Saturday, May 03, 2008

Mount Diablo 50Miles Endurace race.

April is in the books… it is gone… and I…. well… did not that good when it comes to Ironman Training. Compared to previous months my volume is considerably lower… Darn… Now I have to work really hard to peak before IM in less than 12 weeks… or is it 10? HOLY COW… is is soo freaking close..

Lets see… This month of April, however, I ran a 50 Miles race. Mount Diablo Ultramarathon. It was here where it all started. It was in that race a year ago when I discovered ultra running accidentally. You see, when I came to the bay area, I wanted to run a marathon, a trail marathon. I set out to look for a local race and found Mount Diablo marathon and 50 mile endurance race. I signed for the marathon, and my longest trail run to date had been 15 miles in a very flat course. Well, this is my journal entry of a year ago…

My race report, the Mount Diablo Marathon in Clayton California 2007.
What possessed me to sign for this BEAST? Yes, I have run marathons, but my, last one was over 1 year ago and my longest run was 15 miles about two weeks, ago…. I have only done one trail run; this is my second longest trail run, EVER yet the DEVIL made me do it. I am sure he was laughing at me today… my, marathon o better call it my CRAWLATHON was insane. My ironman was a walk, in park compared to this beast. I did not only decide to run a trail, marathon, but I happen to pick one of the hardest in the state… Almost, 8,000 feet of elevation gain INSANE. By mile 3, I was about to bail out,, but I kept thinking, pain is my friend…. I can handle pain, so I, thought. After, I reached the summit for the first time, I followed a couple of guys that, were having a nice pace, it turns out they were doing the 50 miler. I, reached one of the sporadic aid stations, and a guy asked me "You are doing, great, is this your first 50 miler?"… I said, "no I am doing only a, marathon", he replied "well my friend you should not be here then". It, turns out I had missed a turn and now I had crawl back to summit (another 2, miles uphill) and find the stupid marathon turn. It was demoralizing and, I cursed the mountain, and my other self, the stupid Luis that signed up for, this marathon. Anyhow, I finished and that is what it counts…. I was, not going to DNF, rather I chose to be DFL, but thank God I was not. After, a while I started passing people and I reached the finish line in about, 7:45… Wow, that is a new record for me… What is next, I am going to think long and hard before I decide to do, something crazy like this once again.,

HA… What a difference a year makes… Last year I started 14 ultramarathons, I did not finished 2 of them and completed 12. This year I decided I was going to go back to the mountain that made me cry last year, literally. I was going to take my pride back…. I was going back and this time I was going to do the 50 miler… Twice the distance, twice the elevation gain… 14,000 feet … Woohoo!!!

I wasn’t sure if I was going to sign up since I had been training for the Ironman, but one talk with Janet and I was convinced. I was going to do it… Hell yeah baby!! A started to prepare a couple of days before including getting all the night gear I was going to use and shoes. I have been using the same shoe style, this year, however, they changed the style and they run a little smaller… I did not know that at the time and it took me a whole 5 miles in the race to realize that they were just a little smaller… small enough so my toes were hitting the end of the shoe. Needless to say, I have an array of black toenails now, a number large enough to start my own toenail necklace.. (just kidding).

In any event, Janet Kim and I met at the starting line.. Janet my best ultraruning buddy and . Kimberly, (Trail Runner M.D) another ultra-crazy buddy of mine. They were amazing, there is not way I could have finished this race without their support. They are awesome…
So we met at the starting point and this time I felt that I belonged there. Last year it was very intimidating, I did not know anybody and I felt out of place among those people. You could see that these are the hard-core runners, Mount Diablo 50 miler is not a walk in park by any means. Their faces, their bodies, their legs, their gear showed that these people know what they are doing. This year however, I knew many of them and my gear showed the wear and tear of many ultra runs from the past year. It was a great feeling.

Sarah and Wendell, race directors and incredible ultra runners gave us the directions and sent us in our way....
….. and so we started... up and up and up and up...

Up and up and up…. I knew this was not going to be easy, but I also knew that regardless of the time I was going to finish. The first ascent to the summit was uneventful, when we got there we made a joke…. We said “lets see how we feel when we come back here in about 8 hours” it was not a joke…. We were back there in about 8 hours indeed and saw the sun beginning to set in the horizon. During the second ascent to the summit we were greeted by Sabrina Okada, a really good friend of mine that happens to live nearby. She spent 3 hours waiting for us… What a trooper... She took this picuture.. (insert picture here).

Anyhow… for about 14 hours we ran this monster, or attempted to run since many places were absolutely un-runable… The steepness was so hard we could barely walk it upright… and the descents… OH my God… my poor toes… At mile 13 or so, for not particular reason I twisted my ankle… It is amazing what can go through your head in a split second. I thought, “Damn, my race is over… oh Man.. how am I going to get back to the starting line”. I sat down for a few moments, and then started to walk and then jog and then I found myself running again. It was a great feeling that would last for a few miles. Just before reaching a aid station, I twisted it again, and this time it was sooo painful that my vision blurred from the pain, but miraculously the pain went away and I kept running. When we reached another aid station, a park ranger gave me some medical tape, so I taped both of my ankles to get more stiffness. I also got one big blister…. But somehow the pain went away… it was like "where did it go?". Funny, as soon as I finished the race I felt it, and I knew my toes were going to feel it for a few days.
Check my poor feet after the race... all taped up... I won't show a picture of my poor toenailes here or my big blister... But they look bad...

Also got sick, my tommy was not feeling well… I told Janet and Kim.. “Hold on!”… and I went off the trail, hugged a tree and emptied my tummy. After a really good puke, I started hydrating again and felt much, much better. Kim and Janet were amazing, they pushed and pulled me to the finish line. Wohooo!! It was a great race… Loved it… and yes I am going to do it again next year.. with better shoes…

Check out this little clip.... it is called 14 hours compressed in 30 seconds.... pretty cool..

The pain of having my toenails blacken, my ankle twisted and my stomach not very happy, are a small price to pay for amazing experience that this race gave me. Kimberly said “One of the great things about ultras is that the good parts (friends, beautiful sweeping views from the top of Mt Diablo, red-winged blackbirds, the night sky) stay for a long time, and the pain fades quickly” And that is sooo true… I had a blast and I loved every minute of it.
The Finish: Man... it was a great feeling to finish this race... I earned a great t-shirt, a coaster

The best part of the whole race... the experience with two great friends... Wohooo!!!

Now What?

I walk in a body that can run 50 miles with 14,000 feet of elevation gain… People think I am crazy, people don’t believe that somebody would put himself/herself thought that pain… and for what? For a coaster / medal? Bragging rights? Nope, for me I do it because I can, because tomorrow I might not be able to do it. Because I have experienced not being able to run or walk and I cannot imagine my life without being able to do so. Every morning when I wake up and put both of my feet on the floor I think how blessed I am, how wonderful life is that is allowing me to see one more day, one more sunset, one more day to share with my friends, one more day to run.

When you read this, think about all the wonderful things Life has blessed you with, a family, friends, loved ones, the ability to walk and run… I am certainly blessed… OOOHHHYYYYEEAA!!!!

I will be doing IMcDA in 49 days, then I will probably do another 50miler and most likely a 100 miler before the year is over..


1 comment:

Isabel said...

You are going to kick butt at IMCdA. I just know it! Great job on the 50 miler!!!!