Sunday, April 12, 2015

Oriflamme 50km: Bloody Knees, Puking, Cramps and More! A Couple's Report.

First thoughts pre-race:
Jade: This is awful! I dont want to start the race stressed about getting there on time! Why didnt we look up the starting directions last night? Im cold. Its cold. It better warm up in the desert. Im excited!
Nick: Damn, this is a way longer drive than I thought. Shit, were going to be late to the start. Ive got no time to stretch. Oh no, my GPS battery is deadguess I wont be wearing a watch at all, so much for race strategy. 

First spoken words:
J: Upon hearing a runner behind me ask if he can pass me on the single track with cliff to right: "No problem. Thank you! Have a good one!" *Cue polite Canadian*
N: Jon! Long time no see, hows this and that. I annoyingly rambled on behind him as he took the lead, the idea was to sound as relaxed and chill as possible despite the fact we blasted out at 6:30s. 

First thoughts: 
J: Effort with no effort, I have to remember what Nick said. I feel great, actually.
N: Damn, this first 5.4 miles is a hell of a lot more undulating than I thought it would be; this will be fun going back on later today....

First mile time: 
J: 9:00. Stupid singletrack!
N: 6:27:00 

First thing ingested: 
J: Carbo Pro with watermelon Hydra C5. What a delicious breakfastFoaming, too!
N: Carbo Pro Hydra C5 from 2011...SPOILER ALERT (this came into play later in the race)

Worst thoughts during the race: 
J: Why did I sign up for this? Nick will totally be disappointed if I get passed in the last few miles. Worse, Ill be disappointed. Why am I already thinking about the end of the race!? Why should it matter?
N: Staring down at my large pile of orange slugs that slimed out of my mouth as I knelt over in the trail vomiting for five minutes straight: My race is over, its done, Im done, where can I quit?” 

Best thoughts during the race:
J: I am so lucky to have a body capable of running this far. These cactus blooms are gorgeous! And look, a moth pollinating the cactus flower!
N: Striding effortlessly down Oriflamme Canyon with a seven minute lead, I said to myself, Effort with no effort, effort with no effort over and over again, breathed and took in the beauty of the descent onto the desert floor. 

Favorite thing I saw during the race: 
J: Supportive people, seeing Nick near the turn around, neon green and fuchsia and sunflower yellow cactus flowers, the Sphinx moth, the finish
N: A Canyon Wren whistling on top of an Ocotillo as I ran towards Highway S-22. I whistled back but my bird calls are mediocre at best. 
swweee sweee sweee wooo wooo or something like that...

Least favorite thing I saw: 
J: My watch telling me I still had eight miles, then seven, then sixmiles left of the race. Also, puke on the ground that I somehow knew was Nicks. 
N: Anytime I looked up heading back up Oriflamme Canyon. The Jeep road seemed to extend endlessly around each bend and seemed only to get steeper with each corner I conquered. 
And the road goes on and on my friends...

Where I felt the best:
J: The first half of the race. Surprisingly, the descent into Oriflamme Canyon felt effortless and fun, traipsing over the technical rock. Downhills are usually tougher for me.
N: Predictably, the first half of the race and all the way until around mile 20 when the expired Hydra C5 started causing some bad stomach issues for me. The descent and running through the desert flat section dodging cholla was probably where I felt the flowiest” 

Where I felt the worst: 
J: The last five miles of the race. There was nothing left in me; dehydrated and nauseous from the climb and the foaming CarboPro, I was hoping that the 50K course was a few miles too shortwishful thinking! I swore that everyone was catching me and the second female was on my heels. The last thing I wanted was a fight-to-the-finish in the final mile of the race. I wasnt sure that I had any fight left in me. Also, falling on the easiest, cleanest part of the race, one mile from the finish line in front of several PCT hikers and the runner I had just passed three feet behind me. 
N: Around mile 21 of the race, in the steepest part of the Oriflamme Canyon climb. I broke into a walk and instantly knew James Walshs record was out of the question and if I didn't get moving again  1st place was going to be in jeopardy as well. Long story short, the expired Carbo Pro caught up in my system. I heaved and tried puking, but to no avail. Id been counting on the electrolytes in the solution and for that reason hadnt taken a single salt tab throughout the race and you know what that means! Say it for us Mr. T! I pity the fool who cramps! Yeah. That. A mile later, the stomach issues spiked, my left quad seized, I knelt over in the middle of the trail and the only thing Id managed to actually eat during the race (about 7 orange slices) slimed out of my mouth like slugs with a mess of expired carbo pro and water Nooo I need those nutrtients! Was my first thoughtThat quickly degenerated into wanting to just keel over and dieWhich upgraded to my race is over which upgraded to well I cant drop out, thats just dumb, lets just finish this with what little pride I have left I limped forward both quadriceps now fully seizing from the lack of salt, and waved as Ricky and eventually Jon passed by me, both taking full advantage to strike me while I was down. 
Don't puke now there's climbing to do!

