Latest Update 09/26/07
So, as I just celebrated my birthday this past weekend, I have finally had time to sit down and digest both the recently completed Angeles Crest 100 and the upcoming San Diego 100 in October. While I think most reports (mine included) often are filled with superfluous detail, I’ll try and cut to the chase with this one. If I had one word to describe the theme of this race, I would have to say “Reversal”. Let me use the word in a sentence about the race. “The cause of my 4 reversals was quite simply electrolyte deficiency”. There we go. For those of you who haven’t been exposed to the term, a “reversal” simply refers to throwing up. I used it quite liberally when describing my 2007 Badwater experience, but decided to use it again here to spice things up.
I counted reversals at miles 42, 49, 50 and 68. For the first 20 miles of the race, I moved rather effortlessly up and over the hills to the top of MountBaden-Powell (9300 ft. elevation) before starting the long, rolling descent back to a reasonable altitude. While I planned accordingly for the change in elevation, the one thing about a electrolytes is that the pills will often “explode” all at once, depositing their contents in the stomach. I had not been taking in the electrolyte drinks and solids which would have buffered my stomach while taking the pills. The result was a general weakening of my system that slowed things way down and could only be assuaged by finally stopping at Chilao Flats (mile 52.8) to get some help from the medic.
Amazingly, after a long break at the aid station, I was able to pick myself up and finish strong. While I did have to stop to take care of the reversal at mile 68, I finished with a flurry, ripping off 10 minute miles overall for the last 8-10 miles as I picked my way down the hill and up the uphills. I felt good to be free, free to run.
When people ask you, “What was your finest race?”, the first thought that runs into many heads is the race you had your best time or placed the highest. And while I am still learning and striving for that “perfect race”, for right now I am content with knowing that like life, these races are an imperfect science at best. The greatest expectation that I can have of myself is to “race to win”, leaving everything out there with only the expectation that where that takes is me is where it was meant to take me. The resulting race at the 2007 AC 100 has left me with an insatiable hunger to get out there in San Diego and race (race smart, that is). When I ran at AC, I felt very comfortable maintaining a 20 hour race pace overall. When I had to stop, I was left with the uneasy feeling of trying to reconstruct a body that had been thrashed on the inside.
Ultras are the act of placing the body under enormous stress for an inordinate amount of time. In many cases, it’s about maintaining that complex balance that only a complex body like that of a human would require. Run, drink, eat and digest all in the same motion continuously for hours on end. Perfect balance is impossible, and yet it is what all ultra runners are trying to achieve. Being perfect in the attempt is all to be expected. In the 2 years that I have been running ultramarathons, I’ve been learned a great deal about myself and my body. I charge on with the wisdom of Corinthians yearning me to “run the race to win”, stretching for the finish line with the knowledge that my best is yet to come…..Will San Diego be the place where potential meets reality? No matter what, I am always truly blessed to be alive. Stay strong and keep movin'.