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….