Sunday, February 21, 2010

Orange Curtain 100K- How was I the female winner?!?!?!

The race consisted of running from the start 3.1 miles on a bike path (or in the dirt alongside it) to the turnaround/aid station and returning to the start.  In other words, one out/back was a 10k lap.  The 50K runners would do it 5 times and the suckers in for the 100K would do it 10 times.  The race director reminded us 100K crazies that we could drop at any time after the 50K mark and receive a 50K finishing time.  That was never an option for me as I knew I had to finish using whatever means necessary.  I knew I would use a walk/run strategy but I'm bad at sticking to schedules so my plan was to establish and follow the intervals of run/walk based on how I felt.  Many of the miles blurred together but I'll try to recall what happened during the different laps, hoping I don't mix up when things happened too much. :)  During all middle/end loops, it was cool to have the race director ride by on his bike and give encouragement...really enjoyed the race!

First loop (10k=6.2 miles)
I was chatting with few people as we began but almost all runners kept to the pavement and so only runners near the dirt where I ran got to engage in fantastic conversations with me.;)  Many people took off fast (mostly 50K runners) and I kept checking my Garmin to make sure I was not getting carried away.  I wanted to average 10 minute miles for the first 50K, which would give me plenty of time to finish the second 50K.  I figured running in the mid-9s plus taking walk breaks would put me around that average.  I kept catching myself in the 8:20-8:50s and desperately tried to settle into a slower rhythm.  I passed one guy in the dirt who was also doing the 100k; he commented that I was running fast and I kept thinking I hoped I was not setting myself up for major crash/burn later.  I felt very comfortable with my pace and, in fact, worried my hip flexors would hurt if I ran too slowly.  When I hit the turnaround, the ones recording our numbers and times said I was the second female for the 100K.  That shocked me and I started trying to figure out who was first so I could make sure I didn't pass that person.  I was running beside one lady and I assumed she was in for the 100K and decided that I should not pass her as she was running high 8s and that was too fast for my goal.  I realized bib numbers 1-49 were people in the 50K and 50 and above were 100K runners.  I started checking bib numbers, except of the lady near me because I couldn't see hers. Another lady, whose number was slightly hidden, ran past me starting her second loop and I wondered if she was in for the 50K or the 100K; she was flying so no bib number left me wondering.  My intention was to walk after the first 10K but I didn't see anyone else near me walking and I decided to wait to take walk breaks.

Second 10K (miles 6.3-12.4)
Nothing notable about the miles.  I chatted with some runners around me, enjoyed seeing the lead 50K guy flying and hamming it up, and just settled into groove.  I made sure I got Gatorade at the aid stations and took my first Gu around mile 10.  Getting close to ending the lap, I saw a photographer and thought it was John, my boyfriend's co-worker who I knew was coming out to take pics for a couple of hours for AM Signature Photography.  Quick porta-potty break and I was back out for my third loop.

Third 10K (miles 12.5- 18.6)
The skies started to clear more, the opposite of the rain that had been predicated, and I started to look at the surroundings of the course while listening to a long DJ mix by Above and Beyond.  We were running by some parks, a place with horses, a Wal-Mart...nothing exciting.  There were some bikers and other pedestrians on the bike path and most were nice, except for one jerk who yelled out obscenities because he had to pass a runner in the race.  Total idiot!  All the other people noticed we were part of a race and were very cool about sharing the path with us.  Alan, my boyfriend, had joined John taking pics and I was very happy to see him.  I got to see him a few times as they moved from one spot to another and he saw me on the out/back.  He said he was leaving but would be back later and I looked forward to having him there at the finish.  Ending the loop (or the next one), I met Jay, the race director, and he said he had spoken to my  I let him know it was my boyfriend and boyfriend's co-worker.  Jay seemed very cool about their being there and I was just happy to be almost 1/3 of the way done and with some pics of my running as a bonus.  I did my walk strategy leaving the aid station by walking 0.2 miles before running again.

 About 2 hours into the race
 Sending Alan kisses (I'm too gross to kiss during a race!!)

  Few minutes later; getting ready to head into dodging of water puddle underpass

        Moments later...according to time stamp on pic files:)

Smiling while running is good!

                                   Blowing Alan kisses...
More kisses to the best boyfriend in the world!
Alan capturing my kisses:)

Fourth 10K (miles 18.7- 24.8)
I kept saying hi to the other runners, yelling my last bit of encouragement to the guy who was making his way to the finish line as the winner of the 50K, and finally chatted with the lady who I was running near; she and I had traded off "leading" and she told me it was my time to lead.  I laughed and told her she was doing a great job pacing me so she could stay in front; I asked if she was doing the 100K and she said she was in for the 50K!  Eeeeek.  That was my cue to slow down!  I hit the turnaround and again did a 0.2 walk.  I have no clue when I took my second Gu but I ended up having to take a Salt Stick capsule at some point because my fingers were swollen like balloons.

Fifth 10K (miles 24.9- 31)
Starting on my 5 lap, I got a huge surprise as I saw Sam and his son, Jack; Sam's the one running 60 marathons this year to raise funds for Train4Autism.  They were nearby for their session in the hyperbaric chamber and decided to drop by and cheer me on.  It worked out perfectly as they had just arrived when I came by.  I chatted for a minute, told him how I was doing (ahead of schedule), and posed for quick picture.  That brightened my race and gave me more inspiration.  My legs were really tired during the loop and I realized I was not fueling often enough/getting enough calories per hour.  I hit the marathon mark in 4:05 and again realized I must slow down and force myself to walk more.  Ending the lap, I was an hour ahead of schedule and my right hip flexor/quad/ITB and left foot were hurting, a sign of more pain to come.  Leaving the aid station and heading out for the next loop, I stopped and chatted with Bill Ramsey, a man I met last year when I got injured at the PCT50; he was in for the 100K but decided to stop at 50K; he said the course was harder on the legs than any trail run.  That made me feel better about the aches I was feeling and my chances of surviving my first 100.

