Last year I felt I wimped out at mile 53 and regretted dropping for a year.  This weekend, a bad stomach forced me to drop at mile 31.  No regrets this year; there was no other decision to be made.

Originally, my race report was going to be this “OC 2011, Disaster, DNF”.  But while on a run an hour ago I realized that 1) something is to be learned from anything and 2) somebody somewhere will appreciate a good stomach distress story.  But I will try and keep it brief and clean.  And brief.

The first 14.5 miles went well.  I was out fast and leading a group of runners in the dark through the early hills.  Into the first aid station I flew down some steep hills passing a few runners, and after blasting through the station I passed about 5 more.  I started to notice leg cramping like at Pisgah so I backed off the pace a little and gave up some places and wanted to be sure to hold back some energy.  At the 14.5 mile aid station (and turnaround on the loop) I caught up to the group of runners ahead.  I could tell something was off.  Last year I knocked down a bunch of grilled cheese but this year after one bite I was nauseous.  I grabbed a bunch of food for my pack and moved on and noticed I got very cold.

As soon as I started to climb I felt queasier and as I ran down the hills it got worse.  First I started walking; nothing got better so I ran again.  This time I started to cramp.  Between mile 16 and 19 I had a few cramps that left me on the side of the trail doubled over.  Finally, I tried to go to the bathroom but nothing.  I passed a shelter at mile 20 but moved on since my failed bathroom experiment led me to believe I couldn’t go.  A mile later I ran into the woods to go to the bathroom.  After finishing-  I knew that this was not the cause of the issues.  I moved on, and a bit later my stomach grumbled the longest gnarliest gurgle.  I threw my pack down and ran down in to the woods- sparse woods at that.  I could not find a big enough tree to hide behind and the trail curved so hiding was a real issue.  Since it was a steep downhill I needed to hang on to the tree to keep from falling backwards.  Then I realized that I was wearing loose shorts on top of my compression shorts and hoped I wasn’t trashing them while they lay on the ground.  Long story short- it was quick, painful and downright ugly.  But I thought it may be over. 

Back down the trail, the cramping continued and I walked along.  I finally got to the 23 mile aid station, threw my pack at the volunteer and ran for the porta potty.  After another unfriendly episode- I hung at the aid station for a while.  I tried to eat and drink but it didn’t sit well.  I finally headed back to the hills and tried to get back in the race. On the first downhill- cramps and nausea started when I ran and I finally knew the day was over.  I could not run/eat or drink so another 31 miles wasn’t sensible.  I just wanted to get back to the start.  I ran into somebody I knew leaving the woods so I finished the first loop with him.  At the 31 mile aid station, I decided to give it one last shot.  If I could tolerate food and drink, I would head back out.  A cup of ginger ale and a few crackers in and I was running for the bathroom.  Game over.  After coming out I dropped from the race.  I finished the first 50k loop in 9 hours. 

I missed Dean’s finish of his first 50k Ultra after losing 95 pounds and starting to train.  Beastly performance by Dean.  I was indisposed at the time, and for most of the night.

Sometimes, things just happen-  after reviewing the internet when returning home we found that the details of my experience-  minute details, were mentioned frequently for those who had gall bladders removed.

The positive-  after uploading my watch data it had me at 9 hours for 50k, but had 808 as the moving time so I lost 45 or so minutes “messing around”.  That also does not account for the time I wanted to run but walked since my stomach hurt.  Bottom line was I got a decent workout-  the second 50k in 3 weeks which is new for me and leaves me ready to start training for my November 19 50 miler.   As long as my stomach settles and normalizes….

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