Bulldog 50K Ultra
This is an example of a bulldog. Meet Stella. Awwwwww....
This is a demonstration of what happens when you try to control a bulldog. This WAS a cone fastened around Stella's neck to prevent her from ruining a set of stitches. This picture was sent to me the night before the race. Foreshadowing?????
Oh my. Oh MY.
The good news is that a 50k doesn't seem all that long to me anymore. The bad news is that I am a human, not a robot*, and therefore that whole me feeling fiiiine after a solid 50 mile performance turns out to be false. The fuck was I doing tempo runs 2 days after the hardest and longest I have ever run thus far in life? Jesus.
In retrospect, I probably should have known something was up the week preceding this race, given that I was the most hungry and most tired person in greater Los Angeles County. Seriously. In one day, I ate 1 am donuts; 4 blueberry waffles and a banana; Souplantation buffet; AND sat in the all-you-can-eat section at Dodger Stadium. Holy, recovery mode, batman! When I wasn't eating, I was busy falling asleep at my computer roughly 2-7 times daily.
I probably also should have listened to those who expressed concern for me running a 50k only two weeks after a 50miler. I am NOT a seasoned ultrarunner and it will take time for me to be able to do back to back races like this. No, strike that. It will take time for me to do back to back races sucessfully. I understand this now.
Enter the 2009 Bulldog 50k Ultrarun. i.e. My first Ultramarathon, which ended up being my third. Confused? So am I.
Explanation: My original plan for 2009 was to run 4 marathons in my quest to run 30 before I'm 30; and hopefully complete my first Ultra in August in the form of Bulldog. Then, and only then would I consider running 50 miles early in 2010. And maybe I'd think about cracking 100 in 2011. Hmmm.... so in reality, I will actually have completed 4 ultras including 2 50ks, a 50 miler and a 100 MILER; three road marathons, a handful of halves or shorter races and lest we not forget that starting this summer I run at least one marathon distance training run most every week... sometimes two... oftentimes back to back on sat/sun. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ME?????
I don't know, but it is awesome.
What was NOT awesome was Bulldog. So let me get back to that...
I slept alright on Friday and ate my normal breakfast. I had a nice drive with P-dubs in the Jeep, listening to my kick ass playlist and my normal coffee and sugar. I drank a normal amount of water. I went to the bathroom a normal amount of times. I felt altogether...normal.
The race started and I took off with P-Dubs and Kate, my normal training partners. The pace was normal. FUCK, EVERYTHING WAS NORMAL!!!
Kate took off when a chick in tiny shorts caught up to us, but I decided to stay conservative and save it for the climb. Since that's what I normally do. Sure enough, I got to Bulldog and as I began steadily running the steep climb I could see myself catching back up to Kate and Booty Shorts. Good. I did the right thing.
Then I did the wrong thing and decided to eat some Honey Stingers. Hmmm... that doesn't seem right.... And then the Honey Stingers were donated to nature. This was not normal. But I did feel better, so I kept moving up the climb. Badass Bev caught up to me and we joked a bit about her being an 'old' beast of a climber and me being a downhill animal with youngster legs not made of balsa wood. Accordingly, I took off when we reached the summit and this is to be considered the one time in the entire history of the race that I was semi-enjoying myself. I credit that largely to the random mix I had kicking of Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Coldplay and old-school No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom-style. As per usual, I passed a slew of folks on the downhill (including Micro Minis) despite the rumbling in my stomach. As I rolled into the aid station, I realized it had been quite some time and that I should probably try to eat something. Pretzels seemed like a good idea.
Pretzels were a very bad idea. About four minutes later, pretzels were covering the side of the trail. Ok, here's where I started to realize things were not necessarily "good." Two hours into this thing, I had kept 0 calories down and my legs were well aware of this fact. Before I knew it, I had cruised through the halfway point and headed up for my second loop. I had yet to hit my happy place, which normally dominates all trail runs and trail races entered by me. Bulldog loomed ahead and I knew I had to get some glycogen into my system if I was going to make it up the second time. Maybe a .... Powerbar?
And that one was projectile. Ok, SHIT. Yes. Yes, I am miserable. And now I am walking. Additionally I am getting passed by a bunch of people that by the looks of them have no business passing me. This officially sucks. Wait, I need to puke again...
This. Is. Not. Good. Just make it to the aid station, Katie. Maybe they have a solution. The aid station's solution is Coke. Coke is not a valid solution. At this point, I have become increasingly unsure of my ability to run 9 more miles with thousands more feet of climbing on a completely depleted and dehydrated system, and honestly, I was seriously entertaining thoughts of my first DNF. Miss Erin Chavin, running her first Ultra, caught up to me here looking happy and strong. I think her positive energy rubbed off on me a little and I decided to keep running.
My stomach also decided to keep wretching. I tried some cola gel blasts, my last resort, on the downhill this time - thinking the combination of the food item that NEVER fails me and the easier exertion may do the trick. If the trick is more projectile vomiting, then yes, I did succeed. By now, I have tears in my eyes, it is hot as hell and I can't remember feeling more miserable ever in life. Now here's the really fucked up part...
I was smiling. I don't know if it was mid-hurl or while I was wiping my face to the disgusted onlooks of other runners - but at some point I just accepted what was happening. I knew there would be times in my future that I was going to feel much worse than this and be in much more dire situations. With the shit I've been planning, we're talking 10-20 times worse at LEAST. I chose this. And while I realized I couldn't control what was happening to me physically, I was still in control of mentally staying in the game. So I enjoyed that misery. Every last drop of it.
By the time I got into the last aid station, I was shaking badly. My legs were cramping, my arms were spasming and I was struggling to maintain form. I had missed a turn at one point too, tacking on an extra half mile or so and really pissing me off. Oh and my foot felt like it was broken which was also great. (Did I fail to mention the case of peroneal tendonitis... resulting from the achilles tendonitis... as a result of the quadriceps tendonitis? DAMN YOU THREE WEEKS OF ANGRY RUNNING!!!) I was an absolute wreck and these folks at the aid station knew it. This woman made me drink some unholy union of rehydration salts and warm-ish gatorade which tastes similar to what I imagine rabie-infested bull piss would taste like. Can bulls even get rabies? I don't know but that shit's not staying down.
Two minutes later, without breaking stride, I reenacted a scene from the Exorcist. Linda Blair, you now have NOTHING on me. This, of course, initiated riotous laughter on my part... mainly because it was at this juncture in my life that I realized how insane this whole thing is. I felt TERRIBLE, I was having trouble even walking at this point, I still had a mountain to make it over and there was no way in hell I was stopping. In the grand scheme of things, this race meant nothing. But on that day at that time, it meant everything to me. Finishing this stupid piece of shit devil of a run became the most important thing EVER.
So I did just that. Fin.
Let's just put it this way... my 50k split at Headlands was faster.
Mr. Garmin says 7,066' of climbing, but he chose to work whenever he pleased - website says 8,000. Also, I think the course was a little short.
If you want legitimate results you can Google that shit. No way am I providing you with a direct link to my failures.
Meanwhile, in the opposite of failure category....
Mad props go to Dom for winning the whole fucking thing, Kate for a giant PR/2nd in our age group, P-Dubs for a PR, Bev for winning her division, Erin and Julie for completing their first Ultra, Jessica for rocking her very first trail race, Jimmy for being Jimmy and Peter B and Ali for dissipating the extreme failure cloud I had rocking when I went into work. That shit is SCARY.