Sunday, June 24, 2007

What a Ride!

A quick update on my Western States experience... First off - I'm OK!

We had great weather and all was going to plan. I ran the section from Squaw Valley to Robinson Flat exactly as I wanted to. We had no snow and just a few muddy sections to traverse in this section. I really drank a lot of water over this section with about 6 bottles consumed. When I got to Robinson Flat Michelle, Rob, and Steve were all set up with my food and new chilled water bottles and Perpetuem. I grabbed a PB&J and went on my way. No time for love at these AS's. I had a brief spell of low energy past Robinson Flat but continued on and started feeling really good. My medical checks all went well hitting my weight bang on at each check. As I descended into Deadwood I was really enjoying myself feeling confident as I wound down into the canyon. I was really looking forward to a swim in the river before starting the climb up Devil's Thumb. I peeled my pack off when I got to the river and stuck my water bottles in the river to help cool them down. I went in shoes and all up to my neck and soaked for about two min. I started my climb up Devil's Thumb feeling refreshed and up for the challenge ahead. The climb went great with a slow but steady grunt up the switchbacks. Everything was going great until I got about 3/4 of the way up. I got a bad case of the dry heaves and seemed to loose my legs suddenly. I was woozy and if I didn't sit down on a log along side the trail I would have fallen down. I popped a peppermint candy in my mouth and started moving west again. The candy only made things worse and the heaves came again. I did some compression breathing as I trudged toward the top. I met some volunteers 1/4 mile from the AS and at the time didn't think I could make it to the top however I pressed on. I went to the medical check and my weight was right on 148. I told them about my nausea and I had begun to shiver which is a natural consequence of stopping for any length of time. The med tent wrapped me in blankets and fed me some soup broth. It took about 15 min. but I was able to start feeling much better and decided to continue on. Just before I left Karen Wiggens made it to the summit and was in real bad shape. Her quads were toast and she could barely walk. Her weight was 8 pounds over her weigh-in but she argued the point that she was at normal weight. We both chose to go on together. After going only about 1/4 mile it was obvious that Karen could not carry on. Karen turned around and headed back to the AS. I continued on and came to a climb. As soon as I started to climb again my legs started to buckle and I got woozy and got the heaves again. I knew my crew (Michelle, Rob, and Steve) were just 7 miles away at Michigan bluff but I really felt that I would not be able to make the climb to Michigan Bluff. It was a tough call but I decided to turn around and head back to the AS at Devil's Thumb. It was an emotional moment for me when the AS Chief cut my wristband off and took my timing chip. I do not regret my decision and can only look toward the future for other opportunities and this wonderful ultra experience.

It may have been the altitude. It may have been the flu like symptoms I had two weeks ago. It may have been the fact that I've been very lucky to not ever experience nausea or bonking during an ultra race.

I thank my crew and all of you who followed along on this journey. I'm sorry I cheated Steve out of his pacing duties and my crew out of a victory lap with me as I entered the finish area. There will be another time and another place for this.

Special thanks to our friends Jimmy & Suzy for being such gracious hosts at their cabin on Lake Donner and at their home in Verdi to our whole crew!

I'll get some pictures up when we return from vacation. We saw Karen Wiggens and her husband George today and her quads were in really bad shape still however she was walking around very slowly. It's amazing that her bad knee and cardiac laser ablation procedure were not the reason for her drop. I think the knee and the heart surgery did come into the formula due to limitations on her training in recent weeks. She's got a busy running schedule ahead and I don't think she's going to let this drop get in the way of continuing to enjoy ultra running.

We witnessed a heartbreaking finish today with a woman entering the track under 30 hours but she only had two min. to make the finish line with an average of about 4 min. to make the run from where you enter the track. The entire crowd at the school was aware that she was not going to make it under 30 but everyone stood up and cheered her in. At one point a large crowd started chanting her name. She was in bad shape all hunched over to one side but continued to run in past the finish line. The RD gave her a medal and the crowd roared with approval.

We spent the night trying to sleep in the car and also watched some of the front runners finish at the school. Since I originally intended to be running through the night we did not have hotel reservations and as you can imagine the Inn's were full in Auburn. We have checked into our hotel and we are going to try to get some sleep now.

Cheers!

39 comments:

olga said...

While the decision is made and it's over to dwell on, just for the future runs - I dry-heave all my runs, often from mile 15 on, very loud and looking bad for the people around. It's not necessarily a sign of distress. But I wasn't you when you had dizzy spell (what is also something very much a "have to happen"). Each runner makes a decision for his/her own heart. You are fine with yours - that's the most important part. There will be more 100's, or 50's, ot whatever else you decide to do.
Thos last over-time-limit finishers are heartbreaking every year. Since the first WS movie I saw - I always cry. What a journey!

Tina from Germany said...

