Monday, August 13, 2012

Dirty Girls 48 Hour Trail Race - August 10,11, 12 2012

 Just did my 5th consecutive Dirty Girls Race. This race has been a series of "firsts" for me.    In 2008 I did my first ever 6 hour event logging 47.5 K. The one memory of 08 was how much EVERY THING hurt afterwards ,  even my hair!   I returned in 2009 signed up for the 24 hour race with the intention of doing 50 miles.   That day was special because I did my first ever 5 K race in the morning arriving mid afternoon at the DG run 6 hours after the race had begun.   The one memory that sticks is the response I got from the 24 hour folks as I flew by them on fresh legs whilst they were 8 hours into their day. In 2010 I returned to the 24 hour event going for the Buckle, 120 K .   I succeeded in my efforts thanks to my first ever pacers Anne and Luke Mc Cuthcheon.    After my 3 consecutive successful races I returned in 2011 wanting to exceed my previous years distance but it  wasn't the day.   Last year it was all about the heat and I really didn't manage it very well.   I was completely done and at 1:30 am with 6.5 hours remaining I pulled the plug at 90 K .  After some food, fluids  and a few hours of sleep it was weird cheering on those still moving feeling rather sheepish about not being out there!   The 2012 Dirty Girls Race  featured the first 48 hour event.  How could I resist!   So in December of 2011  I registered for the 48 hour event.  It wasn't lone before I set my goals for the race

A - More then 200 K
B- 200 K
C- 100Miles

 Getting ready for the run was a massive task.   It took a few  day to load up the Durango.  It was more like I was moving then preparing for a race.   I had all the food and clothing as well as a mattress with sleeping bag  so  I could fully stretch out in the back of the SUV.  When I arrived at the race Friday morning around 07:00 am I parked where the trail head starts right next to the Forest.  I strung out a tarp from the top of the vehicle to some nearby trees ,  set out my cooler and food supplies and a very comfortable lawn chair.

 Just prior to the race start we had the usual meeting and a not so usual weigh in,  I was somewhere around 178 lbs.  Next weigh in would be 24 hours and if I lost more then 5 or so pounds there was a possibility that I would be put on a time out until I recovered the weight.

  At 08:00 am we were off on the 8K loop.   Goal was to do a minimum of 20 loops preferably completing 25 or more!   The start was dry but it didn't take long before it  rained  the trail turned into  small streams  and  puddles.  The feet were soaked so instead of dodging the puddles I was going right through.   I wasn't overly concerned about the wet fee but that would change as Friday became Saturday.   There is an aide station at 4K.  I didn't carry any fluids with me my plan was to hydrate every 4K,  a quick glass of water on my first stop and I was off.   Finishing the first loop in around 1hr15min I sat down in my lawn chair ,  had a bite of food and  downed and S Cap washing it down with some water. 2nd and 3rd loops  there was light rain off and on but the puddles were starting to disappear.   Broke out the MP3 player and rocked through loops 4 and 5 getting to the 40K mark around 3pm.   Everything was going pretty good at this point.  I had a bit of Quad pain to deal with otherwise everything else was 100%.   For the first time ever I nailed the Hydration as well as the Nutrition and was very optimistic about the miles ahead of me.   I also settled into a really good routine ,  at the 4K aide station I Gelled and then took 2 full cups of water.   At the start finish I would sit down and more ore less have a meal every lap.  Most important and key to my hydration was taking a minimum of one  S Cap every loop.   The food supplied by the race was simply amazing.  I didn't need to bring anything with me but I am glad I did.  The combo of the race supply food and what I brought worked very well.  Coming into the start finish I would run  to the aide station ,  ask whats cooking and grab it to go.   I was set up 10 meters beyond the food stop and would sit down to eat on every lap.    Every time I made it back to the Durango I would change my shirt.  When it was really wet if was quite nice to change into something dry.     Before I ended the loop I was thinking about what I was going to eat.  Sometimes I had a Potato and Egg Salad with Mac and Cheese Salad washed down with a bottle of water.  Other times it was a Yogurt and OJ.   My favorite one was a heavily salted boiled egg washed down with a Coke.   Before heading out on my 6th lap the rain turned to a tropical downpour ...

