Saturday, September 28, 2013

2013 UROCK 100KM Ultramarathon : Race Report

UROCK 100KM Ultramarathon : Race Report
Date: September 28, 2013

Just about over the whiplash. I have to go in for eye surgery next week but other than that I'm good to go.

Apparently the editor of Competitor Magazine was at the race start when the tow truck, my totaled car on the flat-bed and I pulled up 30 minutes late. I was screaming frantically, "Can I still run?" to the race director.  So now I'm told the editor of Competitor wants to do an interview about it. Whether that happens or not, the following is my story.

Saturday Morning 9/28/2013

4:00am - Wake up Race morning. I'm staying at a hotel in Vail Colorado. I need to get to the race start in Breckenridge Colorado, about an hour away.

5:00am - Leave Vail for Breckenridge to get to the race start.

5:30am - I'm driving Eastbound I70 going over Vail Pass. My Toyota Tacoma slips on black ice while going over a bridge and flips off a bridge. The trucks flips over and over. The truck lands on its side and is totaled from being flipped around. I'm dangling in my car seat because I had my seatbelt on. I was knocked out for about 2 seconds due to a blackout/concussion, along with eye trauma from a car load of stuff flying around. Double vision ensues when I regain consciousness. All I can think about is that I need to get to the race start.

5:45am - A fire truck comes and who else but Ryan Sutter (From the Bachelorette, Tristas husband), Vail Firefighter is helping me try and push the truck back over with two other firefighters. It can't be done. The truck is lodged hard in the mud. At this point I have no idea it's Ryan Sutter. I just think its a firefighter trying to help me out.

We talk about doing the Hawaii Ironman and running events we had done until the tow truck comes.  I didn’t even realize who the firefighter was until much later into the race. For some reason it dawned on me then. Probably because I also think much more clearly when i'm running.

5:55am - I try to bribe the firefighters to drive me to Breckenridge and leave my truck with all my stuff in it in the middle of the highway because the race is way more important. The firefighters won't do it.

6:00am - The police come and give me a $169 ticket because the city couldn't keep black ice off a bridge even though I was going 15 miles per hour under the speed limit. The officer claims everyone in Colorado gets a ticket for this.  I tell him the least he can do is drive me to the race start in Breckenridge. He refuses.  I begin to tell cop jokes. He isn’t very pleased ;)  

6:30am - A 20's something Russian tow truck driver comes and winches my truck, flips it back over and out of the mud.  We get it onto his flat bed. It doesn't look pretty.

6:45am - I convince the Russian tow truck driver to drive me to the race start 35 minutes away with my totaled truck on top of the flatbed. By convince, I mean I bribed him with $140. All the cash I had on me.

7:00am Race start - I'm not there. I'm en-route, in a tow truck, recovering from a car crash, barely able to see and now money-less.

7:20am - I show up with the Russian tow truck driver at the race start with my totaled car on the flatbed.

7:25am - I get all my race gear out of my truck and scream at the race director, who is helping to clean up the race start (because everyone is gone), that I'm late and can I start running even though they packed up the starting line? The start flag is still there. I explain that my car just flipped off a bridge and apologize for being late. Better late than never.

7:30am - I'm approved to run and start the race and having no clue what direction to run in. The race sweeper picked up all the flags and downtown Breckenridge was cleaned up. I usually never check out a race route because I like to surprises (most times).

7:32am - I'm screaming at police officers, because the race sweeper had come through and picked up the flags, demarcating the course so I had no idea where to go. They point me in the right direction.

7:40am - I'm lost in downtown Breckenridge and do an extra mile running in the wrong direction. I see another police car driving on the road. I go out in the middle of the road and stop his car. He drives next to me as we find the trailhead. I start running on the trail with one thought: Catch up to the last runner in the race.

8:00am - I pass the 5 last place runners and see the sweeper picking up the flags! A huge relief.

8:30am - I pass 30 more runners.

