks Tim, Eric, Don, Marlis, Jim, Tim, TP, Kendall, John, Chris, Rob, and Tom. And thanks to TC for not telling me to slow down when he thought I was going to fast. BIG thanks have to go out to Charlie for putting on such a great race. And the biggest thanks of all go to my family, w/o them I could not do any of this crazy running. Thanks!
I started out a little fast to get ahead of the dust. It worked but mostly because of the resent rains. I cruised through the first A/S with TC, Van, and Alison in about 37 mins. This is where the walking and single track starts. I just tried to walk as fast as I could and run the level and downhill parts. At one point the girl in front of me stepped off the trail to get something out of her pack. This left me in the front. I should have let someone else lead but instead I pressed on picking up the pace even. I caught up to Dave Dutton just before Goat Peak.
I continued on pressing forward with determination.
Around Cole Butte (2:10) in noticed that my right ankle was bothering me and on the downhill fire road it really hurt. This sucked because instead of going fast and using very little energy I was going slow and having to work hard. I think it's a bit of tendonitis right on the front. It's normally sore for a day or three after a long run. I was passed or caught by several people including TC and Van.
I went in and out of Blowout Mt. A/S (3:07) pretty fast just filling up GU2O. At about mile 17 1/2 after letting 3 or 4 people go by me on single track downhill, I finally gave in and took two Advil. It dulled the pain enough for me to smooth out my gait.
The downhill to Tacoma Pass was so much better than earlier. I passed a guy hiking the Washington section of the PCT. There seems to be fewer hikers this year. Maybe they read the forecast! When I got to Tacoma Pass (4:46) Don grabbed me and took care of everything I needed. James was there in a grass skirt and all the crews yelled and screamed encouragement.
Not much to report on the way Snowshoe Butte (6:07). At some point I started eating Huckleberries and I just kept eating them thinking I wouldn't see anymore until after the needles. If I was walking uphill or running down I'd grab a ripe one as often as the footing would allow. I'm surprised I never tripped.
I flew into Stampede Pass (7:16) where my impromptu crew (grass skirt wearing James) took over and got me switched over from bottles to Hydro Pack for night time running. He also convinced me to put on my long sleeved shirt. I was already thinking about it but he pushed me over the edge. 5 minutes later I was sweating heavily and 5 minutes after that it was POURING, so it all worked out for the best, EXCEPT for those two bottle holders (the only 2 I own) I forgot to stuff in my pack before I raced off to try to catch Alison who left the A/S just before I got there.
The trip to Meadow Mt. was wet. It rained hard and the shoulder high bushes were wet and would drop their contents on you as you brushed by. My shoes, shorts, shirt, and hat were soaked. To keep warm, I kept pushing the pace. But there were also more berries to snack on. I met a 1st time 100 miler from Anchorage whom I tried to help with extensive knowledge (yeah right). Good job Kyle(27:30).
Just before I got to Olallie Meadows (10:35) I had to stop and put on my headlamp. When I got there Leslie helped me to refuel and Steve, Eric's pacer, tracked down a bottle holder for me. I think it was Michele's. They told us that we should take a right when we got to the JWT but not about any the others.
On the way down to Hyak (12:08) I took a premature left off the PCT. There were two HUGE arrows painted in the dirt (I guess they were from logging). Luckily the trail didn't seem correct. I was with TC and another runner I had just passed and Kyle from AK. It looks like it only cost me about 8 minutes and around a half mile of bonus mileage. I passed a volunteer (Tom?) after turning off the PCT that said he hadn't got down to the ropes to mark but they were on the right. So I basically walked/ shuffled/ tried not to trip while looking right for 6 minutes trying to find the ropes. One of the runners I was with yelled up that he found it so I kicked into high gear. Rob was standing there showing us the way, I guess he had climbed up. Damn! That couldn't have been easy. I think the ropes were a more direct route down this year (much steeper). On the JWT I kept moving at a good pace and passed 2 people. I did however roll my right ankle in the middle of the road as I was angling across. Stupid groove! That really hurt. I took my 3rd and 4th Advil of the night as soon as I got into the A/S and before I left, the ankle was better. Just as I was leaving the A/S TC came in. I tried to spur him on by telling him to hurry and catch up. He looked fine. All I knew was that he couldn't see because of his glasses.
