Sliver State 50k (31.2 miles)
Race # 223
Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
Pace: 10 minutes 25 seconds (per mile)
Place: 8th Overall, 6th Male Division, 2nd Age Group
Ascent/Decent: 6,100 ft.
Man O Man... What an experience!!!
Being that this was my first Ultra-Marathon I did not know what to expect. For those of you who do not know what an Ultra-Marathon is, it's a race that's anything over 26.2 miles (a regular marathon) which normally takes place on trail. The night before the race I felt like I wasn't going to be able to sleep. I began questioning everything I had done in preparation for this race and once again had some doubt in my mind. I began to wonder if my diet was correct? Did I work out my core hard enough? Did I get in enough time on my feet? Did I get enough miles in? Did I focus on my vertical gain enough in my training runs? Did I work out my legs hard enough in the gym? What will my speed workouts do for me? Is my injury going to affect me at all during the run? All of these questions were rapidly going through my mind when I was laying down before bed. I decided to turn on some music, read a few of my favorite runners blogs, and watch a few inspirational videos. This calmed me down a bit and allowed me to be more positive on the task that would be at hand. I came to the conclusion that all of my questions I bombarded myself with would be answered at my 7 a.m. start.
When waking up Saturday morning at 5:50 a.m. my adrenaline was pumping. I took a quick shower to wake myself up and try to calm down. This seems to be my pre race ritual. I gathered my belongings and Tyler and I were out the house by 6:15 a.m. We met my Dad at Rancho San Rafael Park where the race began. I'm glad my Dad was there because he kept me calm before the race, and he's had previous experience running Ultras himself. Before the race started I took my first Cliff Shot and drank a minimal amount of water. I did a few push ups to get my blood going and then figured it was time to put the body glide on my feet and back. The race director kept calling out for people to check in and yelling out how much time before the race started. Normally, those who go out would say it's "T SHIRT TIME" with Jersey Shore esque before getting ready to rock n' roll, but for Tyler and I who was also racing with me in the 50k, it was "T SHIRT OFF TIME". It was time to rip and see where we stood as endurance athletes.
It was interesting watching everyones faces as Tyler walked up to the start line because those of you who know the running world, Tyler could easily be considered Anton Krupicka. It was awesome seeing the looks on peoples faces because seeing Anton at a race whether hurt or not can be awesome and discouraging in several ways. As, the countdown began 3, 2, 1... the race began. It was sprinkling outside, but felt great. Two guys who were strong runners Peter and Gary were quickly out of site, and to me out of mind. The race I was running was against myself. In the beginning of the race a few of us in a pack quickly pushed the pace. I had to stop twice within the first 10 minutes of the race to retie my shoes (frustrating). The first part of the race was around the Evans Creek trail which I ran a lot during my training. This section of the race is fairly rocky with a ton of switchbacks as we made our first small climb. This climb always makes your legs tight and your heart rate rise. I loved it because getting that first uncomfortable feeling out on your run feels great! Once we hit out first aid station "The Radio Towers" (3.8 miles) there was no stopping. I hadn't drank any water out of my bottles and didn't have any reason to stop. Tyler and I ran together and saw a about 5 others in front of us. It sucks where you're running and see people in front of you especially when you know you can catch them and or be in front of them and create some separation. But then, you also have to think to yourself that you are only around mile 4, there's still 27 to go that you can pass them. I thank Tyler for being there with me because he just kept reminding me that "It's early in the race and we will get them later."
As we ran with ease through this next section of the course we got the the next aid station "The Pond" (7 miles). The Pond was somewhere that I had never seen or found on any of my runs. I was curious to see where this Pond was located. Truthfully, I was expecting some huge body of water, only to be let down by some rinky dink green gross body of water. As we stopped at this aid station I took my first two S CAPS and hammered down a Cliff Shot. Once again Tyler and I quickly took off from the aid station. I still did not need to fill up my water bottles. All of the training with minimal to no water really paid off on race day. As we treked are way to the Peavine Summit where the next aid station was, we came to a section that was a small uphill and a small switchback downhill. I was about 2 feet behind Tyler and about 5 feet behind the guy who was directly in front of us. I learned my first lesson in Ultra Running quickly. DO NOT BE DIRECTLY IN SOMEONE'S BACK POCKET. As I followed down the switch back quickly, while pushing off the side of the mountain I was gifted with a quick, loose dirt, downhill. This was fall #1 which took a toll on my left leg. There's nothing like rubbing your leg on some rocks to leave you bloody as hell. O well, I kept marching forward. After this stumble we came up to the bottom of the road on Peavine. I started to feel like I was at home once again because this was another place we spent a lot of time training on. It was time to pass some of those people who were ahead of us and like Tyler said "Put your head down and run, it's all muscle memory now." As we scaled this beast of a mountain we made up a lot of time and ground while passing those who had to walk. By the way? Walk the first BIG climb? Did you sign up to walk or run? I don't know it just bothered me a bit, but hey, it just motivated me to move forward.
