Tuesday, June 27, 2017

It was a dropdown but redemption is still sweet

150 mile monkey (Pigtails Challenge 150 mile run, May 26-28, 2017)

Late entry. 
I’m fairly certain Monte planted the seed in my head to do Pigtails 200. The phases of runner self-delusion- “snort, no waaaaay… to “hmmm nothing else to do that weekend”…. to “if it’s gonna suck, suck all the way”.

The Pigtails 100 was one of my first in 2012, but after my spectacular DNF at mile 129 of the Pigtails 150 in 2013, I really had no intention of ever going back to Lake Youngs. I mean why would anyone want to run 21 loops (9.4 mi/ 900 ft elevation each) of gravel paved loops over 3 days, let alone 16? But in the end it was just the realization that I had bitten off more than I wanted to chew, no need to go down with the cool ship; I wasn't even looking for redemption, having learned the hard way with back-to-back DNFs at VT100 and JJ100. If you fail multiple times maybe someone up there is trying to tell you something. It's not so much that I felt a monkey on my back, it's just I saw some low-hanging fruit. I had pushed the boundaries of slowness and would have no expectations than to not go in with a plan to fail before I started. I knew, or so I thought, why I failed in 2013. This time I would get lots of sleep and never push into the red zone.

But time is cruel. Weight- the highest since I started running 12 years ago. Age? Old(er). Weather? Hot and sunny (mid-80s). Plus, I managed to injure an old tooth a few days before the race, and could not eat anything hot or chew on the left side of my mouth for 2 days prior. I was waking during the night with throbbing face pain and popping advil and T#3s to keep going through my workday, and finally got in to see my dentist.
“you probably need a root canal, and possibly an extraction”
“um, but I have to run a 150 mile race tomorrow morning”
“why don’t you go across the hall to see Dr. W right now?”
so I race home and put a sign on my door for Francine and Henrik, who were driving up from Rossland that day but don’t believe in cell phones. “had to go for emergency root canal- please let yourselves in”. It was not fun but at least I scored some vicodin, which helped me get back to sleep when the novocaine wore off.

There were only 5 of us in the 150 miler, including the winner of the previous years’ race. Of course I get hungry right away I keep forgetting I can't eat solid food (DOH!.... DOH!) but continuous T#3s help. The loops are not as bad as I remember but after 3 loops it is apparent I can’t keep up with Francine, at least not if I want to keep going for the long haul. I know she wanted to run with me (since I had a pacer coming) at night but I decided to activate my intentions to “sleep early and sleep often”

After 4 loops I am overheating and the bugs are out. Hendrik generously lets me borrow Francine;s tent, since sleeping in the 90 degree car is not an option. I put on dry clothes and laid down, waited an hour for my feet to stop throbbing.

I must have dozed off because my alarm went off, and I got re-dressed before meeting Francesca, who was going to pace me on night #1. The temps were cooler and I had a couple pieces of pizza in me but it was hard to keep up with her. After another couple of loops, she decides to stop due to nagging old leg injury. I’m on my own for the Death Zone which is 3-6 AM.

I was supposed to meet Francine to start the morning at 5:30 AM but I start weaving and waking up a few feet away from where I last remember, couple times ran off the path and into the fence. It took me well over 4 hours to get back and I saw Francine looking fresh as a daisy coming the other way.
Just like at Lean Horse, I was so slow that people were wondering if I was dead.

Back at the aid station I was still in slow mo, taking >1 hour just to change my socks. I felt like walking and did 2 loops with my Canadian twin Susan H. who was starting the 100k. I got hot right away and I decide to nap earlier. I text Elmer to come later than planned, when it would be cooler.

I decided to nap just on my sleeping bag in the common area since it was shady, and made the very very bad decision not to fully change into dry clothes before doing so. So waking up 3 hours later damp, chafed, and smelly was my reward.

Elmer has arrived with McDonalds! Big mac soooo good going down and initially energized, but then the bloat of continuous eating and drinking electrolytes and coca cola hits. I know I'm fat-that's another reason I can't handle FB photos- it's almost like seeing myself on National Enquirer, I had no idea it was that bad. 

I meet Jill my pacer for night #2. She had just run a trail 50k that day and gone to a dinner party so she was already tired and  I’m pretty sure her intent was not to stay all night; but I think she, being a veteran of many 100s, could tell I needed help. By the 2nd loop I’m back to weaving and pausing mid-step and running into the fence half asleep, despite trekking poles. She kept telling me, "stop fencing".

By the time I get back from yet another 4+ hour loop, I realize I still have 30 miles to go, now 2 loops (~6 hours) behind the rest of the pack. But suddenly I’m awake and start running.

I run into Elmer who has come to pace me for a surprise 2nd loop. He had crossed the 100 mile marker with me on day 1, and here we were day 2 approaching the dreaded place where I DNFd 4 years ago, mile 129, where Dyno and Elmer had to gunny-sack me into a car and drive me home as I hallucinated Pikachu. I was much faster then but apparently, stronger now.

The penultimate lap will for here on out be known as the “Harry L Davis” lap.

Another friend, fellow Quadzilla legacy runner Brad who was volunteering, drove up on my last lap to wish me well. 

I didn’t anticipate how good redemption would feel, though how close I was to not making it I didn't probably realize at the time, how much help I really needed.

The post-race party was also a redemption. Few people came to the one in 2013, but this time was a blast. Francine (she is 60 and won the race outright) with her trophy,
wonderful friends busy with their own lives I hardly get to see.. 

The morning after is full of sobering realities. everything hurts and I can hardly move. Laundry. Charts. Reality. Pumpkin time. not that I ever doubted that painkillers really do work.... you play you pay and it's payup time for me.

1 comment:

  1. goldang - that really sounds like a fun time - I totally want to run that event again for a full distance. hint: i don't actually

    nonetheless - I'm glad the monkey could snatch that not-so-low hanging fruit, that's a crazy difficult accomplishment and hard-earned but deserved buckle.