Thursday, July 15, 2010

Couldn't Blame It On My Crotch at the San Diego 100 Mile

The quick summary I used in a facebook status update immediately post-race:  "San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run: 9 hours for the first 50 miles + 14 hours for the second 50 = somewhat bruised ego + same brass sub-24 hour buckle nonetheless + another beautiful and memorable life experience."

Enough as a cute tweet, but not enough for a blog and kind of boring.

before we began, photo by Ysa Myers

Before I begin, here is a picture of Stan Debuonis, RD for Masanutten (Mountain Trails 100 Mile), handing me my sub-24 hour silver buckle.  These buckles come with a personalized engraved plate in the back, including your name, time and place--  one of the nicest buckles you can get.

So I was both the last to receive MMT buckle, and the first to receive a buckle at San Diego.  Now we can begin!

leaving the campground at the start, photo Scott Crellin

You want to know, right?  Not to rub away my scrotum again, I was ultra-fastidious with the lubrication.  Perhaps I overdid it, but first, the electrocuted rat doesn't press the wrong lever again; Massanutten was too brutal and prolonged lesson.  Second, that unintended joke on myself is probably bloggable only once a decade.  I used a zinc-oxide based diaper rash cream (Earth's Best Organic Diaper Relief Ointment by JASON, a post-Massanutten gift from my sister), carried the sample-sized Aquaphor tube, asked for Vaseline at a couple of aid stations, but was treated to superior Desitin (also zinc-oxide based) and at the Stonewall Mine aid station (mile 58.9, whose volunteers incidentally included the publisher and managing editor of Ultrarunning), volunteer Dave Cepoi gave me this cream with grit in it call Brave Soldier Friction Zone, that was guaranteed to work.  Not only did it work-- during the next 10 or so miles, it was a true pleasure feeling my inner thigh slide along my sac.  Thanks, David!

David running the Avalon Benefit 50 miler 16 years ago.

First 30+ miles, ran a fair amount with or near Rho Quicksilver teammate Sean Lang.  I finally lost him during a soft, runnable loop from and to Pine Creek aid station (miles 30.7 and 35.4), and he dropped at mile 50.6 due to worsening shin splints.

photo by Rick Gaston

On the first of two sustained ascents from Pine Creek (mile 35.4) to Pioneer Mail (mile  43.5), caught up with two runners.  One, Brian Polley, soon sped ahead, never to be seen by me again, and he would finish 2nd overall.  The other, Jai, wasn't in such a hurry.  Turned out we were in the same special category-- daddies with kids aged 5 and 2, though I told him he had it a bit easier since he had one of each instead of two boys.  I think I won in this category, since Jai isn't on the finisher's list so also must have dropped.  Could be some jinx for talking to me too much.

Though, not to complain about awards, since this race sort of  beats most for race schwag:  long sleeve race shirt, short sleeve finisher's shirt, a medal AND a buckle, bottle, coffee mug, and at the finish a choice of Moeben sleeves, canvas shoulder bag that got used the rest of our family vacation, cap courtesy San Diego Running Company, Dirty Girl gaiters or Injinji socks or Moeben sleeves (I went with another pair of Moebens, since I wear these often, needed a grey pair, thanks again, Shannon).  Maybe I'm forgetting something-- I am awash in race schwag!

Speaking of buckles, so despite taking over 8 hours to run the last 28.5 miles (plus 1.5 bonus), I was able to finish under 23 hours, and so got the brass sub-24 hour buckle, instead of the bronze buckle all the over-24 hour finishers got. Huh? Don't get it. Olympic medals: gold=1st, silver=2nd, bronze=3rd. Since when is brass better than bronze? Was my medal made from recycled tubas? Someone please explain-- I really don't have time to research this.

