Saturday, July 01, 2006

States Day

Well, I had been anxiously waiting for "States Day "for the last six months. I had trained harder than I ever had trying to prepare me for my #1 goal, to finish. After all, that should be the first goal. My brother not one minute before the start reminded me of another important goal, "have fun." He was right. This is why we do this anyway.

Well, I was your typical first time runner. I was a nervous wreck the day before during the weigh-in and pre-race rig-a-ma-roll. Kyly tried to keep me in line the best she could. We went over to "Team Eugene's" house and I seemed to relax there even though there were well over a dozen people in the house. This is where I would see my brother for the first time. He always knows what to say and just the right time to say it. And yes, Kyly painted my toenails just like all the others from "Team Eugene." Cosmic Plum!

Race morning came early. I got up at 3am to dress and eat. Some toast and beans would do. Clem gave me a ride to the start and talked. I wasn't talking much. Not much needs to be said at this point I figured. Got my bib # and hung out with Meghan and Brian for a bit. Went to the start and positioned myself in the middle of the pack about 4:50am. Looked around and was just enjoying the atmosphere. Low and behold not five minutes before the start but my brother and Lewis Taylor find me. Jeff had a big smile on his face. He gave me a big hug that was much needed. He reasured me that it would be a great day. He could tell that I was still a wreck. One last well wish with only a minute before the start and I was left alone. A short prayer and a couple of deep breaths and only 15 seconds before the start of an adventure.

The start was uneventful. The plan was to run behind some of the Oregon women early on because they are all experienced and smart, along with talented. I first found Olga. I ran behind her and Gordy Ainsleigh for about 20 minutes before she noticed me. We came up onto Ronda Sundermeier and Stacy Bunton. Olga put it into a different gear and went ahead. So, I tucked in behind Ronda and Stacy for the next 15 mintes before they noticed. Somehow I ended up in front of them on the climb. I didn't like this. Who would keep me in line? I ended up catching up with Olga at the first aid station. Good, now I have intellegent company. We made the final accent up Escarpment together. I wanted to be right behind her for a long time now. We just glided through the next 10 miles passing some through the snow. She pulled off and I was alone again. Stan Nowakwoski caught up and we ran a bit together. But he was on a mission, he left me and I had to let him go. That was not the pace I wanted to try to hold at this point in the game.

The first 30 miles were fairly uneventful. I could tell that the heat was starting to get turned on by 10am. I reached Robinson Flat two minutes off my projected time. My plan was to run easy but with purpose early on before the heat was turned on. Then slow down in the heat of the day. Things worked pretty well in that respect. At RF Kyly was super organized. She got me my beans

and Pediasure right away. While I ate she sponged me off. After less than five minutes I was off. I was so happy to see Kyly and Clem after running for almost seven hours. It was fantastic. Now I won't see them for another six and a half hours.

Now I cruise through the new section that hasn't been used in five years because of forest fire damage. Through this section I noticed that somebody had the oven on "self clean" and both elements were turned on. The heat was starting to rise. My stomach was starting to let me know who was boss for the day. After arriving to Last Chance I was up in weight. The nurse took note and started asking me questions. I didn't respond appropriatly so she asked me to sit for a bit. She got me some soup, potatoes and salt, and a Coke. After five minutes I convinced her that I would walk a bit. Well, after five minutes down the trail my stomach decided that it didn't like what was on the menu for lunch that day. One of many times to come.

Entering the Canyons the heat was turned up. I was a pathetic mess. The only good thing about the canyons were the creeks at the bottom. I took advantage of every one. I spent 3-4 minutes cooling the core in each of them. That seemed to help. It was on the climb up to Michigan Bluff that I see two bear cubs off to the left not 100 meters after climbing out of Eldorado Creek. Where was mama bear? I wasn't sticking around to find out. See Jeff at the top of the climb and he provided encouraging words once again.

Entering Michigan Bluff was loud and very busy. But Kyly was on it. Gave me my beans and

Pediasure once again. Got the legs sponged off again and hankerchief filled with ice again. Wanted to tell everybody about the bears but Kyly shoved me out of there saying we can talk later. I run out with Jeff. He is trying to get me to walk to let the food settle but I know there will be hiking in a bit.