So I waited out the heavy rain ,  at least a 10 min delay!   When I headed back out the trails had turned into rivers.  There were spots that the water was ankle deep.   I was still felling pretty good and had no issues with the wet feet.   My short term goal was to get as many laps in as I could before I had to put a light on.   I am pretty sure I made it through my 9th lap before nightfall.    There was still a bit of daylight when I headed out for my 10th loop.  After sitting ,  getting suited up for night running as well as eating I found that when I started out there was a fair bit of foot pain.  The pain subsided as I progress on the trail so I wasn't too worried about it.   Each time I came in and sat  it was becoming progressively more difficult to get going again. Completing laps 10 and 11 when I started out I had to walk further and further before the pain subsided a bit.  I was hoping that the feet would go numb and perhaps the blisters would pop giving me some relief .   Just before heading out on my 12th lap there was a fairly intense Thunder Storm approaching.   I asked someone at the start/finish if it was heading our way and they very firmly said no its going to miss us!  I was a little leery but  headed back out anyway.    As I progressed towards the 4K aide station the rain was really picking up and so too was the Thunder and Lightening .  The course is quite loopy and is forever changing  direction.  Because I was more or less running around in circles it seemed like the storm was all around me and I was getting just a little bit freaked out.  Made it to the 4K aide station without getting fried.  I asked about the storm and they said that more active weather was moving in and that I should consider getting some rest!  Well the way my feet were feeling and I was very agreeable to that suggestion.   I found a new gear in the last half of the 12th loop wanting to get in before it got too bad... I was really moving!  Finishing the 12th loop I could see the active weather giving away to a Starry Sky.   There was no way I was going to stop so I headed back out.   I wanted to get the 13th loop in and then I would change into dry socks and new shoes if the rain held off.    This was the first time I ran an overnight race without a pacer which was a bit of a mistake.  I didn't mind being out there on my own but I was going freakin bonkers thinking about what I was doing.   I tried to let the mind wander but I kept going back to the race numbers over and over and over again.   One theme was getting to 120K before the first 24  hours was up.  Last year I blew up and stopped at 90K so I had something to prove to myself.  Another theme was getting to 100 miles before 4pm then I would think things like 16 hours to go another 5 loops to get to 200K.  This sort of over and over and over again thinking was all I could do.   The foot pain was becoming even more unbearable.  I think I really did a number on them in the 12th loop when I was trying to outrun the active weather.  19hrs30mins after I started I stopped and removed my shoes and socks.  The shoes came off with a sucking sound and the socks were attached to my skin and had to be peeled off.   I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I instantly knew that I was in trouble and I really thought that my race had ended.  My left foot was the worst , there was something going on with my left heal...

