One of the perks Zane Grey organizers gave us was a 2003 race movie. I’ve watched it on Wednesday, trying to come out of flunk. It was surely a great thing to do. By any and all means, Zane Grey 50 had become my second best favorite race in a country – along with Western States 100. 2003 was a great year to see on tape. It brought so many great runners to it – when would we ever see them running? Karl Meltzer, Scott Jurek, Hal Koerner, Nate McDowell, John Pearch, Ian Torrence, Eric Clifton, Krissy Moehl, Anthea Schimd, Jenny Capel, Luanne Park, Pam Reed…the list goes on. It is a humble experience to see them go for it, to breathe hard, to find out that Karl and Scott do take walks, how focused they are, how they drink and eat. Now, if some Kelly S. Nichols (who travels around long running websites and tells stories on how slow we all are comparing to college runners at 5k competitions) sees this tape, she’d be like: you call them runners? Not to mention Elite Runners? Speed…what is speed when you can see the character emerging through the struggle. And it’s a beautiful site, for everybody alike, slow or fast.
At the beginning of the movie there were two statements that this race is much longer than 50 miles. I’ve heard it before. It claims to be anywhere between 53 and 60 miles (well, may be 60 is too much, lets not think this way). I guess when we are out there, once we start moving, we just put one foot in front of another and don’t stop until we see the finish line. That is a big reason I am scared of aid stations – what if I decide to sit down, will I ever get up? It is “easier” to not let my mind even pretend it is possible…
photo by Steve Pero It is a gorgeous trail, no doubts. I feel blessed to have been able to visit it, and it calls me back already. The organizers do a wonderful job putting it up and taking care of the runners. The trail is marked really extensively – I think this year was even better than last year. There is pasta dinner, finish line food, and then there is a “goodie bag”. It is always a “bag” – a backpack or a huge travel bag this year, it is a couple of technical t-shirts, a mug or a coffee travel mug, a couple of Montrail draw bottles, a bunch of small items – and a buckle. Yep, you get a belt buckle for this 50M! It is such an achievement…
I am already planning my next visit. It was good to see the movie because I could wrap my eyes around the whole course. I will go with a camelback on those 3 middle sections besides two bottles that are sparse and take over 2.5 hrs to make through. I will think of some cooling hat so my brain doesn’t boil. I was fine with calories, really, so this will stay. I took 16 Cliff Shot gels total (7 of them were double-espresso), 5 servings of Perpetium, 3 servings of CarboPro, 1 serving of EFS and 2 packages of Hornet Juice (one in first bottle and one at mile 33 - I think I'll be ordering more). I had 4 half-cups of coke at the aid stations and eyed some orange slices, but forgot to get them. I don’t mind been splashed with torn and brushes and wear those marks proudly – I wish I could wear a skirt to show it off. I will need a more comfortable set of headphones so my ears don’t hurt from wearing them so long. My Montrail Odyssey worked beautifully, along with Dirty Girl gaiters and SmartWool socks. I took 2 tablets of NUUN and 6 tablets of each Succeed!, Ginger and Arnica (once in 2 hrs). I peed twice – once on the first section, and once before last AS when I finally got some liquid balance in the body. I would like to try and run more there, so I need to find some rocky (really rocky) section and practice foot placement. I would like to go out a bit stronger, so I can stay put around people – although somehow I always encounter problems in first quarter of the race…that’s my pure luck.
I liked to hear what people had to say about coming there. They come out to test themselves – against terrain, clock, weather elements, and other runners. Like Donald said in his Big Sur marathon recap, “The real answer is a far different, and much simpler truth: competition is the lifeblood of my racing experience.” If I wanted to be healthy – I would start eating vegetables and going for walks in the parks. If I simply wanted to see friends – I would join some knitting club (yoga works too). If I needed to see trails – I’d go hiking (done that for years). I NEED to see what I am made of. In every day here I don’t believe in myself. I don’t like pretend play and fake smiles we all have to give and receive. I like the raw part of going out there, questioning my own sanity and ability and pushing through it. I feel real. Ever since the first time I compared running and finishing a tough ultra race to been in labor and giving birth (guys, you may want to look for another statement). I still think of it same way – the easy hours, the pain, the agony, the push, and – the beautiful somebody that is yours, only yours and nobody else’s. Since I am not having any more babies and mine are far from babies (although with more pain, yet not physical anymore), I prefer to run long trails and have same elation during the process. Take me as I am. I had never been much of “pretend” person, what you see is what you get.
