FINALLY JT HAS COME BACK TO A FINISH!
It took me a lot longer than I wanted or expected but I got it done. One of the nice things about Coyote Springs 100 if you ever decide to run it is that the web site lists 33 hours as cut off time, there really is no cut off time as long as you are moving and making progress, you will get an official finish. The RD's state the 33 hours simply because they do no want someone coming and taking 3 days to finish, and to keep it from a hour based event such as 24, 48, 72 hour events. At the start of the race they made this statement and instructed everyone that they would be here as long as runners were still moving along the course. This is also a 6 loop course, each loop 16.6 miles and pretty runable throughout the entire course, yes, there are some sections that are harder and technical but for the most part very doable. Also there is about 6600 feet of ascent during the 100 miles with 3 aid stations.
I arrived feeling good, really good. I was ready! Mentally and physically. Mentally I think I knew I had already finished this race and now it was just a matter of physically doing it. Why? Maybe the several hours of non-stop motivation podcasts from Making Mountains Move, Joel Osteen, and others. Seriously, I had my iphone, ipod continued to listen to all types of great stuff leading up to race day.
Temperatures for the race were expected to be 40's to 80's so I had a good arrangement of clothes. At the starting line I was cold so I had my big jacket that I used at LOL100 when it was 18* but after chatting with Ron, running the 50 miler and accomplished 100 miler finished he suggested I not take it because I would warm up once we started and sure enough that was true. I even had to take off one of the long sleeves and wrap it around my waist. I started off very slow and making sure I was not going out too fast. I ran with Steve Hernandez for the first 3 loops and he eventually dropped at the 50 mile distance because his feet were done and not fully recovered from a couple of previous 100 mile races he had completed.
The first 2 loops were pretty uneventful and just making sure to complete the loops and keep fueling. The second loop was actually warm and Steve and I actually walked quite a bit knowing we could make up some time on the 4th loop as the sun went down and it was dark. At the start of the 2nd loop I was at the start/finish aid station and hamburgers were being cooked up so I quickly asked for one, I was already hungry so I thought might as well while I fixed up my left foot hot spot and added some more BlisterShield to my sock. Soon the 3rd loop was starting and just after I left the the start/finish aid I realized I forgot my light and it was going to be dark so I had to go back about 1/4 mile and get it but I do remember that as we originially started the loop I ate another hamburger and some chocolate cake. Finishing up this loop was nice because it meant picking up my first pacer which was Izaac who would take me from mile 50-66.
At the aid station I remember eating another hamburger and more chocolate cake, working on my left foot again to prevent blisters, getting extra shirt and gloves for the night and Izaac getting my head lamp, Black Diamond, which I have used before. As we started out on the 4th loop I soon realized that the head lamp was simply not enough light and although I had my flash light it was still difficult to see the trail. I eventually switched head lamps with Izaac and I could see somewhat better but still not enough to be confident to run! Matter of fact just as I thought I was confident I started running and Bam! I kicked some rock and went flying, luckily, not hitting the ground but my left toe sure took a hit and even today it's still slightly sore and my toe nail so black n blue. So with that I ended the running for the most part and walked jogged in some places but just kept moving. At the back aid stations I ate Potato Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup, Fruit Cups, and Potatoes. One of the great things about the aid stations was that the two were a little different in offering stuff.
By the end of the 4th loop Tim would be here to help pace through the darkest hours of the morning/night. I remember eating a cheese quesidilla and some more chocolate cake and a couple of potatoes. I also had some trail mix in my pocket that I snacked on through out the day and made sure to keep to full. So far I had only drank 1 bottle of Infinite and 2 bottles of Cytomax but other than that I didn't have any other type of high profile runner food/hydration stuff.
Starting the 5th loop with Tim I was sure to change out my head lamps to the my Fenix which proved so much better to light the trail as well as fresh batteries in my flashlight. With that combination I could easily see much better but I was starting to get tired. At the start/finish aid station I grabbed some caffeine drink for my hand held bottle that I could sip on as I pressed on. I also had that extra long sleeve shirt as I knew it was going to get colder in the early morning hours and at one time I thought I should have brought my jacket but figured I was just moving very slow and ran a little more to warm up. Finally, about 3am I was sunk! I was in complete sleepy zone and even having Tim in front of me to help lead the way I simply could not move fast enough or wake up even with my caffeine! It was frustrating but not as bad as LOL100. I kept moving and calculating the time till the Sun started to crack and I would start waking up but it would not come soon enough. After passing the first aid station the Sun started to break and it was a welcoming site heading to the next aid station. I was able to run a little but was just simply tired. After the second aid station a little more running and soon back at the start/finish line getting some more food and preparing for the final and last loop, #6.
