Monday, September 8, 2008

Wasatch 2008 DNF

Well, despite the lack of updates - I've been training like crazy this season for this years Wasatch 100. As you can see by my pacing chart, I had big goals.

I knew I trained hard enough to break 30 hours, and I even put down sub-24 hour splits as a long shot. Rather than detail 24 hours of misery, I'll just give you the highlights:

What Went Wrong

  • Bad luck. It's been tough watching some of the other big busts in the ultra world this season - like Karl Meltzer forfeiting his speed record attempt due to injuries. I just didn't think it would happen to me this year because my training has gone so flawlessly.

  • My stomach turned on me. It may have been a bug or it may have been something I ate, but once my stomach started going sour it just kept getting worse and none of the tricks I knew worked: chewing ginger, drinking soda, eating solid food, taking electrolyte pills and even not eating for a while to see if things would settle. By the last 10 miles into Brighton, I was puking and dry-heaving every time I tried to run, eat or drink.

  • My legs died. Normally, this is something I can recover completely from. Unfortunately, the way to recover is to get some calories down - especially protein - and that just wasn't happening. One by one, every muscle started seizing and cramping until I was shuffling at a ridiculous pace. Dead legs alone is never a reason to quit, but it diminishes any fun factor really fast.

  • My knees blew out. My left knee cap has a tendency to go slightly out of its normal track and start gouging away at the sensitive stuff underneath (the doc said it was patella femoral syndrome.) I found that I can avoid flare ups if I stretch and strengthen my inner quad muscles. Bad stomach => low calorie intake => leg muscle cramping => knee misalignment => a pretty bad day.

What Went Right

  • I had the best crew in the race! I was lucky enough to recruit the same crew from last year, and their experience really paid off. Joey kept me moving and laughing 36 miles longer than I could have gone on my own. Rich stayed up most of the night waiting to get me in the last 25 and I know that if I'd have let him try, I would have finished. My wife Lindsay was AWESOME! She was never phased by how awful I smelled or how loud I whined. She set a timer as soon as I walked into an aid station, sat me down while she and Joey took care of everything I needed while force-feeding me food and encouragement, then kicked me out right on the buzzer. She even made flashing signs for my little pit stop area that got a lot of compliments.

  • I didn't let the starting line excitement get to me and I started slow and easy until I was warmed up. I was able to keep my heart rate down and carry on conversations all the way into Francis Peak aid at mile 18.

  • I love my New Balance 790s and ran the first 39 in them, but I made a good choice by switching to my beefier Brooks Cascadias for the rocky downhill sections after Big Mountain. In the NB790s, I have to be really careful about my foot placements to avoid bruising which is hard when I'm really mentally and physically fatigued - so the heavier shoes let me move faster.

  • My aid station turn-arounds were awesome up until Lambs Canyon when things really fell apart. I met my goal of keeping crew stops to around 15 minutes and non-crew stops around a minute. I literally refilled my water, stuffed my pockets with food a got out of there.

  • Even though my stomach objected, I kept trying to eat and drink up till the end. Usually when I'm tired and nauseous I'll stop taking in fuel even though I know I need to because its just easier to keep mindlessly marching on.

Had my stomach cooperated, I have no doubt that I could have met all my goals. I'm disappointed, but I don't regret dropping because if I could rewind time I know I'd still make the same call. I think I confirmed it as I puked up everything I tried to eat the day after. So... I can't call this race a success but it's not a total failure either. I'm confident that next time I will break 30 hours at Wasatch... maybe I'll even chase the crimson cheetah...

1 comment:

kelly said...

Sorry about your DNF at Wasatch. My butt got kicked there too, last year. I thought that I could finish under 30 without a problem and then all hell broke loose. 35 hours of total torture! Then a week in the Hospital very sick. It killed me to think that I struggled there so much. Oh well, you'll be back to kick butt next year. Good luck.