|success! heading home after the race|
I ran 40 miles in the past week. The winter olympians in South Korea inspired me. My longest run was a personal best (non-race) distance of 22 miles up river from Sacramento, north toward Auburn, where my next race will be held on March 3rd. I will rest my legs between now and then, and focus on my diet and yoga. The #WTC Ultra 50K looks to be a great challenge for me again this year, as I got poison oak while hiking in Winters and could not do much hill work. As in 2017, I am not prepared for the steep ascent midway through the trails. No matter! What I love about the ultra is how it tunes me mentally and spiritually, and to endure physical pain. This tuning benefits me in myriad facets of life.
He was demure in between binges. She was the polliwog in his flying fish fry, hiding under the curtain in the fringes. They were mutuals who secretly willed a corruption, playing hide-n-seek in a hobby lobby of manipulations. She got busy with telemarketers on the home line, keeping them guessing in a cold steep run up of daytime, followed by the evening news, the blackouts and hysterics. The whole enchilada was ready made for talk show generics. Not her. People like her.
I got out of simpatico when I began to speak the plain truths. It was useless trying to be liked all your life long. No one who liked you would make it to your funeral, anyway, due to the inconvenience. Find a way to be helpful and get out of yourself. You don’t have to like yourself, either, I discovered. Self-deprecation was less static and much more fun. There was a dog bit me while I was running up over the rails to the river, yesterday. A little brown Pekingnese with a seething growl rolled up on me and bit my ankle at the joint. I coulda started yelling at the river rats who owned it, about a leash and tags and sorta legalese. But I already was detested enough by their dog. I checked for blood, and there was none. So I kept on running and started thinking how long it had been since I got bit by a dog. Maybe twenty years or more? About time.
ultra (run 4 life) – conclusion
I took a strip of K Tape and got someone’s help to anchor it on my neck, too, cuz my neck begins to ache late in a race; I think it’s because I have such a big head! The tape worked wonders and there would be nothing stopping me for the last stretch to home, not even the great riverbed which we had to climb for a couple miles to the finish line. I powered my way across to the cheers of all the kind people who stuck around, wow, I couldn’t believe I was hiking and running for close to 8 hours! I found Tosh and we got the signature frog cupcakes and I showed off my silver medallion and had some BBQ, and we talked to the lively volunteers and runners who I crossed paths with earlier. The wind was whipping up and it was about to rain, so we got in the car and headed home.
|post race with Tosh|
What a day! The night before, Tosh and I drove up to Auburn so I could pick up my race pack at the Auburn Running Company. While we were there we met some runners, and I was able to go over the map of the race and got some pointers from a nice lady who ran it many times, herself. Then they drew my name from the lottery and announced I had won entry into next year’s race, 2018. I was somehow not surprised. Just felt like I was destined to do this one again. Auburn, nestled in the foothills of the Sierras and home to this friendly and down-2-earth ultra community, reminds me of where I come from: the White Mountains, Lakes Region, New Hampshire. It’s nice to know I can drive up here anytime from Sacramento, and feel like I am home. It’s nice to know I get to do this again, and be with my new friends, next year.
ultra (run 4 life) part 3
I thanked Davin profusely and he went on to help another runner who needed him. I got inspired by all the runners passing by with words of encouragement. Then I was able to help an older man who needed a strip of K-Tape for the pinched nerve in his neck. I brought some in my wristband. I would see him and Davin again, eating BBQ in the village at the end of the race, and we would be all smiles and gratitude.
The trail leveled out, thank god, and we came up on the mile 21 aid station, only ten miles to go! The sun came out (despite forecast for afternoon rain) and I grabbed some tasty broth and an energy bar and sat myself down in the grass for several minutes to catch some rays and thank my lucky stars (with a prayer) that I had survived the wall!
|finish line 2017 wtc50k|
The next 5 miles was like one long even cut in the side of this mountain, overlooking lush foothills and the canyon. They call this area ‘Auburn Lakes Trails’ and what with the sun peeking out of the cloud cover this afternoon, the river far below us, it was magical! All our climbing paid off. The pain I felt earlier was replaced by an inner calm, and a woman named Lydia stopped to give me her own special cocktail, two Advils and a Tylenol. She said ‘they tell you to stay away from the NSAID’s while running, but i say fuck it’ and we both shouted ‘fuck it!’ together in one burst of comradery before she flew on past me up the single track. I was gonna take my time getting home.
run 4 ultra (run 4 life) deux
|K before 50k|
I was in great spirits by the time I saw Tosh (mile 8) who ran a quarter mile alongside me to the first aid station, where I stopped for a tasty chocolate peanut butter bar, and said goodbye to my brother who wished me well. He even put my nieces on the phone for me to say hello before we parted ways; he had to go back home to the Bay Area. I was so happy he showed up for me today.
I got back on the trail feeling good. We made our way down and around and down a few miles to the fire road, crossed and headed down the long quarry road in the canyon which ran alongside the roaring green river for another 5 miles or more. I did well on the downhills, running 9 minute miles. I thought I was in good shape with my belt full of roctane and water bottle full of gatorade, and my potassium salt S-caps. But I realized on Quarry Road that my legs were starting to feel heavy, and I began to worry about my failure to train on hills all winter long. I could be in big trouble! The only elevation I trained on was a 5 mile run up and down the Blue Ridge Trail, overlooking Lake Berryessa in Winters. The problem was I got poison oak on that trail and so I never went back to the hills.
|K finishes 50k|
No amount of energy I consumed was gonna help me up the side of that canyon, which switched back and forth from about mile 15 to mile 20… it became a truly brutal and endless hike for me. My head got light, legs heavy, and my asthma kicked up, and my hopes of having a strong and level journey like I had running the CIM just 3 months earlier, were dashed. I had to slow and step off the trail to let dozens of runners hike up past me, and several were kind enough to ask me was I okay and offer help. I finally agreed I needed help around mile 19, when one of the ‘Safety Sweeps’ named Davin saw I was in trouble. He began refilling my empty bottle with electrolyte water, while telling me about his quest to run the coveted Western States 100 mile race before he’s 50 years old. He has 3 years experience running ultras, and he’s 47 now. Parts of this particular race, the Way Too Cool, overlap with the Western States Trail. Listening to Davin’s story helped me take my mind off of the wall…