Wednesday, 15 June 2011

San Diego 100- Bigger Than Just a Race

San Diego 100- Bigger Than Just a Race

It's been about three full days since I finished The San Diego 100-mile Endurance run. The race was epic indeed--a long day in the sun navigating rugged trails overlooking beautiful vistas in a part of the world I've never visited.  However, the way in all unfolded was definitely not the way I expected. I will have more of a detailed report soon but as I am here on the east coast on vacation with my family I will leave you with a quick summary and some powerful glimpses into this wild and crazy sport of ultrarunning.

*I led the race for 61 off course for about 7-10 minutes and blew the lead to Bowman....Deflated
*I kept motoring on knowing that there was still a lot of race left....finally the sun went down giving us cooler temps.
*Mile 85-ish....Rod Bien passes me w/ his pacer David.  It blew me away as I thought he was not a contender (I got updates that he was puking all day)
* Aid station 87.5 I came in about 20 seconds behind Rod to find him standing there waiting for me. He asked if I wanted to finish this thing up together.  I was surprised but didn't hesitate to say, "Let's do this!"
*Finished much faster than I would have alone in a time of 18:12 and made a strong connection along the way. I learned a lot last weekend...and I still got a PR in the 100-mile distance.

In a response to why or how we finished together here is what Rod wrote...:

I'll try and answer as honestly as I can from my perspective.  I had a tough day.  Nothing was coming easy to me on Saturday.  Not sure why but it felt like a lot of work.  The course was tougher than I thought.  It is a harder course than WS.... or slower anyway but not as tough as AC.  It was just quite technical and that caught me off guard.  My first 50 miles just sucked.  However, when I came into mile 58, I heard Yassine had gotten off track and had lost the lead after getting lost for about 10 minutes.  I felt bad for him as he had been in the lead all day.  At that point, for whatever reason, my stomach turned and I was able to run hard.  At that point I was 45 minutes behind Yassine.  However, I was pretty sure during the next section, I was putting time on him.  I was just running well and would have been surprised if he was running as fast as I was, without a pacer, and considering he had lost the lead.   When I got to mile 63, they said I was 25 minutes behind and that definitely got me fired up.  I ran the next section as well as I have ever run in the second half of a 100.  When I got to 71, they said Yassine was about 10 minutes up on me.  At this point, I knew I'd catch him as it is much easier to be "the hunter".  I was surprised that I didn't get catch him on the climb at mile 75 or so as I ran every step.  When I got to mile 80 (?), they said I was 3 minutes back.  Anyway, at this point headlamps were on and we were running on a cold and very windy ridge (PCT) and I could see him looking back at me (and my pacer).  I assumed (correctly) that he thought I was part of a relay team (there was just one out there... long story), and would have no idea it was me.  I finally caught up to Yassine at about mile 87.  I think it definitely surprised Yassine as I was pretty destroyed earlier in the day.  I quickly passed him and headed towards the aid station.  On my way there, I realized that it had been awesome having him as a "goal" but I really had no real interest in beating him.  I know.  I should be more competitive and a lot of times I wish I was more like Browning or something.  But, in the end, I just thought it would be cooler to finish with Yassine.  Its actually kinda weird that we had never met before this race.  And, given the choice, I'd rather become a closer friend with him because of this position than to work my ass off to try (and maybe he would have beaten me) and put a couple minutes on him and secure second place on my own.  He was just behind me when I got to the aid station so I asked him if he would just like to hop on the train with us and finish together?  He said it would be great to have the company as he had been alone all day.  It was cool to run the last 12 miles in together.  Its a cool bond that we will always have.  There is no prize money and no one is ever going to remember any of this shit, so why not create something a little bit bigger.  Maybe it is just a cop out that I'm not competitive enough or maybe I was scared he would come back and beat me.  But, really and truly, it just sounded cooler to finish together.  I'm glad I did it and I hope he is glad that he agreed.  100 milers are powerful stuff.  That's why we do it, right?   It was a great race and we both had to overcome a lot of shit and setbacks.  It seemed fitting to finish together.Sorry, LB, we didn't hold hands though.  Thanks again, Yassine.  That was a cool run.
I should also mention that I believe that if Yassine had not gotten lost, he probably would have won.  I think we all know how tough it is to get lost while in the lead and to get back on course, especially if you don't have a pacer.  Those last 20 miles are tough in a situation like that.


Wow, I'm still humbled and blown away by all of this. It definitely made for a weekend that I will never forget.  Thank YOU Rod and David, and to everyone else at San Diego 100 this past weekend.

For more insights and perspectives read Rod's race report HERE
and his pacer (and a stand-up guy) David Easa's post on Sportsmanship HERE

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