Before I can tell you about my experience with my first 100 mile run, I need to give a little back ground on WHY I have been so fixated on ultras for some time now. I believe in pushing yourself beyond your limits, in testing the body and mind, and seeing just how much I can take .I toed a lot of firsts this year; my first 50k in January #Montara Mountain Trail run, my first 50 miler and March #Badwater Cape Fear, my first 81 miler in May #Badwater Salton Sea, my first IronMan 70.3 in September #IronManSantaCruz and my FIRST 100 miler on November 7th #Daytona 100.
In July as I watched my friend prepare for her #Badwater 135 I knew even more that I wanted to do this race more than ever and my goal is next year. I knew what it requires, at least 3 100 mile race finishes. I thought I could do that ! No problem I already had 1 in the bag( seeing as how Salton Sea counts as a 100) what’s 2 more in the next 6 months ?? Easy ! …so I stumbled across Datona 100 on Facebook and immediately signed up! It was perfect it was a road race ( my favorite ) I’ve never been to Florida and thought it can’t be any more hot than the desert, it’s flat , and it’s point to point. Easy right ? Here’s my story:
I decided to do it crew less, coming from California I was at a lot of disadvantages. Not sure how I would do in the weather and every ultra runner knows you are at the mercy of Mother Nature every time you toe the start line. Also not knowing the area or anything about Florida and I knew I would be alone for long stretches. I knew as long as I prepared ahead of time and had drop bags I could do it. I had drop bags at AS 2, 4, 6 and 8. The RD @ Dave Krupski had said there was going to be nutrition and hydration and every aid station and 5 miles in between Ice and water. I am used to training alone for 20-40 mile stretches so I knew mentally I could do this uncrewed. As I stood at the start line it was already warm and I thought I had 2 strategies, #1: take your time and stay consistent break it up, every 10 miles would be a goal you can do this in 26 or less . #2 be prepared to change your strategy, anything can happen. Stay strong and humble. As we all started Saturday morning out I tried to find a good groove, I settled into about 12min miles and was already pouring buckets of sweat by mile 2, not something I’m accustomed to. I knew I had to keep drinking so I had 32 oz on me at all times and would alternate between water and Gu brew. And refill at AS 1. As I kept moving I realized there was a lot of concrete ( not asphalt) This would later haunt me. I made it to A1 I felt good, just wet. From the sweat and the ice, this humidity was unreal ! Nevertheless i refilled water, electrolytes, started my routine of gels, chews and salt tabs and hit the beach. I thought great the sand will give my legs a break. I maintained steady and just kept moving still feeling strong and the heat was manageable for me. I just couldn’t get over the sweat that was pouring out I was soaked from the sweat and the ice melting from my cooling sleeves and neck bandana. New experience. As I looked around everyone looked the same like someone just threw buckets of water on our heads. I knew I had to stay hydrated, there was nobody to tell me to keep drinking and eating and if I didn’t it would be game over. AS 2 soon was insight and I decided on some real food, peanut butter and jelly and some chips yum. Refilled liquids, ice , also got some more Gels, chews and salt tabs from my bag and I was off. My clothes were starting to stick to me …I thought oh boy if I can make it til 5 pm when it cools down I can stop with the ice and let myself dry off since I had no extra clothes packed. Just change my socks at next station. As I hit the ground it seemed the temp had increased, and I was still sweating, I felt good, no stomach issues, or gi issues. Just keep moving, drinking and eating. The volunteers were great and said to keep it going so off I went. Next stop AS 3.
the views and new surroundings kept my mind occupied and time passed, I was catching up to a couple of runners and we exchanged hellos. It seemed to go on and on and I came to several options to stop for food as I was getting hungry again and the haunting words of the RD still in my head – ” don’t stay in the air conditioned stores too long, it’s not a good idea” – I wasn’t sure what he meant by that so I decided I would keep going I had about 5 miles to go to A3. Finally in the distance I came across it and sat down for the first time. It felt good to take my back pack off ( carrying all my things was also a chore. Luckily I trained that way so I was still doing well. The volunteers fed me and helped me change my socks, filled up my water and ice and off i went. Next stop AS4!