On the drive down to SoCal Thursday (we stayed at Arcadia, near Pasasdena), my younger son vomited on the slightly windy pass on I-5.  I thought maybe he was developing motion sickness like I have, but he had some runny stool that night.  Friday morning, while I drove backwards up I-5 to retrieve my older son's sandals we had left on beach north of Oceanside, he had this uncontrollable explosive diarrhea, resulting in a full hour's delay to temporarily and more completely clean him up.

half an hour before tragedy struck

So, was prepared to come down with their same gastroenteritis during the race.  Fortunately, I was able to snag the sole toilet in the lodge 10 minutes before race start, and held out until mile 80.  I had almost run out of around mile 57, so started upping my food intake at the aid stations.  Leaving Sunrise for the 2nd time, I felt a liquidy urge, but lacking wipes or a decent place to pull over, managed to run another 7 miles holding in it.
(Holy Crap-- did I really do that?)

At the Pioneer Mail aid station (mile 87.5), I asked where the Portalet was.  First woman pointed me back to the woods.  I got some wipes and a small plastic bad, decided I'd do it somewhere more discrete on the trail, fueled.  Before I left, asked again about the bathroom.  A couple more volunteers discussed this, and confirmed, no bathroom there.  I decided just to get it done with.

not the San Diego course, but Col-de-Portalet (the yellow pin far right), where Portalets come from.

In case you haven't tried it yourself, it can be very hard to squat 87.5 miles into a running race.  Plus the dirt wasn't very loose, so spent more than a minute trying to bury my job.  Stepping back over the fence, a final volunteer informed me that indeed there were bathrooms, a little bit down the parking lot.
"I guess we'll let future runners know," one of the volunteers apologetically assured me.
"No, don't-- unfair advantage!" I replied, smiling.....

As late as mile 70 I was thinking of asking to use someone's cell phone to call or text my wife, so that she would put the cabin key in our car before she went to bed.

The idea was that, after finishing at about 3 and no later than 3:30 am (20-20.5 hours), I would walk three miles along Sunrise Highway and take a nice 2-3 hour nap before my family got up.  I could shower, eat breakfast and then go back to the start feeling all refreshed to hang out, cheer runners in, get my drop bags, then we'd head to Carlsbad to the resort we'd booked for the week.

But I had too much to remember at Sweetwater (mile 71.7), and maybe it was too late anyways.
I was even well enough to mostly jog 4 miles up to Sunrise.  Then about mile 77, I started to decelerate.  Wtf, wtf, WTF was I thinking?

The stretch from Sunrise (mile 80.3) to Pioneer Mail (mile 87.5) (where I was waiting to take a dump) was a also a gaunlet these low lying bushes, a gauntlet of poking and scratching branches that made my hairy but beautiful legs, scratch and occasionally bleed.  It was very distressing!

The last aid station I asked for a garbage bag since it was really getting cold even with my jacket.  I convinced myself I could run the whole stretch without walking, and was up to steady clip as it started to become light.

I'm going to blame my subsequent mishap on the mist with each exhalation that kept obscuring my view (in fact, I had to turn my light off earlier than I had wanted because of this).  I missed the ribbons on the right and went off course-- well actually I was on course, and I remember running on it before, which is partly what threw me off, but it was the course 80 or 90 miles earlier.  Three-quarters of the mile down the wrong path, I decided I was going too long without seeing ribbons and decided to turn around, but had lost my momentum.

Analyzing the results later, I lost 2 places, and got triple-chicked, which, being secure with my masculinity, I can live with; but also went from 9th to 11th place, which is tougher to accept because I would've been able to say I finished top 10, but now I could also say I finished top 11.  This just looks pathetic, like those guys with receding hairlines who comb 3 hairs over their huge bald spot, thinking that you won't notice that they are basically bald when it is so patently obvious.

glamour shot of me being medalled with probably too MUCH stuff on my head, by Ysa Myers

One way around this is if I borrow a place from my 9th place at Massanutten, then the average of the two is 10.  "I averaged top 10 at the first two 100 mile races this year."  Am I not cool?

