Monday, August 23, 2010

TransRockies Race Report – the Rest of the Story (video)

At dinner last night:

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Sorry about the last teaser post, but I’ve got so much to share and so many photos…needed to break it up. Plus, I’m behind with work stuff and house stuff and it’s all I had time for at the moment!! Oh, how I wish I could just blog the days away, and do little else.

Now that I’ve written this novel, you better read the whole damn thing. Go grab a beer, smoke, vibrator, whatever will keep you focused.

Before I get started on this long and drawn out journey, I will answer what you all want to know. Did I crap myself? No. In fact, not so much as a skid. My stomach behaved better than it ever has on any run. And let me tell you, this was actually the longest run I have ever been on in my life, including the marathons. It took us 4:35 to cross the finish line for a total of 20.85 miles. This is actually a pretty respectable time for this race!  I will say I did not pee from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Can I get a shout out for DEHYDRATION!?  But I am alive. And I don’t even hurt today!

So, when we left off, Dean and I had just crossed the start line. He told me a bit about the course and how the last four miles were pretty brutal since it would be scathingly hot by that time and it was a gradual climb to the finish. Brutal for him means deathly for me. He suggested conserving a bit for the first half, which was fine by me.  It was a single track, straight up. People were walking parts of it. It wasn’t until we got on a wider straightaway that we found our stride. Dean kept telling me to lead the way and set the pace. Being very new to trail running, I knew this would be a long and challenging day for me.

Some of you with the eagle eye noticed I wasn't wearing trail running shoes. Yep, that’s right. I only found out about this race a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never been a trail runner or worn trail shoes. I bought some, but they didn't work out and I simply did not have time to break in any others. If I was going to be a rookie on the trail, I was going to do it up right in my Mizuno Inspire road shoes. Hell yeah!! I also didn’t have a fancy hydration pack, poles, compression socks, dirty girl gaiters or any of the other stuff the cool kids were wearing. I probably would have gotten picked last on the gym team that day. And beat up later.

The race format is that you run with a partner and you stay with that person the whole race. No running ahead if you’re feeling stronger. You’ve always got your partner nearby. That meant that for the whole race Dean had to slow to my sorry-ass pace. I know there were times when he really wanted to take off, but he just kept saying he was having a great time and enjoying not racing for once. I wonder if he rolled his eyes behind my back. Except he never was behind my back.  He did comment once that it was harder to run “this way” (meaning slow – occasional walking up the steep parts) because he had a tough time settling into a cadence. I personally messed up Dean’s cadence. I might have to get that made into a bumper sticker.

After running uphill for what seemed like a very long time, I looked at my Garmin. 2.19 miles. Are you freaking kidding me? The trail was very sandy making it hard to get your footing. The sun was heating up and the route was exposed with very little shade. This part of the state is quite arid with cactus and sage along much the of the way. We climbed and climbed and climbed. Dean and I talked about all kinds of stuff – training, marathoning, jobs, Greece. There was a lot of time to just shoot the shit. Probably around mile five I forgot that he was DEAN and not just another person. The conversation drifted to our families, future goals, etc.

When I got really winded and tired he would start telling me stories about races he’d run. It was a good distraction. Dean’s stories are not like most people’s stories. If you talk about running the Hood to Coast Relay (197 miles) on a 10 person team, he talks about doing it solo. If you talk about running in heat and sand he talks about running hundreds of miles in the Sahara desert through knee deep sand and 125 degree temperatures over several days. And winning. His legs and overall muscles were also a distraction. I had a lot of time to watch these body parts on the trail since he was in front of me. He is one BIG ASS muscle.

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The climb to the first check point at mile 7 was a bitch for me. Very steep. I simply had to walk parts of it. At this point I was mentally in the toilet. I was tired, hot and psyched out about having so far to go. It was freaking 92 degrees! But I didn’t come to this race to bitch and complain. I knew I could do it. I just had those moments you have in a race where you feel kind of hopeless and discouraged. I continued to take my electrolyte tabs, which I think saved me in the end.

At the top of the climb was the blessed check point. I poured water on my head. I drank GU Brew and took in some GU Chomps. I realized that Dean had not been drinking anything on the trail and very little at the aid station. I think he had a half a banana. I asked him about it. He said he doesn’t drink much when he runs because he doesn't feel the need for it and doesn't sweat a lot. WTF? Here I am sucking on my Camelbak, huffing and puffing, pouring sweat. This guy really is superhuman. Believe me when I tell you that. He is also one of the nicest people on the planet. He was kind, patient, easy on the eyes. Overall he exuded great energy. And muscles. Did I mention muscles?

