This weekend was unseasonably warm in DC. It was over 60 degrees at the start and around 75 at the finish. It was a really nice change from winter weather, but I think it ended up taking its toll on me.
I took off running pretty hard. I was definitely going faster than I should have since I hadn't tapered and was just using this as a training run, but I ended up in the front with some of the lead runners, and my competitive spirit got the best of me.
I came through mile 19 in 2:30, which is sub-8 minute mile pace. For me, that is definitely hauling some ass for a hilly, muddy trail run. I knew I'd have to slow down after that so I didn't kill myself in this race, but I was hoping that I could still cruise in to a 4:30 finish.
Nope! I had a stellar blow up at mile 20. My legs were still fine, but my stomach just went crazy. I had been really careful with taking S-caps and had switched over to Ginger Ale, so I should have been fine. But fine I was not.
I got to the point where I couldn't even run anymore. I found a nice big fallen tree and ended up laying down on the tree for 15 or 20 minutes to try to pull myself together. I finally felt good enough to at least walk a bit and slowly made my way to the next road crossing. If I needed to, I could have had one of the volunteers call to get me a ride to the finish, but I really wanted to try to pull this one out.
I sat down for a while, finished off my Ginger Ale, and took yet another S-cap. After quite a while, I asked how far it was to the next aid station. The volunteer asked if I wanted her to call me a ride. I said thanks, but I wasn't giving up that easy. I took off down the trail and was back running again.
Unfortunately it was hot out and I had already gone through all my Ginger Ale. After a few miles I was pretty dehydrated and was forced to walk to the next aid station. I filled up there, sat down again for a while, and then pushed on to the next aid station in about 3 miles.
Once again I was fine for 2 miles and then really struggled for the last mile. I downed my 5th S-cap but could tell that I was still having trouble absorbing anything that I had been drinking.
Right before the 25.5 mile aid station, I threw up all over the place. Nice. I also had a bloody nose earlier, so I really looked like quite a mess (even by trail ultra standards). Since things went downhill, it took me 1 hour to cover half a mile and 2:45 to cover the 5 miles. It had taken me longer to run 5 miles than it had the first 20!
Well, enough was enough. It was a while to the next aid station, I was really dehydrated now, it was still hard for me to get liquids down, and this was just supposed to be a training run! Game over. I caught a ride back to the finish and called it a day.
Cons from the day:
- Miserable last 5 miles
- Still have stomach problems to figure out
- First ultramarathon DNF
- Hands down most disgusting I've been at the end of a race.
Pros from the day
- Blazing first 20 miles. Definitely getting better at fast trail running.
- It showed that given enough time, I think I could come back from any stomach problem (though it would have taken a long time on this given day)