Well....I hate to say it, but I stopped at mile 28. What a let down, right before I'm heading to run the hardest ultra in the world, Badwater, 135 across Death Valley. OR, was it a great learning experience?
You just never know if you'll finish an Ultra marathon, especially one in extreme conditions like heat and yes, Lake Mead at 112 degrees is extreme. But, I learned some things that will be CRUCIAL in my quest to finish Badwater and I am more confident now, more then ever, that I'll finish Badwater despite having to drop out at saturday's race.
Here's why: (I know I don't owe any explanations or excuses...these things happen, that's what so crazy about this sport. But wanted to share what I learned.)
I was doing great for 20 miles then I had my stomach turn really bad on me for a few reasons that I now understand. Due to my heat training over the last couple months I didn't realize just how much more efficiently my body is utilizing water and sodium...so as I attempted my longest hottest training run (the Devil Race) I underestimated my body and ended up being too cautious and taking in too much water and too much sodium (lose/lose situation...hehe) and it hit me from mile 20 - 24....bloated up fast, swelled up and quickly threw up...hahah yuck...literally about 2-3 liters of fluid came shooting out from my stomach, even shot outta my nostrils...ewww.
It was all just sitting there...not absorbing at all. Vomitting eased the pain and at the turnaround, mile 25, I rested a bit and tried to rehydrate, but did so too fast and my body rejected it all again at mile 26. So at mile 28 I had gone at least 8 miles with no water getting to my body, it was not absorbing and it hit 110-112 degrees, so a nice hot day... and the heat exhaustion was draining my energy fast.
I knew I just needed recovery time and I'd be fine, but I took the 8am start and with a cut off time of 11 hours I had lost too much time from 20 - 28 that in order to recover I would need at least an hour to let my body rebalance the water and sodium levels and get my appetite back and I would never have made the cut off time...maybe close, but I figured it was too risky to force myself to recover too fast and have more problems down the road again and so close to Badwater.
So I got a ride back, went to the hotel and took a cold shower, rested for an hour and "low and behold" I was feeling 110% again. Ate some bacon and some soup and went back to run another 6 miles with some friends who were just finishing from the 6am start and just making the 12-13 hour mark. Then got up and ran another 8 miles the next morning. So I learned that I'm very well ready to recover and make a come back if I get that bad at Badwater (no pun intended)...and I'll have plenty of time to do that there.
I learned also, how much fluid and electrolyte intake my body now requires as compared to before my heat training. And thirdly... I'll have my ever so blessed support crew with me the whole way to ensure I'm getting the best possible prevention from the heat. RWTD 50 is a tough race due to no crews...aid stations are one thing, but having a dedicated crew following you is essential in Death Valley.
I was depressed for a couple hours that night, but I felt soo good after bouncing back that if saturday would have been the Badwater race, I would have been still in the game and could have run all night. That's worth more to me now than having finished saturday's race without much incident and then have it happen at Badwater and freaking out (mentally that would have been really bad at Badwater not having the experience beforehand).
That's exactly why I went to run the Devil race this year. So keep up your prayers and support for me! I know I can do it.
Good quote to remember when running ultras:
"Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."~ Earl Nightingale