I would be alone on this final loop, the Sun was up and it was getting warm Dez would be at the finish line and with 16.6 miles left I knew it was going to take some time to finish but I had it in my favor. My right foot had now turned against me, maybe because I had not taken care of it like I had my left foot early on in the run but I was in no mood to stop and tend to it now. As I started the final loop I left the start/finish area and was simply pissed! I was made because the Sun was up and I knew it was going to be hot, I was mad because I was clearly the last runner, I was mad because my foot was bothering but really this mad just cause a simple whimpering in knowing that I was not defeated but I had to really dig in to finish this! I walked as fast as I could taking a few short jogs in areas I knew I could take advantage of. By now both of my Big toes were banged up and all the downhill was killing with each downward step, I was actually doing better going uphill. I had my hat pulled down low that I didn't even want to see where I was or how much farther to the aid station, as you could see it from a distance, and I just walked as fast as possible. As I came up to the first aid station I could see a car which looked like Dez's car and as I got closer I realized it was her's. This just seemed to bring a sobbing emotion for the support she was showing and knowing that she was closer than I expected. I rolled into the aid station and quickly sat down. She goes me some food and cold water to pour over my head to cool down. Good thing about being last is that I had free roam of ALL the aid station so I didn't have to worry about taking the last of the ice! She reassured me I was doing good but knowing I still had 13 mile was far from good in my mind! I told her it was going to take me 2 hours to return to the next aid station and with her reassurance it was okay because then I would only have 6 miles left! I like the way she was thinking but really not helping in the grand scheme of things.
I pressed on and again kept my head down and soon enough I arrived at the last aid station with Dez waiting. I knew I only have 6 miles left so I was quick to leave the aid station and keep moving. My goal was simply to make it back to the start/finish tent where I could finish out my last 1.5 mile out/back of the last and final loop. I arrived and quickly dumped some things I had been carrying. I told Dez I'll be right back and headed out to the dreaded cone 1.5 miles away. I tried running but quickly realized my right foot was not going to take it and gave me a sharp pain and stopped me from running. I proceeded to walk as fast as I could keeping my head down and finally reaching the turn around cone for the 6th and final time. I was quick to yell at it and send it some nice cuss words and finger jesters and started heading back. Right after this I soon hit a major wall and started slowly walking, I mean really slow. I was sleepy and felt like I was starting to sleep walk and realized that if I didn't wake up at this pace it would take me over an hour to finish a mile! So I threw on the headphones, which I had not used in a long time, cranked up the AC/DC and started to move again. I was walking as fast as I could and the tent, although seemed to not really draw closer was. Finally, the last incline and I was there.
As I crested the top of the incline I threw some water all over me and was yelling and grunting, this was it! Finally!! I was back at the parking lot area of the start/finish, the race director coming over to the timing mat and Dez waiting on the other side it. I crossed that finish line in 33 hours 6 minutes! Way longer than I wanted but I got it done. I received my buckle and wanted to collapse. I quickly sat down in the tent and ate another hamburger! We got things picked up and loaded in the car and soon off we headed back to the house. It wasn't more than 10 minutes in the car and I was passed out asleep waking up just short of the house and getting some more food!
I did it! Trail 100 Complete! It's not a fluke, its not a 1 time thing. I can do it. yes, it was slower than I wanted, yes, it was harder than my first and yes, I will do it again!
My feet had small blisters on the left and a big one on the right which over the following days would be very ouchy but I would recover. Today, my foot bones are still sore and tender, my calf's and Achilles are still sore and tender even with easy stretching and massage work but overall I am still not recovered, but I guess I shouldn't be only 7 days post finish.
The nutrition or awesome buffet I seemed to stomach down was a huge success in me completing this as well as the mental mindset I had in not stopping. It simply was not an option. Weird being as this was a local race and I have spent hundreds of dollars traveling to other events and come away with less.
I Thank Dez for being out there when I least expected it! I thank Izzac and Tim for taking on the night time duties of pacing and helping! and I thank the RD's for a good race, volunteers and aid stations.
Now, its been all recovery and relaxation. I will take about 12 weeks off from long running and return to the gym and weights type of workouts. I will run but shorter stuff. I also look to find a new/different pair of shoes to run in as I my trail shoes are no longer being made.