 Pic courtesy of Sam around mile 25- Thanks to him for being there!!! He rocks!

Sixth loop (miles 31.1-37.2)
Nothing notable except I finally figured out who the lady I would end up battling for the win was.  She was the one I had noticed early in the race.  At some point I passed her and she said, "Go go get it."  The aches in my right leg and left foot got progressively worse and I looked forward to seeing my friend Deirdre at the end of the loop; I had told her to be there sometime noon or after and I ended the lap around noon.  She was great about refilling my water bottle, chatting with me, encouraging me while I sat on the ground.  I noticed my right leg was swollen above my knee and that it was very knotted; I massaged it hard and used the stick hoping for the best. I removed my left shoe and tried to work on the huge knot in my arch.  I considered changing shoes but decided to stick with my plan of changing after my next loop.  I headed back out and implemented a new strategy- walk 0.5 miles every turnaround and walk some every mile.

Seventh loop (miles 37.2-43.4)
Foot hurt so badly I had to stop and massage it again.  Right leg also got some more treatment.  Again noticed I was dizzy and needed to take in more sugar when the ground looked like it was rolling.  Took 200mg of Advil at mile 40.   I knew the lady I was leading was close behind me but I was not concerned; I was in survival mode/avoid too much pain mode.  I chatted with some runners who were a lap behind me and the conversations broke up the miles.  I was soooo happy to get back to my drop bag, rub my foot, change shoes, massage my aching/knotted right leg, and take off with only 2 laps to go. 

Eighth loop (miles 42.5-49.6)
Starting trading places with other 100K leading lady; she would pass me when I was walking and I would pass her when running.  We chatted for a bit and she seemed very nice.  My foot was somewhat happier with new shoes but still hurting.  I kept battling feeling really tired and kept realizing I needed more calories.  I kept taking 0.5 mile walk breaks but was still able to run in the 8s, 9s when running.

Ninth loop (miles 49.7-54.8)
Same as last loop, except at turnaround the volunteers commented that I was battling that lady for first.  I told them she could have it as my legs were done; they didn't like that  When she passed me heading back to end the loop, I told her all I cared about was finishing and I encouraged her to take the win.  We chatted and turns out we were both out for the same thing- just finishing,  Ending the lap, I saw Alan and I was so happy to see him!!!  But was sad he didn't have the diet coke I requested...I yelled for him to go get it, expecting him to have it for me at the finish.

So happy to see Alan and to have 1 lap to go!

I'm trying to smile:)

                                       Coke- not the same as Diet Coke- but trying to find some energy

                       Missed the garbage..."Alan, can you get that, please?"

Tenth loop/Finish
My competitive nature set in and, when I saw Alan holding out the diet coke he had gotten permission to hand me, I barely took two sips because I wanted to keep momentum.  I ran as much as I could but ended up being so low on energy that I had to do more walk breaks than I hoped..sometimes could only run half mile before needing a break.  Got my spirits lifted by seeing a guy who had passed me way earlier in the race pumped heading towards the finish line.  I got lots of encouragement by other guys and girls who realized I was on my last lap.  With only 3.1 miles to go, I tried to muster everything in me to run.  I knew I had a lead and I was so tired I didn't care if I was first or second; I was just shocked to be finishing it feeling okay.  I kept to run/walk and would do run 0.4/walk 0.2, stretching out run part when I had enough energy.  With a mile to go, I walked slightly more in order to save energy for sprinting to the finish.  And sprint I did...I was so pumped to be finished and being the female winner was icing on the cake.  Garmin time: 10:56!  I got big surprise seeing my friend Tiffany and her son Benjamin waiting with Alan at the finish.  I cheered for the second place lady and finally got to do formal introductions/learn her name (Jeri).  Very cool to learn that we are both doing SD100. 

Starting to sprint to finish line

Final surge

                                           I'm a little happy!

                         I love Diet Coke!

Alan was so awesome!  He kissed/hugged me in all my "disgustingness" and got me red roses!!!

Tiffany and I- she's the best!!!

62.58 miles!
So cold!  We couldn't wait for the RD to do the award part!

    Flowers from Alan, Tiffany, them!
Ice bath...well the ice melted so I should have used more.  Look of having the worst blisters ever- no pics of those allowed!


  1. Wow, Rachel, just simply wow. Way to go on your ultra. You did this without Ryan :) Anyways, rest up this week and hope you ate like a horse last night. Again congrats and I hope the rest of the year running wise is great for you!

  2. Awesome Rachel! This race report (and obviously, your race) kicked some major ass!

    Loved all the pics (especially the low battery Garmin pic...haha) and your account of the highs and lows of your first 100K race. Can't wait to see what you do in the future.

    And yes, Alan's awesome!

  3. Wow! Plain old wow! Way to go Rachel! I can't even comprehend 50kms, much less 100! I'd need two Garmins and two ipods because they would run out of juice before I finish.

    I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventures this summer!

  4. Congratulations on your finish! Great job out there, wow!

  5. New to the blog. Congrats on the solid race. Great pics and report!