This past Saturday I competed in Julie Fingar’s Sierra Nevada Endurance Runs. I ran the double marathon (52.4 mile) event. Lily and I volunteered to help Julie with packet pick-up the day before. It was fun to meet so many other runners. Lily also helped with other aspects of the race, did post race massage and ran the 12K, (she worked harder than I did that day). As always Julie puts on a great race.
In accessing my fitness I thought I had a 9:30 or under in me, (10:53 pace). Regardless, my main focus was to finish since I needed a WS100 qualifier for the Lottery.
Training of late had been consistent, but I would have liked more long runs (+25 miles). Heat running and acclamation felt good. Hill training had been good, I’d been doing hills a lot more than even I realized. I will definitely be going back to the big hills near my Echo Lake cabin for next year.
September weather leading up to the race was ever changing. The Sunday before the race it was cold and I got rained on a little while running. The cool temps we had made me hope race day would be the same, NOT! 96 degrees was the forecast. It was that temperature at least, but it felt more like we were 10 ft from the sun.
From the gun I hung with a group of runners I knew or had just met. They included Tony Overbay, Lainie Callahan, and others. The pace we relaxed and everyone seemed content. From course knowledge I knew I needed to be on my own before the gnarly single-track hit. I slowing left on my own before Buzzards Cove. I find running with a group through this section can make you run other runners paces. I soon hooked up with Eric Toschi. We ran together for a while and keep the pace conversational. Eric had just run the TRT100.
The HRM was reading right where I wanted it to be and I was running relaxed. I walked a few of the short steeps to make sure I was running within myself. Eric went on his own after Avery’s Pond when I had my prerequisite pit stop to make. I later found out we were running in 2nd and 3rd place, (never been there before).
The section from Avery’s Pond to Cardiac went well, but the heat was coming on. I ate and drank everything I planned to. I stuck to my plan and hiked Cardiac. I ate and drank as I hiked after loading up at the aid station. Just prior to the Overlook I felt a twitch in my inner thigh, not good. So I went into overtime with the salt/water. In hind sight I needed to do even more. Regardless I felt great at the Overlook. I got a surprise; Lily was there taking photos. On the back side I stayed in control to keep from running the downhill too hard.
The ascent back up was uneventful, but the twitches were there and then gone, again not a good sign. I concentrated on staying relaxed and drinking, etc. I saw Kuni Yamagata on the way up and told him about my issues as I rubbed my leg for a second. Kuni is one tough runner, so in response he sprayed me with water and ran off.
From the Overlook and back to the bottom of Cardiac I stuck to my plan, but the twitches were there. I jumped into the canal twice and it felt so good. I really love that canal, most of the year it’s a free ice bath. In the summer it’s a life saving cool off.
At Rattlesnake Bar I was having serious issues. Mark Lantz was there and told me to take even more salt. Thinking I was taking enough (2-3 an hour) I threw caution to the wind and just downed it like candy. Mark is an Ultra god so I’ll do what he says.
The remaining miles had a LOT of hiking involved. Regardless I keep at it and didn’t lose myself. Around Avery’s Pond I got more nauseous than I ever have in a race. At one point I looked at my finger and thought about doing IT, but I didn’t.
Coke, ice water, salt and lying in all bodies of water defined my life from Rattlesnake Bar aid station to the end. If you have run near Avery’s Pond you’ve seen the horse troth by the bridge. Oh yeah I swam in that, (sorry Mr. Ed).
I finally felt better right before the Twin Rocks aid station. A bit too late to matter, but I was able to run from there to the finish. At least I could finish like a runner and not a hiker at the end. All said a tough, but rewarding day. 10hrs and change for 5th over all.
Afterwards it was great to hang out and watch my fellow runner’s finish. The men’s winner will be someone to watch. I briefly meet Ronda Sundermeier whose blog I have read in the past. I got some great photos of her and some other runners.
Melisa had a super tough day. She was dealing with physical issues that would have made me a DNS. Regardless she continues reinforce her new nickname I have for her, Tough As Nails (TAS). Her report should be coming soon here.
The Nike Pegasus (road version) continues to be a great shoe for me even on the trails. Only one blister, which I didn’t know was there till it was over.
My Nathan waist pack was great, I’m glad I switched to it.
I had been toying with using a Patagonia white long sleeve to block the sun and keep me wet longer. I had tried it in training and liked what it did for me. I guess I didn’t do it at the race because I’m dumb. Next time I’m going to give it a shot.
Drymax socks: Best damn socks ever.
I know the following about me: Heat = no appetite. I used Ensure at the race which I hadn’t done in a while. It worked for me even when my stomach went south. This reinforces to me that liquid food works the best for me, especially in the heat. Looks like its back to Ensure and the Hammer liquid food products.
iPod: I went without music for most of the race. I’ve been doing in training and I think it’s a good idea. I definitely pay more attention to myself and the race without music.
A few photos of the race.