Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The North Face 50K August 4th, 2007...

The Boyfriend and I went over to Tyson's Corner to pick up my packet on Friday afternoon. We were meeting Meridith, Derrick and his Wife Sue, and Linda for dinner once they got in and settled. Jamie and I spent some time shopping and looking at stuff for our "new" house.
We met up and ate at an Italian place in the mall, we then headed out for some yummy ice cream. I had the most wonderful chocolate peanut butter shake. Just wonderful. We then parted ways with the rest of the group, since we were staying at my step-dad's house in Falls Church, a short drive from the race in the morning. We hung out with dad and got all my stuff together that night.
Saturday morning came quickly and I applied tons of body glide, hydrated, ate some breakfast and fastened my chip timer to my shoe. I hauled all of my stuff down to the car since Jamie and dad were going to meet me at the race later on. No sense in them getting up early to not really get to see me.
I made it to the park and paid my 5 dollars to get in. I saw Linda right away, who was being our faithful crew and cheering section. She helped me get all settled in and kept me company (Thanks again) until I started. Everyone took off and I settled into my pokey pace and was well into crazy horse place within the first couple of miles of the race. It was really hot and the humidity wasn't making it any easier. I had my UD handheld, pockets of clif-bloks and lava salts, and some ginger candy just in case. As I was approaching the first aid station I came across a slightly lost gentleman who ran with me to the turn around point. I got my bottle filled up and hand some Bloks and some lava salts. I kept up with the other gentleman fairly well and we went frolicking over the scary high rocks next to the river. As I approached the 2nd aid station, I saw Linda, who took pictures and made me a rocking ice bandana. I had some pepsi, shot bloks, electrolytes and cookies here. I filled up my bottle and set out for the next "6"miles until I reached the next aid station.
During this leg of the journey, which took much more time than 6 miles should have taken for me, I ran out of water about 2 hours into it. With no way to get the electrolytes down and no water to quench my thirst, I was not feeling so great when I reached the next aid station. By the time I reached there I was extremely thirsty and drank alot of water, a little flat pepsi and had some PBJ. They filled my bottle and I carried on for the next 5 miles, hoping to make the cutoff.
During this leg of the journey I saw Meri and Derrick. When I first saw Meri I wasn't too happy, having run out of water before and feeling like the cutoff wasn't going to happen. She gave me a hug and told me to carry on. I saw Derrick shortly after who was not happy with the heat at the time. I expressed my dismay at running out of water (he offered me his), how silly I felt for running out of water, and how worried I was about making the cutoff. He gave me a big hug and we parted ways. I felt a bit better, but realized I had some miles to tick off if I was going to make the turn around cutoff. As I was crossing into a flat section I saw another runner lying on the ground, cramped up. I offered him some help, but he told me help was coming. I figured I would let the aid station know once I got there. After running through some very smelly areas (sewerage fields) and dodging through a golf course, I arrived at the last aid station. I forgot to mention that I ran out of water Again, and my thirst wasn't getting any less. I decided at his point it might be in my best interest to stop at mile 20. I had made good time to the last aid station, but was unsure if I was prepared to make the 11 mile trek back to the finish with the risk of running out of water again.
I dropped at this point, drank ALOT of water and told the aid station about the downed runner. Their First responder was leaving the station, so I offered up that I was a firefighter. They asked if I would mind going out to try and find him. I agreed and went on this crazy journey on a gator type vehicle. By the time we returned to the fallen guy's spot, he was gone, I hope he is okay.
I returned to the aid station where I had to wait for a ride back to the end. They were tearing down the station and I got to talk to some of the volunteers and organizers for the event. Although I was feeling okay, I was still angry about the lack of unmanned water stop along the trail.
Back at the finish line, I was greeted with hugs, a worried Linda was so happy to see me. Meri and Derrick had told them I ran out of water and might be dropping, but they weren't sure where I was. I told them my story, and was feeling pretty bummed for not finishing. Jamie, Dad, and my friend Jess decided to take me to shower and get cleaned up to see the other finish the 50 miler. I felt much better after the shower and looked forward to seeing them finish.
They did finish under the time cutoff and they were both thirsty and tired when they returned. We all were a bit dismayed at the whole race. I was asked by one of the organizers if it was my first ultra and when I said no, they walked away from me. Guess that wasn't the answer I was looking for.
The long and short of it is that I don't know if I will attempt this race again. I felt disappointed in the fact I spent some money on an entry into a race that wasn't as well organized as it needed to be in the heat. Hopefully, they will get the bugs out of it if they attempt to host it next year, but I don't think I will be running any more first time held type races. Guess I stick to Slug Runs!

Happy trails and hope you're staying cool

Thursday, August 2, 2007

In Memory Of Capt. Phil Whitlock

This past Saturday I lost a fellow firefighter and a good friend to a massive heart attack. Despite all efforts, he was unable to be saved. The news was delivered to me by his dear companion and it was quite a shock. I thought about Phil a lot over the past days and how much he will be missed by everyone. He was a great firefighter and EMT, and served as our captain for this year. I know that people die and it's a part of life, but it's hard to lose someone who did so much.

I will miss his sense of humor, his smile, and his dedication to the fire service. It was an honor to be in the fire department with him. If only everyone in the volunteer fire service had as much loyalty and dedication to their station and the job as he.

He was laid to rest yesterday with full honors, the sounding of the last alarm calling him to his final resting place. Moments like that remind me of the ultimate importance of the duties we perform and to love all of those who serve for the greater good. So to all of you who are in public service, Thank you and I feel honored to be in service with you.

Happy trails and Safe return

Pokey slug