Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dances With Dirt 2010

As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words", so I'm going to let the images below tell most of the story regarding Saturday's race. The teams did great - with the factored in handicap, our PR Fitness "Kettle-Belles" came in 10th overall and the PR Fitness Dirt Nappers came in 49th. While I'm not 100% certain how they figured who finished where, as it was done on the honor system and when your last runner crossed the line, at the end of the day, where we finished mattered very little. Both teams did their best and they had a great time along the way. By far, the post race celebration was worth every moment spent on the trail - sharing stories, lots of food, a couple beers were passed around (thanks, Joe), and tons of laughter.

On a personal note, I had my worst performance ever in an ultra. The driving directions for my crew/support that was sent in my race packet were bogus, they were for last years aid stations - the route was different this year, so I only saw my crew (Jody, Becky, and Christian) three times during the race. I ran a great deal of the race with only a few drinks of water. At one point, I ran the equivalent of a half marathon with only water (I should have seen my crew 3 times during that stretch!). Unfortunately, I can't fuel up with they typical aid station fair as all the high sugar crap wrecks me - I'm better off with nothing than that stuff. Rather than carry everything with me, my strategy was to have my crew meet me, which worked out beautifully last year when the directions were accurate. Lesson learned, don't trust the race directors directions and always take fuel in a race like this.

I was right on pace until around mile 18 where with hardly any fuel or water, things quickly went downhill. Leg cramps set in, blurry vision, the whole 9 yards. I've never had this happen, I actually had to sit down a couple times or take a knee. Walkers started passing me, old people with walkers and oxygen tanks started passing me, and I think I even saw a turtle and a couple snails blow by. It was humiliating for the ego. A passing mountain biker gave me a hit off his water bottle which helped for a while. And, yes, it's true, if you read Jody's Facebook post - my survival instincts were on high alert for anything that might help, I found some trail mix scattered on the side of trail and ate a few M&M's and peanuts which also gave some temporary relief (I think a few bits of dirt and leaves made there way in as well - talk about "trail mix"!).

I made it to the mile 23 aid station, I had no choice but to throw down on as much food and hydration as I could stomach - down the hatch went a giant Snicker's bar (gift from a fellow runner), bag of potato chips, fistfuls of trail mix (sans leaves and dirt!), cup after cup of water, the rest was a blur. I stumbled out the the station. 20 minutes later I came back to life.

The last 8 miles went great and I was able to get back to consistent running. The finish was emotional, for sure, and while I didn't reach my time goal and my finishing time is an embarrassment, I did accomplish my primary goal which was to finish the race and raise money/awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. What kept me going during the dark time was the support from you guys. And each time I stopped or wanted to quit, I thought of the Wounded Warriors we were running for - I thought of what these Hero's go through every day, their pain and suffering, and how they would think I was acting like such a baby - "suck it up, buttercup" - quitting was not an option.

At the end of the day, what matters most is that in conjunction with this race, we raised another $500 for the Wounded Warrior Project! "Thanks" to all those who ran, those who donated, those who supported, and to Fox 59 for letting us talk about our project.

If I get a race report from any of our team members, I'll be sure to pass them along as well.

Now, on to the pictures from the day. Photo credits go to Jody, Joe, and Bobbi - thanks guys! Warning, several of these are very "dirty" and may not be suitable for all viewers...

Vanessa, after a muddy section. Don't be fooled, it was actually much worse!

A rare moment, Chris in a really bad mood - realizing that the crew driving directions were bogus. Thanks for capturing the "moment" Jody : )

PR Fitness Coach, Richard, at the start line

Richard on a rare section of road, rather than trail...

Kelly is either doing some yoga between legs to recover, or showing off : ) Good job, Kelly. Not sure what the girl in the background is thinking...

Vanessa and Sherri - always such the downers, they NEVER know how to lighten up and have a good time... NOT!

Chris and Christian with the PR Fitness "Kettle-Belles" at the finish:
Sherri, Sherry, Kelly, Vanessa, Cindy

Rob, at the finish - a very, very dirty man...

Joe and Vanessa in a horrible mood at the race. You can really see the misery in their face and how bad the day was...

Rob sandwich with Jen and Cindy. Are they sisters?

Jen and Lisa near tears...
Things got a little rough and the National Guard was called in for crowd control... or maybe that was one of the more enthusiastic teams going for the spirit/costume award...

4 of the 5 PR Fitness "Dirt Nappers" near death. I think the 5th member had already been taken to the morgue by this point...

No, I'm not pointing to my shirt, I'm pointing to my collapsed lung and ruptured spleen. The medal is for coming in last in the womens 90+ age group.


  1. Great post, Coach. Love the photos. Your survival instincts are....powerful. Nicely done.


  2. Thanks, Johaan! I've been encouraged to apply for "Survivor" : )