"...In the end, people either have excuses or experiences; reasons or results; buts or
brilliance. They either have what they wanted or they have a detailed list of all the rational reasons why not."

~ Anonymous
(taken from Matt Erbele's, It Takes Time to Get Good)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Race Report: Rio Del Lago 50K - September 11, 2010

Alternative Title: Stupid, Fucking Sand: A Cautionary Tale

Drunk on my course PR at San Francisco, I agreed to run the Rio Del Lago 50k with Misty. I had already begged shamelessly to be allowed .... errr, I mean, agreed to crew for her hubby, S. Baboo, who was doing the 100 miler that day.

I am going to write up my race report for the RDL 50k first and then tell the story of my very first 100 mile ultramarathon crewing experience later. I will say now though, that it was an incredible experience. I need some time to process it all.


Total miles: 50K+ (~32 miles, possibly more. There was a navigational mishap)

Total time: 9:59:43 (updated with chip time. Sub 10! Woo hoo! Stop rolling your eyes, SQ. It is rude)


I decided to wait until I would hit maximal traffic heading up to Roseville on Friday. It gave me time to think, reflect, and commune with my fellow drivers. Much needed serenity was gained as I inched my way through the three and a half hour drive. After exchanging loving honks and hand gestures with the courteous and patient drivers of California, as you can probably imagine, I was almost zen like when I arrived at the hotel.

I met up with Misty and her hubby S. Baboo for a little dinner. I had met them once before about 2 years ago when they were out here for the Vineman Full Iron (S. Baboo) and Barb's Race 1/2 Iron (Misty). We talked for about 4 seconds and then were seated at opposite sides of the table of about 12 people. So we did not really "meet", as much as we saw each other and had dinner at the same restaurant. I was actually pretty nervous about meeting them this time, one on one (I was going to type "one on two" since I met both of them but, I thought that might sound a little more risque than the reality which was we ate Mac and Cheese in their hotel room and talked shop.)

You never know how it is going to go when you meet someone that you talk to online. I thought it went well and that we hit it off swimmingly! (Of course, I may have to retract that statement if they come back and post that I was an uninteresting idiot, but for now we will go with my version where we are all now BFF's for life!)

Race Morning

Both races start at 6 am and leave from Cavitt School (I am not sure why we all always include the name of where a race starts. Like anyone in another state gives two shits about Cavitt School in Roseville, CA. Hell, I live in California and I could give two shits about Cavitt School. I digress...)

We were chatting it up and meeting people. I met Cynthia, a local ultrarunner that decided, like three weeks ago, 'what the hell! I will do a 100 miler' and JohnnyTri,(he will be back in the next post when I tell stories about crewing. He is hilarious and a super sweet guy!) an Ironman and ultrarunner, who is training for the HURT 100, he was pacing a runner today for 33 miles.

Then there was S. Baboo, another hardcore Ironman who ran the Leadville 100 miler 3 weeks
ago, a marathon on Monday, and was now about to embark on another 100 miler and Iron Misty who is training for her first 100 miler and was rounding out a 60 or so, mile week.

I stood around the school gym with all of these WAY hardcore people thinking "What the holy fuck am I doing here? I do not fit in with these people" and started to feel more than a little self conscious.


The race started promptly at 6 and we trotted out into the darkness. Misty had run a marathon on Monday (yes, you read that right. 5 days before this she ran a freaking marathon!) and was using this as a training run so she wanted to take it easy. 'Take it is easy' is the new code for "I will run with you, RBR" and that made me VERY happy because I was not ready for this thing and suffering alone for 31 miles did not sound fun.

The trail was beautiful and the weather, at 6 am anyway, was comfortable for running.

RBR and the Geekgirl feelin' fine at about mile 5 or 6

Misty was surprised at all the dead, brown grass along the trail. She felt that a bait and switch had been perpetrated by California.

Beautiful views of Lake Folsom

Misty was complimented on her UBER cute outfit all day long! She was cuter AND thinner, which I could have handled had she not also been funnier and smarter. I call, bullshit. It is not supposed to work like that.

