Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hundred (+3) in the Hood: Part 5

Sorry for the delay, been going through some post traumatic race depression issues in the past two weeks and haven't been motivated to do anything, let alone blog.

Anyways, after finally having worked my way through 4 packets of prunes, I felt much better (and lighter) but was now short one race chart. Fortunately I was just running my way back to the finish line and I knew I only had one aid station left, Red Wolf Pass before the long downhill home. Getting to Red Wolf proved to be a huge challenge as I was fighting exhaustion and hallucinations all the way up the PCT. The hallucinations were just freaky: leaves became faces, boulders became Samsonite suitcases, trees became race marshals and adding to this I was starting to get tired from lack of caffeine. I think I traded places with Kate, Mcmuff and Thumper at least 4 times as I would go out for a quick 8 minute burst, but slow down and have one of them (with their respective pacer) catch and pass me again. Finally as I sat down on one of the less jagged rocks, I think Kate had caught up to me and said in what I perceived to be a sympathetic tone, "Do you need a hug?" and as I was left sitting there, it was like something in my mind just snapped. I slapped myself in the face twice and that woke me up. I ran the last 3/4 mile up to Red Wolf (Mi 96.9) and saw Kate getting food, Thumper was just leaving and McMuff was only 2 minutes behind me. I got both bottles filled up and grabbed a Hammer gel for the last six miles, I left at 26:55. I soon caught up to Thumper and then Mark. I asked about Nic and he said that Nic was spending a little more time at Warm Springs. For some reason, I had a lot of energy and it wasn't the gel because I never touched it, but I wanted to finish strong so I just took off.

That downhill stretch was a blast! My mind flashed back to Mountain Highway Madness where I ran the 4.5 mile downhill in 35 minutes. While the PCT wasn't as steep, it was continuous. I'm fairly sure that if I tripped on any section, that would've been the end of my race, but the trail gods were with me that morning. And what a cold morning it was! I think I was running way too hard just to get my body temperature up, maybe I should have kept the jacket on, oh well. Two more road kills later, I finally cross the fire road with more downhill and catch Perry for the last time. He graciously steps off trail and gives me a round of applause. I finally hit the "flat" section and I'm using all the momentum to maintain my speed. I hear some coughing ahead of me and I bag another kill, I keep running and running and finally see Gilles who's walking. Gilles has gotten completely frustrated with the course markings (or lack thereof), the guesstimation of the distances between aid stations and is in a fairly bad mood. We walk for a little bit, until I can feel his mood getting contagious and I decide to run ahead. I spot the newly laid flour arrows (on-on?) and yell back to Gilles that we're on trail. A turn left and then I start climbing for a few minutes before reaching the peak, then some rolling singletrack and back onto Miller's trail. I bag my last kill just before I make it back to the road. Apparently the guy had tripped and landed on his face, dusted himself off and kept on going. That's ultra.

With a whoop I run to the finish line and momentarily hesitate as I see my car on the right side, but decide to just power sprint to the left and cross the finish line in 27:46:52! Goddamn! I ran the last six (or seven, no one's really sure) miles in under 52 minutes! I also bagged ten road kills. Everyone's huddled in warm blankets surrounding two fire pits. Olga congratulates me and gives me a finisher's cap with a light in it. That's peachy keen. She later gives me a bottle of Hammer electrotabs and some dirty girl gaiters so not too bad (although I still have not gotten my Hundred in the Hood souvenir shirt back. Paul, if you're reading this, please give it back, I'll take it unwashed!)

Compared to how I felt exact two months before at PCT50 mile, the post race feeling was indescribable. I wasn't overheated, nauseated, pukey, or even defeated. The adrenaline of my run was pumping at an all time high, with my time in the Hood, I ran 1 hour and 43 minutes faster than Stormy and I ran without crew and the Hood was 3 miles longer! I downed a fresh can of coconut water to get some much needed electrolytes and was encouraged to get warm quick. I remember my drop bag had some dry clothing for just such a situation. I was under a blanket and in front of some flames quickly. Told Lucinda that Gilles was just behind me and sure enough, he finished ten minutes later. I saw Anil and congratulated him, before he told me he had dropped at Warm Springs, as did Russ. I wasn't really tired, but I was starting to get hungry. Fortunately there was about twenty pounds of roast/pulled pork on the BBQ grill and I loaded up a big bowl and chowed down. I may have scared a few ladies with my eating habits. Sorry. More runners began trickling in. I decided to clean myself up a bit before settling in for a snooze. Lucinda and Gilles left and I said my goodbyes, I never saw Karl, but Kirsten and Chad did make a post race appearance. I saw their nifty buckles and was jealous but resolved to come back next year to get a buckle as well. Fairly uneventful drive home, although I did stop twice: a seven hour rest stop in Oregon and a two hour stop at the Tulalip Casino in Washington where I won $85 playing the slots. A rewarding weekend in the States in more ways than one.

1 comment:

The Jackal said...

Great stuff there Baldwin, I got the computer to read the five reports to me. Very entertaining.
You write well.