On a serious note, this guy who I will keep anonymous who passed me at Pioneer Mail, got lost with his pacer at mile 99, wandered 6 extra miles, before ending up at the Penny Pines aid station (miles 23.6 and 91.5) and getting a ride back.  I suggested to him he just jog backwards to mile 99 and then run in, but he didn't seem interested.  Personally I'd swallow the extra hour to hour and a half and several places, and get my medal and buckle.  But to each his own.

Finish area at the Al Bahr Shrine Camp.  I was lazy and didn't take a lot of photos.


Why did I crump the last 20 or so miles?  A few factors:

1. Altitude
Most of the race is above 5000 feet including all of the first 27 and last 20 miles.  I was feeling it a lot above 5400 feet.  Not as painful as chafing, but maybe slows me down as much.

2. Suboptimal spring training
My wife agrees that running 100+ milers too early in the year ruins my speed build-up and leads to     slower times.   However, I point out to her that aside from the crotch problem, I ran a smart race at Masanutten and would've finished a few places higher.

3. Running too much without recovery
Rick Gaston thinks that four weeks after my last 100 mile race is not adequate recovery time.  Rick is usually right.  His race report.

Rick at Paso Picacho aid station.  Photo courtesy of Jonathan Bernard.

4. Not crapping when I first felt the urge.  In general, this is Against Medical Advice (AMA).  If you feel the urge, do it!

5.  Getting behind on my calories--after leaving Sunset (about halfway point), started feeling weak on what should have been a fast gently rolling section of the course.  At Stonewall Mine, I ate up, but in doing so was standing too long, so when I left the aid station, I was so stiff I could barely do more than walk for more than a mile.

I suspect this photo was taken at an earlier aid station, but this is the only sort-of action photo of just me I could find, so I'll stick it here.  photo courtesy Scott Crellin, though I haven't actually asked him.

6. I just suck.
This sounds better, is more humble than the "I am so cool" from the last section, and by ending abruptly with this I get to finish this already too long post faster.

7. My crotch was TOO lubed, it was flopping around all over the place!

Bonus brief blog posting by me (does NOT repeat any of the nonsense I wrote here):

Sportiva Runners take 1st and 2nd After Throwing Out the Top Ten at the San Diego 100 Mile


Garmin Forerunner recorded maps:
miles 0-36
miles 36-72
miles 72-100 (plus the bonus 1.5 miles)

part of how I got my family to let me do this race

race website
results (btw, this year's new course apparently was a lot harder than previous years', so don't compare)
everyone's splits

my picasa photo album

I'd post links to everyone's blogs, but you've probably already read them, right...?


greydawn said...

OMG so funny! and dang you are an animal 100 mile race~nightmare! I laughed so feaking hard because while I ran my first(and to date only) marathon in Los Angeles this past year no one told me about chaffing and I suddenly developed an external hemorrhoid at around mile 20 way on earth I was stopping I powered through the race (at my snail pace of 6:00!) and could almost not sit for a week! makes me wonder if i will ever do another 26.2 let alone a brutal 100 miles!

ToshiMoshi said...

Your best yet 100 mile report!! Very inspirational and educational. Always amazed with how you juggle work/family/running.
I knew Twitter was too short for you. Can't wait to read your Tahoe adventure!

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

@greydawn -- external hemorrhoids can be bad--ask my wife after our 2nd baby. luckily I've never had that problem. Congrats to you for powering through it. I guess you should stick lube up your butt. Good luck on your upcoming 2:30-goal Half!
@ToshiMoshi -- Thanks, Man!

screllin said...

A belated congrats on your SD100 finish, just came across your blog. Good reading! Glad you put my pictures to some use.

Scott Crellin

Chris Price said...

Thanks for the SD100 report and garmin info - good stuff! SD will be my first hundo, can't wait to run it, not doing it this year hunh? Happy training,


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