I wore the same boring stuff I always do.

As we ran the first 15.5 miles, I could not believe how good I was feeling. Not tired, breathing well. Overall I was feeling amazing. Once we turned around, the reason for my 'feeling amazing-ness' became obvious. We had been running downhill for most of the 15.5 miles.

It was now getting hot and we found ourselves climbing. I SWEAR I barely remember ever running downhill those 15.5 miles, but I also do not remember a catastrophic tectonic plate shift that would cause a drastic change in the elevation profile that morning, so we must have.

Elevation Profile for the first 27 miles. I had originally wanted my race time for this run to beat my Garmin battery life, but sadly, even though the Garmin gave me 8 hours and 23 minutes I was not able to beat its battery life.

After 10:15 am it was getting hot (temp at noon was 90 degrees according to weather.com) and dusty.

but it was still pretty!

A beautiful oasis with a natural spring along the trail that we used to cool down on the way back.

Pretty pond we ran by

At mile 28-29, I was more than ready to be done. We came up to an intersection in the trail that had four different directions you could choose from and no orange ribbon to tell you which one was the way back in. Grrr...

This had happened several times during the day. Apparently, there were people sabotaging the race by pulling the trail marking ribbons down. Misty used her New Mexico Navajo tracking skills to see which way to go and we had not gotten lost all day, but now the trail was covered in mountain biking tracks and she could not see where the heavy foot traffic was headed.


I tell you, I was hot, I was tired, and my feet hurt, but if I had seen a mountain biker with a fucking orange ribbon in his hand I would have had plenty of energy left to hide a body.

Two trails went downhill and one went up hill. We tried one of the down hils and at the base of the hill. Hmmm... it looked "wrong", so we hiked back up the steep ass hill in the full sun. Then we tried the other downhill trail and followed it along for at least 1/2-3/4 of a mile before ending up at the base of the same goddamn hill we just climbed. We climbed the steep ass hill in the full sun AGAIN. Then we tried the uphill trail and after about 1/2 a mile we end up...

you guessed it!

..at the base of the same motherfucking hill we had now climbed TWICE! This time we did not climb it again, we instead took the trail that looked 'wrong' and after about 3/4 of a mile we found this

Finally, an orange ribbon. Angels sang and women wept (ok, we almost wept. We were too dehydrated from 30+ miles in the searing fucking heat)

We finished out the run and crossed the finish line together. Little did we know that in doing so we tied for 3rd place female in our age group.

They said they will send me one of these awards as well. I am certain that there must have only been four in our age group, but I will still take the bling anyway.

Post Race

Here is the RBR is dumb as a doorknob portion of the post. (No, smartass, the 'she didn't train for a 50k and ran it anyway' was not the dumb part. Shut it.)

The trail was mostly sand and fine, powdery dirt. Due to my super efficient running gait, I could feel that I was kicking sand and dirt into my shoes and forming hot spots on the balls of my feet.

I own gaiters. However, I did not wear them, even knowing that I ALWAYS kick shit into my shoes trail running. Then, for some reason that I still do not understand, I did not stop to take the sand I had kicked into my shoes out until 24 miles into the run, after it had become so bad that each stride felt like I was running sandpaper over raw skin, which was essentially what I was doing.

As a result of this supreme idiocy, this is what the balls of my feet look like

Try to ignore the carpet fuzz that is stuck to my oozing wounds. Ick.

Oh wait, it gets better.

After the race, I drained the blisters by cutting them open with safety scissors (the kind your kids use at school. I had a random pair in my purse and it was the only semi-sharp thing I had) and then I covered them with socks and headed out to crew for S. Baboo.

After crewing all night, I had to carefully peel my socks off and get ready to take a shower. This was painful and NOT fun, but not as nearly as bad as when I went into the bathroom to take a shower and my bare feet and oozing blisters stuck to the bathroom linoleum. I was certain I would be found by the maids the next day stuck to that same spot because every time I tried to move searing pain shot through my feet as if I was peeling off my skin, which, again, I was essentially doing.

