Monday, June 09, 2008

SD100: my recap from a race I never ran

Pacing Kirk at SD100 this weekend was one of the most memorable moments in my running career. Well, I did not run all of the 50 miles I was initially supposed to. I joined Kirk at the Aid Station (AS) at mile 50 and DNFed with him at the very next AS at mile 56. It took us 1 hour 55 minutes to cover those 6 miles. We mostly walked it and ran just a bit through some flat sections as Kirk was not feeling good.

This was well after the sunset. The trail was going through canyons. We heard a bunch of coyotes and saw one of those looking at us from the curb ahead of us. We saw a couple of kangaroo rats or some other long-tail rodents. We saw a stripped skunk who was running on the trail 5 steps ahead of us for probably 3 minutes before he decided to turn left and give us the way. The trail was well marked with green glowing sticks we could see on the dark mountain slopes well ahead of us. The moon was too young to outshine any of the bright stars that were covering the sky above us. It was one of the most breathtaking pictures I have every seen in my life. Totally magical! I can see it in front of me right now whenever I close my eyes. I wish I could describe what it all looked like but I am no artist.

When we reached AS at the mile 56 Kirk sat down on a chair and, well, I would say collapsed for the lack of a better term. He was just sitting there trembling with his head bent down to his knees. I put on an additional sweat shirt on him, and volunteers wrapped him up in two blankets, helped him to get into a trailer and gave him some hot coffee. None of it really helped. He could not hold a half-full cup not spilling it up all over. Gabor was sitting in front of us in the same trailer. He had had a lot of doubts about whether he should have continued back then at mile 50. He tried and had to DNF at the same AS as us. Gabor told us that when someone gets exhausted like this, body fails to regulate its temperature anymore (is this what they call hypothermia?) and the only way out is to put that person in a car and max out the heater. We did exactly that and it eventually helped.

Well, DNF's are a part of ultra-running. They do not happen only to those that do not run at all. The course was challenging. Everyone seemed suffering a lot. Out of 81 starters only 43 runners managed to finish the race, while 38 had to DNF: 47% DNF rate! It is not Barkley's rate, but is still pretty remarkable considering the fact most of the participants are seasoned ultra-runners!

I met a bunch of people there starting from Lorraine Gersitz, whom I had a pleasure to share the ride to San Diego with, Charlie, who was feeling pretty good and looked fresh probably because he DNSed SD100 this year, Chris, whom I had run with at PCT50 until she lost me having got sick of my running crappiness, Paul Schmidt, who is an amazing ultra-runner with about 100 of hundred milers under his belt and a terrific RD as well, Andy and Catra, who seemed totally relaxed at mile-50 AS as if they were running a local 10K fun race, Vinnie, who was determined to the end and finished the race no matter what, George, whom I could barely recognize as he ran there alone without Leigh this time. There were a bunch of folks whom I unfortunately missed there like Greg, Marisa, Robert and a few others. Congratulations to all participants both to those who victoriously finished this brutal thing, and to those who wisely DNFed it to run another day!

Several photos I made at the mile-42 AS:



olga said...

Pacing rules! Sorry your runner didn't make it, shit happens.

Anonymous said...

What - SD100 just took place -again? Time races by... Last year my runner dropped also after 56 miles!

So are you signing up for next year yourself now?