The next few miles were a breeze. Mostly downhill, no sand. Then we started the up and downhills that would take us to checkpoint two at 14 miles. I had some tough moments along this part too, but once I hit the half way mark, I started to perk up. I love being just beyond the half way mark!! It is when you are closer to the finish than to the start. When you can taste the end.

The rest of the miles ticked by in a haze of conversation, gunning up hills, and sweat. At the last aid station I had some Coke (as in cola. I already did my cocaine that morning) – something I’ve never done, but with only 4 miles to go I didn’t give a shit. If I puked or crapped, so be it. A volunteer poured ice water down my back. Dean suggested stuffing ice into my sports bra like he’s seen some elite women do. Since I’m so elite, I did it too. If only. I have to give a shout out to the support along this race. The nicest and most helpful people. When you came into a check point they would ask what you needed and take over from there – filling your Camelbak, getting you e-caps, you name it. They were a real energy booster!

I only farted loudly once and it was when he was telling someone a story about the Big Sur Marathon. I don’t think anyone heard it.

Coming into the finish:      

Call me fist pump Beth. I’m so cool:     

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BFFs:

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Pointing at my boob:

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The guy in the white sunglasses is running with Dean on Stage 2. Check out that bicep:

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Sitting in the river post race. SO cold – better than an ice bath. I bet those guys’ balls were shriveled to nothing:

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Pus anyone?

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Told you it was hot. Gross. I came home and poured this into my salt shaker:

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At the camp for the race. Tent city. I was glad to be going home to my bed:

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My biggest fan. Couldn’t do any of this without him!

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The kids getting ready to try the Gore-Tex wind and water proof gear in the rain/wind booth:

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With the kids at the end. He was so sweet with them. Signed their shirts and books, told them he wanted to run with them if they ever came to San Francisco:

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A HUGE thanks to Gore-Tex, Outside PR (Kelly and Devon - we love you!!) and Dean for giving me such a great day. And the schwag ain’t too bad either (Timex watch, gloves, jacket, tech shirt, coffee mug, shoe warmers/driers, handheld bottle, Salt Stick tabs, GU stuff, trail running book, running hat, gear bag):

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Lessons learned:

  • The studs who do all six days of this race are insane. Maybe I can be like them someday
  • Dean is all that. ‘Nuf said.
  • You can push through about anything. As they say, your body wants to give out long before your head. Let your mental strength take you through the tough times. Know that you will hit peaks and valleys. Don’t let the valleys make you stop or quit. The peak is just around the corner.
  • Keep taking risks. Continue to do that that which makes you uncomfortable. Continue to live fully! Feel that fear and do it anyway.
  • Run with someone much faster and stronger than you (I recommend Dean K). You will push yourself way harder and the sheer humiliation of being slow will keep your ass going.

69 comments:

  1. I am so jealous... you look (and ARE) and elite runner. I think staring at Dean's hotness would have been all of the motivation that I would need. Great report!

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  2. Yay YOU...! Awesome post. Congrats on your run! Very inspiring to this newbie runner.

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  3. This is immediately being filed into "things that motivate me".
    Elite, you? YES! And wear it proudly, with ice-in-the-bra n' all.

    absolutely Love this! Love the photos (holy f-ing muscles, veins and tan. Whoa), Love the detail in each climb, challenge, trial (volunteered at an Ultra once and have never seen Coke disappear so quickly! It's crack juice), and success :) Congrats, lady!

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  4. Awesome! I love that you were honest about being mentally crapped out. I hate those times.

    Your kids are too cute. Seriously.

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  5. BEST
    RACE REPORT
    EVER!


    What a unique opportunity! I'm so happy for you and love that you fully appreciated and embraced it. Dean is too darn cool!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  6. wow i don't know what to say except that i agree with marlene that this was the best report ever! you are such a bamf!

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  7. Great post! Glad you enjoyed yourself with Dean and weren't intimidated by him. From the movie about him, he seems like a really down to earth guy who just happens to be a running machine.

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  8. Congrats! Found your blog from a link on Dean's blog at Runner's World, although the link to your blog is misspelled twen[i]tysixpointtwoormore.blogspot.com instead of twenty...(an extra i in the address.)

    Might get A LOT more traffic with the correct address...if these things are of concern to you.

    Peace!