Despite my stupidity, my second 50K was a blast. Misty was an amazing, fun, and patient running partner. If you are wondering if she is as funny, charming, and nice as she seems in her blog I am here to tell you she is and I have 30 straight hours of conscious contact to prove it.

There are not many people that you can just meet and then run 32 miles miles and crew all night together.

It is for that reason that I am currently having my new BFF's name tattooed on my ass as we speak.

Ok, I am kidding.

But I will make myself available to run with her anytime she feels like 'taking it easy'. Thanks for a great run, Misty! Javelina here you come!

Next post will be my experience crewing for S. Baboo's 100 miler that night. It was as intense a thing as I have ever been a part of in endurance sports. I still have not wrapped my head around it all. Amazing.


Herself, the GeekGirl said...

OMG Look at how shiny I am in that picture of us with the awared GROSS!!! I had a great time! I have been disappointed in people who failed to live up to my expectations, e.g,. creepy internet friends who turn out to be utterly weird, creepy, and/or uninteresting, but you did not. I had a blast. I would do this again, any time.
Now having said that, about your feet: GAAAA! I had no idea you were moving around on those things. OUCH!

S. Baboo said...

It was equally fantastic to finally get to spend some real time with you! I’m glad to finally get to hear about your race but those feet, holy cow! Hardcore in ultrarunning isn’t about speed or distance it is all about tenacity and getting yourself to the finish line no matter what. You totally belong in the ultrarunning community.

Reese said...

Nice job and what a pretty picture the blisters make.

Kate Geisen said...

You are such an inspiration to me. Any time I think I'm doing something "big", I look back at your blog and see how far I have to go. Great report. Can't wait to hear the one on crewing.

Unknown said...

Good job out there, especially on those feet! I have a matching set of those blisters after IMWI yesterday - NO FUN!
We had the pleasure of doing a half marathno with the Baboos last year, they are a fun couple as expected.
Rest up and heal those hooves!

Unknown said...

wow! amazing! i can't believe those blisters....impressive!

Pam @ herbieontherun.com said...

My husband walked past and saw the screen as I scrolled past the picture of your blisters. He said, "HOLY SHIT, WTF IS WRONG WITH THOSE FEET???"



Diana said...

Those blisters look like the ones on my hands from my killer "snatch" workout!
Good job on the running-that distance is insane!

Julie said...

Oh my god! I thought I was going to toss my cookies when I saw the feet! I can not even imagine!

But the pic of the two of you, fantastic, you look as good at the end of the race as you did at the beginning!

Regina said...

Ok, I'll be nice and congratulate you first AND THEN YELL AT YOU FOR MAKING THROW UP IN MOUTH AGAIN. That photo was nasty!

Am I crazy? Why am I so hooked on the idea of trail running? Why do I long to do it? Probably because we have no trails in NYC! I'm considering Vineman next year, so I will hunt you down if I come to town. Or.....there is always trail running and I don't have to ship a bike...hmmmmm

still, looks like you guys had fun and what a nice day for it. Well done!

Jo Lynn said...

Great job girl. Oh my gosh, it looks so miserably hot out there. Damn!

Really? You didn't stop to dump your shoes? You are the princess - you *always* do that!

Jo Lynn said...

Oh yeah, I hear you met one of my BFFs?

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

It was nice to finally meet and say Hi too. You are totally cute in person (those aren't just touched up pictures on your blog - just kidding! You would never do that!).

Good job on a rough day. The heat really got to me too. There were some pretty sad cases out there (people succumbing to nausea, shaking with dehydration), and you withstood it well! Sorry about your feet. I had some of that as well...


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

As a result of this supreme idiocy, this is what [my] balls ... look like

Hahahahahaha! I WAS RIGHT!1!


Congrats on the AG bling, sister! And the @$$ tat. You know, @$$-tats are the new Tramp Stamp. Way to be a cutting-edge WHOO-WER!1!

Hahahahaha! Kidding! You're not cutting-edge!

