Got lost, but still managed to set teh course record by 2 minutes. My support crew was incredible.
It's been a couple weeks, but I wanted to write some comments about my race so as to not forget what went right and what went wrong for future ultras.
The night before I ate a light dinner (1/2 lb. pasta with marina sauce, potatoes and yams) at about 6pm after doing mostly nothing all day except a little biking around. I went to sleep pretty early, but only slept intermittently all night. I woke up a bit before 3 and had a couple of english muffins. Scott picked me up at 3:15 and with jitters we drove over to the still star-dark start. We waited at the wrong spot until about 3:50 and then found the right spot. it was nice as it took our mind off of things, but also got me a bit anxious. We took a couple starting line photos with Jim and Jeff, the other runner. Then Jim called us to the line and said, "all right. Go!" and we were off. The first stretch is mostly flat, with a tendency towards the up. But I felt great. Scott had a light and was setting the pace (quicker than he probably should have gone, me as well). I didn't carry anything as I was using his car for support until Andy, Maren and Brian showed up. At the first check point I dropped my long sleeve and then pulled ahead of Scott going up San Ysidro. Partly I just wanted to get away from his headlamp and enjoy the stars. Maybe I was looking up too much, but I missed a turn at Picacho Lane. I felt like it was wrong and could no longer see Scott's headlamp. I peed, then back tracked and got freaked out because it was dark, I had no idea where I was and the streets were not labeled. I guessed right and headed down the right path, but I had lost about 8 minutes, and run about an extra mile. Once I knew where I was I felt better, but both Scott and his car were ahead of me and I hadn't had anything to drink or eat and it was now 45 minutes or so into the run. I picked it up to try and catch up and get some aid. The first light started to peak over the coastal mountains about 10 minutes up Gibraltar. I kept a slow and steady pace, but was started to feel thirsty. I caught Scott's car about 1hr45min into the race and had half a Gatorade and half a pb&honey sandwich and took about a 2 minute rest. I took off with the rest of the Gatorade and a ClifBar chewy thing. I ate this and then kept on up Gibraltar. I caught Scott about 10 minutes later and he called me a Rookie. I passed him. I switched the Gatorade bottle out soon, and ran with a water bottle to the top. At the flats just after the turn of to the hot springs, I had the rest of the PB&honey plus a shot bloks pack. Up and over Gibraltar with no real difficulties. I could see Broadcast Peak way the hell off in the distance and realized how long the race was going to be. It was already hot out as the sun became visible for the first time. After Gibraltar it goes down a bit and then winds up and around for a while. I was probably at the top in about 2:20 or so. About 3:15 into the race I heard some honking and turned around to see the crew racing up the mountain. They showed up all energy and smiles and I took a bunch of their energy. They gave me water, squirted me down, and fed me mashed potatoes.
Brian got on the bike and we got to catch up and keep my mind off of things. All downhill towards Painted Cave, where Casey and Conner were waiting with a sign and big thumbs up. I kept drinking and had some shot bloks just before 154. This is where I started to hurt a bit. It was now super hot (still getting hotter though) and I was running in full exposure. We took a break a couple miles before the gun club and I had a couple pancakes doused in syrup and PB (hard to get down) and some gatorade. I started running again, noticeable slower on the uphills, but eased into a rhythm again. At the gun club it turns to dirt and I had Andy drive ahead rather than follow me. I ran on my own again and enjoyed the silence of the hills. I saw a couple quail-like birds circling in a mating ritual on the north slope. The birds were sharing the glory of a wet winter and green spring with me. I could feel my legs really starting to feel the strain of so much time moving (now about 5hr30min). Going up to Broadcast peak was really really difficult and I walked for the first time in the race. Andy came back down and ran a ways with me, which was wonderful - I didn't have to set my pace any more. Doubt for the first time entered my mind, even though it wasn't very sincere. Up and over the peak and it's all down hill from here thank god. I stretched out my legs a bit and met the car just where the road is paved again. I had had some more potatoes and lots of water, but I needed more food. My body just wasn't hungry, but I knew if I didn't eat now I would feel it later. I rested in the shade for my longest break yet, maybe 5-10 minutes and tried eating a couple pancakes, but only got one down (too much PB). Really I just wanted to drink syrup and eat potatoes. I drank more and just kind of lounged around. I peed (I think the 3rd time) a pretty good clear yellow, so I felt hydrated. Maren was on the bike and we set off down the hill. I'm a damn good down hill runner I like to think and this was probably the best part of the race as it pushed me over my mental lapse. Maren told me great stories I don't totally remember and I flew down the hill to the Refugio turn off where I took a very quick break for some bishop's sorrel and some liquid - Brian hopped on the bike and we were off. I felt so damn good rolling down the hill and told Brian with about 15 miles left that I felt invincible. I was pretty far ahead of record pace, but knew that I had a big trial ahead of me.
