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Jacksonville, FL, United States
In Life as well as in running the secret is Pace.

Friday, June 29, 2012

RATS - Part 1

It is Sunday night…  June 24 2012
In 40 minutes we will take flight for Jacksonville Florida…  home
During our upcoming flight we will celebrate our 2 month anniversary of being married
And that…  is what is really important.
I expected to be here…  with the one I love… flying home from the greatest race there is… with a battered body… blistered feet…  I did not expect that she would be my wife…
But that dear reader is *not* what this story is about...  this story is about a group of people I call my friends.... a place of beauty and magic...  and a race that brings them together to create something so special that it brings tears to my eyes, while I'm there, everytime I leave, and even now when I remember good times and bad.
How we came to be here
Training…  adventures…. Injury…  shortcomings…  and yes a wedding followed by moving 2 houses into one…
All fairly well chronicled on this blog…  starting back in January

Day R-3

Us…  leaving Jax

this is how cool this race is…  

meet Leslie H in the Denver airport…

Now I have known Leslie for 14 years but I have never met her in person…  ya see…  back before blogs, Facebook and even MySpace…  there was social networking via newsgroups and listservs… 

Leslie, Joel, Kurt, Pressler, and I all showed up for RATS this year having previously been acquainted on the Tri-DRS Listserv

Leslie was kind enough to let us ride to Moab with her and spend a night at her (and her husband Drew's) lovely home in the mountains of Pine, CO

The view out their guest room window:

Day R-1
Porcupine Rim
We went out on Sunday to preview the biggest challenge of the final stage… a little trail along a cliff in the Slickrock canyon.
There was a rule…  if someone said porcupine rim…  someone else would have to throw in the word "JOB!"
Because that is the kind of classy friends I have….

Here is a picture that sums up how mature these guys are:

And another that shows that our ladies have class even though we don't

We ran (gaggled) out onto the trail… and sat around and told stories for 30 minutes then ran back… a golden hour..  With some of my favorite people…
That was followed by showers….  More packing…  then gear check….  We had all of our required gear… got our numbers etc…. 

Then headed out to dinner at an Italian restaurant.
Others had the same idea and we ended up sharing our last supper with about a dozen of our fellow competitors.
After dinner we hustled back to the host hotel for the prerace meeting… 

All that taken care of we were left to our own devices until 1000 MDT
Day 1 (19ish miles)
We left Moab in a tour bus at 1100 and made a modern approximation of the reverse journey that we would undertake. 

 We arrived in Fruita just before 1300 and the race got underway 45 minutes later.
Gemini Adventures… and Kokopelli himself did not design a course that would ease the traveler into their new environment and circumstances… oh, no…  the temperature at the start was above 100 F and the course becomes brutal quickly.  

The rock strewn path made for tricky footing and in the end we barely made the cutoff…  the terrain…  some of the most rugged we would face all week, was a bit more than Judi was prepared for… 

But we made it…  a highlight was climbing down to and into Salt Creek…  the cold water felt good in the 105F heat.

When we finished it was past 2000hrs MDT which gave us but a few hours to rest up for…

Day 2 (40ish miles)

I knew that this was the day…  long, hot and a relatively tight cutoff.  We made excellent progress for the first 3 hours…  just over 12 miles and still felt pretty fresh…  the air temp, however, reached 105F by 1030 and things went south quickly…

Judi really struggled on the day's biggest climb.  She told me that she was going to drop at the Aid station about 2 miles later….  I was pretty upset…  for her…  and for feeling that I got her in over her head… 

Judi…  being Judi…  took it in stride and was at peace with her decision immediately.

At this point I started doing math..  I realized that anyone behind us (there were 4 or 5) had basically zero chance of making the cutoff and we were kinda on the edge ourselves.  I decided to run on ahead to the aid station to eat and get ready for the rest of the stage and I would proceed alone when Judi got there.

As I jogged down to the aid station I stopped to pee…  it was brownish…  not good

But…  30 minutes later I was off and confident that I could finish the stage easily…  just 22 more miles.

And they clicked off quickly…  at first…  but I found that if I ran my heart rate skyrocketed…  no problem I can walk this mother…

By the time I got to the mile 30 aid station I was dizzy, disoriented, and cramping…  I tried to will my legs to continue but…  alas I failed and had to pull the plug at mile 31.

I found out an hour later that I'd lost 20 pounds during the stage…

The rest of the night I was worthless…  I couldn't eat…  tried to drink..  felt nauseous and cramped every time I moved… 

I did not take my weakness or my DNF too well….  I even tried to get us a ride to Moab…  just go do something else…  but it was to no avail

I'll be back later to finish the story.


part 2 -->

Part 3 ---> 


My Boring Triathlon Blog said...

holy crap

Matthew Smith said...

Dude, that's pretty crazy! And it's a total cliffhanger! I hope you're ok! :)

Will said...

sometimes the most difficult events are the ones you remember, and learn from, the most. congrats on getting to the starting line!