No, really, congrats. Can't wait for part two, where, to complement the pic of the balls of your feet, you upload a pic of you feet's penis.

IronSnoopy said...

Wow, you two look amazing in those pix, which means I hate you both a little bit.

Congrats on running 50+K!!! I have to admit, I think you're batshit crazy to run around like that, but you did great! :-)

Sorry about your feet -- no advice except make something else hurt worse and you won't even notice your feet anymore.

Congrats! And yay for spending time with GeekGirl and S. Babboo!

Alisa said...

Congrats on your second 50k! My hubby did one in August and I couldn't imagine going for that far.

My feet looked similar to yours after Barb's race since I stupidly didn't change socks after the bike. Oh well.

PunkRockRunner said...

“Ate Mac & Cheese?” So that’s what you Ultra Runners call it (cheeky bastards). Had I known they give you kitchen tiles for finishing in the top three I would have started running these things years ago (I need to re-tile the bathroom).

If you’re not doing anything in early April I’d love to have you join me for part of the American River 50-miler. I’m trying to sucker some friends & family to crew/pace.

Nice feet…..


SteveQ said...

I'm not rolling my eyes at breaking 10; I've had trouble doing that for 50... oh, wait, that was 50 miles, not 50K [*smirk monster*]. And the blisters aren't so bad - you'll be wearing gaiters soon to avoid the trail trash getting in your shoes [*trail trash attracts its own kind*] - but it's the callouses on the sides of your feet and the big toes starting to curl in from incipient bunions that say: WEAR SHOES THAT FIT!

You can learn a lot from crewing; can't wait for that report.

Lindsay said...

Congrats on a freakin 50k and the AG award. Those blisters... No thanks. Gross. I think you should come along on my boring street 50k in November...

Katie A. said...

OMG! I think that you are scerectly a running shark - meaning, you pretend to be all slow and untrained, but in reality your butt can go out and run 30+ miles and then crew all night! I call bullshit!!!
You are amazing and you did awesome! Sorry about the feet!
I miss you! Hope things are going well - we NEED TO MAKE A RUNNING DATE! Huggss!

SteveQ said...

About my lack of photos: First, photos don't actually show what one sees. (your photos are all posed; the one photo your husband got of you smiling when you didn't know your picture was being taken shows an entirely different smile. Your smile. Not a plastic posed smile.) Second, everyone's photos are the same: 10000 photos of the leaning Tower of Pisa and each of them has the same pose, from the same angle - one could just photoshop oneself into someone else's pic, so why take another? Third, if I say I thought I saw a moose, would a blurry photo of something brown really be worth posting?

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Stupid, Fucking Sand

I was gonna say that that, above, should be the caption for a pic of George Dubya Bush having sex with sand, but then I read SteveQ's latest comment and I'm thinking maybe it should be a pic of him, instead.

I mean, instead of the sand. But then he'd have to change his name to "Sand" for the caption to make sense. Plus? He'd have to let George Dubya Bush fuck him. (Pffftt! Like it'd be the first time!)

But on behalf of the whole blogosphere, I beseech thee, B*tch, to tell SteveQ that if he ever captures something "blurry" and "brown" on film or disc, PLEASE DON'T POST IT!1!

At least, not till he gets some sort of picture de-bigulating program because that last picture he posted was so big it nearly broke the Interwebs.

SteveQ said...

Sorry about that last comment. Can I get a make up test?

Aka Alice said...

How exactly did you take that picture of the bottom of both feet anyway? You are really flexible!

I'm speechless at the 50K effort...you are amazing!

Formulaic said...

I think that you should alert Steve in a speedo.

He has been knocked out for grossest feet picture!

He would be very proud!

I may tell him to check it out!

fitmacdaddy said...

Hey RBR--My wife, Pam, just forwarded to me the link to your blog and I have to say that I love it so far. It seems that we are at similar points in our running career as I just finished my first 50K as well this past weekend. Congrats and I'll be back for more. Here's my unsolicited ex-teacher to currently still teaching teacher advice, marry a doctor and stay home with the kids so that you can run and blog as much as you want!