Monday, August 21, 2017

Squamish 50

some days you gotta dance
live it up when you get the chance
'cause when the world doesn't make no sense
and you're feeling just a little too tense
gotta loosen up those chains and dance

~ dixie chicks
turns out i was a 40-mile runner on a 50-mile day.

and though i may not have any right to be, i'm disappointed.

as noted previously, i felt only ready-ish for squamish. but as the race unfolded, i was convinced i was going to get it done. i was strong on the climbs, nimble on the steep, rocky downhills, and running the in-betweens.

i was feeling so good, at mile 23 i literally danced to the soundtrack playing at the corners aid station. fine times in the squamish sunshine.

yes, there is some scenery on this course.
my watch failed at around mile 31, which was weird since it carried me all the way through a much longer day at miwok. right about the same time i got stung by a bee. i'm pretty sure those events were connected somehow...but the bee is dead, and he's not talking. either way, not long after they occurred, other things began to go sideways.

i pulled into the mile-33 quest university aid station for a change of socks, shoes, shirt, and hat. i was also handed an otter pop by a very cute aid station volunteer who couldn't have been more than 3 years old. both put a smile on my face as i headed out to do some more climbing on a very climb-y day.

that's when the wheels very unexpectedly came off. i went from moving along well to "what the hell is happening?" within a couple-mile stretch.

as it has on more than one occasion, my stomach, which had been threatening trouble for several miles, turned upside down during that brief time. i was wishing it would also turn inside-out, but had no luck inducing it.

kind and concerned folks stopped on their way by to say, "are you okay?"
"i'm all right...i'd be doing better if i could puke."

yeah, i wasn't doing all right.

i would make best-possible time for five minutes, then rest for five minutes, totally drained of energy. people i had passed long ago now passed me, and i couldn't rally to go with them.

my friend ian burton, who i ran with for many miles this day, caught up and did the best he could to coax me along. 
who can say no to this guy?

"there's plenty of time. you can still hang out for a bit at the next aid station and get back on top of things."

it seemed a reasonable enough thought, but if i'm honest, i didn't think it was going to happen. whatever was going on with me was getting a good grip on my body. and though i'd been taking tums (and later pepto) to ward it off, eventually they just seemed to make things worse.

we made our way to the garibaldi aid station, and i plopped into a chair. note: this is always a bad idea for a runner with any intention of continuing on.

i sat eating ice chips, trying to get something, anything, down. ian patiently restocked and refueled but eventually, reluctantly headed back to the trail. it was the last i would see of him until the next day.

(the good news: ian finished in fine style on a course where any finish is a serious accomplishment.)

meanwhile, for me it was just a matter of time. as the minutes 'til cutoff ticked away, i sat in disbelief that i would drop just 10 miles from a squamish finish. but i had no more in the tank. shivering, foggy headed, legs cramping, i asked for a ride down the hill.
i could not be more grateful to the volunteers throughout the course, but especially at garibaldi. they were terrifically kind and attentive during my time in their company. i wish i could've reciprocated.

i'm also thankful for my friends daisy clark and dianna christopoulos, who saw me shivering on a park bench at the finish and covered me with blankets, coats, and caring. you guys are the best, and i love you both.
ed. note: standing here today, i feel remarkably good. my legs are not particularly trashed, and i feel like i could go out for a recovery run right now...except that my stomach is still kinda wrecked. doctor appointment tomorrow.
squamish 50 mile


topo terraventure (mile 0-33)
altra timp (mile 33-40)

song(s) stuck in my head the entire day: "some days you gotta dance" ~ dixie chicks; "sussudio" ~ phil collins

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