As we got to the Summit before we dropped down the backside of Peavine we hit an aid station around mile 13. The people working at the aid station saw Tyler and I just trucking uphill and asked if we have ever ran this mountain before. I point to what we call "The Grunt" which is all the way up to the top of Peavine and said "Yes, we train on this mountain weekly, and actually finish out uphill right there." The lady looked at me like we were insane. It was a great face! As we dropped down the backside of Peavine it was extremely rocky and steep. I was about a minute ahead of Tyler out of the aid station, but knew his downhill skills would quickly put him ahead of me. The guy RIPS downhills, it's amazing to watch. Tyler passed me and was a head of me by about 2 and a half minutes. As were were running, there was an old guy that we were referred to as "Grandpa or Old Fuck". This goon was old, consistent with his uphill, and had the weirdest gear ever (Lime Green Swim Shorts). But Grandpa pushed the pace along with Tyler and I. We both agreed to not lose to this guy. Losing to him was not an option. But, as I caught up to Grandpa on some tiny little rolling hill (dirt bike hills) I didn't realize that my shoe was untied. COMBAT ROLL BOOM! Fall #2. Yes, all I could think of to myself was "THAT JUST HAPPENED". I quickly got up and kept on running.
I finally got to the next aid station "Ranch Creek" (mile 15). As I pulled up I finally met up with Tyler. This was the second wiz I had to take in about 30 minutes. I quickly shot down some S CAP and a Cliff Shot and carried on my way. The guys working the aid station said you have about 3/4 of a mile climb right now, hang a hard right, and then get ready for some murky trail. Awesome! Not! The 3/4 climb was in sand. It sucked. Tyler and I power walked this climb and took off running once again after the hard right. The guys at the aid station were not lying when they said murky trails. The trails were grassy and wet dirt. During this stretch I began to sweat a lot and I hit my first wall. The negativity poured on me like no other. I kept wondering where and how far "Old Fuck" was behind me. All of this bombarded me and pissed me off along with feeling fatigued. I figured the next aid station was going to be back up Peavine on the summit, but after 15 miles and the terrible trail I was on at the moment, I couldn't fathom thinking about getting back up Peavine on the rocky terrible steep downhill backside. Well, that what was in store. Once got back to the climb Tyler was a bit ahead of me power hiking up the mountain. All of the sudden out of nowhere "Old Fuck" who is consistent as hell with his climbs came power hiking right by me. I was pissed off and wanted to scream. How was "Grandpa" ahead of me again? I just smoked past him about 2 miles ago. I kept hiking keeping him and Tyler in sight. All of the sudden I lost Tyler out of sight, but didn't see him on the trail, all I could see was "Old Man River". Out of nowhere I hear a loud "CAAA CAAA" it was Tyler and he was behind me coming out of some brush. I asked him what he was doing and he said he had just took a shit. I asked him how he cleaned himself up and he replied "With a rock bro." Unreal. He then followed up with a quote the from beast Dave Mackey "It pays off to dump off." For some reason this instantly took me out of my negative mood. We laughed on got to the top of Peavine.
Once we hit the Peavine Summit aid station (mile 21) I knew this is where the real race would begin. Tyler was quickly out of the aid station to kill the downhill which he is best at. Then this BAD ASS GIRL who I shared a few words with at the aid station who told me her legs were feeling "fatigued from Mikwok 100 (62 miles)" two weeks before this bolted out of the aid station followed by Grandpa. As I finally left the aid station I quickly passed Grandpa. This was the last time I would see him until he crossed the finish line AFTER me. This part of the race was completely different than the beginning. Tyler and the girl were out of sight and out of mind. I knew the chances of me catching those bad ass down hill runners was slim to none. So, I made a goal for myself. Nobody will catch or pass me from here on out and if I stick to that I'll finish my first Ultra-Marathon in the top 10. As I ran downhill my right ankle bothered me a bit. I shrugged off the pain and decided to push myself in hopes that the pain would run itself off. This part of the course was rocky filled with moderate uphill and downhill running. For some reason I felt strong at this point and I started to believe that the weights training paid off.
