Ok, well, I had a nice, loooong, descriptive narrative of a race report written out, and then my phone decided that it sucked and deleted it for me.... So heres an abridged version because, honestly, the other one kind of sucked anyways. Too many words, and once that picture to word ratio gets too low, most of my target audience gets lost (ok, maybe I'm the only one, but its my damn blog!)
So, without further interruption I present to you....
CHASER WILLIAMS RECORD SETTING PERFORMANCE AT THE 20TH ANNUAL ROCKY RACOON 50 MILE ULTRA MARATHON!!!!!!
Ok, so maybe it wasnt really "record setting" per say, but I have been told that I'm the first to ever complete a Rocky Raccoon race fully unshod... So I did set a barefoot course record! How about them apples?
The lead up...
I felt unprepared for this race. My longest run had been 26 on streets, and that was many months ago. Plus with the seismoiditis the last 2 months were pretty much shot.
The drive up to Huntsville (for the race, not the prison...) proved eventfull to say the least. I got to see the elusive Rocky Racoon himself outside of a CVS hitting up a Red Box...
(notice the defined colors in his coat.)
And it was POURING rain the entire time...
(Its raining and the sun is shining. That means the devils beating his wife!)
We made it to the camp site and set up our tent at "Camp Barefoot" and met up with David, Robert, and Jim and went to go grab dinner at some Mexican joint.
Its funny meeting people that you've known only over internet forums for the first time... I thought Robert was some long haired surfer hippy kind of guy. Instead, hes the Brawny man with a beard...
Luckily the resturant even had a chair for people like David so that his feet weren't dangling from his chair...
While we ate we talked about race prep and what not and I believe Davids exact quote was "I plan on being lubed up slicker than a baby seal!" Which loosely translated in my head to a fun day!
After which we made it back to the tent and bedded down for the night, ready to get the race started!
I woke up at 3:15 wide awake and wondering who was shining a strobe light at our tent. Turns out it was a crazy storm rolling through.
Yay! More rain! I heard surrounding areas got up to 3 inches of rain between Friday and Saturday, and I believe it! Robert and I headed to packet pickup during the worst of it and got soaked, which was nice.
7:00... And were off!!!
It had dropped to around 60 by the time we made it to the starting line, and it was still raining. Between shot nerves, and being cold and wet I probablly looked like a nervous chihuahua on crack as much as I was shivering.
First loop! Miles 0 to 16.67
The pace for the first few miles were dictated by whoever was in front of you, so we were really putt putting along, but that was ok as we weren't in any hurry.
During the first loop David, Rob, and myself pretty much hung with each other with the exception of Rob getting out a few people ahead of us, slipping and falling down, then hanging with us awhile longer until repeating the process again. This is no reflection on Roberts running ability, or agility, but more on the slick and muddy conditions the course presented to us.
The first lap felt great! We played leap frog with lots of other runners, many of them running either their first ultra or100. The feedback I got for running barefoot was awesome! Everyone that commented were more than positive about it, and alot of people were very interested in it!
(here we are around mile 12, notice were dirty, but but covered in mud yet... Yet...)
I think we came in from the first loop in around 3:15, which was about where we wanted to be.
(33% done and feeling unstoppable!)
Loop 2! Miles 16.67 to 33.34
(heading back out, around mile 17... I think...)
Loop 2 presented some new obstacles. The mud combined with general fatigue resulted in me falling. I was still running with David, but Robert had left us towards the end of the first lap.
It seemed I had to take a leak every half mile, and after leaving the DamNation aid station I stepped off in the erotica to do just that and stepped right in something squishy, stinky, and warm... Yes, poop. I stepped in a pile of poop. I was hoping it was from some cute woodland critter, but the wadded up soiled napkins next to my foot led me to believe otherwise... Mr Pruisitis (race director extraordinaire) clearly asked everyone to leave no trash on the trails, and I think this is why. Its not the first time I've stepped in human feces barefoot at a race, but it still wasnt very pleasant. Luckily there was some young bamboo shoots nearby that I used to floss my toes with. Shortly after this I stopped to pee again, only this time I came across a young woman pooping. Talk about akward... Geez... When we stopped again we were back at the DamNation station, and this time David knee locked up on him. It took awhile for him to get it working again, and he kept telling me that I could go on without him if I needed to. I didnt. Having David there with me was more than helpful, it was fun! We talked about everything, aside from running, that we could think of. I think that the distraction we created for each other helped out immensely in the long run (no pun intended) and played a big part in getting me through the race.
(_here we are somewhere around mile 30)
I think it was during this lap that my nipples started chafing a little bit. Luckily my wife got me some bandaids and fixed that problem right up!
I think we finished this lap way behind where w wanted to finish it, although I can't remember the times...
(end of second loop, 16.67 more miles to go!)
Loop 3! Miles 33.34 to 50!!!
My legs were toast going into the 3rd and final lap. I was already pretty deep into uncharted territory being 7 miles over my longest run, and plenty more still to go.
I had begun getting a little pain in the muscles and tendons on the top of my left foot from having to lift my toes up through the mud and water for 30+ mikes at this point, but I tried to block it out as best as I could. At this point in the race lots of other runners were still amazed that I was barefoot. I think the most common question I was asked was "How them feet holding up?" Oddly enough, the soles of my feet felt better than the rest of my body, so thats what I would tell them. Then I would ask how their feet were holding up, to which I always got the same answer... "Their killing me...."
Around mile 35 I started hitting that mental block. It seemed as if we would never make it to mile 40. So I asked for a bandaid at an aid station and used it to cover the screen of my Gamin so that I couldn't see the miles
After leaving the DamNation station for the last time the muscles ontop of my left foot hurt so bad I had to stop and attempt to massage them out while David continued jogging in circles around me to keep his knee from locking up. At some point he asked me how my nipples were feeling, I found it to be the funniest thing I've ever been asked and couldnt stop laughing.
At some point my wife met me and handed me my head lamp, although I can't say that I remember that, or do I? Most of the last lap is kind of a blur.
(Court snapped this pic of me as I took off with the headlamp in hand__)
Running barefoot in the dark is a little troubling since you can't see. Throw in the fact that your on trails with lots of roots and mud, and then put 40 miles before all of that and things can get a little tricky...
At the last aid station I decided to down about a dozen cups of a Mountain Dew. A little back story here, I haven't drank a caffinated drink in about 10 years, do the Mountain Dew REALLY had a good effect of my energy level, cause I ran probablly 95% of the remaining 5 miles. Granted some of the uphill runs were the same speed as Davids uphill speed walks, but going from walking to running hurt too bad to continue doing it, so I kept running along.
As I neared the finish line I realized that I had felt better for the last 5 miles than I had for any of the previous 35. I felt amazing! Like I could have kept going for a good 15 more miles, although I realized that would probablly change as soon as I crossed the line.
And then there it was. The finnish line! I crossed in 12:15:42!
50 barefoot miles behind me!
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