On the road up to Keechelus Ridge (14:23) I was passed by 2 or 3 people but on the way down to Kachess Lake (around 2 am) I passed them all back. My watch ran out of memory so from here on, I'll have to try and remember what time it was.
The TFH to Mineral creek (around 4 am) was great this year. The bushwhack seemed harder. I looked at my watch when I got to the bridge that starts the TFH and I'm pretty sure it said 2:19. The trail was a little lonely but I had energy to move quickly and my lights worked well enough. The footing on some of those real narrow sections was a lot harder than during the day. At Mineral Creek Jim Kirby helped me. I changed my shoes and socks and dropped my pack and switched to bottles. I thought about taking my jacket but didn't because it was so warm and dry and calm. So I left with one headlamp, two bottles, a fresh dry long sleeve shirt, a tank top for when it got warm, and my fanny pack full of misc. stuff.
It got light just before No Name Ridge (6:15 am?). On the way up I thought maybe my stomach wasn't working and it was too full. Well a little while later I found out that wasn't the case. The dry heaves told me that I needed to eat, so I did. I also had some salt, pepto, and Advil #5 & 6. About half way up it started to get cold and windy. So I had to go faster to stay warm. It worked and I passed Van & Gwen. When I got to the A/S I saw an idling minivan. I asked if there was anybody in it and I think TP said not yet. I knew if I got in there it would cost me a lot of time. So I put my tank top on under my long sleeve shirt, had some warm food, and was off. Alison and James were "just up ahead". I did well on the climbs and before I knew it I was at the out & back to the lookout.
As I'm dropping off one bottle for the climb Alison and her sidekick James come flying down. James heard me asking to borrow a jacket from one the A/S workers and lent me his. It's a good thing he did because I would have froze. I'm so glad he won that at Lake Youngs. He said, "Of course you can borrow it, you gave it to me". Well I thought it was funny at the time. I checked my watch and it took me 13 minutes to get up and back. So they were about 13 minutes ahead and those 2 guys I just passed are about 13 minutes behind me. I better put the hammer down.
The needles were a lot easier than last year. That second one really killed me. The last maybe the hardest but because there are no more after it, I cruised right up and over. There was no picking berries in this section between the needles and the A/S. It's all downhill and I was picking up my feet as fast as I could.
When I got to French Cabin Alison & James were still there, but left right as I arrived. John Bandur was talking to me but all I heard was must catch A & J, must catch A & J. I did grab some food but I ate it while I ran. I finally caught up to them just before the saddle. We ran together for a mile maybe then I went on. I tried to keep moving fast because I knew if I took it easy I would get passed. It seemed to take forever to get to Silver Creek.
At Silver Creek I borrowed a cell phone and called Jenn. I told her I was almost done and I was a bit ahead of schedule and she better leave now if she wants to see me finish. Well, after 95 or so miles, I forgot that the mileage is a little off on this last leg. And there's no way it would take me any where near the 1:15 she needed to get there. Anyway... I got fueled up, and leisurely left toward the finish. I kept moving at a slow jog until I saw a runner come around the corner. I picked it up but she was hauling her pacer which I thought was another runner was a couple hundred yards back. Well I wasn't going to let him pass me. Their crew vehicle was very annoying! Honking and making illegal u-turns and sitting at stop signs for like 30 seconds and stopping in front of me (but pulling away right before I got there). They weren't all that bad but if you're going to yell encouragements out your window to a runner don't exclude the next person. It makes you like %$i# and after 98 miles you pretty much feel that way already.
I finished hard beating that pacer by so far I don't even know where he was.
My legs immediately stopped working. I couldn't lift my right leg and if I bent either one of them I would fall to the ground like a puppet with it's strings cut.
By the time Jenn and the kids got there I was wrapped up in a blanket on the floor. Being in a chair was too dangerous. I didn't want to hit my head on the cement after falling asleep. I tried to wait around for other runners I know to come in but there was just no way I was able to do that. My ability to stay awake and walk were declining fast.
Today I can stand without using my arms but I can't lift my right leg. Lynn Maire said that it was my Psoas and/or Iliacus. OK?
Congrats to all the other finishers and those who didn't make it that far but gave it their all.
Pictures by Glenn, you know where to find them.
P.S. I think I had this engraved on my subconscious before the race.
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."
- T.S. Eliot
Thanks for the motivation Olga!