As I cruised in the Ridge View aid station (miles 25) there was not a sole behind me. I was actually starving at this point in the race. When I got to the aid station the people working were grilling quesidillas. These quesidillas tasted like heaven. I also ate some pretzels and brownies. All of these food I stay away from during training were now okay to eat? Ahhhh YESS!!! As I left this aid station I knew by the time I got to mile 29 I could say I have now completed my first marathon ever. This would be considered the longest run I have ever done on trails in one standing. Yes, one standing not sitting. Once again, this part of the race I cruised and kept a solid pace not needing any water or Cliff Shots.
As I came back to the Radio Towers aid station (mile 29) I was greeted with a ton of positive words and vibes from the people working. They told me I looked great and I look like I've been here before. Clearly, that was not the case, as I told them this was my first Ultra-Marathon. These two guys didn't believe me. HAHA. As I headed out of the last aid station for my final two miles into the finish, I had one last climb. As I reached the peak of the last climb, I looked back to see a guy coming into the aid station behind me. No way was I going to be caught at mile 30 by somebody. This is where I took a deep look inside myself and pushed the last mile and a half as hard as I could. It reminded me of training with Tyler when he would come back if he finished before me and would challenge me to a race before we finished. When I got to the point that I was going to run back through the tunnel into Rancho San Rafael Park, my eyes started watering. I haven't completed an athletic event with this caliber of competition in a long time. It took a lot of dedication, time, and discipline on my part. As I've said before in my other blogs, "Running is an individual sport and if you fail it's on you and nobody else." This was a huge accomplishment and I was proud of the hard work I put in for this. Not too many college kids during there last semester of school would want to stay in on Thursday - Saturday night so that they could get in 20+ miles runs the next days and multiple hours on their feet. That was me this semester, that was this guy, I had something to prove to myself.
As I approached the Finish Line (mile 31.2) I was greeted by Tyler running out to to me to tell me to finish the last part of my run strong (As Always), BIG AUST, Connor, and my Dad. It was a great feeling, but even better to see that I finished in 6th place in 5 hours and 20 minutes. Woooweee what a day!
Dad - Without your inspiration and love for running I would have never even considered doing and Ultra-Marathon. Truly, you were my biggest inspiration and I thank you for being a huge supporter of mine. Also, thank you for the bottles, the Cliff Shots, the S CAPS, and the Garmin. Thank you for driving up at 4 a.m. to see me toe the line.
Tyler - I can't say enough about you man. You're one of the greatest people/friends I have ever had in my life and will come across in my life. Thank You for the rides, helping me diet, teaching me how to run, being my support, pushing me when I didn't want to be pushed, and simply giving me the confidence and encouragement to take on this challenge. I'm glad I got to run my first Ultra-Marathon with you (it will NEVER be forgotten). Maybe one day my downhill skills will be as good as yours and we both can compete like we do in our training runs and race to the finish line against each other.
Connor - You're a beast bro. I admire you and your running skills more than anybody. You have more heart and more balls than anyone I know to compete with the BIG boys. I look up to you and hope one day I will be on your level. I dig your cologne. One day I hope to race with you and compete against you because in order to be the best you gotta beat the best. Like you told me "It pays the cost to be the boss." I hope we all run for the rest of our lives and one day we can have a known crew that people don't want to see toeing the line next to them on race day (some Tony, G-OFF, Killian-esque). MOUNTAIN TIGERS. Also, thank you for the Montrails.
Fong - My BIG BROTHER that I never had. Thank You for being my mentor and guidance with everything. You helped me to stay focused and on track with my goals. Greatly appreciated.
Stephanie - Thank You for always staying on my ass especially those dumb nights that I would go drink or want to go drink. Without that nagging and reminding me to be responsible I could have fallen off track multiple times. Youdayouda best! Thank You for the NB Minimus.