Sunday, June 17, 2012

San Diego 100...Rough Day

Just prior to the start of the 2012 Pocatello 50

In typical fashion life has continued to speed along at breakneck pace.  I seem to have more time on my hands, but am able to accomplish less.  After the time we spent in Zion in early May all my focus was put into getting things ready for the Pocatello 50.  I joined Ryan Mcdermott and Jared Campbell as a Race Director this year in preparation for me taking over the race for next year.  As race weekend approached I got busier and busier.  The weekend before the race Jared and Ryan came to town to work through a bunch of details, I was putting the final touches on peaking my training for San Diego 100 the weekend after Pocatello.  Race week was crazy busy, filled with running errands, shopping, and gathering supplies.  The race went very well, and although I neglected myself quite a bit the whole weekend everyone finished and was accounted for.  Sunday after the race we spent half of the day packing things up, taking inventory and returning things to our storage unit. Just after two I collapsed into my bed completely exhausted.

With the race directing finished I could focus on getting packed and putting the final preparations in place to leave Wednesday morning for the two day drive to San Diego. Tuesday night as Tanae and I stayed up late packing, I started to get a bit of a sore throat....
We drove to St. George on Wednesday and crashed with the Thatcher's.  The next morning we went to the Ultraspire offices to say hi before hitting the road for another 7 hour drive to San Diego.  I had developed a bit of a cough and the sore throat was getting a little worse.  We pulled into the Al Bahr campground mid-afternoon, met the SD100 RD Scott Mills, and set-up camp.  We had a relaxing evening hanging out with Roch and Catherine, and turned in early to try to get some extra rest.
Friday was pretty low key, but we did get the deluxe SD100 beta tour with Roch.  After the tour I took a couple of hour nap, still trying to get rid of the sinus pressure, cough and sore throat.  We enjoyed a delicious pre-race dinner and turned in early again.  I woke up the morning of the race feeling a little better, but still very congested.

The race started a pretty solid clip, Fabian, Tim, Jeff Browning and I formed a lead group that held together for the first 4 miles, when Jeff pulled into the lead.  I hit the first aid Station, Meadows right on Dylan's CR splits.  Jeff was already a few minutes ahead.  Fabian and I ran together for the next 5 miles, before I slipped back and let him go.  The Rooster aid station came and went rather quickly, I had lost a minute on the splits, but felt pretty good where I was.  Over the next few miles I got reeled in by a couple of runners.  At this point I didn't feel bad, just a little off.  I tried to stay positive and just let the miles click by.  By the time I hit Penny Pines I was dragging, I had fallen behind my splits and was really having a hard time rallying.  I spent an extra minute splaying water on myself at the spring just outside of Penny Pines before I began the long descent into Noble Canyon.

Running well, about a mile before Penny Pines 1-Photo Tanae Nelson

I felt like I was moving pretty well throughout the descent, but time kept slipping away as a fell a little further behind my splits.  I was about 30 minutes back when I hit the Pine Creek Aid Station. The volunteers at this aid station were awesome, they got me everything that I needed and out on the 4 mile lollipop quickly. The loop was wicked hot, but I tried to pick up the pace a little knowing that the faster I moved the faster I would be done.  Just before the aid station I noticed that my breathing was getting a little wheezy.  I thought I was just getting a little dry so I focused on getting in more water.  Back at Pine Creek they stuffed my hat with ice, offered to fill my shirt with ice and topped off the bottles. The climb out of Pine Creek to Pioneer Mail was frustrating. Everything was a runnable grade, but as I increased my intensity I would start breathing really hard, and have to back off to get it to settle down.  When I came into Pioneer Mail I told my crew that I was struggling to breath, when Aaron from Bellingham who was standing nearby offered a his inhaler.  I took a hit and almost immediately started to breath better.  I set out ready to run again.

About 20 minutes after leaving the aid station my chest started to tighten up again.  This time much worse than before.  I alternated running, slowing to a walk while hyperventilating, and then running again.  As I continued in this pattern my breathing became more wheezy and any amount of exertion would tip me into very rapid breathing. Twice I had to sit down to catch my breath.  I started to become very discouraged that I was moving so slowly, but my lungs were just not cooperating.  I forced a run for the last mile or so before Sunrise Aid Station and came in, in quite a bad way.  I was told afterwards by Catherine that I "had a look of fear in my eyes" as I hyperventilated my way to the medical tent.  I laid down on a cot in the med tent while I basically ran through my mental checklist with the volunteers, explaining that in almost every way I was perfectly fine, except that I couldn't breathe!  Ty was waiting for me there to start his pacing duties and after a few minutes of minimal activity my breathing had settled down and I decided that I would try to push on, but also gave myself an ultimatum.  If the breathing got out of control again, I would pull the plug at the next aid station.

Catherine taking care of me in the Sunrise Med Tent-Photo Tanae

For a few minutes I moved pretty well, then on the first slight uphill I started to wheeze again.  For the next several miles I followed the run, wheeze, hyperventilate, walk, normalize breathing, run pattern.  It very slowly got harder and harder to keep the running going for very long.  Probably about 5 miles from Sunrise aid station I had some weird diaphragm spasm that doubled me over as I gasped to breathe.  From that point on I walked into the aid station.  I will openly admit that I was an emotional and physical wreck at this point.  In five years of racing endurance events I had never DNF'd, and now I was staring it right in the face.  I was disappointed, sad.  I thought of walking the next 40 miles through the night and into the next day.  I probably had enough time to do so before the cut-off, but couldn't justify putting my crew (my amazing wife) and pacer (Ty Draney) through another 20 hours of "fun". With tears in my eyes I walked over to the aid station captain and had him take my wristband.  I was a DNF.

Struggling to breathe-Photo Tanae Nelson

After I sat on the ground in the parking lot and let emotions run wild for a few minutes to get it out of my system.  Then we loaded up to cheer on my friends and Patagonia teammates Roch Horton and Jeff "Bronco" Browning.  We saw Roch first as he came into Paso Picacho.  He was moving well and was right on his splits to have a 100 mile PR.  Then we drove around to the finish line, had some dinner, got the girls in bed and then Ty and I headed over to the finish line to wait for Bronco to finish.  After about an hour of waiting Jeff came hooting across the finish line in 16:38:59! He had an incredible day out there and crushed the old CR by an hour and twenty minutes.  It was impressive to see how solid he still looked after moving so fast all day.  We went to bed, but at 5:00 am Roch finished in 22:00:00 setting a new PR for the 100 mile distance, solid work all the way around.

Bronco after setting the new CR, still has his game face on!

The next morning we packed up and headed into San Diego to start the second part of our trip, family vacation.  I will put up a separate blog about that in the days to come.

Gear for San Diego;
Shoes: Patagonia Tsali, Adidas Adios
Shorts: Patagonia Stridor
Shirt: Patagonia Gamut Team shirt
Hydration: Ultraspire Isomeric Race Handheld, or Spry pack

First Endurance EFS/EFS LS slurry mixed 50% or 25% alternating between Dreamsicle, and Kona Mocha

1 comment:

  1. Luke, I knew something must've been wrong when I passed you on the four mile 'lollipop'. Later heard you had a head cold, but this sounds like it manifest itself in a pretty bad way. I can't imagine how it felt to pull the plug after the months of prep, but you didn't have a choice. Happens to most of them... you'll come back strong, and have many more great FUN races!