Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fuego Y Agua 100km Race Report, Damn Pterodactyls?

Valentines day had passed and judging by this flyer the race was just a day away.
"Kids staying hydrated is very important!"
(maybe I will listen to myself someday)

Febuary 15h 
Packet pick up? 
Survival runners were told to meet at the docks at 8:00 a.m. for packet pick up, little did they know they would have to swim a few 100 yards to get their bibs.
We watched from shore as?
One racer almost got hit by a boat and another almost drowned.  and this seemed like one of these the least dangerous parts of the event?  Yikes
At least nobody got eaten by sharks.
There was no time limit and it seemed like  racer come leisurely come to shore with a big smile on their face
(until they kicked a rock which most of them did)
If any of the women entered in the event were to finish the race I this chick would be the one I'd be betting on. Plus she is super cool.
 God luck to
I don't think that guy died?
Let me introduce you to our friend Johnson.  He is a local hero on the Island of Ometepe and one of nicest most upbeat dudes you will ever meet.
He won the 50km last year and both Tyler and I were hoping he would win the Survival Run this year.  The dude is pure scrawny muslce,
(kind of like me minus the muscle part.)

Time to go pick up my Bib
I didn't have to swim but I did have to be nice to Josue's Machete wielding sister
"No you can not borrow my pen Adam."
Posing with the dudes that should beat me in the race.
That evening we were supposed to have a pre race meal but I had time to kill so might as well have a couple beers with some survival runners
Plus a little frisbee with some kids
Sometime before dark
 (I remember that because it's not dark in the picture) we all piled in chicken bus to the other side of the island for dinner
Hey look there's a volcano behind me
Nice shirt dude.
 (If only there was some kind of portal to bizarro Ometepe where Stone was a sponser of the race and he had on a Tona shirt. Now that would be cool)
After a humiliating defeat at the beer mile Ian Sherman decided to withdraw from the race and become a sideline reporter instead.
 Free Tona's kind of match my shorts.
Maybe I should go get some sleep
or maybe I should party with these ladies?
They do have on some pretty cool sandals!
Tyler's double checking to make sure Josue didn't switch him to the Survival run
I really hope that blonde in running in front of me when I climb the volcano.
I totally agree  Go ANGELS

 Race Day
(It only took 4 and 1/2 blog posts to get here)
The race started at 4:00 a.m. so that meant we had to get up by  3:15
At least we didn't have to do much to get ready
Roll out of bed take off my jammies throw on a pair of shorts
Tyler was going for a more technical ninja look.
Nothing to it but to do it!
Course map
That doesn't look to tough?
Prerace thoughts.

I got suckered into running the 100km instead of the 50km so that I could see the whole island. Health wise my body wasn't in great shape I had been nursing a Bad foot since November which may or may not crap out on me?  My main goal was to be able to finish the race without hurting myself so that I could run the Caballo Blanco Ultra Marathon 2 weeks later. Plan go out easy and see what the body wants to do?  (Sometimes I stick to the plan and other times I see a Squirrel and the next thing you know I'm chasing it up a tree)
On your marks (we don't have marks) Get set (huh I haven't done three point stance since freshman football in high school)

Where's my Chicken?

All the runners start off together but the Survival runners had to carry a chicken the first 5 miles.  I thought maybe I would go out with Tyler for a little bit but he took off .  It's 4 a.m and quickly I found myself out of town and on dusty trail singing the chorus from "The Passenger" over and over in my head

I was using a pretty a shitty headlamp and don't have much confidence running in the dark, and  my speed was closer to a 9min mile when it should have been around a 7min pace.  I passed Tyler maybe a mile or 2 in, he had already turned on his Ipod so I gave him a high five and wished him good luck.

There is really no significant climbing for the first 18 miles of the course the weather was gonna be warm and I should of been using this time to bank miles but I was just cruising. I'd been in vacation mode all week and  didn't feel like I was in a race yet.

"Man there were awake on the Island in the middle of nowhere going about their chores before dawn."
"Buenos Dias Muchacho's"
All alone on the trail I come around the corner to see four local kids brandishing machetes.  It looked like they had been working all night.
 can you guess what song was stuck in my head for the next few hours?
I'm usually singing much worse 
Through the first ten miles course markings were decent enough but a little tricky. to find.  I was lucky that each time I missed one it seemed someone in front  me had already made the same mistake and was turning back to to get on track.  
In trail racing finding the trail or the right way to go can be an adventure.  Getting lost sucks but might as well try and embrace the challenge of finding your path  as another element of the race rather than complain  about my own mistakes afterwards.
(Easy for me to say I didn't really lost)
About 10 to 15 miles into the race (I don't know) I hit the beach. "Hallelujah" I had brought a few pairs of "OSO" prototype sandals with me for the race, one with the new "Traditional Ribbon" lace (My Favorite) and another with the easy on/off "ATS" (EHH) lace.  I decided on the pair with ATS laces in particular for this stretch of sand that we would  run twice. 