and there was two nasty blister between the big toe and the first little one


So I spent the next 30 minutes or so with a safety pin popping blister after blister after blister.   When I was done I crawled into a warm dry sleeping bag and got a few  hours of restless sleep.   Woke up around 6:30 am and made a feeble attempt to fix the feet.   Fresh dry socks and shoes didn't help much so I hobbled over to the start finish.  Diane the RD  saw what was going on and called out for Kinga  to perform her magic.  Whilst the 24 hour, 6 hour and 32K folks were picking up their race kits they were treated to quite a sight . Kinga drained then cut open the blisters with scissors then treated them with Iodine,  I think she only had to peel me off the ceiling once!   After the lancing ,  cutting ans sterilization came the  bandages.  Now these were not your average run of the mill band aides,  they were custom fit and then glued in place.    Now after close to 90 minutes I had new feet.  The right foot was almost pain free the left foot still was tender but manageable.  So after a quick weigh in ,  now 175 lbs ... 3 lbs lighter then my start weight  and then a brief word with the time keeper I was back on course.   Now have never run 104K ,  stopped and slept for 3 hours had foot surgery then went back out to run a minimum of 56k so I had no idea what to expect.   It didn't take long to get moving again but I could tell from my labored breathing that I need more calories ...lots more calories.  So I completed the 13th loop and had a feast of food.   Heading out on the 14th loop I walked the first K just to give my food a chance to process and it worked rather well.  Before I knew it I was running again.  There was still a bit of foot pain but it wasn't that bad.   It was really weird because nothing else hurt  at all and even weirder I was still running!   The course was pretty busy with the all the other runners that started their race at 08:00 am and it was a good distraction to the numbers games I had been playing throughout the night.  The race has runners at both end of the scale  from seasoned veterans to first time on the trail.  I found it particularly amusing to see a 32K runner at he aide station getting his bladder filled,   he also had 2 flask full of fluids attached to his backpack.  I mean really ,  its about 18C,  its raining off and on and the aide station is every 4K..OK each to his own!  Next big milestone was getting through lap 15 which occurred around 1pm.  As usual I sat down ,  ate  drank and rested for a few minutes before i headed back out.   120K down ,  40K or 5 more laps to get to 100 miles.    I really wanted to get to 100 miles before it got dark but I knew I would be close but I was resigned to doing one more lap in the dark.  Things were going pretty good at this point in the race but I had decided before I headed back out at 09:30 am that I was only going  for my "C" goal 100 miles.   During my 15th lap the course started to thin out again ,  all the 32Kers were gone an the 6 hour folks were about to wrap things up.  Laps 16 and 17 were a bit on the lonely side and I once again I returned to the numbers game in my head.   Finishing the 17th lap I  was beginning to feel a little loopy.  I have experienced this sorts of thing in other long races but I was always with a pacer so I had a second brain working for me.    The aide station at the start finish had Red Bull so I gave it a shot and a short time later loopy was gone.  It didn't make me run any faster but it sure brought me around mentally.  One BIG surprise of the day was that I was still running ,  heck I was even running up the smaller hills.  Mentally this gave me a huge boost and I really felt like I had accomplished something.  I nailed my Hydration ,  Fuel and Electrolyte  requirements my only shortfall was what was going on with my feet!   On the 19th lap Kevin Seawell came out and paced me.  It was really nice to have some company and it helped to divert my thoughts away from the numbers game.  I wasn't real chatty because I needed all my O2 to keep running.  I also needed to lead the way ,  I needed to set my own pace.  Being able to run meant keeping the effort just slightly less then too much.   The day had been mostly dry with the odd light shower but that was about to change.  About 2K into the 19th loop the sky unexpectantly opened up and it poured for about 10 minutes.  I was worried about getting Hypothermia.  Normally when these sorts of things happen I just run faster but after running 147K I didn't know if I had enough in me to ward off the chills.   Fortunately the rain let up after about 10min and I was able to warm up but on the flip side I now had sopping wet feet again and by the end of the loop I was back to where I was in the wee morning hours.   Finishing the 19th loop it was about 7:30 pm.   With the foot pain it was going to be a quick stop ,  no sitting down get back out there ASAP and "get er done".    Gary Johnston my overnight pacer  was doing the 12 hour night race starting a 8pm.  I told him there was no way I could wait 30min for his race to start but he said that he would still go out and do a loop with me not getting credit towards his race !    I felt really bad for him but he was quite OK with it so off we went.   I warned Gary that I was getting allot of foot pain and probably wouldn't be a whole lot of fun to be around but again he was understanding.  I was still moving along pretty well but I was also slowing down and was much more aware of my fatigue and foot pain.    Finishing the 20th loop was a huge relief .  I didn't feel any disappointment not meeting my A or B goals and was quite ecstatic about my success.  I ran a full 160K  unlike Sulphur a year ago where I ran 100K then walked 60K.  

 Diane the RD awarded me with my 100 Mile Buckle and after a brief stop at with foot Doctor Kinga I made my was to the Durango called my wife and then slept for about 4 hours before I packed up and headed home.  

 I look forward to doing this one again next year with a 200K goal that seems quite achievable.

RACE VIDEO - Click here


Ultra Monk said...


chris mcpeake said...

Well done Ron. Way to get it done. Kinga is a foot genius (she taped me before SS last year). Wish I had been there but I will just live vicariously through your report. Its easier on the feet.

dchesla said...

Wow - great report Ron. Totally allows me to see the 48 hr race from the "inside." Do you mind if I post a link to your blog, on the website & on the DRunner facebook page? Hands down feet were the worst issue for 48hr runners (and some 24). I want others to know "they're not alone." I'm thinking too that maybe we can get Kinga to do a video of her taping skills as we use it and pass it along to many runners.

Janice said...

I really enjoyed reading your race report and loved the pics of your feet!! They sure look sore.

A big congratulations to you on a great race. I can only hope to one day do distances like that.

kim said...

Fantastic report Ron! You've captured this amazing event with incredible detail. You'll have the 200k next year, for sure! Congratulations on a tough 100 miles. :)

Gary Johnson said...

Congrats Ron!!

I know i was sure exhausted after your last/my first 8k. lol

Gary J.

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