OK, this was supposed to be a fun race as it was only 18.6 miles and from what I heard the terrain wasn't too bad. My friend Nicole was looking to do her first nighttime trail run so we signed up and were going to run it together. Here we are before the race and we already look pretty hot. We had chairs and a place to sit in the shade, but still when it's 100 degrees it's hard to stay cool.
My running has been steady as of late but not with a lot of long runs. This summer has been blistery hot and I just didn't have the MOJO to get out there for the past few months. I guess I had a big let down after not finishing Rocky that I kind of let my running go and tried to decide if I really want to try it again. Well within the past month or so I've been feeling like it's time to get back into the training and my legs feel good so it's full speed ahead on training for the 100 miler in 6 months.
Now back to this race. It was a nice course with some rolling hills, some waist high grass, and some pretty rocky areas. From the map there would be aid stations at 5 miles, another at 8.5, make a loop and hit the last one at 12.7. This seemed reasonable even though I was worried about the last one being about 6 miles from the finish. We started out and ran through some tall grasses, went down to the river and ran through some big rocks and then made our way along the fence line that had some good rolling hills with what seemed like a general up hill tone. Made it too the first aid station and refilled my 2 hand held bottles and off we went. The next 3-4 miles were my favorite. We had some good rollers with quite a few switch backs on some nice soft dirt trails. The sun was setting and it seemed to get cooler at the sun set. We made it to the next aid station just in time as my bottles were now empty. Head out on what would be considered the loop as we would make our way back to this aid station before heading home. On this leg it got dark and it had some fun and challenging terrain. It seemed like the last couple of miles was a slight incline back to the aid station and I was ready to fill my bottles, grab a snack and head to the finish.
Only there was NO Fluids of any kind when we got there. OK, I have a little HEED in one water bottle and Nicole is completely out. What do we do now. The poor guy at the aid station was trying to use someones cell phone and call in that he was completely out of everything. Now we have 6 miles to go, we are already dehydrated and very little fluids and we know that we have 6 miles to the finish line and it would take us at least 1:20 to get there. I was sweating heavily and knew that if I tried to run it in I would be getting over heated and probably would be in pretty bad shape if i made it.
So we decide to just walk in in and conserve our few drops of liquid and try and not over do it. I must say it was hard and we just kept putting one foot in front of the other. We passed a couple of guys that I was worried about but they said they were doing OK. I knew we would make it to the finish line, but I also knew it was going to be a long slow process and wouldn't be very much fun. The next 4 miles were some of the longest I've ever spent out on a trail. Next thing we know we come upon a table with water with 2 miles to go. Still not sure if it was put there after the start knowing that the previous aid station had run out or if it was planned because of the heat, but for whatever reason it was a life saver. I drank a whole bottle of water, which probably wasn't very smart but I was so thirsty. Without any calories or anything to eat the water made me feel a little nauseous so that made the next few miles not so much fun either. Anyway, we were able to make it to the finish right at 5 hours. I got my medal, got some Gatorade and some food and sat down. After about 10 minutes of drinking and eating I felt great again. This race was a great learning experience about making sure I take what I need on the trail just in case something like this happens again. I now know what my body feels like when it needs more calories or needs more fluids. What it feels like to have too much water without any thing to eat. Not something I want to do again so I'll learn from it. Here is a picture in my hotel room after the race, nice and dirty. Nothing better than a shower after a race like these to make you feel better.