Tuesday, July 19, 2011

100 Miles. Done

So, I did it. 100 freaking miles. The hardest endevour of my life.

But before i get into it, I have to start by giving thanks to my amazing crew: Nana, Papa, the Wife and my Kids. And Liza and family. They were all amazing - my father-in-law was out there for literally more than 24 HOURS - the dude isn't even my father and he did that for me - and I would not have done it without all their support.

I'm not so sure where to even start with this one. I'll try to distill it down to a few salient bullets:

* It was a tough, tough day. The biggest issue for me in retrospect was the weather. It was *only* 86 degrees with relatively low humidity(my guess is humidity was around 40-60 percent). The problem for me was that we have neither on the West Coast; there was just no way for me to prepare for that and it took its toll.

* It was spectacularly fun to run with Payro and Todd. Without them I likely would have lost my mind. Literally. We ran together for 70 miles and then separated. Toddie had an outstanding day and with an assist from his amazing pacer - a NorCal guy - managed to come in in sub 24 and get a belt buckle. That's a big deal in ultra running and I am super happy/proud for him. He worked real hard both in training and in preparation for this race and it showed.

* At 70 miles mark Payro and I were equally struggling, so we agreed to stay together for the duration of the evening. We ended up having a ton of fun and even managed a few laughs, despite the pain. And trust me the pain was exquisite. It was awesome hanging with him, my original ultra running amigo (as well as his pacer - a terrific local high school kid who kept things pretty lively for us out there. Namely, by taking a two hour rest between miles 80-90. Alas, that's a story for another post). Payro wasn't on a great day (for him) as he was never able to find his legs. I suspect he might be a little disappointed with his performance, but he absolutely shouldn't be; he's a tough dude to begin with but he showed a mental toughness out there that was demonstrative of his incredible character.

* I've never had a race where I've had more highs and more lows. I must have caught four separate second winds. The roughest patch for me was during the day, as a result of the heat. Between miles 60-70 I gave serious consideration to dropping out; more serious consideration than I've ever given before. I was cooked, my stomach had essentially shut down and I was in a bad way. Conversely I felt (relatively) good between miles 90-100 and was able to run them at a pretty decent clip. I think that once again, drinking copious amount of soft drinks and chicken noodle soup saved my life.

* The highlight of the race for me by FAR was my Wife surprising me and running with me as a pacer between miles 70-77. This wasn't easy for her: it was hilly terrain in literally the middle of the night and she hasn't been running much of late. But her presence lifted my spirits in a huge way and probably got me to the finish. It was fun sharing part of this experience with her. By far the coolest surprise of the day. She ended up telling me that the only reason she ran with me was because I looked so bad at the 70 mile aid station and she was concerned about my well being. She also told me that she and my father-in-law were seriously considering pulling me from the course at around that point.

* I was initially daunted by running at night, but it proved to be far more fun/enjoyable than the day. The course is astonishingly beautiful and was even prettier in certain respects in the dead of night.

* I "Live Facebooked" part of the race via frequent status updates. Payro and Todd kind of scoffed at this but it turned out to be one of the coolest aspects of my day. The support I got from my Facebook pages was staggering and really made a difference. THANK YOU to everyone who left me a post.

* In retrospect, I'm not sure there's any way to really train for a race like this. The truth be told, though by "normal" standards I did a lot of running in preparation for this race, in actuality I went into it with a minimal amount of training for a race like this. This was mostly due to life circumstances: work, business travel, swim meets, etc. I did the best I could with the time I had. But going into this, I knew I was underprepared and for the first time ever really had doubts as to whether I could finish. I have to give Coach Phil a lot of credit; he came up with a gameplan that met my very simple objective: to finish (with no consideration as to finishing time) and without any major medical issues. Kudos Coach Phil - I am greatly appreciative for everything. But at the end of the day, all the training aside, I think finishing a race of this magnititude TRULY has more to do with the mental versus physical. You literally have to will yourself to finish.

I could go on more - and I'll probably have one more post on this subject, but this should give you a sense of what occurred. Crossing the finish line was among the coolest things I have ever done (though it lacked the drama of my Ironman finish) and I'm so, so happy to have accomplished this goal, which was years in the making. I'm equally happy to have finished and be done with running for a while.

Similar to Ironman, I will likely never do a 100 again. Requires too much commitment and eats too far into family time. But that being said, certainly no regrets; I took away memories from this experience that will absolutely last a lifetime.

Once again, thank you to everyone who made this journey possible; Todd (and family), Payro, the Wife, my incredible in-laws, my kids for being my best supporters in the world (having them run to me at crew stations lifted my spirits in ways in which I cannot describe) and Coach Phil, for his training guidance and words of wisdom.

Oh and next up - some sort of epic open water swim. Suggestions, anyone???!!!


Anonymous said...

Pretty excited to read the report and it did not disappoint! Congrats on this accomplishment. I was happy to see that the old cliches did not die from your live facebooking: "I don't even want to drive 100 miles!" etc, but I am sure that it stoked you along the way.

Gotta say, this is the one I thought that might break you, and not seeing anything on Twitter, I got kinda nervous, but I am glad that you pulled through.

That is some serious stuff, dude.

Crazymamaof6 said...

Freaking awesome! Congrats on finishing and this post was perfect. Kudos to you!

Anonymous said...

I was with the man through good times and bad but he never stopped for a minute. He was awesome and the whole family supported him and his friends the whole 24 plus hours (100 miles). His wife also ran a 7 mile stretch to keep him company during the night on those dark and lonesome country roads. It was a wonderful time for all of us and we hope that this will be the only 100 miler he does for a long long time.

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