Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Western States 100 letdown and Badwater buildup

Hey everyone,
Thanks for the notes everyone. I really appreciate it. I know the notes they put on the western states 100 site can be a little confusing. I'm writing an entry regarding my DNF at the Western States 100. . I started getting sick around mile 14, but was still on a sub 24 hour pace past Red Star Ridge. I felt good going in, but somehow the altitude got me messed up and I lost significant time going into Duncan Canyon. My legs were fine but I wasn't taking in enough nutrition. On the way to Robinson, the elevation drops into the bottom of the canyon and I started killin' it, passing 15-20 people. I dumped the Hammer Gel, which was causing me to puke with the gel sticking in the back of the throat. My crew at DC gave me Boost, which went down smooth. I chatted with a number of people as I moved up the hill. My legs felt awesome, I was able to hit the downhills at 9 min/mile, and my climbing was quickened. But on the final climb to Robinson, going back up again in elev., I lost 5-7 minutes when I puked the undigested Boost in my system. I kept going, got into Robinson, and let me crew take care of me. I stayed for 15 minutes when I puked the water they gave me. Funny thing was, I was only 3 lbs. under weight from 177 lb. at start. Doctor said it was elevation, checked me out, and let me go. The bug hit me again on the way to Miller's Defeat and I had to slow down. I still got in there with 50 min to spare. Puked again, went to lay down and make final decision later, but they let me sleep until it was a couple min. after the cutoff. I drank some 7 up and perked up. With how that worked and how I was disgusted with how gu20 and gatorade were making my stomach feel, I should of had them fill both bottles with 7 up (for the short term sugar) and leave with 15 before cutoff. Felt bad, but what was done, was done. I've got Badwater in few weeks, I love heat, so I guess that will be my personal Super Bowl now. Not finishing WS, for me personally, just puts added importance on getting a time in the low-30 hours there. It sucks, but it is what it is. My legs felt great on the way home as I scarfed down a big burger, fries and shake, and feel awesome, so I went for another long run to keep it up. Every time I go out there in a race like this, I carry not only my own expectations of self, but also the support, prayers and well-wishes of a lot of people. I'm just praying for myself right now that I can get a little God-power to deal with all the challenges at Badwater again. I'll always know that I never quit and that no matter what I think about not finishing, it always pales in comparison to the other things in my life such as my family, my friends, my church and my work with children in Africa. My character is neither blemished by defeat or made golden in victory. I may be only as good as my last race, but Badwater and redemption awaits…… Jonathan

Friday, June 15, 2007

Western States 100 Buildup

Hello everyone,

It’s another week closer to the Western States 100 and another week closer to Badwater again. The clock is ticking. Many people running the race will often take the last two weeks off to taper prior to the race. However, I will continue to push forward, albeit at a slower pace than normal. Last weekend, I got in a 32.3 mile training run on a section of the Western States course from Robinson Flat to Forest Hill. It traversed a pristine area of forest north east of Auburn and Sacramento. Although there were patches of snow when I first set out at 6900 ft. elevation, it quickly warmed up in the canyons and valleys as the run went on. The highlight of the run had to be my chance encounter with a black bear. At the time, I had turned my Ipod on and proceeded to drift off into my own world with nary a soul in sight. While running down a section of flat fire roads, I looked up to see the fuzzy, plump creature scrapping at a stump on the side of the road. I quickly put the brakes on with about 20 yards to spare and proceeded to slowly walk back up the road while maintaining visual contact with the bear. Compared to other black bears, it was rather small. My biggest fear was that it was possibly a cub with its mother nearby. Most black bears will run away at the sound of humans, but in cases where a mother believes it is protecting its cub, the results can be vicious. However, once the bear turned at hearing my footsteps, it scurried off down the hillside. I waited a few minutes to be sure it was gone before continuing on my way. I immediately turned off the Ipod for the time being, weary of future encounters with the black bears and cougars that inhabit these forests. As I proceeded onward, I would intermittently yell or make strange noises to alert them of my coming presence. I felt like a bit of an idiot making these stupid noises, but better to look like an idiot than to end up the victim of an animal attack.

It was great to be outdoors and breathing in that fresh air. The only place to get air like that in the city is at your local oxygen bar. The neat part of the run was that there was really only one way in and one way out. That feeling of truly being alone was refreshing, giving me the time and space to relax, think, pray and enjoy. I’ve been tired and weary lately, so it’s hard to explain how such a long run can be invigorating. Sometimes, taking yourself away from the things that you like work or social obligations or cell phones ringing is just what the doctor ordered. Now that I am leading a group to Uganda for two weeks in September to work with schools, churches and other organizations there, the demands on my time and the responsibilities that come with that are even greater. Moments like these remind me that it is important to always remember that it is God who brings order and purpose to what I do, so that the demands and responsibilities of my life do not consume me.

This week, I have some shorter 10-12 mile runs with a 22 miler on Friday night and a 16 miler on Sunday afternoon. Also, just wanted to let you know that if you want to follow the WS100 on the web, they have live webcast updates starting 5 am on Saturday, June 23 at I hope you’re all doing well and will definitely lift up a prayer for all of you this week. Stay strong and keep movin’. God bless.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Marathon Fun in San Diego

Hello again from San Francisco,
It's been nice weather up here in the Bay Area. So, I spent the last weekend in San Diego at the Rock N' Roll Marathon. Uncle Jose and I went to spend some time hanging out with the Injinji crew and getting a solid training run in for preparation for Western States and Badwater.So, as is our custom, we traveled through Friday night to arrive in San Diego early Saturday morning. We decided to go straight to the expo and met up with the Injinji folks. Again, Joaquin and Randuz and the rest of the Injinji family treated us superbly. My uncle and I decided to help out at the booth, helping market the toe socks to fellow expo-goers. Having first hand experience with the socks, I could honestly convey the benefits of the socks to my running. I was also blessed that Injinji will be making a generous donation to my fundraising with World Harvest Mission, which definitely felt good. It always is great when the people who sponsor you help take the things that mean the most to you to the next level. Thank you, Injinji for the support in all ways. As for the race, it was an easy going, relaxed 3:22. I felt quite at ease running at that pace, balacing the needed for a good, harder training run for Western and keeping myself healthy overall. I even took the opportunity to help pace a couple people I saw struggling on the run for a little bit. The ride home gave us a great opportunity to have a quick dinner with some friends and get home in time to go to work on Monday. Monday, bad to be back. Going to the sierras for a training run on Saturday in preparation for Western, so hopefully that goes well. My legs feel great and the patella tendonitis is definitely subsiding. As long as it doesn't come back strong, I'll be very happy.

Take care, stay strong, and keep movin’.

God bless. Gundy