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  9. Ulm2 - thanks for the correction. I hate it when I do that!

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  10. Just found your blog a few days ago - love your candid posts. Amazing race report! So much respect for you for running this race :)

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  11. Oh my freaking god! How exciting! I had a smile on my face reading the entire time. Biceps!? Check out his calf muscle in the pic with your kids! WOW!

    I am so happy to hear Dean K is as nice as everyone says he is. That means a lot.

    AND if you ever do get your butt out to SF to run with Dean, you better let me know! :-)

    Amazing bonus stuff too! I wanna run this now! :-) So freaking awesome!!!!

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  12. Fun, fun, fun!!! Glad you had a great time. You did AWESOME (even though you weren't wearing trail shoes OR a SKIRT!)! You should feel proud and get some more trail events on your calendar. :-) It is neat to hear that Dean is as nice as he seems to appear. Makes me want to cheer for him even more. Also, it's pretty good you only farted loudly one time....... and no emergency pit stops! LOL!

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  13. Oh and isn't it amazing how trail running makes you feel so different? I am generally never sore after 20 trail miles but can get quite sore after 20 road miles. A dip in the river is pretty sweet too!

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  14. you truly are amazing!

    oh man that picture of his bicep is so tantalizing...i feel like i can just reach out and touch it, maybe even kiss it.

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  15. How do you make things like this happen? What an amazing experience!

    You looked great. I just can't say it enough, you looked like you would be doing all 6 days!

    I love your points at the end. Thanks for taking me along on this journey! Loved it!

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  16. man that was great!! Jealous and in awe you elite runner you!!

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  17. This is so awesome. Especially that you don't hurt today! And that you and Dean had to stick together the entire time. Ha. I can't believe that was his easy pace. Amazing! And I would have loved to hear some of his stories.

    I would love to hear more about what trail runners do differently (the shoes, hydration packs, etc.).

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  18. Congrats!!! Great pictures. The race & experience sound amazing!!!

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  19. Congratulations Beth!! What an awesome day and loved your report(s).

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  20. Congrats girl!!! You are such a BAMF (Dane Cook reference...), seriously that's so awesome! Loved the recap! Now go drink a beer :)

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  21. Wow you are an inspiration! So awesome. Congratulations I am so happy for you! I can't think of anything else to say other than this is a great report and those are some nice blisters.

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  22. Wow.... Just.... Wow!

    Great report. I feel like I was there with you. Well, sans the sweat and heat and super hot running partner. Congrats! A life changer, for sure!

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  23. awesome. just awesome. Love the pics and now I heart Dean as well. Great race story!

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  24. I have to second Marlene's statement: Best.Post.Ever.
    Congrats for finishing strong! You are amazing and I love your honesty! I will shake your hand in Boston and never wash it again!
    Your kiddo's are too cute, too! Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Wow... I'm pretty sure you are Super Woman. Way to go!!!

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  26. Awesome - Awesome - Awesome
    This is a run you will remember for ever.

    I am going to pick up one of his books.

    You did such a great job.

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  27. What a magnificent experience! Thanks for relaying it all so well and answering all the fart-related stuff inquiring minds wanna know!

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  28. Congratulations! You are seriously an inspiration! I loved this race report & your lessons learned!

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  29. Awesome, girl!!!! 'Tis an honor to know you!!! :)

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  30. This is fantastic! You're inspiring me to want to work towards a 50k next summer... if I survive my marathon in November first. :)

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  31. I've been reading your blog for awhile now, and after this post I can't NOT comment any longer. How cool is it that you not only got to run with Dean, but that you ROCKED it!?! Seriously cool.

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  32. Fab race beth! I'm so proud of you! What an amazing accomplishment!You did amazing out there! I loved reading this post.. it was like we were with you every step of the way!!!! :)

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  33. I'm amazed! You did great. What an awesome experience with Dean!

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  34. "Fist Pump Beth" you are my idol!! How unbelievably awesome!!

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  35. Wow...just wow! I loved your race report and yes, I read the whole thing! :) That just sounds like such an amazing experience! I am so jealous! Way to go...you ROCKED!

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  36. Now I know how to do it, run with DK. How come I haven't think of that?

    Now let me get this straight, you were running crazy hills in terrible heat and you were able to chat? I don't think Dean was the only super human on this trail.

    You are quite an inspiration. Thanks.

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  37. You are such a powerhouse! Awesome report. I'm thrilled for you and glad you didn't even squirt!