I slipped them off my feet and I was happy! Running on sand in shoes is kind of stupid if you ask me.  The soft sand here wasn't all that soft and I ran with my feet going in and out of the water invigorating them with each step.  It wasn't until now that I realized how slow I was running  (maybe I should've worn a GPS to keep me on my toes ) Once on the beach I started flying it was only about three miles but it felt  good.  It was nice to not be confined by a trail. Running on a single track trail makes me feel like i'm in a coral on the way to being slaughtered but on the beach I can run free.

Time to go climb a volcano
The first volcano in the race was " Vulcan Maderas"

It starts out pretty easy and very runnable, as I had seen earlier in the week.  But after a few miles each step become steeper.   
I wasn't moving very fast but I was passing people.  Trudging along I picked of a walking stick to help brace me when I would slip in the mud.  As I climbed higher into the cloud forest (the top of the volcano is almost perpetually in the clouds) the mud grew thicker and tree roots were prehistoric looking.  I found myself  throwing the walking stick out in front of me so that I could use both arms to climb through the jungle.

The sandals were actually up holding better than I thought (the grip on the OSO was great) That is until I got a layer of slippery mud on the top of them (which was inevitable).  If I planted my weight even the slightest bit off center they would slide off to the side pulling my feet in directions they didn't want to go.  I was worried that I might even lose my sandals in deep mud, so I had worn anklets that I could tether my sandals too with string if need be.( but in this respect the ATS laces held fine.)
Climbing down into the crater of the volcano I took a slide and branch practically ripped my shorts off, not that I really mind running naked but I was glad to still have my shorts. Other than that I remained pretty much unscathed. 
Photo by Jess Soco
Center of the Volcano
I've heard on most days you can be standing right next to the lake and not see it because of the clouds.  We were very fortunate to have this view.  I wanted to go for a swim but was told the water was gross so I didn't  
(I regret that decision. )
On the hike out of the volcano I was struggling.  The sun was intense and although the scenery was amazing i was having trouble finding my happy place.  I asked some dude who had run the race last year  if the other side of the volcano was less muddy?  
Rather than answer my question honestly, I think he was trying to be nice and told me that this side was much drier?
At that point I sat down for a few minutes and using one of my bandannas tried to wipe all the mud off the top of my sandals.  It took forever but if meant I wasn't gonna slip it would be worth it.
The Jungle Gym
The dude's info couldn't have been further from the truth.  within a few minutes I was in mud well over my ankles.  
The way down from the volcano was both fun and grimacing.   I found myself swinging my body from branch to root trying to avoid the mud and not slide off my sandals or the side off a cliff. I had thoughts of going barefoot but did not pull the trigger. It was nerve racking and painful  but I got through it and found myself finally running again near the bottom of the volcano.  

By this time I was almost to the 50km mark of the course where it would be very easy too drop out the weather was scorching and an Ice cold Tona sounded really good I ran pretty hard as I neared the beach I saw Jamil Coury who had finished the 50km already along with Ian Sherman. They gave me some words of encouragement but I was still contemplating calling it a day.
I grabbed a beer (it wasn't even close to Ice cold Doh!) took off my sandals and jumped in the lake.  It was nice to be mud free I grabbed a fresh bandanna from my drop bag and took off running, for the second half of the race.  At least for a few miles

The next 15 miles were pretty exposed and the temperature was probably in the low 90s.  I thought I was on top of my hydration but I was far from it. The sun was taking it's toll and my body wanted to shut down.  Each time I tried to run I would have to pee then when I tried to pee I would get an excruciating pain and only a drop or two would come out.  I was pretty miserable

When I crossed the beach on the way back I went for two swims over the course of three miles. trying to lower my core temperature and get my kidneys functioning properly.
About a mile after that I went for swim here at "Ojo De agua".  It was not my day.  I was trying to keep a positive attitude and really wanted to run  because of the urinary issues I was having very difficult time even sustaining a steady jog. I probably tried to pee at least 100 times totally about 10oz of liquid.

