Monday, September 22, 2014

Run Rabbit Run 100

Pain…That is what I had to endure June 2013. 5 days after completing a grueling 50k- The Dirty Thirty, I had a searing pain in my shoulder neck. I tried to tough it out going to the Chiropractor and running trails. My Chiro finally said this is an emergency and you need an MRI. 1 hour after my MRI I was referred to a surgeon and on July 14th I underwent a c6- c7 disc fusion. I did not have much of a choice…the surgeon said it was the worst disc she had ever seen and my muscle in my chest and arm was almost completely gone. My surgeon was discouraging when I asked about running pikes in 1 month after surgery. I decided to let my neck heal and watch my wife and friends complete the race and we went to Leadville to help crew my brother in law, Gabe. Mountains are in my blood. It was so hard not to be able to run. I was walking but that was even difficult without pain. The first 8 months were hard. I was barely able to run. So I decided to sign up for a 100 miler for some motivation. Run Rabbit Run is a Hardrock qualifier and it was in September, which gave me some healing time. I set up my training plan which consisted of hiking with my family, sweeping the first 20 miles of the dirty thirty course, 38 miles of pacing at Bighorn, and 40 miles of pacing at Leadville. My biggest training month was 139 miles in June. I completed my bighorn pacing duties and I felt pretty good until I had another neck issue during my sisters wedding. I was in excruciating pain and barely able to walk. I went to the chiro-(too scared to go to the doctor) and he fixed me up. He said it was a pinched nerve. My Chiro and I were encouraging each other. He also had a recent neck surgery. I was able to heal up and go climbing and hiking throughout the summer. I did my first multipitch climb in a while. I bought a pair of belay glasses so I do not have to look up to climb and belay. It has saved my neck. During this healing process, I also took on another Principalship closer to home. I am very excited to be leading a large elementary school and back to my old school district. The reason I am bringing this up is I have not had the consistent training required to undertake a 100 miler and so I was a little nervous toeing the line on September 12th. My mom flew into crew and my brother Joey and brother-in-law Gabe were on call for pacing duties. Porfidia and the boys were not able to make it because of missing school for Grandma’s funeral the week before and their first cross country meet. We stayed at one of Joey’s air force buddies place and got up early to get to the 8:00 AM start. I was really nervous and knew I would need to take it slow and steady. The first 5 miles was straight up a black diamond run…4,000 vert to the top and we wrapped around the mountain for a nice, downhill rolling section. I had no issues but I was feeling the 15 miles of mountain running. The next section back to town was a steep technical descent. I made use of a walk and run strategy. I got to the 23 mile mark in less than 5 hours and feeling tired and almost missed my crew. The next stage of the race was really interesting it was a rolling up and then down through more of a desert area. I got to meet lots of interesting people. I actually met a Principal from Cheyenne who was raising money for leukemia. I thought that was awesome. I was alone after the aid station for about 3 hours. I was on autopilot and feeling a bit emotional so I facetimed my family and told them I love them and I missed them. I ran quickly down to the 42 mile mark and took a bit of a breather, changed out shoes and ate what I could. I grabbed my pacer Gabe and we were off. We ran walked to a technical uphill segment. This is where the leaders paced me. It was cool running with Rob Krar and watching the leaders Jockeying at this point of the race. Headlamps began to fire up and I got to see the leaders get ready for the night section. I was feeling a bit lethargic and sick to my stomach at about mile 50. This was a low in the race for me. I got to the top of the climb and sat down by the fire. I tried to eat some ramen and broth. I immediately got sick and started to shake. I could not keep anything down and decided to just get out of the aid station and walk. I walked and walked until I began to get really lethargic. I took some caffeine and woke up. This is when I started to feel alive again and began running to mile 65. I met up with my crew and felt great. I ran the last 10 miles to mile 75 and picked up my brother Joey and we started hiking up the last long steep section. It was about 4:00 in the morning and I knew at this point I would finish. I thought only 30 more miles to go. What I did not realize is that it was a tough technical winding section that was hard on tired beat up legs. In the morning hours it was just beautiful, but I was tired and I wanted to be finished. When 9:30 hit I only had 15 more to go. I thought I could cruise and finish in 28 hours. I was tired physically and mentally. I ended up just going, going and going. The last 6 miles were straight down hill and my legs did not enjoy it. I just remember apologizing over and over again to Joey. We just pushed though it and finished in 29 hours and 12 minutes. Good enough for the sub 30 gold buckle. I really did not think I was fit enough to pull that off. I was too tired to really enjoy the feeling of finishing a tough race that comprised of 105 miles or so and well over 20,000 vert. I am so grateful to my crew and pacers. Mom you are the best! There was no way I could do that without them. Grateful and lucky sums it up for me. One lucky dude. Time to fatten up and get ready for Denali in June. That will be interesting!

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