I was still moving despite the humidity and feeling good. I was looking forward to getting to AS4 as this was where I knew I would treat myself to my iPod and some music. My clothes were starting to stick to me and tried to walk a bit to see if I could slow the sweating down so I could dry up a bit. Didn’t work …I was surprisingly still ok with the heat and in good spirits. I really needed to go to the bathroom so stopped in a publix and used theirs oh boy the cool air felt so good I took my time. As I heard back out my shorts had dried up and thought it was a good thing …not so much, about 3 miles from AS4 I felt a slight burning sensation in the front of my legs. My shorts were rubbing my quads raw. That was an unexpected and not sure what to do about it I did nothing. I ate some tuna and cheese refilled again and went back out again. Half way point here I come I thought. I knew i just needed to keep moving. I was starting to feel a bit tired and low somewhere between 4 and 5 seemed like an eternity to get to. I was drinking more and was starting to run out of water. The sun was going down and my clothes had started to dry up, I had picked up my night gear at AS4 that I had packed and knew I needed to put it on at 5:30. I met up with another runner and his crew and they kindly helped me with some more water and food. It was nice to have some company for a bit as we Walked and ran together for a while the miles passed as we made our way to AS5. It was nearly 7pm and I couldn’t wait til the next station to change my shoes. The nice volunteers did a foot Check and I had a blister so he lanced it bandaged me up and I refilled water again and headed out. It was dark and it was just me. I had 2 things I was looking forward to as I knew A6 I would see Bob Becker, switch my shoes and maybe get some hot food. As the darkness surrounded me I was quite in awe of the trees that lined parts of the road and eternity it seemed to take me to get to A6. I was starting to feel tired, and I had this weird burning sensation on my legs and in let’s say my rear end. Little did I know I was experiencing ” chaffing” wth ???? It was hard to move fast as I felt very alone without a soul in sight. My mind was starting to play tricks on me as I hobbled Along the burning was getting worse. I had never experienced it before and wasn’t sure what to do, I knew I had powder for my feet so i thought when I got to A6 I would change my shoes and apply some powder to the hot spots I had on my body. Despite the burning I was getting hungry again still felt good. I had survived the day, the sun and the humidity with no nausea or stomach issues. I decided to walk the rest of the way in which was bout 4 miles to go. A6 was in the distant horizon and as I sat down to look at my feet a wonderful volunteer told me to sit back and he would take a look . Another volunteer hurried over and asked if I wanted a grilled cheese ?! ” yes please ” was my reply ! And she also gave me some soup which was so good. They were quite impressed I was self crewing and still in good spirits. I was told my feet were in great shape, he changed my socks and shoes they refilled my water and hydration. I told them I was starting to feel alone out there and my mind was saying I wasn’t going to make it in time. They assured me I was doing great and had plenty of time. I used the bathroom, took care of my ” chaffing ” and was on my way feeling rejuvenated and like running again I headed out. Even though I didn’t get to see Bob A6, was still my favorite, I got the push I needed. I was feeling so good I ran for 5 miles til the next cooler ( which by the way were AWESOME) they were always right where they were suppose to be and fillled with Lots of Ice and water. Some even had bags of chips and ice pops ( thanks Dave) I was at about 68 when I got my iPod back out of my back pack and treated myself to some music. It was still warm and there was a slight breeze. I kept looking at the distant lightening in the sky and amused myself to mile 81. I was getting tired and started adding vivarin to my rotation of gels and chews which I was over but kept eating because I knew I had to.the sweetness was sticking to my mouth and making me want to gag. I only stopped at 71 for a few minutes I had some soup shed a few tears and kept moving, I made AS 81 by 4am. I was definitely exhausted now and while kept counting my blessings that I wasn’t having stomach issues or nausea the chaffing was taking a tole now and with each step the burning was worse. Also I had developed a burning in my quads from the cement and couldn’t wait to get to the beach at 87. It suddenly became about how do i deal with this pain to make it to the end. I never once thought about quitting just how do I keep moving ? I felt alone and the shadows on the street took form in my head of some creature or person following me. It was only my own shadow. I started wresting with different ways to pass the time..counting my steps, and singing along to ” to the left to the left ” ( thanks Dave) and ” staying alive” on repeat for over an hour. I was talking to myself and as the sun finally started to come up I had long ditched my contacts and was going to have to wear my prescription glasses. Damn I thought, I hadn’t planned on being out there past 26 hours but like I said in the beginning, strategy 2 was about being ready to change strategy 1 at any time. It became about how do I finish ? The chaffing was so painful I’m sure I was bleeding at his point and had used all the baby powder I had. I was dosed up on vivarin, hallucinating and beyond starving. I as determined to finish this race even if I had to crawl across the finish line. I watched the sun rise and as I finally made the beach entrance tears again started flowing. The stretch in front of me seemed like an eternity. I looked out at the crashing waves and joggers enjoying they run and wished I felt fresh enough to run faster, hell at this point even walk faster ! The burning in my quads and the pain from the chaffing had caused me to really slow down and i counted each mile to the end. When I finally exited the beach I had developed a back pain I never experienced, I kept stopping to stretch and at AS9 had some broth got some water and kept moving. Trying to find something to look forward to I envisioned myself crossing the finish line, I dreamed about getting to take the picture at the North Point sign I had seen on my Facebook time and time again. I came across Jodie Samuels crew who was so kind to me and kept asking me if I needed water or ice. Right before I got to Dave’s parents home I took a handful of Pringles which tasted So good( thank you Jodi Samuels and crew) I am so thankful for that snack. I made my way around the block got some water and ice from the ice chest on the drive way and made my way to the light house. 2 min run 4 min walk and kept going til FINALLY ..the last beach entrance was in view… I made my way there, the sun was blazing now and I kept moving. I couldn’t see the finish line so I stared at the ocean and kept moving. I was a mess, tired, bleeding, and thirsty I thought I would never get there. Finally in the far off distance I made out the small figures who were the spectators waiting for the last of us runners to come in. I said this is it what you’ve trained for what is a part of an even bigger dream and I dug deep and started running ..them faster and faster til finally I made out the finish line ! I was about to do it !!! I sped up and finished as strong as I could. Then it was over I stopped , Dave gave me a big high 5 and handed me my buckle. I said ” I did it” so That’s it’s folks, that’s Sandra’s first 100 I leaned a lot about myself and what I am made of. I am ok with the fact that I didn’t make it in 26 hours, I finished and I finished strong in 28:39 I know I have more to give and one day I will write a report about my next adventure.
Sent from my iPhone
New Solar Policy Stuns CA