I will send the tape with the movie to anybody interested (no come back) with one request – you will then forward it onto anybody else who’d like to see it. It has much less (pretty much none) of personal stories comparing to both Western States 100 movies (only a trail story), but it is beautiful and you still get an idea of what is ultrarunning about. See pictures by Luis Escobar here.
update: and the winner for the movie is Julie! now bug her for a sneak view:)
Sorry for turning off comments on last post. Really wanted to be by myself - you know, cave doesn’t have internet access…besides, it is true, our computer got corrupted again and anything that requires log in is freezing all internet access. So I wouldn’t be able to read or respond to anything (I can still read your posts, but have to comment from work). (If any of you are computer wizard and know what to do, please email me – Oleg refuses to fix it again.)
But I can’t be in a cave long, I miss you and I love you all. It is especially heartwarming how many of my friends emailed – I mean it is easy to click “comment” button, but to go out of the way…it just makes me cry. A good cry – didn’t we talk that I am a cry baby?
So where I am? I am better, little by little, and I am not going to burden you with details of mental letdown. Lets talk running…of which I have not much, but it’s supposed to be a running blog. My left hamstring has a big knot right smack in the middle, and I can’t stride out (I have a pretty long stride, especially considering short legs of mine). My left hip joint has a pain at the crease and again, doesn’t let me open up, but mostly bend/tilt over it. My left shin is hurting differently than in regular compartment syndrome attack, and I am kind of nervous about it. Oh, no, this dirty laundry list is not for you to feel sorry or to tell me to get rest/see doctor – I don’t ever use excuses, nor do I want to hear them. It is just a list. Because I am still out there on my runs, which are by a third turned into walks, and for the rest of them go at HR in zone 2 (yes, I actually wore a HRM to see how slow I am since I can’t measure the distance/pace) – I hardly break sweat on my outings, but lets consider them my “recovery week” (what I didn’t plan on, I wanted to actually taper next week for Silver State 50M, but swapping plans and adapting is one of life’s lessons), and besides, as I told Angie, I truly believe in building a habit and holding on to it: wake up at the same regular time, put your running clothes and shoes on, grab a bottle and head out.
My massage was wonderful, I even signed up for membership, dude seemed to have known what he was doing, and I was very optimistic: he spent a whole hour working between my waist to the knee part, all on the back. You’d think at least the knot would go away? Na-ah. Oh, well, time heals everything, I know this one for sure, I am patient.
The Bikram class on Thursday was a HUGE step back again, but what was interesting was my reaction to heat: while everybody complained and asked the instructor to open windows (Bikram goes at above 100F and high humidity), I was snapping not to – it felt cold, my hair didn’t even sweat!
I had a much better run this morning (Friday). The pain eased off, the shin didn’t hurt (thank God, I was about to panic!), and I ran the whole hour, even picked up pace, what allowed me to “travel” further than I did on any mornings of this week. I told you I’ll be fine, I’ll get through it, I am stubborn, my body has nothing else left to do but to comply.
I lost 5 lbs somewhere on the course of Arizona;s trails, and while I realize it's only water, I like the scale number dipping under 130. I also lost appetite, what is unheard of for me - I've always been a great eater, death bed and all. May be there was a touch of depression, but I am not the one who'd be concurred, right? Not when I have so many great supporters anyway!
We had a pretty cold/windy/rainy/hailing and even snowing week so far, but the coming weekend is promised to be gorgeous! With that – I’ll be out in the Gorge, making my long miles, and if I can’t push through repeats, the best I can do is get a dose of love from my favorite place around.
To all who is going to Miwok 100k this weekend – wish I were there, have a run for me, smile lots and push hard, and remember – never look back!