Get to bath Road and Clem isn't there. That is o.k. I will see him I am sure coming down. Sure enough here he comes. We run the top section and into Foresthill after 15 hours of running. I am so happy to be here. I don't show it but I have been waiting all day for this. I get to run with Kyly from here. She has everything ready again. She is the best crew chief ever! I had chicken noodle soup in the aid station so all I needed is a Pediasure. She has it ready. I slip on my headlamp around my waist and get a new race belt. We are off. Now it's time to put the hammer down. I have ran easy for 62 miles but it is here that we need to start racing!

Kyly and I head down Cal street (trail not street) not talking much. I think she starts singing a bit here. I don't care. Takes my mind off things for a bit. Then the stomach lets me know who is boss again. I hurl without breaking stride. This is about the 10th of 14 times this day that I got sick. Kyly is impressed. I slam two gu's and not five minutes later it happens again. She is enjoying the "projectile vomit show." We jam down to Cal 1 and she gives me noodles and Coke. That seems to work. It stays down for a bit. We get a little past Cal 1 and turn on the lights. Good this is where I wanted to be before turning on the lights. We pass a few and that is encouraging. I still contunue to get sick but it is not going to stop me, I just keep on running.

She noticed that I am running well. She likes this. Then she notices that I am even running the small inclines. She takes note. Now she makes me run every small incline. She is really pushing me. Then she starts looking ahead on the trail with her 4 LED green flashlight. She looks for possible running areas. She pears around me on every hike. I am starting to hate that darn green flashlight. I think I even try to block her at one point. But I obey her every command to run. She says things like, "run at that bush on the left", "run in 10 steps", "run tom." Things like that. We pass many down to the river. I am feeling good. Finally we get to the river. There are four people at the aid station. I am not stopping. We need to get on the raft. I soak in the river as it is on the way back. I like this.

On the far side Clem meets us. Kyly thinks Clem should take over pacing duties. I don't mind. We hike up to Green Gate and it is here where I say my first words in over three and a half hours, "Kyly, garbage." and "I'm tired." Kyly doesn't give a hoot. She tells me you are going to be tired, afterall you have just ran 78 miles.

So, Clem and I head down the trail. We continue to pass people along the way and exchanging encouraging words. Clem is great at this. He cheers everybody on and to finish strong. That was great. We finally get to Hwy 49 crossing at 3:48am and Kyly is there. She hands me some soup and pushes me out of there.

I don't need any coaxing here. I am focused and on a mission. Clem and I hammer it to No Hands. We see Ronda along the way. I think she has shut the engine down for the night, Miss F10!!! I have to wake up the aid station here. Now I know that the last person was here some time ago. That was strange in this race. Especially, with me houvering around the 24 hour mark. But this year was different. Not many flirted with the 24 hour mark like in years past. It was just too brutal this day. I tell the aid station people my number and fill one of my bottles an I am off leaving Clem behind. He catches up down the trail. I could smell the barn here. Only 3.5 miles to go.

I finally talk one more time. I tell Clem only five minutes to Robie Point as we hit the dirt road. We hit the pavement at Robie Point and I yell my number. They aren't recording it apparently. I start the steep climb and all of a sudden Jeff comes from behind. He said some very appropriately and percise words..."Tom, you nailed it!" He was right. I had a great day. But then after hiking a bit he tells me I have to run. Wait, I thought, I am tired. But he tells me I have to run to get 24:30. I have been taking orders for over nine hours and I have been good at it. I follow suit. We run over half of Robie Point and onto the track. I hear my name being anounced and we round the courner. Jeff says "great job" and "it is all yours", he let's me go. I finish with a big smile. I couldn't have been happier.

My crew was the best. Kyly pushed me and was just awsome. She was incredible. Clem provided encouraging words all night long. He was wonderful to have along. Jeff just knows what to say and when to say it. I love him for that.

I am proud of my first 100. The conditions were less than desirable but my crew kept me going. We all had a great day. Team Oregon did great. It was geat to see them all after the finish. We all had our own stories to tell. We all had an an adventure.

Pictures taken by Kyly, Glenn Tachiyama, me and Bob "the beast" Lynes.


stephruns said...

tom- so great to read about your the race you have been looking forward to for such a long time. Loved reading about you making it to the finish line. Isn't that just the best - when all of the sudden you gather engery you had no idea it was left????


mtnrunR said...

Thanks, it was a pretty incredible experience. Just amazing.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

what a great race report!!! great job on finishing WS - close to the 24 hr mark - in such a tough year!