September 6, 2003
Leading up to the Bulldog, I had been having some issues with my Plantar Fasciitis and also with running probably too many races back-to-back. The good part of the event was that a bunch of my friends were also going to be doing the race:
Jasper – who I knew from the hash – ran with me for a bit and we came up with the bright idea of putting on a 30+ mile hash (no one would do it!).
Chuck – who runs with us at AREC, TRH, and sometimes the hash – attempting his first 50K. An addendum to that is that Chuck has done several marathons and he is pretty fast.
Laura – who ran her first ultramarathon with me last year at Skyline and back for seconds.
Even if none of us run the race together, just going to the same event and having similar adventures makes the adventure that much better. Even Jay, who was “only” doing the 30K (but running essentially the same first 30K as the rest of us) is someone that the rest of us can talk with and comparable stories about the day.
The course is not any different than last year, though as I mentioned above, I was able to run with Jasper much of the way.
My biggest worry was my knee, which I banged up at the hash a few days earlier, but it ended up being a non-factor.
Jasper and I stayed together until the turn-off onto the Backbone Trail, where I really started to struggle. Just as I got to the section where we could see the heat rising from the trail, Chuck came bounding down the hill. He looked really good and was bound for a great time of 5:38.
When I got close to the top, I saw Jasper, probably 5 minutes ahead of me, and he was having some of the same problems as I was with the heat in particular. He finished in 7:03. We had joked that this was like a jog for Jasper, as he had attempted 8 – 100 mile races and completed 2.
Once I got to the top, I drank a few cups of water and some Coca-Cola. I knew this would be Laura’s favorite aid station, because she loves her some Coca-Cola on a long run.
About halfway down to the visible heat section, I encountered Laura. She did not look good. We stopped and talked for a bit; she said that she had puked several times coming up the hill, and it was best if she stopped, just to be safe. I told her that there are always other ultras and her health is the most important.
On the way down, however, there was some issue with the way the trail was marked, and I turned off and ended up on private property. I didn’t go way off course, but just a little miss extends the day by 10-15 minutes. I finally finished with my worst 50K time of 7:33.
Jasper, Chuck and I hung at the finish line for a bit, but Jasper was heading back home. Chuck and I thought we’d eat some pasta salad (finish line food) and wait for Laura to be dropped back from the Backbone Trail turnaround.
But when the vehicle arrived with the drops, she was not on it. We were told by the aid station captain that Laura came in and told of her intent to drop. He told her that she should hang out and think about it for a bit.
So… Laura drank a cup of Coca-Cola, then another, and another, and another… and another. I don’t remember exactly how many cups of Coke she drank, because by the time we told the tale to others, I think she had 75 cups of Coke (who knows how many she really had).
For some reason (!), Laura started to feel better and convinced herself to continue on to the end, and finished in 8:24 (a little bit under the 8:30 time limit!). What perseverance (and caffeine)!
A small postscript on the event. The Race Directors, The Shattucks, had a problem with getting the results posted in a timely manner, so Emmett to the rescue! I compiled the results and posted them on their website.