27 March 2011

Antelope 100 Recap and Moving On

It was ironic that Karl Meltzer was the one who kept telling me that he wasn't sure he'd even finish the 100.  He was somewhat injured (stabbed by a yucca plant last weekend) and fatigued.  He said he'd start the race and see how he felt at mile 19 (the first time we came near the start/finish).

We started out and Dan Vega was immediately off the front.  I settled in with Karl at a reasonable pace.  I pulled away from Karl but he and I came back together at the first aid station (I stopped to grab a gel and he didn't).  Dan made a mistake, thinking he had gone the wrong way (you can do this short out and back spur either before or after the next section and Karl and I were doing it first, so Dan ran back to do the spur - he was a good 4 mins behind us by now).  At this point I was leading after bombing a long descent and starting the switchbacks back up from the beach.  At the top of the switchbacks Dan caught me and I couldn't believe he had run the spur and then caught back up in such a short time.  So, he was in front of me for the next few miles by about 100 meters with Karl further back behind me.  At an oddly marked trail junction at mile 18 Dan and I waited for Karl because we didn't know where to go.  The three of us cruised into the start/finish aid station at mile 19 together.  Dan was in and out in 30 seconds, Karl followed shortly thereafter.  I was having issues with my shoes cutting into my ankles and I had slipped on an icy slick muddy stretch and tweaked my knee somehow.  I commented to those two at mile 18 that "I just about did the splits back there."  Anyway, my stop at the aid station took a while tightening my shoes that were slopping around and generally not feeling right.  By the time I got out of there, Karl was 5 mins up on me an Dan was gone.  My heart sank and I dipped into a bad mood as the first wave of pain was already beginning so early in the race and I just felt out of sorts with physical pain and a scattered mindset having made dumb mistakes.  The next 20 miles were just dull.  I dropped to about 20 mins behind Karl by mile 40 and had a substantial lead over the 4th place person but I just wasn't feeling right.  At about mile 46 I was on the paved road where there was a marker to turn off into a field.  With the late afternoon sun (it was about 7pm) in my face, I missed the marker and continued all the way up the road to the top of Buffalo Point.  Realizing my huge mistake, something snapped in me and I was done.  I jogged back down, made the correct turn, and finished the first loop of the course in the dark.  It took 45 mins for me to stop shivering, since I was under dressed and had stopped taking in any calories once I decided I was done.  I think I'm done with Antelope Island; I've had some of my worse races there.

Now I begin "phase 2" of my training - much more vert.  Next up: a couple of 50 milers in May, then the San Diego 100 in June.  The mistakes I made this weekend have sunk in and I learned several lessons, mostly, to respect the distance of 100 miles.

Shaun Katona (my weekend traveling companion) drove with Pippit (very nice of him to bring Pip out for me) to the race (I flew since I was starting a day before).  Then I rode back with them.  Shaun finished the 50k, working through his own tough patches.
Pippit co-piloting to Utah.  He seemed to really like Shaun.
Pippit in his hotel room cave.
Shaun getting it done in the 50k
The highlight of my weekend was getting to witness Darren run his first 100 miler.  He's been training for it since December 1st, getting out every day regardless of the weather, working through injuries, taking time away from his family.  He said a sub 24 hour finish would be a dream and he made that happen: 22:11.  I got a bit choked up when he finished.  When he got his award buckle from the race director and said, "I owe this to my wife and daughter, my parents, and my coach" I had to walk away for a bit.  I haven't been that proud of someone in a long time.  The photos of his finish say it all.

26 March 2011

Antelope 100

I dropped at 50. Dan vega wins in 15:30.
My buddy Darren finished his first 100 miler in 22:11!!