From mile 35 to mile 50 I didn't see another runner.  Most people had signed up for the 50km and a lot of the 100km runners had dropped down to the shorter distance.  Eventually I finally made it to the base of Volcano Concepcion

I had been doing a lot of walking but as I approached the aid station I could see 2 runners in front of me take off.  Hmm "How the hell was I catching anyone? "It invigorated me a little bit"  I had been out of water for some time now and I was quite parched (the gap between aid stations was longer than anticipated)   I was given a cold bottle of water and a cold bottle of Powerade courtesy of Josue's sister.   Man was I thankful for that.  I wanted to sit but I had two runners to catch. I grabbed my headlamp from drop bag and took off

When I left the aid station I immediately got stuck behind some dude on horseback herding his 20 steers up the path who had turned up it seconds before I had.  He gave me a friendly acknowledgement but their was no room to pass.  Even the Survival runners would look like pipsqueaks next to these cattle.  Eventually I found my gap and without apprehension (cause apprehension might of got me squished) I felt like a thong on a fat lady as I sprinted through to the other side.  

Unlike the the other Volcano, "Concepcion" was not muddy at all and my sandals were working great.  The weather was cooling down and my body was starting to function properly again
Pic from earlier in the week  
(I was really hoping that monkey would be working the aid station but he was nowhere to be seen this time)

 I was moving pretty well and passed a runner as I neared the top of the volcano just after sunset.  The wind was howling and I felt like gonna get blown off the side of it  if I stayed in the exposed area too long. I filled my bottle as quick as possible and took off.  

When Tyler and I had climbed to this spot earlier in the  week we couldn't find the trail  that the course was supposed to use on the way back down?  It turns out there really was no trail other than run down the side of and exposed Volcano following tiny blue ribbons tied to the side of plants along the way.

It might have been easy to follow during the daylight but in the dark with the headlamp it really sucked. (plus you got to worry about Pterodactyls?)  My sandals had just enough grip to run with as I landed on my heels bracing myself against a fierce tailwind that wanted to topple me forward.  Frantically I tried to maintain my lead over the dude I had just passed but every few minutes I had to stop and backtrack trying to find the blue ribbons.  Mentally I was pretty drained but because of all the walking I did during the the day I still had some juice left in my legs.  I got my act together and took off.

I never did catch the other dude number 2 but I did maintain a decent pace the rest of the way down the volcano, back into town and to the finish line.
7th place with a time twice nearly twice as long as my P.R. for that distance.  It was a long day and I was happy to be done.

When I strolled back to my hotel I met up with some of the other runners who had long been finished
"Dude what the hell took you so long?"
(everyone knows the only way to defeat a Pterodactyl is too poke it in the nose)

"You see there was this babe at the top of the volcano and I totally had to rescue her from these horny pterodactyls I knew it would cost me any chance at a decent finish but I had no choice but to save her? "
"Right on Dude You did the right thing!
Cheers to Sweeney"
I think that's what happened my memory  is about as blurry as this photo
Wonder why my memory was so blurry?
After a quick shower I headed  back down to the finish line to go cheer on Tyler.  I really didn't clean up too well yet I was still irresistible to the ladies. 
While waiting for Tyler guess who strolled in?
It was our friend Johnson who was the winner and one of only two finishers in the Survival Run.  It couldn't have happened to a nicer more deserving guy.
Hey Josue,  although I had a tough day I was very thankful for the amazing experience.  Thank you so much to you, your family and all the volunteers for putting on this world renowned event.
Eventually Tyler arrived at the finish line.  "Dude what happened to you, why are you limping?" I asked
(he really wasn't limping)
"Ah man this UFO came out of nowhere and they probed me for hours."
" Strange things happen at the top of those Volcanos? Congrats on making to the the finish line, I'm proud of you brother."
Look who was there to congratulate Tyler.  It was the kid from our first hostel that said that Tyler should do the 25km instead
(he totally deserved a noogie right about then)

It was nice to finally get my medal for the beer mile.

TIme for bed.  We got a kids race to help out at tomorrow

The kids race was really special.  Every kid that ran got a T-shirt a medal and pair of shoes.
Even though Johnson had won the Survival Run the day before he still had enough energy to run the kids race barefoot with his Nephew.
(So Cool)
Things got weird at the awards ceremony
Congrats to the winners

I think it's about time to get my ass off this Island and and on my way to Mexico!!!

1 comment:

  1. Love the music in the background and all the photos man! Run Strong!