So, if you read that, I will ensure you that I feel about as unaligned with that post as I could be. I actually am quite happy and content with myself at the current moment.
So, what happened? Let's start at the beginning. Leila, Donnie, and I had made our way to the starting line and surprisingly quickly we were charging up the ski hill on a route I was really not prepared for (but secretly loved), a Jemez style trek up the ski hill (only with better footing). All the way to the top I was simply trying not to kill myself and I settled into a decent pace just in front of Nikki Kimball and Ashley Arnold.
When we approached Mt. Werner, we had to do a short out and back to the aid station then down the trail towards Long Lake. This was the best part of the race for me (fun wise) because I love that trail, and I was running with Leila and Donnie on the front range express train. We nearly made the wrong turn down Fish Creek Falls where a ton of people went wrong, and to be honest, it needed to be marked better. I've been on this section of trail a lot, and I still almost went the wrong way. There is flagging on all of the trails (3 way "Y" intersection) but nothing indicating which way to go (for reference, you needed to go right, then right, then left, then left as you hit the intersection 4 times).
Wearing a pack, I made it out before the others and ran slowly down FCF to the high school, eventually reconvening with Leila and Donnie just before the school. By the bottom of FCF I was feeling pretty sick, odd because I'm typically pretty solid there, and then after getting through Olympian Hall and up the ski jumps I puked my brains out. It was pretty awesome puking too, four points of contact puking. After that, I needed to lay on the trail for a second and get my shit together mentally. I saw Mike here and saw his awesome stitches, he told me he was probably going to drop due to the wound pulling on his knee pretty hard, but Mike would go on to finish like a boss.
So after my little bitch session (these are real things), I slowly made my way down to Cow Creek. I had made my peace with having a good race and just focused on having some fun. Unfortunately, the volunteer at the previous aid station misheard me (or more likely, I misspoke) and my water had been filled to 15oz instead of 50oz and I was out of water for about an hour or so. After regrouping at the aid station, I began my best section of the race. I ran really well all the way to the top of the ski jumps, went quickly through the aid stations and started up the climb to FCF. The lower section is steeper, but just past the bridge I was able to start running and ran most of the rest of the way to Long Lake.
At long lake I ran into Donnie, and we left together towards Summit Lake. I was feeling good and decided to pick it up to stay warm, but could really notice the pain in my left shin (it had been a dull pain until then), and after leaving Summit Lake and starting the long downhill, I began having real trouble. I stopped and tried to stretch, but to no avail. The pain became pretty strong, forcing me to walk sections and then about 2 miles above Dry Lake I was really having trouble putting pressure on it. I got myself into Dry Lake and attempted to wrap up my shin with duct tape and left down towards the high school. Looking back, I probably should have dropped there. I knew in my head that it was over, that this was an issue I couldn't work through and it would get better. That said, I really didn't want to DNF, so I went on. Stubbornly, I kept going, even though I had a hard time walking. Saw a bunch of friends, including Leila on her way to 3rd place, and was generally miserable. I muttered some choice words, then laughed at myself, because, well because I paid a lot of money to do this.
Sometimes, when you're having such a rotten time you eventually move past the point of sourness to the point where every bit of additional misery simply becomes comical. So, the closer I got to SHS, the better my mood was and the more pain I was in. My shin was throbbing, but I was otherwise fine (it appears to have all the markings of a stress fracture, but not super severe. Swelling is almost gone, and the bumps on my shin have subsided a bit). My legs weren't overly thrashed, and I was happy. I promptly DNF'd at the aid station, and ate some bacon with Eron (Donnie's wife), before getting a ride back to my stuff at Leila's condo. If it was another weekend, I would have stayed for the post race festivities, and I felt bad for not staying to watch my friends come in, but this was also the weekend of Oliver's first birthday and I needed to get back home to help get the place ready.
On Sunday (day after the race), we had bunch of friends over for Oliver's birthday and I really enjoyed just hanging out on my back deck with friends and beer. Thanks to everyone who came out for that, especially those that had to come all the way down from the mountains and out of town. I can't imagine I'll ever have a better day after a DNF.
In regards to the race itself, there has been a lot of chatter about issues folks had with the race. My only issue was that the course felt contrived. Going through town was not really necessary, and the east side of town (the loop) certainly isn't an area that necessitates the diversion.
So, I was a bit disappointed with the event for that sake, not at all for my own issues, which would have happened in any case. I really hope they make some major changes to the 100, to bring it up to par with the 50, which, in my opinion, is world class event. The course layout simply left a lot to be desired, and created some unnecessary confusion, especially since there is so much else to use. Time will tell if I come back to it, but I'm hoping for luck in either the Cascade Crest or Wasatch lotteries, so those would be my first choice.
Congrats to all who toughed it out all the way to the finish, and Karl for just schooling everyone. Makes me laugh when I re-read my pre-race plan of sticking with him! That lasted for about 30 yards :)
And, again, Kieran wins the beer for guessing the correct amount of women to finish ahead of me: 4.
Live and learn, right?