I get lost again after the first aid (around mile 21) station by missing a turn and heading up the mountain in the wrong direction. I'm still very cloudy to the point where the first 21 miles went by like it was 5 minutes. I'd been re-playing the truck flipping off the bridge in my head, which kept me preoccupied.  I course correct after asking ski hill workers if they had seen anyone else pass by. They said no.

Now I'm on the top of Breckenridge mountain, running through the snow and screaming profanities at the top of my lungs because I'm seeing double from the car wreck and keep falling in the snow and ice.   The other runners are letting me pass because they think I'm yelling at them and at 6'4 220lbs Im bigger than every runner out there.

Later in the race, I remember my headlamps are all at what should have been the 44 mile aid station (That aid station was actually at mile 47 and then add 2 more miles from getting lost, so it was mile 49 for me). 

6:00pm - It's getting dark soon. I end up borrowing a pacers headlamp while running up Vail Mountain from the highway. 

8:00pm - The headlamp starts to slowly die out towards the top of the pitch black mountain. I can't even see the outline of the mountain or any light anywhere. There is no ambient light whatsoever. No moon, no nothing.  At least I'm not seeing double anymore at this point, but I also don’t see any course marking flags and I'm pretty sure I'm going to die since my headlamp only lights up about a foot wide spectrum and only 5 feet in front of me. I have no idea where I am or if I'm even on course. I'm on top of a mountain I don't know. I don't know what direction I'm traveling but I do know that going South would have me running out to nowhere. I could also easily fall off a cliff at any point. There are absolutely no other runners around and I haven't seen anyone for almost 2 hours.

I'm pretty sure I'm dead at this point. I have no means of communication, my phone battery has died, my headlamp is almost dead. I have no food, no water, I'm hearing things like animals. I'm yelling at the top of my lungs in order to scare them off (if they're even there).

Mile 47 - I see lights off in the distance. It looks like a shack. I plan on breaking into it if I have to. 

Mile 48 - The light turns out to be an aid station. I run up to it and am greeted by 2 volunteers telling me "Great Job!". My first thought is to kill both of them. I tell them there are no race course markings anywhere. I tell them that anyone behind me is probably dead.

The volunteers let me know at this point that I've missed the time cutoff by 5 minutes. I can't convince them to give me a break, even explaining how I started the race 30 minutes late. I also tell them that if I missed the time cutoff at this point that I'm sure as hell am not running 8 miles to the next aid station just to get off the top of Vail Mountain. They tell me I have to wait for mountain paramedics to come and get myself and 7 others who are stranded on top of the mountain. The race director had no plans for getting people off the mountain and because of the snow, it was almost impossible to get up the mountain unless you had a 4 wheel drive truck with chains on the tires.

Eventually the paramedics come and get everyone and give us a ride from hell down the mountain with everyone in the truck having hypothermia.

Next race: 2013 Cuyamaca National Forest - San Diego, CA. 10 days.

I did almost 50 marathons, ultras, etc. last year and lets just say I don’t like to let much come between me and a race.

Urock 100km Race $200

Ticket from the police because my car flipped off a bridge $169

Bribing a Russian tow truck driver to drive me over an hour out of his way, just to get to a race start, $140

My Toyota Tacoma completely totaled $14000

Having to get a hotel room in Vail, the day after the race because of having no car, not being able to see and with what feels like brain damage, eating honey 
stingers because I cant see enough to leave the room to get food, $120

Still being able to run 48 miles with brain damage, eye trauma, double vision and yelling profanities at the top of my lungs every time I fell in the snow on top of Breckenridge Mountain. Running at over 12,200 feet, with runners letting me pass by them, because they thought I was yelling the profanities at them: Priceless...

For everything else there is MasterCard Worldwide... Don't leave home without it. ;)

Update: I was so pissed about getting a ticket for sliding on ice I flew back to Vail 2 months later to fight the ticket. After explaining to the District Attorney how my car flipped off the bridge and the fact that I was trying to get to the 100km race, he looked at the ticket and then looked at me and asked one question: Did you actually run the race? I said yes. Ticket Dismissed.

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