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  38. Awesome recap Beth! I've been reading your blog for the last two weeks and loving every second of it. Congrats on your BQ as well. I'd love to do a run with you sometime, possibly a trail run in Evergreen. Let me know.

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  39. What an amazing experience! Forget Dean I want to be like you when I grow up!!

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  40. Great run in the heat. Really impressive. And thanks for the last 3 lessons learned. The 200 people on my club's mail list are going to get those.

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  41. best race report ever!!! congrats! you did amazing!

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  42. Wow. Truly inspiring. What a day. You're such a good runner, your recap of the climbs, the temperature, the overall toughness of the course really makes it seem impossible to us so-so runners or maybe possible but give us an extra 2 hours. By the way, what WAS the slowest pace? Those poor people being out there longer than 4 to 5 hours. Ouch!

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  43. That hat is gross.
    Your children are so cool.
    Dean pointing at your boob - priceless.
    So glad he could spot it! :-)

    Congrats! That was amazing. Happy, happy, happy for you Beth.

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  44. Such a great story!!! Thanks for sharing! You truely are a rock star! Dean should be lucky and thankful to have ran with you!!!

    Good job...love your blog, and keep up the fun stories! Glad you saved the poop for another day!

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  45. Awesomeness!! So happy you were able to have such an amazing experience!

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  46. Wow, what an experience you had. It is something you'll carry with you the rest of your life. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  47. Even I can't leave a smart-ass comment after that report. I've done an ultra on trails without trail shoes (my only win!) and ran 50 miles on the same trails you were on without them...or gaiters or hydration pack, for that matter. 3 years later, people think of me as a trail runner and ultrarunner.

    Just think where the slippery slope can lead! You ran longer than ever before and felt good afterward and had fun chatting with one of the stars. What other sport lets you do that????

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  48. Loved reading this post and seeing all the photos and video!! it sounds so exciting! Dean sounds like such a cool guy. Thanks for sharing all of this!

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  49. awesome! The beauty of trail running is that no one really gives a crap what the other kids have on their feet...the less you give a crap the cooler you are. :)

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  50. That is so awesome Beth! So excited for you; what a great experience that you will always remember! Cool pics too. :)

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  51. My friend Laura sent me a link to your blog...you're my new hero and such an inspiration!! What an amazing experience!!!

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  52. What a memorable experience! What a great story to tell your grandkids one day :)

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  53. AWESOME!!!! Trail running is hard. I just did my longest yesterday...7miles and can't even imagine the distance you ran! Great story and what a memory! and dang he is one giant muscle for sure!

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  54. Okay. So. I'm not much for getting nutso over famous people, but when they have biceps like *that* okay I'm impressed. What a cool experience for you, sounds like you ROCKED it. Good for you.

    I think the swag bag was just the shit. I woulda been totally enthralled with that! And, again, not much for famous people -- in my mind, I would've been way more excited with the thought of running with YOU than DK. Really.

    Also, you are so right about running with better/faster/stronger runners improving your own game. This is easy to do when, like me, you are slow as snails . . .

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  55. What a great race report! I read every word!

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  56. You Rock!! And your post was hilarious. I loved the lessons learned.

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  57. Totally inspirfreakingational. This is like the equivalent of someone like me running a half marathon with you haha! It just felt so down to earth and that you both probably learned a lot from each other. Humility and all that stuff. Thanks for the recap. Definitely an experience of a lifetime and you flew through it with grace and power!

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  58. What an experience! And what a great race report -- thanks for taking us along for the run. (Dean's muscles are quite something. And by that, I mean YOWZA!)

    Congrats on your time, too. That sounds like a tough course.

    You continue to be a rock star.

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  59. Awesome race report...I've seen you both twice at the aid stations, as I was running solo just a few clicks ahead of you and took my good old time at the aid stations. Being a runner myself, I can only imagine the thrill and the pressure of running with an icon of our sport.

    You have really shown all of us, and the non-runners, that running is truly a mental sport. Awesome jobs and see you next year at the race!!!

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  60. That is completely awesome!!

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  61. Greatest post ever. I laughed hysterically, was green with envy, and seriously think, as a runner, this is possibly the coolest experience you could ever have...

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  62. how fun! you are SOOOO AWESOME!!!!!!! :)

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  63. 1. Very cool about the poop.
    2. People were looking at your shoes? I was looking at Dean's guns *flexes*
    3. LOVE the free loot!

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  64. BRAVO!!! SO envious you got to run with DEAN!!! GO Girl!

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