Hi all...after reading Steve Pattillo's report, I thought i'd send this along that I wrote up yesterday.
Deb and I began our year training for a completion of the Rocky Mountain Slam, which would have been a finish at Bighorn, Hardrock, Wasatch and the Bear. It didn't quite work out as we were hoping.
Bighorn went well for me...it was one of those almost effortless runs when you feel really good almost all of the time. The only problem I did have was at around mile 5 or so, I felt a hot spot developing on my heel. I stopped at the first aid station and the medic slapped some duct tape on it and it was fine for the rest of the run...but the shoes causing the blister were a new pair of Vitesse I was wearing. It seemed to have a lump on the backside of the heel cup that rubbed me wrong, so at mile 30 I switched to my older pair, which had a gazillion miles on them. Because of this I bruised some metatarsals in the final 20 miles which bothered me for most of the course marking in the San Juans leading up to Hardrock.
Deb had some really strange problem that caused some of her toenails to fall off from the nail bed. We aren't sure if it was some electrolyte imbalance that caused this or what, but she was wearing her Leona Divide's which fit her well. She wore these shoes (not the same pair) in the Ring last year and didn't so much as have one hot spot. You know the rest of the story from there...she took her shoes off with 8 miles to go and put her insoles inside the socks and went with that until 4 miles to go, where an aid station worker duct taped some sandals to her feet. At one point after the turnaround Deb was within 20 minutes of me and I thought we'd be able to finish together...but after I finished I started to hear the stories. She finished to be able to continue on to the Rocky Mountain Slam...Deb is one tough runner.
Which brings me to Hardrock...I was having the run of my life there. The weather was perfect, I was acclimated and feeling strong, leaving Ouray at around 42 miles, then climbing up Engineer's my lungs started to burn and I was coughing up lung junk. When I got into the Grouse Gulch aid station, Bert Meyer was there waiting to crew me. When I started to talk to Bert to tell him what I wanted, I coughed and rasped some words out. The medic heard this and ushered me into a chair in the warm tent beside Kevin Black, who was also hacking and coughing. He spoke to me to get some response and I answered him fine. He then stuck this gadget on my finger and after getting his readings, strongly advised me to not continue. My blood oxygen level was at 84%...he then did the same to Kevin after hearing him coughing and looked at him and said "His is bad, but yours sucks!" Kevin was 81%...he advised us to sit for awhile and see if it got better, but at that point and knowing Handies was ahead, my bruised feet were starting to hurt, I went along with it. Not Kevin though! He continued to cough and lube up his feet to continue with his pacer. I had arranged to drive Russ Evan's pacer, Kerry Owens' car back to Silverton and told Kevin that I would wait for him if he decided that the climb was going to be too difficult. Other runners, seeing what was happening to us, hurried out of the aid station tent, coughing as they went...
I sat in the heated car and watched Kevin's light slowly bounce up the 14,000 foot climb. AT the first switchback, about 200 yards from the road, the lights of he and his pacer stopped. There was a short pause and I then saw them bouncing slowly back down the hill. It was the end of the day for Kevin, also. He made a very wise decision as all of you know what Handies could have done to him.
On to Deb....she just seemed to never get it going from the start and we just can't figure it out. She was fine most of the week and even had a good day on Handies during the course marking, running hard to the base after the climb. This was going to be the year for both of us! Looming over near Delta, Colorado was a small forest fire that was burning and sending it's smoke our way. Many of the Hardrockers, including grizzled vet Rollin Perry, 7 time finisher, were brought to a standstill due to their lungs not working right on the climbs. Could this have been the issue? Maybe because my feet were sore from Bighorn, I was looking for an out? Maybe running a 100 mile run in the Rockies three weeks before Hardrock is not a wise thing to do? Especially for two old people?
Questions, questions....one thing for sure. The RMS made be toast right now, but we will be back at Hardrock, again trying to complete what I consider "the most difficult 100 mile run in the country, maybe the world". Right now we are withdrawing from Wasatch, but may still run the Bear in late September.
Our 40+ hour drive home was fun (yeah, right), but the slam of all for me this year was yesterday when I returned to work. I was immediately told I was laid off...so here I sit, unemployed and playing Gramps, watching my 4 year old grand daughter color and cut out paper dolls wishing I could retire...
see you all next year!
Steve and Deb
PS: I have many, many pictures that I took during the race and will put them on the website and post the link here soon.
PSS: Deb and I are seriously looking at relocating ot the Durango area. Hopefully we can accomplish this within a few years :-)
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