Monday - rest day
Tuesday - Ran an easy 5k with Lucy at ~5 pm, temps around 90. My legs are starting to feel stronger and rested, the taper's kicking in.
Wednesday - 4 mile run with Lucy at ~5 pm, temps around 90.
Thursday - 2 mile run w/ Lucy at ~5 pm, temps around 90.
Friday - Rest day. Race day eve! Yikes! My parents came to the house at around 7:30 pm. I went to bed around 8 pm, but didn't fall asleep until around 10 pm. My alarm was set for 2:30 am, I would wake up at 2:04 am.
Saturday - Inaugural Gold Rush 100k
I'm not sure how my internal alarm clock knows that it's race day, but as occurs frequently with me, I woke wide away before my alarm went off. I crawled out of bed before 2:10 AM and headed to the kitchen, where I prepared a large bowl of oatmeal with hemp seeds, mixed berries, a banana, and some walnuts. Having slept in my running clothes, getting dressed was one less thing to do. I double checked my drop bags, strapped on my watch. Everything was set. My friends Helen and K.C. met at my house and Candace (my much better half) was a SUPER STAR, waking up at 3:00 AM to drive us to the race start in Coloma, CA! My house lies very near the midpoint of the race course, roughly a 35 minute drive from the finish line. The start line was roughly a 60 minute drive AWAY from the finish line. We arrived at the start shortly after 3:30 AM. We had some waiting around to do, as the race started at 5:00 AM.
|I chose to stay off of my feet and in my pre-race pj's as much as possible while waiting for the start.|
|Let's get this thing going.|
|5:00 AM start.|
|Lined up and ready to go!|
This was my first time on this stretch of the course. Green and golden grasses blanketed the rolling hills, old growth oak trees speckled the landscape, misty banks of fog were settled into the valleys. It was absolutely beautiful, my running pace felt efficient and easy and while things were going well, I knew, we all knew, it was going to get hot. I could already feel hints of it's oppression as the sun began to crest over the foothills, occasionally shining it's rays directly upon me.
I ran into the Skunk Hollow aid station at mile 14, shortly before 8:00 AM. I was feeling great and wanted things to stay that way as long as possible. I had a plan to "stay cool" before I got hot, rather than try to "get cool" after overheating. I filled up my Cool Off bandanna with ice (I would do this at EVERY aid station the rest of the day) and proceeded to run onto Salmon Falls Rd. across the bridge and onto the remaining 50 miles of trail, which I was mostly familiar with.
By the time I reached the New York Creek aid station (~mile 22, maybe 9:30 AM), it was definitely starting to heat up and the heat was beginning to take its toll on runners. While I was filling my bandanna with ice and taking in some aid station food, a runner stumbled in, looking to be in pretty bad shape and plopped himself down on top of a bush. One of the aid station volunteers immediately said "Whoa! You don't want to sit there, that bush is CRAWLING with ants!", to which the runner replied "I don't care, I don't want to move anymore.". I took that as my queue to keep moving and abruptly continued out on the trail.
Somewhere around mile 26-27, was starting to notice a bit of fatigue and some achy-ness in my legs, nothing to be concerned about, but noticeable nonetheless. My first thought was "wow, this is pretty early to start feeling this way". My second thought, after I looked at my watch, was "Oh, I've already run further than a marathon distance, with ~3,000 ft. of climbing". I then decided my legs were in pretty good shape. However, I was starting to feel mildly nauseous and was certainly concerned about that. I was looking forward to reaching Brown's Ravine at mile 29, where I would see my family and friends for the first time.
Having already slowed my pace, to accommodate for the heat, I reached Brown's Ravine at about 11:20 AM, roughly 40 minutes later than my planned arrival time. After being mostly alone on the trails for the last 6+ hours, I was overwhelmed by the number of people at the Brown's Ravine aid station. My wife, parents, brother/sister-in-law, and a friend from work (along with his twin boys) were all there, not to mention many trail runner friends of mine who were volunteering at the aid station. It was awesome to have so much support, but at the forefront of my thoughts was the fact that I felt nauseous and that was worrying me. Briefly, I wondered if I would finish this race. It was not yet noon, the heat was affecting me, I had 35 miles of exposed trail left to cover, and it was going to be in the mid 90's the entire time. I was drinking a protein shake (~400-500 calories) that Candace brought to me and was worried I was going to vomit if I finished it, but knew that I HAD to have the calories. I drank half of it and decided to take the other half at the Folsom Point aid station, 3.5 miles later. While my friend Jay filled my bandanna and water bottles with ice, I spoke to my friend Mark and mentioned my nausea. He reminded me to "get on top of that immediately, to slow down and take it easy". His advice helped me to calm and center myself. I focused on relaxing and slowing my breathing and headed out towards Folsom Point.
