This past weekend was my third ultra marathon in four months. This one was the Run With Scissors Double Marathon. A 26.2+ mile loop (according to Garmin) that we had to run two times. What was not to like about this race? A ton of my friends were running it, it was in CVNP, and – the weather was incredible! OK that last part? Yeah. Not so much.
This race started at the Ledges Shelter at CVNP, the same location that Winter Run for Regis (50k I’m doing in January) does and a number of other races. I went into this race grossly undertrained. In fact, I haven’t “trained” for a race since Burning River. This could account for my DNF at around mile 47 at Yo Mommas 100 Miler last month. Although lack of training aside, the breathing problem that took me out of Yo Mommas resurfaced here at RWS around mile 3x.x. I was able to deal with it a little better this time tho. I kept my composure better, didn’t panic, slowed down and caught my breath. I did try to drop from this race three times tho – twice out loud, once in my head and in another instance two guys tried talking me out of continuing.
The race started with a pre-race meeting hosted by none other than the Grim Reaper himself.
It has been raining like a MOTHER the past few days and this course is notorious for being muddy. This year was no different, it.was.muddy. Cold and muddy. I normally try to take pictures and/or video while running so that could share these experiences but with this race I was only able to take one video, for two reasons. The first was it was 41deg and raining and the touch screen on my iPhone was not cooperating. The second because it was so cold and rainy my hands and fingers were not cooperating. I was having a difficult time bending my fingers and grasping my phone. So much so that I was afraid I would en up dropping it! Here is the only video I took. This was from sometime in the first loop, well before conditions worsened.
By the end of the second loop; small ankle-deep creek crossings became knee-high streams, mud puddles that would simply splash out-of-the-way became vats of muck that seemed to swallow your feet in attempts to steal your shoes. So wish I had at least a couple of pics of these conditions… Oh the animal print in the video I was wearing? I did say it was a Halloween run didn’t I? More on that in a little bit…
I don’t think that there were many pictures taken from our start. The above one I think is from the start of the marathoners. I only included it to illustrate that there are other “crazies” as I’ve been called 🙂
The first marathon went very well. There were quite a few of us running this race so the first 10 miles or so went by VERY quickly. I hung with Eric and Charlie for quite a while however Charlie was running like a man possessed and I’m not quite sure where Eric and I ended up splitting up. I came into start finish after the first loop feeling good and smiling.
After coming into start finish I was soaked to the bone and freezing! I needed to make a quick change and head back out. Sounded easier than it really was. I ducked out of my costume pulled off my shirt and started to get a new one on. With as cold and stiff as my hands were, I couldn’t believe how incredibly difficult doing this was. I also could barely pull on a set of sleeves. With the conditions the way they were the drop rate for the double marathon was nearly 50%! Forty five started and after the first loop nineteen dropped.
I spent way too much time here and at this point I cooled off and was now shivering quite uncontrollably. Two other of the double marathon runners that I came in with decided enough was enough for them and tried talking me out of going back out. I knew though, from past experience all I needed to do was to start running again and I’d warm right back up. So off I went!
The beginning of my second loop was going very well; hit the next aid station, grabbed a bite to eat, refilled my water and off again. The “feeling good” I was feeling… didn’t last quite so long this time. The breathing problem started creeping back up on me. This time though I was able to slow down, breathe deeply and get it somewhat under control. I hit the aid station at about mile 3x.x feeling a bit beaten. The volunteers there congratulated me for doing so well, told me that only a handful of people were in front of me and that the guy behind me wasn’t too far – I better get moving. I choked down some food, and wandered off.
(Attempt #1) After running for about a quarter-mile I was feeling rough and actually turned around to head back to the aid station. I walked about 50-100yards and as the runner behind me approached, told him I was pulling the plug. I told him I think I was done and he told me he tried to drop at the last aid station as well. Said he got there and told them he was dropping and that his wife should be there shortly. After he waited a bit one of them let him use their phone. This is how his conversation went as he described it.
Him, “Hi honey. Yeah, I’m at the aid station. I’m done. Where are you guys at?”
Her, “Well, since we weren’t going to make it there on time, we decided not to come. Sorry”
He told the volunteers what had happened and as they were laughing their butts off, he decided what the hell — might as well press on. So, I thought – well… if he can do it – so can I! Off we went together for a while. At this point, his pace was a bit faster than mine and soon I lost him in the distance.
(Attempt #2 – in my head) I finished this loop and made my way back to the aid station. The Grim Reaper – I mean, race director was there and I was inquiring about my time and how closely I was to not making the cutoff time. He said I was nowhere near the cutoff and that I was doing fantastic – and to get back out there! In hind-sight, he was the Grim Reaper – perhaps more of a selfish goal on his part.. you know to collect my soul when I collapsed.
(Attempt #3) From this point on I did MUCH walking. My legs felt pretty good, feet were a bit sore – but with the mud, the rain, the sleet, the cold temps, I was just getting beat down. I approached the final aid station and they were all in such high spirits! Hooting and hollering, ringing cow bells – how could that not lift your spirits. I stopped there for quite a while and expressed my concerns of continuing on. This was quickly met with a, “Are you kidding me!?!? You’re doing great! You only have 2.1 miles to go!!” 2.1 miles were THEY kidding me? I had to ask them this several times and also urged them to not play any pranks on me! If 2.1 miles is all that was left – with the pace I was going at worst that’s just over a half an hour. Another half an hour wasn’t going to stop me. We kind of have a saying; “I could do anything for xxxxxxx” In this case, I could do anything for a half an hour! Recharged by the knowledge of only having such a short distance till I finished, I left that aid station. 2.1 miles, 2.1 miles… almost done! I kept telling myself I could do this – and do this I did! I finished this race – 53.4 miles (according to Garmin) in 12hrs. 33min. and 47sec. – oh yeah, I won the costume contest too 🙂 Check out the Runkeeper data here. I think Seeing my last two races I felt like crap around the same mile marker only means that I need to run farther on training runs. I think I need to more regularly feel what it feels like at mile 30/40 and still have more to run. No different than training for a 5k, 10k or marathon – it’s the same theory, just different distances.
One hundred fifty-nine people were bad ass enough to toe the line this morning. Forty-five for the double, sixty-six for the single marathon, and 48 for the 10k. One hundred fifty-nine people who I have the utmost respect for and many of whom I consider friends — bad ass friends. Check out some more pics that were taken by the event photographer here.
Next up? Bills Badass 50k. I am ‘mentoring” a close friend of mine for this race. Which really means, we are going to run this race together and have a kick ass time! Doug — we are going to crush it!
I do have some more catching up still; how the kids’ football season ended, pumpkin carving party, my last summer CSA post and a couple of recipes that I’ve tried out. There’s always something going on!!