Monday, June 25, 2012


This stuff is extreme!  I’m a spoiled pricess ultragal, and really struggled with the conditions…  extreme heat, hours rationing water and then running out miles before the water stop.  Heat rash, and total dehydration… Camping in the dusty wind... Even the rest day today was extreme as we sat in what shade we could find and got blasted by sand in the wind.  It was more about survival than performance out there…

But, the racers and support staff were fantastic, and though I fell down (literally) in the face of the extremes I had a great time getting to know an awesome group of people.  If I am lucky, our paths will cross in the future in more genteel circumstances. 

From my training log:

Day 1: Planned 20 miles, actual 20 miles (7:00:49 hours).  Started at 1:30pm in wicked heat. Was seriously struggling to keep cool, and ended up in the shade of a little tree at mile 5. Heartrate would go sky high with any effort. Soaked my shirt, got some ice at the aid staton and hiked it to mile 14. Then was able to jog to the finish. Made the cutoff, and then they added 30 extra minutes due to the heat. Well into the 100s.  Forgot to mention I took a fall and got a nice handprint sized bloomer ony hip and road rash on my left shin. 

Day 2: Planned 39 miles, actual 24 miles (7ish hours). Not sure how long it actually was, but at least 7 hours. Slept quite poorly as when I fell yesterday's bruised my hip and every time I rolled there it hurt. Got up and planned to take it easy. Was suffering at the mile 14ish water stop after a long gradual and then milish steep hill. Drank alot and recovered well in the downhill. Was again wicked hot with a blow dryer style wind. After the next aid station we dropped down an asphalt road for 4 miles and it was horribly hot. Was getting tunnel vision and major unhappiness. Would not make the cutoff at this pace, so pulled out at the next water stop (24ish miles). The heat and I are not friends! Forgot to mention my new friend,... Heat rash. All over my legs.  Oh, and I fell again but it was into soft dusty sand, so I just made a painless POOF.

Day 3: Plannd 9miles, actual 9 miles (2:45).  Intentionally easy walked this stage. Hooked up with two others and had a great walk. still sleeping poorly. Hip still sore. Getting blisters but nothing I cannot handle. Had a good recovery afternoon.

Day 4: Planned 52miles, actual 27ish miles. (12'ish hours).  No good. Was again beyond hot. Hooked up with 3 others, which dropped to 2 at mile 14 water stop. Filled up all water holders, and we headed out with the intention of continuing easily until it started to get dark then "pick it up". 10 mile uphill, 100+ degree air temps (hotter on the ground surrounded by rock). We ran out if water and started sharing our last bottle between us 8 miles after the rest stop. Got very dizzy, dehydrated, overheated. Heat rash, elevated hr, stopped sweating. Went a few more miles stumbling along until we got water/medical attention. (several bottles of fluid, shivers, salt, etc.) Major ugliness. I cannot tolerate heat, and no water. End of the day. End of any thoughts of effort for me.

Day 5: Rest day. Day off at rats, but not exactly recovering... Was wicked hot with a strong wind causing dust to blow in and on everything at camp. I hate camping. I hate dust. I hate heat.

Day 6: Race 26.2 miles. Planned 7 miles.  Actual 7 miles.  Easy walked this with some lackadaisical downhill running. Started at the first aid station and did the "pretty section" of the course to get in some mileage, but in no stress. Wanted to take the time to enjoy the beauty of the day and this experience.  Did manage a quick trip, but only a wee bruise on my rump.  Went to the finish line and cheered everyone in, the happy tears helped to clean the dust out of my eyes.

Looking forward to this upcoming recovery week. Lessons learned here at RATS are that I am not tolerant of high temps, cannot handle lack of water, and am not much of a trail runner. Did really enjoy the week in a twisted way, but this was not a race for me, conditions were too extreme for that. Walking away with some sore muscles, a nice set of blisters, a healing hip bruise and some "road rash". Looking forward to getting in the pool, getting back on the bike, and switching running to some sort of speed building mode.

It was a great, head clearing adventure.  Time to go do some nice, non-extreme long stuff!  I really am a lucky girl to be able to challenge myself with stuff like this, and to meet and hang out with a great group of crazy people!

Go long (but not extreme)!

ps. My SturdyGirl sports bra held up to it all in fine fashion, with no chafing and no issues...  6 days of extreme and still extremely confortable!

pss.  Gu chomps were a bit hard to get down, but the Gu Brew Tabs rocked when I had water to put them in, and the Roctanes were dry, but doable even in the extremes.


Sean said...

Great job, and an even better perspective. Always amazed at how well you handle adversity.

it's all about pace said...

great fun hanging out with you ... and Drew.

let me know when you will be back in Jax.