6 Oct

Stadiums are for spectators.  We runners have nature and that is much better.
–Juha Vaatainen

I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.
— Alberto Salazar

…. so I reach the summit of Hope Pass and I start to build my confidence back up, because I wasn’t feeling all that great about having to go down the mountain and then back up it again.  As you go down the mountain you start to see the lead runners who have made the turn around and other then the top 3 who actually ran by me on the way up Hope’s Pass, yes ran by me! These cats were flying, very impressive!  Other then them, the runners I would see coming up the mountain had this look of misery on their face!  Not a very good sign for me but nonetheless they were moving and I knew I could do the same… just keep moving!  The descent down the mountain was steady but I could only manage to run about half of it… my left knee started to hurt me pretty bad as well as my shin on the same leg.  I wasn’t cramping anymore at this point but the pain in my leg started to become unbearable.  I just wanted to male it to the 50mile turnaround, just seeing my crew, getting something to eat, plus dope up on whatever medical would give me would go a long way… at least that’s what I was telling myself.  As you finish coming down the mountain it spits you back out on to a dirt road that is roughly 2.5 miles long to the 50mile turnaround.. at this point you are seeing a lot of the runners who have made the turn around and have picked up their pacers…. it was a huge relief for me to see this, because I knew I was close!  I saw a few runners who had made the turnaround who saw me and were excited for me because I know coming up Hope’s Pass I wasn’t looking all that great!  As I reached the end of the dirt road you can see the 50mile turnaround, this is when I ran into The Dymmel’s, Kristen and Tim.  The Dymmel’s had made the trip from Cali to pace Elliot and Zac on the back 50.  Well this is when I heard the guys didn’t make the 39mile cutoff.. well, my second bad news… because we all had the same crew, my pacer Carlos was not at the turnaround!  For about a minute I was like “What the F#CK am I going to do now!”  The Dymmel’s could see it on my face that I had become discouraged, because at this point I was started to fall a apart physically.

Well not too worry, Kristen was ready to go and was more then willing to pace me for as long as I needed her… THANK GOD!  SO we quickly refueled, filled my camel back, long sleeve shirt was back on, hoodie, got my lamp back on because the sun was started to set and like that we were off.. all in all I probably spent the longest at that aid station then any other… roughly 10-12minutes, possibly a little longer.  Oh yeah, I also had to weigh in when I first made it in to the turnaround:  7lbs, I was now down to 180#s.   Not a great sign but I wasn’t too concerned about the weight loss, I was more concerned about my left leg more then anything else.

So now it was time to start up the mountain again, which I was not looking forward to doing… But I do believe it was a blessing that Kristen was my pacer at this point.  She was like a mother to me, very nurturing and extremely positive.  The great thing about Kristen, is that she has done Ultras before (50milers), so she know what it takes to do it plus she knows how a person feels mentally, plain and simple she can relate to what you are going through… so necessary in my opinion.  If you ever plan on doing an ultra and can have a pacer, ask someone who has done one, and especially one who has finished.  Even with all the nurturing from Kristen, half way up the mountain I had mentally hit rock bottom.  I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it back up the mountain.  But just like on the other side of Hope’s Pass once you get through the tree lines you can see the top.  Well the tree line on the back side of the mountain are not as high, so when we finally popped through we still had 3miles or so before reaching the top.  Long story short, I just put my head down and kept moving as fast as I could and the closer I got to the top the better I felt… and finally an hour later we reached it.  This is when Kristen told me to “turn around and look at what you  just accomplished, because you don’t have to do that again!’   That was definitely a spirit booster… but that only lasted a second because going down hurt my leg a lot more then going up..  So Kristen ran ahead of me to the little aid station, and started getting soup, and whatever drugs they had for my leg.  By the time I reached her she had everything ready for me, so I sat by the fire for a second, drank my soup took the aleve they had plus I talked the doctor into giving me tylenol as well.. which was a no no, but I didn’t care at this point.  And we were off, back to Twin lakes which was 5 miles away (checkpoint mile 60).  About this time I started feeling juiced, the drugs kicked in and temporarily my leg stopped hurting.. Kristen asked if  I could run, that we should try and I knew if I was going to make the cutoff I would have to run some.  We were moving well down the mountain but once we got the bottom we had to make our way through the river.  At this point it is pitch black, starting to get colder and now I have to get wet all over again….

Kristen new the cutoff time for Twin Lakes and I could tell she was upping the pace…. we had 23 minutes to go 2 miles!  I had lost close to 2+hrs going up and over and back up over Hope’s Pass, and now all I had left to stay in the race or risk being cutoff was 23 minutes!  That wasn’t about to happen!  Hell just writing this part gets me emotional!  Kristen and I wind in and out of the river hit the trail and we start pushing it.. and this is when I see Carlos who had been waiting about 1000meters from the checkpoint.  Over the PA I heard 10minutes left, and this is when I take off and started sprinting, not sure where the energy came from but I hadn’t moved that well since early in the race!  And with 7MINUTES to spare I had made the cutoff and was alive to take on the next leg!

….to be continued


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