Thursday, January 5, 2012

Across the Years 2011 to 1012

It's funny how the brain works going into the Operation Jack race last week my body was a mess I felt like crap and my optimistic outlook was only strong enough for me to think I could finish the race. I had underestimated myself and had a pretty good pain free race. 

Since I felt decent on Monday surely my body would be even stronger come the following Saturday for another race?  Maybe? Yeah probably in that race was a paltry marathon or 10k but what I wasmanaged to get myself into was whole nother beast.

How bout running for 24, 48 or 72 hours to break in the New Year,
Sounds like fun right?

With what little intelligence I have I  decided to give the 24 hour race a try.  I talked to one of the race directors late on Wednesday a friends from the Copper Canyons. and got a spot set aside for me. The race would Beheld at Camelback (the spring training facilities for the Dodgers) a place I visit each year and will back again March when I return from Mexico.  

The course is just over a mile  and I could pitch a tent a few steps off to the side.  Thursday I got my gear in order (way to much crap) packed up the last of my rations from The Stone Brewery so I could be on the road early Friday morning.

Pheonix is about a 6 to7 hour drive from my house.  Which normally I would dread but I had been listening to The Hunger Games Trilogy of books the past few weeks and I figured the final book would get me through the trip. Also along the way in Beaumont CA is one of my favorite Fruit stands Dowling Orchards (100 times better than Hadleys)
Race Director and Felow Mas Loco Nick Coury 
I always love seeing Nick and his brothers Jamil and Nathan they do an awesome job running events in AZ
When I arrived at the course 
It was about 4 in the afternoon the weather was beautiful around 75 degrees. By this point on Friday some runners had been going at it for 40 hours.  
I decided the smart thing to do was grab Arrogant Bastard Ale and my frisbee to loosen up my legs.
The grass we played catch on was perfectly manicured for baseball.   My foot felt pretty decent but I had a big knot in my right hamstring that I couldn't shake off (whatever)
Carlos, Elli, Vanessa and Shacky
The Sun quickly set, the temperatures dropped and the smiles started to come out.  Why were we smiling because we were smart enough to only sign up for 24 hours.
(I know that probably doesn't sound very smart to most of you)
One of my favorite people showed the Beautiful  La Mariposa.
I was stoked to share a Stone ale with her.

Temps dropped to the low 40's high 30's that night.  Lucky for me a had giant tent with a heater.
Rise and shine race starts at 9a.m.
My buddy Jason had been going at it for 2 days already.
I'm quoted in his book.

The Barefoot Running Book
 Female trophy
Cool design but it looks like a dude with a pony tail I think they should of made them anatomically correct.
Male trophy
All it took was re-positioning of the pony tail.
Time to lace up and ditch the shirt

A lot of people ask me "Pat how did you get so cool?" 
(Wait a second Nobody asks me that )
What they do ask me is "When you tape your feet for races, is that for a little extra "support" due to an injury or more to protect your foot from abrasions from the knot??"
Good Question!
A little of both and I only do it when I race. I really don't think racing is good for your body trying to push harder than your body is ready for is pretty stupid (yet I do it all the time) The tape probably helps me out more as placebo than anything else. It  gives me alittle bit more confidence out on the course.


My plan was to go somewhat slow and spend more time enjoying the event rather than actually racing.  I thought if I could get in 30 miles in the first 6 hours that would be a decent goal.  If the body felt good I could increase the pace and if things felt wrong it would still give me leeway to his 100 miles for the event.  Also in the back of my mind was a challenge from  Nick Curry. He had run a 5:35 lap the day before with his buddy a couple split seconds behind him.  It seemed like beatable time, but I wasn't sure if running fast would throw off my rhythm for the rest of the event

Well of course I didn't stick to my 6 hour plan!  I started out the first lap at about an 8:30 pace and was hard to go that slow.  Along the way I got to pass all the 48 and 72 hour  runners.  Many of them looked pretty beat down (rightfully so).  It was interesting receiving props from these people telling me "Way to go." after  I had been running  for 5 minutes and they had been out their for days.

During the second lap I decided that lap 3 would be a sprint and that I would try and beat Nick's time.  I never really found my groove and it felt slow.  The course was crowded with people going less than half my speed and did my best to be polite and not run them over.  I finished the lap in 5:35 (same as Nick and his buddy) but like his buddy I too took a few split seconds longer.

