This post is about two weeks late, but I unfortunately DNFed at Mountain Masochist. Here are the details of my latest saga.
It was a cold day, and we started off in the dark at 5:30am on the roads for 5 or 6 miles. I was running a brisk pace, feeling good, and clicking off pre-dawn miles quickly. After 6 miles, we hit the trail and starting climbing. I was feeling good on the trails and moving up in the field.
Around mile 9, I went for my first S-cap and took a fall. Nice move, Will. I looked down and discovered my leg had very quickly gotten covered in blood. It wasn't pretty, but I felt fine and kept on running. The upside was that I figured I was now in contention for the best blood award!
Jen was waiting at the mile 11.5 aid station. She quickly switched out my bottle for me and sent me on the way. Boy what a great crew I have! There was a long climb up to about 2,000 feet, and I was still feeling great and ran the whole climb.
I was in about 15th place at this point, which is great for me in the very competitive field there. Unfortunately I hadn't been able to drink much of anything the whole race. I've learned my lesson not to overhydrate and let it just come to me. My new formula is to take it easy on the drinking for a while, wait until I get thirsty, and then drink as needed. The problem was not I knew I was getting dehydrated but still couldn't get much down.
The top of the climb is at mile 17 or 18, and I was starting to cramp from the dehydration. My legs weren't doing very well on the downhill. I threw down a few S-caps in case it was an electroloyte issue, but they didn't help. I was still about run a decent pace and got to Jen at mile 22 not feeling great.
Jen filled up my bottle with ginger ale, which I hoped would help. From mile 22, it is a nasty 8 mile climb up to mile 30 and 4,000+ feet. A very daunting prospect when I already felt bad. I slowed down on the climb and tried to make it to mile 27. The bright side is that the views up there were amazing, as they were for much of the course. The beginning of November is close to peak foliage in southern Virginia, and these really were beautiful mountains.
I came into mile 27 in worse shape than mile 22. I still wasn't drinking much of anything and was starting to feel pretty out of it. I wasn't ready to throw in the towel though, so I managed to eat one whole grape and got back on the trail.
The wheels really started falling off on the last big nasty climb to mile 30. My legs were cramping, and I couldn't run uphill anymore. Something I did during the fall early on had apparently been getting aggrevated, and it was also very painful to run downhill. It was getting extremely cold moving up the mountain, and there was snow on the ground. Because I was moving so slowly, I was really freezing. Yeah, not good.
I literally stumbled into the mile 30 aid station. I slumped into a chair and put my head in my hands. A little kid was apparently concerned about my leg that was still covered in blood and offered me a band-aid. Very cute, but it wasn't quite going to cut it. I asked the aid station crew to fill up the 1/3 of the bottel I had managed to drink with more ginger ale and stumbled on down the trail.
I now have 6 miles to go to get to Jen, and I am not in good shape. I take a sip from my bottle, and it tastes god awful. I have no idea what the aid station crew put it in, but I immediately threw up everything in my stomach. Now I can't run uphill, can't run downhill, am ridiculously dehydrated and low on calories, and am freezing. Somebody get me off this mountain!
I have no choice but to keep moving, so that's what I do. Somehow I get off the trail to the dirt road that climbs to the next aid station. This mile long climb really seemed to just add insult to injury. I trudge on up, wander over to Jen, collapse on the ground, and announce weakly that I'm dropping. Jen immediately agrees that is a good idea all around and promptly tells the aid station workers I'm dropping. They also agree. I'm glad we're all in agreement. Jen half carries me to the car, and we drive off this helacious mountain.
I think I trained really well for this race and was in top shape. I felt great for a while and was running strong. But on some days things go wrong and there is nothing you can do. I'll hopefully go back to MMTR one day, and I hope to have a bit more luck!