Whoohoo Eric, congratulations! For the courage to start, to run a full day and the courage to drop the race. This must have been a awesome experience. I am looking forward to read about more ultra experiences from you. Have a good rest.

Annette said...

I'm sorry you had to make that decision, but I'm glad you didn't try to risk your health! I can imagine it was difficult to do. Regardless, you are still quite the running stud in my opinion! :) Get some rest - you deserve it.

Addy said...

I'm so glad you're okay! I wasn't exactly sure what a 'metabolic' drop was, but I guess that title does make sense now that I know what happened :) Sounds like you absolutely made the right decision. I really am just so in awe of you for everything, being out there and completing those 47 miles. There will definitely be other races for you to enjoy, and the last thing you want to do is risk your health out there. We're all so proud of you for what you were able to accomplish! Looking forward to some pictures :)

maniac hippo said...

Eric,

If it were easy we wouldn't love it so much. Without some experiences like this to remind us that it doesn't always work out we'd end up shrugging off the good days.

That being said, it sounds like I was more crushed than you. I was busily tracking your progress on the webcast and it was such a low point when I saw you and Karen had both dropped. I'm so glad you're OK.

I really look forward to seeing you guys soon - hope you bounce back in a hurry. You mean a lot to all of us, buddy!

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Still continue to amaze us with your wisdom and grace at twhich you make such difficult decisions. Well done. I am proud of you none the less.
Jenny

Donald said...

I guess the important thing is that you're well and haven't given up the thought of taking this challenge on in the future. I'm totally bummed out for you, though - I thought for sure you'd sail through the day (and night).

Thanks for taking all of along on your journey. As you know, many of us have used your blog as an instruction manual for our own future attempts at 100M. Your end result doesn't diminish anything we've learned from you along the way.

Jon said...

You totally rock dude! You went to one of the greatest races on the planet! Throughout the night, I was on pins and needles watching you, Karen, tc*, Al, Andy, Hal, Lon, Greg, etc...

I'm glad you and Karen are ok. I heard that the medical staff at WS are top notch and I can only assume they gave you the best care possible.

The efforts of you and the rest of the maniacs that had this wonderful opportunity has motivated me to rediscover my passions for the reasons why we do these long distances. Thanks for being a great inspiration!

runliarun said...

I had to look up dry heaves :). I always learn something new. It must be a disappointment, but it's just a race, and I am sure you will enact retribution.

I am curious: looking back at the last months, would you have done anything different?

I am so happy you are well and upbeat. "Drop (metabolic)" sounds so ominous.

wendy said...

Dude, you're still the man. I'm glad to hear you're okay, and I hope you keep up the blogging, because I love hearing about your running. You are such an inspiration, and you know the coolest people ever. =) Yes, Michelle, I mean you too!

scott keeps running said...

what a decision that must have been. sounds like you made the right one, though that doesn't mean it was any easier to make. i second maniac hippo's comments. if it were easy we wouldn't love it so much.

can't wait for your next adventure.

Flo said...

Congratulations on a valiant effort. You never know what's going to happen on race day. Thankfully, you had the courage to pull out. This is nothing to risk your health over. I was following you and wondered what had happened. Just glad to hear your okay.

SherpaHerb said...

Heck of a journey, you are an inspiration to all of us. I had to drop half way through Waldo last year due to breathing/dizziness I hadn't experienced before. It's good not to second guess, but to learn and press on. See you on the trails!

King Arthur said...

Dude, So sorry that it went so badly. Maybe next time!

craig said...

I’ve enjoyed following your journey Eric. You are a class act.

You give me hope that the best years begin after the fifth decade is done.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Darrell said...

I'm definitely glad to hear you are OK. I had no idea what dropping for "metabolic" meant, but I couldn't imagine that it was very good.

I'm also glad to hear that you will tackle this or another 100 miler again someday.

Thanks for allowing us all a peak into this part of your life. Having met you in person made it all the more real and interesting to watch and read.

Take care.

miss petite america said...

a hearty hearty congratulations. you are a winner in my book and again i must say i am in complete awe.

Jack said...

Quitting is always a tough call, but I know you are an experienced runner and made a good call. Rest up for your next challenge, I know you're already making plans :-)

Thomas said...

Sorry to read about the DNF, but I hope you'll keep this blog going. Like Donald said, it really is an instruction manual on how to prepare for an ultra, and I, for one, would love to get some more lessons.

aquaasho said...

Oh Eric my heart goes out to you. You must have been gutted at the time. But the victories would never be as sweet if these disappointments weren't so awful. I imagine you're probably already planning the next one. Well done to you on getting there!

Bruce said...

Sorry the run didn't end up as you would have liked. I'm sure that won't stop you though. There will be plenty more ultras ahead I'm sure.

Daniel said...

This has been an awesome journey to a centum... And the show will go on!!

Thank you for the inspiration and enjoy your vacation.