What was your best growth experience: 
J: The seven mile descent! Big confidence booster. Also, dealing with the mental anxiety and pressure of leading the womens race throughout.
N: Puking, cramping and pushing through it. Its unfortunately so, but very true that you learn much more from your mistakes than you do from a flawless race. 

Most competitive part of the race:
 J: From my perspective, the end. I was fearful that I would be passed. Turns out, I actually moved up roughly seven places in the last few miles of the race. 
N: The brief moment where I tried to stick right behind Ricky and fight off Jon despite the fact that both of my quads were seizing. 

Most relaxing part of the race: 
J: Again, the descent (miles 5.4-13, or so). The field had spread out enough that I couldnt see anyone in front or behind me, and I enjoyed just letting myself fall down. The mantra effort with no effort really helped to enforce this concept into my mind, and, therefore, my body.
N:  The first half of the race, it was serene, I was in control, my nutritional mistake hadnt hit me yet, I was in the zone and clicking by sub-7s effortlessly. 

Most frustrating part of the race: 
J: The first three miles. I didnt realize the race was starting so suddenly, nor that the course would follow single track immediately. I wanted to be going faster than what I could go with others in front of me, and I was fearful that I was already losing ground. In hindsight, I think this relaxing start was actually a good thing.
N: Aside from the puking and cramping, the sand. The soft sand from the last aid station to the turnaround and back was rough and certainly put the brakes on any speed Id expected to keep through that portion of the race. 

Most anticipated: 
J: The finish. 
N: Powering through the last 5.4 miles of the race in complete control of my pace and body, didnt happen, but hey you can have hopes right? 

Most feared: 
J: The last few miles. Again, people passing me at the end. 
N:  Jon and others pushing me too fast in the first half and letting my ego get in the way of my own race. 

First thought after finishing: 
J: And just like that the pressure is gone! Thank goodness! Wheres Nick? How did he do? 
N:4hrs 31mins. Shoot, I hope Jades not upset that she wont get the female CR” 

Feelings after finishing:
J: Im proud of myself. Take that, high school P.E. class! Im not as non-athletic as we both assumed!
N: Glad I stuck with it, ugh Im hungryOw my legs. 

Finish time and place:
J: 5:05, 1st female, 5th overall.
N: 4:31:20, 3rd overall. 

First thing you did after finishing: 
J: Hugged Nick, congratulated Jon, tended to my knee wound.
N: Thanked John Martinez for putting on such a great race, slugged down three full bottles of Sports Drink and sat in a chair next to Jon Clark. 

First thing you drank:
J: Water!
N: 3 full bottles of Sports Drink. 

First thing you ate: 
J: Blue corn tortilla chips, my vice
N: 1 cup of soup, 3 slices of pepperoni pizza and a few blue corn chips. 

Recovery that night: 
J: Icing my swollen foot, a hot Epsom salt bath, reading Travis Macys new book, dinner with Nick, cuddling with Cashew and sleeping in (until all of 6:30). 
N: Elevated feet on couch, ice bath, Epsom salt bath and a good dinner at Barrio Star in Hillcrest, drank one Negro Modelo. 

What I wished I could have done different: 
J: Pushed myself on the front half of the race a little more and added ice to the warm, foamy CarboPro.
N: Prepared my race with fresh Carbo Pro, Im sponsored by the company, so I really have no excuse for this mistake. 

Describe this race in one word: 
J: Surprising. 
N: Deceptive.

 Thank you to John Martinez and the amazingly supportive network of volunteers and San Diego runners that help put on this amazing event! Also a big thanks to my sponsors Injinji, Carbo Pro, Inov-8, Grivel and Ink n' Burn that make these races possible for me. 

The two of us spent New Year's in Oriflamme Canyon this year and we're blessed with a rare snow-storm! Certainly looked nothing like this on race day.