Wednesday, June 3, 2020

100 miles to Auburn: 3 days to Global Running Day

I shared on Sunday my goal of running 100 miles this past Monday, in honor of two close friends battling cancer, Bob and Annick. Well, to make a too long story short, or shorter, it actually took me three days... Although I've worked all weekends since the lock down, my employer is asking that we consume vacation days to cope with the economic impact so I took a day off on Monday. I woke up at 4 am and started my run at 5 am. My plan was to stop my GPS and take my time throughout the day but, upon waking up, I saw an email from Paulo, the virtual event Race Director, announcing an award for the fastest interrupted coverage of the 100.2-mile distance (why the .2 miles, that's the official distance of Western States, finishing with 3/4 of a track lap at Auburn High School).
The temperature was perfect that first day. The first 10 miles felt great as I was averaging a conservative 8:00 min/mile pace. After that, my hamstring tendon injury started kicking in and the next 10 miles weren't as pleasant. I stopped by the house after 6 laps (each lap being 5.0K or 3.1 miles) and didn't stop my watch, losing 10 minutes in the process. Starting around 20 miles, I felt breathless to the point I couldn't even hold 8:15 min/mile pace, dang! I started alternating walking (I'm so bad at it!) and jogging, and lost hope of covering 100 miles in a single day.

Running for Bob and Annick motivated me to keep moving on. Because I was now so slow, I decided to do a big break at the 50K mark. Ate breakfast, showered, soaked in the Jacuzzi, and even went back to bed for a nap after a sub-6-hour night. This time I stopped my watch!
Going back on the course was painful and became a one step after another, one mile after another game. At 50 miles, I did another break, with another nap. After dinner, I went back on the course to at least reach the symbolic mark of 100K, corresponding to Foresthill on the Western States course.
On Tuesday, I worked all day. I checked the temperature several times during the day, as it went over 92F, thinking I'll go out around 5 pm after it cooled down a bit. By 7 pm we had only lost 1 degree so decided to go anyway. I was only able to run 4 loops (20K that night). While the lungs were slightly better, the legs were still trashed (that's what happen when you can't breath properly).

Wednesday was Global Running Day. I've typically organized an event to celebrate at work for the past 10 years but, given the orders and ordinances still in place this week, didn't want to interfere. Still, that motivated me to wake up at 4:30 am and go out before the heat hits again. Taking two conference calls while running, I managed to cover 27 miles before more calls. Still super slow, but at least no walking this time.

I went through 5 different tops, ran the 100 miles in the same pair of Brooks Launch, consumed 15 S!Caps, 5 pouches of Vespa, 4 bottles of GU2O, 8 GU gels. some paté (yes, Peter!), a couple of eggs and avocados, a few chips and brownies. On Monday night, I also made a GU Recovery smoothie before going to bed.

And, running in circles in my neighborhood, here are my most boring ever Relive videos (click on the image). At least you can see the impressive Apple Park in the background if you didn't know about our local curiosity! ;-)

Pending other participants posting delayed results, I managed to get to Auburn first! It will not remain the fastest accumulated time for sure, but that's one thing.
As a matter of fact, I was in second place on Tuesday night, 0.02 miles behind a 15-year old girl from Oregon!!! That was probably the kick in the butt I needed to finally get over the hump, and to Auburn! (Do I hear someone say that I'm too competitive and taking this virtual race too seriously...! ;-) )
Seriously, I'd love to hear more about this ultra prodigy who has no Ultrasignup results...
Incidentally, 30 seconds after I wrote this line, Paul reached out to me to confirm the legitimacy of her runs, all done on a treadmill, with distance synchronization with her Apple watch: I guess we should hear about Tatum in running magazines pretty soon!

I'm very grateful to Paulo for coming up with this idea to celebrate Statesmas, given the cancellation of Western States this year. Not that I'm trying to get in that mythical but over-subscribed event anymore after three successful runs (2007, 2009, 2010), but it will be forever at the top of my mind every last weekend of June! And also a great opportunity to support a business and charitable organizations in the little Endurance Capital of the World that Auburn is.

For me this event was both an opportunity to run in honor of my friends and ask for prayers, thoughts, wishes or best vibes to be sent to them. Additionally, it was a fitness test as I'm slowly coming back to ultra running after a 7-month break in 2019 and an unsuccessful healing of my hamstring. Well, I've always been confused with the positivity of being tested negative in the healthcare area, and even more so that Trump said that he tested positive in a negative way, or vice versa... Missing the 100-mile mark on Monday was a big negative test for me, or positive in a negative sense, meaning that I'm definitely not back at the top of my game yet. I broke the American M50-54 100-mile Road record last year in 14:47, I was hoping 16 to 18 hours would do this year. Well, without any obligation to finish on Monday, that was surely a mental test as well. If ultra running was easy, it wouldn't be called ultra...

There were 1,100 participants when I registered on Sunday night, May 31. It's only June 3 and it now shows 1,600 registered entrants, so it's not too late to join the fun to run... 100 miles to Auburn. And if 100 miles are intimidating, Paulo has finisher awards for reaching the Robinson Flat aid station (30.5 miles or ~50K) or Foreshill (62 miles of ~100K). Every day of June is Statesmas!

1 comment:

Sree said...

Positive thoughts for your friends battling cancer, Jean. And how inspiring to see the performance of the 15 year old!