Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Plain Train Wreck

Last year I ran Plain 2 weeks after running a perfect race at Cascade Crest. I did some bonus miles right at the end so I wanted to come back and do better.

This year the 2 races were 3 weeks apart instead of only 2. I figured with the extra week and some real 100 miler training (see 70m/week instead of 35) I could do much better maybe in the 26:30 to 27 hour range. After Cascade I was injury free and resting when I caught a head and nasal cold. It didn't seem that bad at the time but it did hang around longer than normal. The weekend before Plain I was feeling much better so I went for a moderate/hard 10 miler. The cold came back bigger for a few more days. At this point I was starting to get a little concerned. I took it easy and tried to rest. By Wednesday I was again pretty much all better. All the way up to and including race day I was hacking stuff up but I felt I was over it and made a race day plan that I'd run up the first 7.5 miles to the saddle and see how I felt. From there I'd either fall back or push on.

Tom said go and we were off.

I felt good, not great, going up the road. My legs weren't 100% but overall I felt way better than last year. Tim, Davy and I all hit the Saddle in just under 1:30. We should have been 10 minutes behind Allen but he made a wrong turn. I decided I would continue at this pace/effort level which I figure was 10-15% less than my Cascade Crest effort of 23:05.

At the river Tim stopped and Davy fell back 30 or so yards. I headed up the steep trail to the ridge where I almost stepped on a frog. I walked all the tough sections and about halfway across Tim caught back up. Soon after that the sun came up over the ridge and I let him past while I took my jacket off. The sun felt great put it wasn't enough to keep me warm so I dug my gloves out of my pack and that did the trick. Tim blasted up the hill and by the time I was done changing he was gone.

The downhill running off the ridge is one of the best trail sections on the course. There's no motorcycle grove and the corners are all banked. It's like running down a luge track. I caught up to Tim at the bottom just after the Horse camp. He showed me where to cross without getting wet. Just after that he stopped to eat and I was again all by myself in front. I slowed down a little after the ranger station turn to eat. I walked anything that was up hill for about 30 minutes. Tim commented that this was more walking than he has done in the past but was still at the same pace.
Yes that's frost on the grass!

Lake Ann, I love that green. Tim Stroh

At the last water before Klone Peak we stopped to fill up and were joined but Ian from Canada. I topped off my bladder and mixed in some Heed. Tim took about half as much time as I did and was quickly out of sight. By the time I finished Allen showed up after running an extra 2 miles on his way to the saddle. Ian and I were running and walking at a casual pace up toward the peak and Allen came Blasting by, uphill, like he was running a 50k. I commented that he was a first timer and there was noway he would ... (Allen set a course record by 30 minutes) I think Ian agreed. I didn't know he had come out and ran the course in training.

About 50 yards from the top Tim then Allen came flying down the mountain and that would be the last time I would see either of them until the finish Sunday morning. I got Ian to snap this picture.

And I took a few more. It's a Three Hundred And Sixty Degree view at the top. I'm no Glenn Tachiyama so you'll just have to take my word for it. It's a pretty nice view.

Just before the out and back turnoff we passed Jamie followed closely by Davy. That put them about a mile behind us. Right after the turn Ian quickly gapped me by about 2 minutes on the downhill and held that through the S&R check point and all the way down to the river.

I snapped off these 4 shots while running. I love running on the edge like this. One wrong step and it's a long way down.

Ian was filling up when I got there and was done before me. I must be slow at this water filling thing. I'll have to practice that for future races. And that would be the last time I would see Ian. He went on to his first finish in 4 tries. He finished 3rd behind Tim.

And this is where my race ended.

Right after I finished filling up at the falls my Small intestines cramped up. I took an Imodium and that caused me to gag and hurl all the extra water I drank while I was filling up. For 3 hours I strolled and sometimes staggered up the ~5 mile ~5000 ft climb keeping my heart rate under 120 and trying out everything I had in my pack, stopping periodically to dry heave. Nothing would stay down.

I was passed by Jamie, he looked good but I was surprised that he hadn't caught me earlier. Then Davy, he looked like he was working/struggling. Next was Beat, he gave me some Ginger that actually stayed down for a long time. Micheal came up and we walked together for about an hour or so. Not sure really. He was recovering and would go ahead about a mile and a half before the check point.

5 hours, 52 minutes and dozens of dry heaving episodes later I finally made it to the S&R check point at about mile 45. During that time I was able to keep down about 8 oz. of water. It wouldn't be until around Midnight that I kept any food down.

I may never know what caused this. It could have been from being sick or something I ate. If it had just been from running too hard (which I don't think I was because I wasn't) it shouldn't have taken me nearly 12 hours to "recover". And I wasn't overheated at all.

The 7 hours of running were really great and totally out weigh the sickness that followed. I was pretty upset about the DNF at first but I'm OK with it now.

4 Time Finisher!!!

Klone Peak