Monday, October 26, 2009
7 hours, 22 minutes. Going into the 2009 Bimbler's Bluff, I was worried about my left hamstring. It still was sore when I ran on Thursday and I was worried that it would flair up during the race. Turns out that except for two times, once when I first started and once later in the day when I semi-turned my left ankle, it did not bother me. Unfortunately, I had stomach issues. I have not ever had stomach issues during an ultra. But this time it was a problem from the start. When the race started the weather was great. Temperature was somewhere around fifty degrees with a breeze under clear skies. I ran with my North Face pack on with the bladder full of water and a hand-held bottle with Gatorade. At the start my stomach was feeling bloated and queesy. I thought that it was just pre-race jitters although I felt calm enough. Around the back of the school yard and across the street to head into the woods. The golf course crew was out blowing the leaves off of the greens, sending the vibrant oranges, yellows and reds swishing through the air as we ran by in the woods. With the worry of my hamstring, I started out near the back and took it easy heading down the hill. With the rain on Saturday, the trail was wet. Certain areas had large puddles, mud was evident everywhere and the rocks were slippery. The rocks, by the way, were plentiful, sharp and of various sizes. The bottoms of my feet protested vigorously. It become very painful to run on the rocky sections of the trail. But the biggest problem was my stomach. Everytime I drank or ate anything, I felt bloated and nauceous. I kept hoping that it would pass, but it never did. Knowing that I had to eat and drink to make it through the race was disheartening based on how I felt each time that I did. I spent some time walking to get past the queasiness a few times. Later in the race, I discovered that if I passed gas, it seemed to get better and I was able to run pretty well. Of course, I could not pass gas each time that it occured. I left the fourth aid station and was told by another runner that the last aid station was five miles away and then three miles to the finish. That was wrong. I figured I could do five miles in just over an hour so when it became one and a half hours and still going I knew that I had been misled. It was actually eight miles to the aid station. It just took a bit longer. I passed a gentleman on a horse while on the trail. He stopped the horse in the middle of a big puddle to allow me to pass. Me being me, I was plowing through the puddles, enjoying the feeling of splashing water on my legs. The gentleman commented that I must be cooling off my feet. I replied that I did it any chance I could. The cold water felt great on my battered feet. When I had started the race, I thought that eight hours would be pretty good for me. Seven hours and 22 minutes was better that I expected considering my state of fitness. Mr. Bimbler put on a fantastic race with some great volunteers out on the course. I look forward to improving my time next year (or some time after that).