Sunday, September 22, 2013

Training, Experiencing and Pacing the Wasatch 100

I'm a bit slow in getting this posted - it has been BUSY! It's just gonna get busier too!


100 MILES!

And of the many people I run with, I think 85% of them were signed up to run in this race, and then another 10% were at least pacing part of it!

I was in that last group. A Pacer. Definitely not in the "I'm crazy enough to run 100 miles!"

On many of our morning runs Steve N kept saying "Man! We gotta get Aaron pacing somebody!"

I wasn't against that at all and I was certainly available, but nobody had asked me.

Finally my friend Ryan said "I wasn't planning on a pacer but if you wanted to pace me from Big Mountain to Lamb's I'm always down with company!"

So I said OK. I'll do it.

A couple of days later, not too long before the race a guy on one of my facebook running groups mentioned he was looking for a pacer for the same section in a way that made me think he was really needing one. Since Ryan's invitation was more of a 'I'd be happy to hang out' kind of thing in my mind, I messaged Ryan to see what he thought. Having run with Ryan a lot I would have liked to pace him if he needed me, but in my head I didn't think he needed me to pace him there. He said go ahead and so I told Steve that I'd be happy to pace him.

Fast forward to the night before the race at my brothers now-annual pre-Wasatch Barbecue and I started to feel like I actually had ditched Ryan as a pacer. He's a very strong runner but the Wasatch is a beast of a race. So I asked Ryan if he wanted me to pace him from Brighton to the finish line - 25 miles of possibly the hardest section of ANY course, and he said yes.

Friday morning I had the day off - so I tracked the race like a hawk and was quite worried that I'd be late to pace Stephen or I would collapse or some other silly thing. Coordinated with Matt to get up to Big Mountain where the first pacers start and then I'd bring his car back from Lamb's Canyon where he was starting his almost 50 mile pacing adventure with Craig (here is Craig's report).

We drove up there and it was awesome to see friends and families and awesome volunteers dressed as Vikings cheering all the runners as they came to mile 39... and wow was it HOT. Many people say the section from Big Mountain to Alexander Springs and then Lamb's Canyon is one of the worst sections not for course difficulty (it's a pretty nice trail actually!) but because of heat and sun exposure. This year started out as one of the hottest races on record AND it was a lot more humid than we are used to in Utah.

Stephen came in, weighed in, grabbed water and ice and we headed out.

It was definitely hot and humid!

As we headed up over Bald Mountain the wind picked up, and we kept on moving and up and over little ridges heading down to Alexander Springs

I wish I could have just jump right into that lake!
We started passing quite a few people along this section... it was hot and dusty and both dry and humid at the same time. People were already looking wrecked, and we weren't quite halfway!

We finally made it to the aid station and from the dark recesses of some tents I heard my name yelled.

It was Craig, and he wasn't doing so well. Jennilyn was pacing him and she said "Aaron make him laugh!" which immediately made everything funny in my brain turn off ... not that there is comedy gold to be found in there usually.

The response to "Now turn that off and do something funny" was going into a fairly awesome Mayurasana... I wonder if somebody somewhere got a picture of, as if I don't already have enough pictures of that pose!

I felt bad I couldn't do more, but as you can see in his race report - he overcame and finished strong considering this years difficulties! I had my own duties as pacer, so we got what we needed and headed out.

This section was pretty bad... probably worse than the hard hot earlier course - because you start on some rolling hills on a jeep track through a dry field, and continue on that as it climbs steadily UP over 800 feet in about 2 miles. So not horrible, just slow hot and arduous! So basically after 45 miles for the runners, it WAS horrible!

One thing about this last section before the Lamb's Canyon aid station... you think you are closer than you are a LOT! You are above it, then past it, then above it again, then BELOW it, and you finally run up a hill to get to the aid station right next to the freeway up Parley's canyon.

I kept seeing people I knew or people who were waiting for runners I knew, so in those couple of seconds saying hi, my runner dropped me! After 13 miles I couldn't catch back up to him just on that last little climb to the aid station. I was happy he was doing so well.

Upon entering the aid station, it was great to see so many people in action volunteering. My pacing was over and I had run 13.3 miles on a rough day. I was tired! I was a bit worried about my ability to go another 25 miles with Ryan later on... but figured I would rest what I could and try to get him to the finish.

Other friends came in and got taken care of, it was great to see so much strength, support, awesomeness, and even suffering!

About this time a storm was rolling in from the West, changing the hot mugginess into hot, dusty, mugginess! Havoc on the hyper-allergical-types like me! Ryan was among those too

I found out that Ryan was struggling pretty hard with allergies and overall nastiness... this race wasn't going as well as hoped for MANY people.

I felt bad that I had switched pacing duties on him... I think I was useful to Steve as he ran strongly through this section, but I wondered if I could have been more useful to Ryan at this point. He ended up arriving and DNFing (Did Not Finish, or dropping) at Lamb's canyon (Mile 52) a few hours after I left due to allergies and other health issues.

I put together a video of my 13.3 mile run pacing Steve:

I also saw the Joker on the way back to my brother's house with his van. Yay, SLC Comicon!

Stephen too ended up dropping at Brighton (Mile 75) due to major dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea. Yikes! It was a rough day to do Wasatch, over 30% of the people who started were unable to finish the race! Surprisingly not the highest DNF percentage in the history of the Wasatch100, but definitely the highest number of people; 107 of the 331 people that started!

I wished I had been able to help more, and I wished I'd been able to see if I really could have run 25 miles more! I even had to run 10 miles because I felt like I needed more!

While I still do not have plans to run a 100 mile race... seeing the Wasatch 100 definitely made me want to keep participating in this Ultra-Running thing.

It has also increased my mileage. August was the first time I'd gotten over 100 miles in a month. I've already surpassed that in September (more on that in the next post).

The Pony Express 50 mile race was the only race I had planned for the rest of the year... But then I signed up for another 50k about 10 miles North of the PE50 route, NEXT SATURDAY!

A 50k? Yeah, add 30 miles 3 weeks before my 50 mile race? Pssh. That's nothing.

Wait, what?! What's wrong with me!?

Kakes is joining the fun and is doing the 30k! She's amazing!

No comments:

Post a Comment