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

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

RATS 2013 - I've been through the Desert carrying a horse with no name

Well I guess I should begin with an explanation of the title
I have a my little pony shirt… I bought it at Target because I thought it was funny…
Then we found one while driving around before the race
Then I made a new friend (She thought it was sooooo cool that we were both "pony" fans)
So I carried it with me
We probably went a little too hard on day 1:
Photo Credit Glen Delman

Shortly after this picture was taken we hit a monster climb out of the canyon… as I was powering up it…  I felt a twinge in my lower left leg and yelled "motherfugsher"…  it was the first twinge of a cramp… and it spelled the end of any chance I had of doing this race fast.
I really wanted to go easy for the first 13 miles… and I thought that I did but…
Despite the issues and the cussing I did finish the stage in 10th place but…  the ominous writing was on the wall..
The plan for day 2 was to take it easy and hold off the cramps as long as possible…
And I did… lots of walking…. and I finished the stage before the cramps got me… 
Photo Credit Glen Delman

but only just…
5 minutes after crossing the line I was puking my guts out
Photo Credit Glen Delman

Then spent 3 hours in the med tent with cramps…  the doctors were very nice…  and they seemed to have a good time videoing my muscle spasms and cramps.
Day three found me still dizzy and nauseous but with buoyed spirits because I had a better looking running partner
Photo Credit Glen Delman

Or walking partner as it were…
Day 4 – 52 miles…  and I had a plan…. 
It's hard to explain really…  I was having a really good time at RATS…  at the same time that I was having another poor race…  I was feeling better… but not great…  I felt like I could finish but not like I could kick some ass…. 
So… the plan:
Walk… walk the flats…  walk the uphills…  jog the downhills
Photo Credit Glen Delman

Listen to an audiobook… Just cover the distance…  until it gets cooler
I know, I know…  I was in the middle of some of the most beautiful scenery in the US…  surrounded by cool people and I just tuned it out?  Yes I did.
Photo Credit Glen Delman

When the shadows got longer and my book ended… I began to pick it up…  shade and gathering darkness is especially sweet in the desert on the longest day of the year.
I managed to pass 8 or 9 people in the closing miles….  And ran pretty strong on the final downhill section.
Day 6 was to basically pour out whatever I had left…  and I felt pretty good going uphill… but I had some issues trying to run the steep downhill grades.
Photo Credit Glen Delman

Pony and I were happy to finish
Photo Credit Glen Delman

Closing thoughts:
This was my third attempt at this race…  two finishes…  one DNF but really the script for each was alarmingly the same…
Day one: suffer a bit but do okay
Day two: suffer a lot and end the day in a quivering mass of cramps unable to move without seizing up… and barely able to take care of my essential needs
Day three: struggle to complete 9 miles…  finishing the stage at or near DFL
Day Four: perform well above my "sinking since day one" expectations
Final Day: Finish fairly strong
Yep…  same results all three times…
But this time I had trained my ass off…  and I am and was a bit disappointed that my body let me down….
But… make no mistake…  I had a fabulous time preparing for this race….  And a blast being there…  and love my RATS family
I may go back there one day as part of the staff…  but…  I'm finished with trying to Race Across the Sand.
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

          Theodore Roosevelt, 1858 - 1919



Will said...

hell of an effort. way to gut it out despite the challenged body parts. that race sounds like a real pleasure. I'm sure the horse helped you through some of those miserable moments. I'd keep her riding....

Lesser is More said...

Sweet - way to get back there and tough it out...even with a horse on your back. I assume by the end of the race, the horse at least had a name????

Matthew Smith said...

This year was so much better than last year! It sounds like one of the toughest races out there. Yikes! Way to go! Nice pony! :)

the blue bandana said...

His name is Sage : ) And that sums it up very well! I love that Roosevelt quote!

Maya said...

Epic shit as always! Love it. It was great racing with you. Well done :)

LotStreetWiz said...

Er, thanks for putting that song in my head. :-s

My daughter was a big MLP fan at an appropriate point in her life.

Glad you enjoyed RATS so much!