Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Miwok 100K

A quick recap of last year… the weather was horrible, I missed the starting line and it was cold, it was wet and it was windy… with all that I did better than this year.. What gives?

I could go on and blame it on my crew? Oopss.. I didn’t have one… Or I could say that I slept through my alarm Opps.. I woke up and I got a friendly call from my ride.. Or I could say it was my nutrition or perhaps the shoes… I could blame it on the weather… nope that will not go neither since it was a glorious day.. Damn it... Then what went wrong? LOL..

Look at the views.. aren't they amazing?

I got an early wakeup call from my ride, Amy an awesome friend who was coming to volunteer for the first time. I did everything right the day before.. I even went to bed early. When she called me I got out of bed jumped in the shower did my regular pre-race routine with plenty of time to spare. We drove to the starting line, got checked in and took a little nap before the start.

Check the profile... it is over 10,000 feet of elevation gain.. And the downhills are just brutal.

I woke up a couple of minutes before the start, got rid of most of my clothes as it promised to be a gorgeous warm day. I kept my arm warmers and my San Carlos CrossFit shirt... I made it to the starting line said hi to a couple of friends and we were off. The morning was glorious; the smell of the ocean was intoxicating and the views… OMG.. I cannot describe how beautiful was that morning… I could tell that we were going to have great weather it wasn’t cold or windy. It was just perfect for a nice 100K run…. And we were off….. And we were stuck. The race starts at the beach and then it goes into the trails pretty fast and there is not enough room to accommodate all the runners at the same time.. So unless you are a top dog you just have to wait and wait until all runners get on a single file and start the climb right away.
Check out another view.. this climb was long...

It was a great start for me and I was afraid to get sand in my shoes. I had that happen when I ran Headlands 100 with some very unpleasant consequences. I managed to avoid that which was a blessing. As the day went by I soon realize that I was going a little bit too fast. I tried to maintain a pace that definitely was a bit too fast for me… You know you are in trouble when you start seeing little rainbows in dry weather, and or you feel a bit dizzy…. That is how I felt just as I was passing the Bolinas Ridge aid station. All I wanted was some Sugar something that will lift me up. I knew right away that I was going to be in trouble and I wasn’t even half way there..

I ran a bit with Erika Lindland and then she left me in the dust, then I ran a bit with Victoria Folks and she also left me in the dust, ran with Catra Corbett and her bad ass self left me in the dust as well, and then my buddy Brian Harvey also left me in the dust. All I wanted to do was to sit down and never get up. Somehow I found the motivation to keep going.. I knew I was going to finish I just didn’t know how long was going to take and The ONLY time that I seriously consider quitting was on the return at the Tennessee valley aid station.. Good thing Amy was there cuz she motivated me to keep on going… and MY GOD I was spent by then. I was kind of dizzy then…

I tried to hang with Catra, I coudn't.
Remember pain is weakness leaving the body and you left a lot at Miwok (Catra Corbett)

But back to the race… starting in Rodeo Beach we go to Tennessee Valley via some trails I have never been on, they seemed different this year.. or perhaps was just the change of weather. The views were amazing not matter the time, no matter in which direction you look. It was a glorious day indeed… what a difference from a year ago when the weather conditions were totally different. Some days are magical and some days are just miserable, and this one was beginning to seem like the former… it terms of weather that is.. But definitely miserable in terms of how I felt. I remember that infamous time when I got lost in Mount Diablo and it took me almost 8 hours to complete a marathon… even then I wasn’t feeling like I was feeling on Sunday. By far, this is the worst I have felt in a long, long time.

Coming back from Randall aid station, into Bolinas Ridge aid station, runners would usually pick their pacers there.. And I could totally see the difference between those of us running solo and those with pacers. All of the sudden I was being passed by all runners and their pacers, I even tried to shadow a couple, at not avail. I was spent and no matter how much effort I was going to put, I wasn’t going to get any faster so I decided to suck it up and just survive the rest of the way. I knew I was going to be slow, the only question was how much slower than last year?
After what seemed like forever I reached the Tennessee Valley aid station, my lowest point in the race, but somehow I found to motivation to keep moving and so I was on my way with Amy’s blessing. The last climb was hard and then the very last part of the race was the hardest.. This one is a bunch of stairs and loose rocks going down steeply and then there is this damn paved bike trail that seems never to end. UGH!! At this moment every single step was painful and I just wanted it to be over with. I could see the finish line from the ridge, but I could also see the paved road ahead and I hated it, I hated every single step of that damn pavement. Then it was the final stretch… a hiker started to scream when she read the back of my shirt (San Carlos CrossFit), and she said that is where I am from. I hobble to the end, got my medal and my finisher’s bag… said hi to a few people but what I really wanted is to sit down and just pass out. After I picked up my swag met my ride and we left the site to grab a bite to eat. I ate and then I just crashed in the car, apparently there was a big traffic problem, I never saw it. The next time I opened my eyes I was already in front of my house. Took a shower and went to bed, the day was done..

This is the very last paved descent ugh.. brutal, I just couldn't run anymore and even walking was painful.

When I think of this day I think of an amazing lesson I learned. I learned that we all have wonderful days and sometimes things do not go the way we envision them to go. Some days are great, some days aren’t, and sometimes I will do great, others I won’t. However not matter who shows up (a great day or a miserable one) I am in control of how I react to them. Today might be a bad day, but there will be a sunrise and a sunset the next day, life goes on and so will I.


Amy said...

Nicely done Luis!! Not all race days are created equal...but you FINISHED!! :)

David said...

Luis, thank you for sharing your experience and the lesson learned. I think the rule applies to all of us. We're not going to be at our best each and every day.

In a perfect world, we keep getting better. The performance line constantly rises with no plateaus or dips... The reality, though, is a performance line that goes up and down and up and down. If we're fortunate though, through these ups and downs, the performance line of ups and downs are also rising... Sheesh, I'm not making any sense, am I?!

Bottom line: you persevered, you did it, you put it in perspective... and you woke up the next morning to another chance to do it all over again.

Patti Isaacs said...

Hey Luis, your story reminds me of when I biked TRAM (The Ride Across Minnesota.) I had not trained very much and we had to go 77 miles that day. That may not be much for you, but it was 27 miles more than I had ever ridden. At mile 55 I was thinking of waiting for the sag wagon, but I figured I'd just push to the next rest stop. I repeated that two more times, thinking I would quit each time but then pushing on to the next aid station. I was just SOOO tired.

In the end I stuck it out and when I finished, I could hardly believe it! I felt like shit but I was proud. It's a bigger accomplishment to finish when you feel like crap than to finish when you're just sailing along.

So bravo for persisting even though your body wasn't cooperating. That's a huge victory!

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