Thursday, April 17, 2014

Humanity Check - Bull Run Run Race Report

Due to it's conflict with Boston Marathon, I have only run Bull Run Run 50 Miler once before.  It's a shame, since it's a beautiful course along a river, surrounded by blossoming flowers, and it's put on by an amazing running club (VHTRC).  I have wanted to return for years - and finally 2014 provided the opportunity.  To be honest, I think I was more anxious and excited for my friend, Meghan, who was running her first 50 miler, but I certainly wanted to have a strong race also.

I found my friend Kathleen at the start, and we shared the first hour or so - swapping stories and enjoying the trail.  I was amazed at how effortlessly she ran on the flat trails, while I was struggling to keep pace on anything that wasn't uphill or downhill.  I knew she was in for a great race, and ultimately I let her go on the flats as I settled into my pace. 

(High Five with Kathleen in the early miles, photo by Bob Gill)
I found myself sharing miles off-and-on with a ton of folks in the early sections, and enjoyed the company.  The day was starting to heat up, and my focus was more on fueling and hydration rather than my pace - so I welcomed the company any chance I got. 

Even with my best efforts to hydrate well, just past mile 20, I could feel my body shut-down.  I was bone-dry and overheating...I had stopped sweating.  I was able to keep a good pace through 25 miles, but I was literally cooking as my body could no longer cool itself.  At the aid stations, I would cool myself down by pouring water over my head, but that would last about a mile before I was dry again.

I had to walk - I was too overheated if I ran.  With Meghan at the race, I felt guilty with even thinking about dropping I just kept walking.  Folks passed me in droves, and I kept walking.  Folks asked me 'are you really sponsored by Inov8?' as they easily passed by - gone well before I was able to respond with 'I think I'm representing Inov8 just as well by not quitting when the going gets tough'.  I didn't feel tough.  I wanted to cry, but knew I had no fluids.  I dry heaved a few times, but luckily everything I was taking in stayed down.  I stopped at every stream crossing to throw water over my body.

(One of the infamous water crossings, photo by Mike Bur)
I stumbled across the finish line after 10 hours and 40 minutes of effort - humbled by what a bit of heat can do to me, and scared that it didn't take much to completely destroy me.  I was proud that I stuck it out and didn't give in, I know it was great mental training...but I lost so much confidence in my ability to overcome even something as simple and inevitable as heat.  Turns out, I am only human, and these days happen.

In hindsight, I think I learned that I am not someone who acclimates to heat easily.  It takes me a few days of sweating before I can perform in racing on the first 'hot day' of the year was just never a possibility.  I think I did everything right (fueling, hydration, pacing) or at least to the best of my ability, so this result was inevitable.  It was a rough day, but I survived. 

Unfortunately, Meghan also suffered in the heat, and missed the mile 38 cutoff time.  She is determined to finish a 50 miler, so this hasn't derailed her.

(Meghan, enjoying the early miles, photo by Bob Gill)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot for your great is informative post for race.This post give me more new information about us of race.i like this post.