Running....well that might be a stretch to call what I'm going to do running. More like walking briskly with some running thrown in there. I've finished the aid station chart for the adventure. Now it is starting to get real serious! I'm running from my house in Reno to my home on the Playa. The best I can estimate is 130-ish miles for the journey, in the heat of August smack dab in the middle of Nevada. Nearly all of it is pretty straight forward. Nothing terribly difficult to complete with the exception of the one 38 mile-ish section. In terms of terrain I would call this pancake flat. There are some rolling hills, but the entire course will have less than 3000 feet in climbing and a little over 3500 feet of descent.
From the last NDN Taco stand to Empire, it is roughly 38 miles with no water or aid of any kind. A completely exposed and shade-less straight line. This is the section that has prevented me from doing this run all these years. Last year I called the run a week before, because quite frankly I was scared out of my mind to attempt it. I got the last minute jitters. This weekends issues in the heat have only fueled the need to conquer this challenge even more. I'm not yet ready to write or talk about my first voluntary DNF, at mile 18 no less, of last weekends 50k, but I'm going over it in my head relentlessly. Heat has been the one true limiter for me in running. Every "hot" race I've entered, I ended up blowing up due to dehydration or some kind of salt issue. I can think of no way better to fix my heat issues than successfully completing this journey. Everything I do from now to run day will be to learn, fix, and obliterate my heat tolerance. I'm eager to see the growth I can foster in such a short time.
I have 28 days left to prepare, fear and insecurity are creeping in, but I believe this time I'm ready for the challenge. A 130 mile self supported run in the dead of summer across the Nevada desert, daunting challenge that I look forward to slaying a month from now.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
This weekend’s exploits in the heat were a wake-up call. My definition of drinking a lot is obviously nowhere near enough. I've clearly neglected heat training so it's back to long sleeves and blasting the heater on the way home (while drinking lots of water!!!!!).
It's odd how much more you learn from failure than success. I made it 18 miles and had to pull myself from the race for the first time. It was the shortest trail race I've ever had, yet I probably learned more at Tunnel Creek Aid Station than all the rest of the Ultras I've run combined. I came into the aid station in rough shape from the left knee down. They got me back out on the course only to have the other leg go south on me a mile after I left, at that point it was a "turn around and tuck your tail between your legs kind of thing"....my day was done. In the end it was all user error, I did not keep up on my fluids and from mile 4 on I should have made that the priority.
Instead I boldly, foolishly, stupidly kept on chugging along drinking only small portions. By the time I realized how dehydrated I was getting, I was in between aid stations and set to go up the Red House loop. The turning point came just before the end of the sandy downhill. I tripped over a rock and both my calf muscles locked up sending me head first into the sand like volleyball player going to a diving dig. From that point on it was a 2mph slog back to Tunnel Creek.
I've got a lot of work to do in a month! My run to Burning Man is only a month away and this weekends result does nothing for my confidence of tackling the 125 miles on my own. More planning is needed for sure.