Wes said...

Live to fight another day! The sign of TRUE warrior. Thanks for carrying us along Eric. You have shared so much with us on this journey. Thank you!!

Robb said...

I've been kicking around the old JFK quote: "Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly".

Excellent job Eric! You inspire me to risk even more...

shawn said...

Eric - you're very brave to have shared the journey with everyone knowing that the outcome was uncertain. There is always another year to take revenge on the course. Now come home to us - you've got a whole summer to kick some butt!

GotLegs! said...

Eric, sorry you weren't able to continue. I hope you have learned something from the experience. I DNFd my frist attempt at CCC and swore off ultras altogether (this was during the 3 hours I was laying on a road waiting for my crew to come find me - it was dark and I had no light).

If can be so bold, don't take your DNF lightly. That is, really look for things that you could have done better or changed. Take some time for introspection and ask yourself, "could I have continued to the next aid station? Was the dizziness something that would have hurt me or was just hanicapping me for the moment?" etc. I'm not saying to beat yourself up, but also don't give yourself a pass either. This will make it hard for you to get through another 100 miler or tough ultra. Pay attention to what Olga said in her comments both here and on Michelle's blog. Listen to those who have run 100 miles and know.

My report coming soon as I can muster the strength for the effort.

BTW: I personally didn't like the aid stations. I felt like a piece of meat rather than a person.

*tc

Joe said...

Eric, I was sure pulling for you and, like others, was so sorry to see the "metabolic drop" on the webcast.

You will learn much from this anyway...reflection will bring learning.

Persevere, my fellow engineer!

MarkS said...

I am so disappointed for you that you could not finish this great challenge, but realize that you ultimately made the best decision. There is always another race to run. We 5 am'ers are so impressed with your ability and focus, and you inspire us to continually challenge ourselves to improve. Have a great week off.

Gretchen said...

Nice job Eric, I know it was a tough call to drop. It has been great to read your thoughts and actions along the way, thanks so much for sharing it for the world to see! The journey will go on, and I will keep reading. Until then, enjoy your rest.

Meghan said...

Oh Eric, I'm just so sad for you!

I'm glad to hear that you're okay, and that you're at peace with your decision.

Indeed, there are other races, other days, other hills, other canyons, other years. This doesn't take away from your loss in this race, on that day, on those hills, in those canyons, this year.

I know you will take your new knowledge and experience from WS on to something else.

Thanks for sharing this journey with all of us. It's been a real pleasure "getting to know you" and your wife in this medium. I hope the journey will continue, and that you'll take us with you!

Recover well,
Meghan
www.running-blogs.com/meghan

Phil said...

Any runner that can run 47 miles through the Sierra Nevada mountains and live to talk about it has my vote. You did great. The decision that eneough is eneough is a tough one. I know you'll recover quickly and be out there tearing up the trails again in no time.

JustRun said...

Though I have not really been a commenter on your blog I have been following along (mostly through Michelle) with this journey. I commented on her site yesterday that I really envy the type of runners you all seem to be- you're there to run and feel good doing it. That is so often missed when we get so "into" whatever distance.
I have no doubt you're already on your way to recovery and that there are many more stories ahead. :)

Anonymous said...

Eric, as many have already said, we are proud of you nonetheless. You made a wise choice to ensure that you can be well enough to try this again someday. Great effort and happy running! --Monica

robtherunner said...

First of all, I was thrilled to be a part of your journey and glad that you invited me along. I had a great time even though the end result was not what we were all hoping for. I am in no way disappointed in you, or think less of you in anyway. We all have our days. You had the courage to sign up, train hard, put yourself out there in front of everyone on this blog and then drop with grace and acceptance of your decision.

I know how I felt after I dropped out of CCC last year and I know that I have learned some valuable lessons. I know that you too will learn from this experience and if you decide to tackle another 100 miler anytime I will be there to support in any way you need me to. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

Ryan said...

So sorry to hear this Eric but after all you've been through you know what your body can handle sounds like a good decision out there.... Still sounds like it was a fun adventure filled weekend, maybe you and Rob can do CCC100 next! Take care and keep moving!

Sarah said...

What a journey! I'm sorry WSER didn't turn out as you (and we all) hoped. But the good news is the journey isn't over! : ) Looking forward to reading all about it.

Mark W said...

Eric,

I am sorry that you did not get to finish. I don't think the finish is guaranteed to anyone, like so many people have said just make sure to take the time to evaluate what you did right and try to figure out what went wrong. I know you can do it.

I really enjoyed meeting you at the training camp and getting to run; oops I mean walk out of Duncan Canyon with you. I will see you on the trails.

Take care!

adam said...

Sorry everything didn't work out for you at WS. I admire the fact that seem to have already moved on. Better to move on to the next goal then to wonder what if. Hope to see you at a local race soon!!

Anonymous said...

~....................................................