|I applied ice/ice-water as frequently as possible.|
|Lunch with Dad, Scott, and his twins.|
|Runners can't help posting pictures of their feet.|
|Climbing up to Folsom Pt.|
|A fresh pair of shoes felt GREAT.|
|My faithful crew, minus Candace (who was behind the camera) and the twins (who were looking at bugs and rocks).|
|Leaving Folsom Point|
|Chatting with Alex and Miguel.|
|Refilled with ice and water.|
|Always great to see ya Karyn! THANKS!|
|My trusty crew chief/wife! :D|
|Thanks for the ice water Dave!|
|Got to see my pacer Charito for the first time today.|
|Eric along side a couple of eager pacers.|
|Heading off with Dad.|
One particularly torturous aspect of this course is that it follows the shores of Folsom Lake and the banks of the American River THE ENTIRE WAY! It was a busy day on the lake and river. Wake boarding, swimming, diving, rafting, floating, drinking, playng. Those were the themes of all who were not running, crewing, or volunteering for the Gold Rush 100k. I was constantly reminded that maybe I could have picked a better way to have fun. At mile 47, I finally succumbed to the urge and wandered 50 yards or so off of the trail. I walked straight into the American River and laid down in the water. I relaxed, horizontally in the clear, cool water, completely submerged except for my face, for about 5 minutes. My Dad joined me for the dip. I wasn't the only one whose day was made better by my Dad, he found a car key along the side of the trail and a couple of miles later, he bumped into the person who lost it. She was ecstatic!
My Dad and I cruised into Rossmoor Bar at mile ~49, where Charito would join me for the rest of the trip. There was a garden hose. I think this was the aid station with the garden hose. I enjoyed a minute or so of being watered.
|Mom, Mary Ann, Alex, and Dad observing me being hosed off.|
|Charito and I, 51+ miles in.|
It was so hot out and while Charito and my Dad were great pacers and provided good conversation and companionship, I was ready to be done! I continued to focus on the next aid station and on the next mile. I was run/walking at about a 50/50 split. When I ran, I wasn't moving very fast, when I walked, I walked with purpose and maintained a pretty good walk pace (I think I was walking at a ~14 min/mile pace). HOT, it was HOT, I was TIRED of it. The race seemed even longer than this race report.
|Apparently I was skipping out of the Harrington Way aid station, mile 53.|
|Getting a quick medical check. "Have you been urinating?" Yes "Are your hands swollen?" No, my ring fits fine still. "Looking good, go get it".|
|Randy, sneaking out of the Guy West Bridge aid station ahead of me.|
|Guy West Bridge at top right. 6-7 miles to go.|
|Randy and Sunny, sprinting away from me. :)|
Randy and Sunny had put a gap on us and I hadn't seen them in a couple of miles. Suddenly, during a walk break, they were in view again, maybe 1/4-1/2 mile ahead. I looked at them and said to Charito "well, might as well give it the old college try." We were a little over two miles out from the finish. Walk breaks were over, I ran it in the rest of the way. Randy felt me breathing down his neck and picked up the pace.
We turned off of the levee road and into downtown Sacramento at the 28th & B St. Skate Park. I waved and thanked everyone for their help as I ran through the last aid station and onto 28th Street. I had been on the trail for over 14 hours. The finish line was at 27th and L St. and as we ran down 28th, every cross street became an intermediate goal. We ran past C, D, E. At every intersection, volunteers were stopping traffic, congratulating me, and clapping. F, G, H, people had come out of their homes to cheer us in. I was overcome with joy and emotion and was on the verge of tears. We approached L street and my Dad appeared and started running in with us. I turned the corner onto L, ran a hundred yards or so down a crushed granite path, and made a right turn to the finish line at Sutter's Fort. It was over, I made it and was so happy to have finished! I came in 2-3 hours later than I had planned, but it didn't matter. The heat took its toll on everyone and many people dropped or were cutoff at Hazel. I think the final tally showed that out of ~250 registered entrants, ~200 started and only 81 finished. I was lucky number 66!
|So Glad to be done! Thanks so much for pacing me, Dad and Charito!|
|They followed me along the course and were there for me at EVERY aid station, from Brown's Ravine to the finish! Thanks so much!!!|
|Yay for Charito!|
|Paul: "WOW, I can't remember the last time I had SO MUCH FUN!"|
Chris: "I can... YESTERDAY"
|Felt so nice to just kinda chill out with a big protein shake.|
|My feet held up well. No blisters or toenail problems.|
|Monsters of Massage, doing what they do best... bringing the pain!|
Sunday - Happy Mother's Day!
Weekly Totals: 74.02 miles; 5,616 ft.