As soon as it heads down into Santa Ynez Valley, it gets super rolling and the ups forced me to walk. My stretches of walking became longer and my legs felt heavy every time I tried to move them. It was fucking hot now, but I had Andy running and Brian biking. Maren would go ahead a mile or two and wait with drink and potatoes (the only thing I felt like eating now). Out to the main hwy 246 and I had to stop. I was walking more and more and my feet, free of blisters but hurt from the pounding. I switched shoes hoping to lengthen out my rest and add a little mental edge. I sat in the shade for about 8 minutes getting doused with water. I felt the shivers you get when low on salt and overworked in the heat. The shoes helped for about a minute then I returned to feeling dog-tired. I had just seen Jim, the course director, and he said I was on pace for the record, but it would be close. I just kept focused - run to that post, ok, now run to that one. Into the dry, hot wind on 246 I struggled up a long curving hill into Solvang, let out a hollar, turned left and struggled down the hill over the bridge, walking more and more. The next 5 or so miles were easily the hardest 5 miles I have ever run. I struggled the whole time just trying to convince myself I could run. I ate some potatoes and kept hydrated and wet. Andy taught me the Shabbot shuffle and it helped heaps getting me up the hills. Why were they all going up, up, and up? It crested at the top and for the next mile and a half it was all slightly downhill. I felt my stride open up as a stroke of confidence painted over my formerly defeated self. I could do it, and I did with everything left. I'm not sure if I was running 5:45 or 7:30, but it felt like 4:00. I could see the park and Jim and Maren jumping and waving. To my right I saw a hawk attack a vulture in mid-flight, probably defending its new nesting area. I noticed birds and chipmunks and all sorts of things along the way - my senses were definitely heightened. I crossed the finish line just two minutes under the former record and lay down on the ground feel the sun infuse me with its energy. They sprayed me with champagne and after about 10 minutes we hiked up to Nojoki Falls, were I stood under the water fall. My whole body ached going up (3/4 mile) but it was definitely worth it. Slowly back down and I took a 20 minute nap in the sun. I couldn't eat anything, I actually felt nauseous and was afraid I was going to vomit. We sat around for awhile and I drank water and Jim gave me a liquid protein drink, which was all right, but not great. We headed back and I felt great on the ride home.
Clay was here and Ashley showed up shortly thereafter. I felt complete euphoria take over the aches and pains and it was the most beautiful rush of life I've felt in a while (ever?). I couldn't stop smiling. My body hurt, but I was able to eat a delicious dinner of lots of greens and other veggies that Ashley cooked up (plus a beer). I went to sleep around 11, and woke up pretty early.
I think the important things to be learned are that PB is bad, potatoes are good (more salt in them though), and anything else liquidy is best for getting energy. My body doesn't do well with solids after awhile. My prerace prep was great though. Maybe slower in the start and eat more earlier on (though I couldn't much help this as that was my plan). Also, for training, more longer runs followed by other longer runs might have been helpful or at least instructive. But as it was, I was tired all the time and didn't have much more left for doing this. Other than that, my support crew was fantastic and made all the difference and I ran a great race.