Back to the race after the the sprint I settled into comfortable 9 minute mile pace. I was cruising the weather felt good and my foot was not hurting too bad.  Because my injury was on the interior side of my foot I was striking more toward the  exterior than I normally would. after about 20 miles in under 3 hours my shin began to bug me.  At first I though maybe the combination of Compression sleeves and a tight lace on the ankle.  The race had barely began and things were already looking bad. 
(Time to shake things up a bit)

The next lap I ditched my luna's, ditched my compression sleeves and put on some Sketchers prototypes.  They were fun to run in  but the pain was growing and they were not the solution I was looking for.

I had planned on doing a few laps barefoot so that's what I did but it didn't work.  By now the pain was making running less of a reality (in hindsight I should have quit or a least stopped an iced) instead I continued to hobble around the course.  I did one of these laps with Shacky who was wearing his kilt at the time and a little a girl stopped asked if he would take his picture with her since she had on the same skirt.

I had only been out there for a few hours and I was mess watching people twice my age pass me was discouraging. Knowing that  those people had also been running for 2 days really made me feel like a Wussy.  "Suck it up Pat."  
(That's whatyour supposed to do, Right?)

Is running through the pain a good idea?   Frankly I think it's stupid! Someday I'll start listening to myself.
About 7 hours into the race a ball race began. I started the lap with Jason whom I had walked the lap prior with are goal was sub 25mins.  Maybe flicking a Taraumara ball will distract me from the pain.  (In my youth I spent an entire season of soccer with a broken foot, I limped all week but come game time there was no stopping me.) Both Jason and I began to run again! 
but that was pretty short lived.
I was still in a lot of pain, I was moving at snails pace but at least now I was having fun.

halfway through the lap we were joined by Vanessa and Shacky
 We finished the lap in under 25 minutes, a new course record. 
It was the most fun I had all day.
I continued hobbling a few more laps now wearing my Sketchers Go Runs.  I was lucky to get a couple laps in with Ed Ettinghousen a Sketchers sponsored athlete who ran well over 200 miles in during the 72 hour race.  Ed is real great guy and out paths have crossed at Badwater, the 100 mile Endurance Challenge and most recently at the Operation Jack Marathon.

Eventually I sought out the medics to get some Ice.  They determined I had ashin splint. After 20 minutes of Icing I received a deep tissue massage and a splint.  It totally worked  :) for about 5:( I ended up gritting my teeth for three more laps before calling it quits.

  Vanessa and Shacky had brought me Late X-mas present
A few beers and a couple bourbons later it was midnight.

Happy New Year
It looks so wrong to shoes on my feet
(but they were cold)
 Time for one more lap Look fast we are!
In reality those people behind us were moving twice our speed.  Vanessa was kind enough slow down for  Uncle Pat.

While others braved the cold night. I retired to my tent.  I had nothing to prove other than how stupid I can be.  Iv'e set the bar pretty high in the past but one of the first times during the race I made the smart decision time for bed.

I was up at about 7a.m. Might as well hobble one final lap.  Maybe the body might feel a little better after some rest.
I was miserable.  Other people whom had slept a little longer than I were giving me props.  I looked so decrepit surely they presumed I had been out there all night.

on the flip side a few my friends were out zipping around
Video of Jason after about 71 hours into the race he was moving good
After a shower very painful walk back and forth to my car as I packed up  my crap it was time for the awards ceremony
Congrats Jason on your 100 miles plus a marathon
Congrats to Eli, Vanessa and Shacky all with new PR's for distance in a race.
Also at the race were few more Mas loco's Carlos and Kermit.  Kermit did the the 48 hour race and ran over 60 miles. Good job dude's.

I'd also like to congratulate my friend Marla for breaking the 100 mile barrier and George Valasco for getting through 70 miles although he said he goal was 62.  Both of you are studs in my book.

Congrats to all the competitors (especially all the tough old farts who put my   performance to shame.)  The Camelback ranch was the perfect venue  for Across the years which is the premiere event of its kind.
Thank you to Coury family and to all the volunteers for putting on an awesome event.  I hope to back next year.

 I sit here typing this blog post, legs elevated icing my shin wondering what the future has in store.

 I left the desert injured with an empty glass.  If your glass is already full you have nothing to gain.  I may gimp right now but tomorrow is another day and I'm excited to see what happens next.

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