2 weeks ago, Sean & I went to Phoenix to run at Coldwater Rumble. I was going to run the 52k and Sean the 100 mile.
Sean totally killed it in the 100 mile with a 23:32:40 finish! His third sub 24 hour 100 mile race.
I, on the other hand, didn’t quite kill it in my race – but it helped me to realize a few things so I can work towards fixing the issues to be a stronger runner. I talked about these issues the other day.
We drove out to on Friday – It’s about a 6 hour drive to Phoenix depending on where you are going. We wanted to get there in time to get a good nights sleep because the 100 mile race started at 6:00am.
We hit up my favorite place in the valley for lunch, Flower Child and had some yummy clean eats. Side note: I’m soooo excited they are opening a location in Del Mar in the fall.
Packet pick-up was available either on Thursday, at an awesome local running store, I-Run or Friday from 4 – 6pm at the race start Estrella Regional Park or the day of. We opted to pick up our packets Friday evening for a few reasons. #1 to see where the race start was so we could scope out a good spot to park for race morning. #2 Sean needed to do his streak run so we figured we could do it on the trail. #3 the shirt size Sean wears tends to run out quickly so we like to get there early if possible.
Packet pick-up was super quick and easy. We got our bibs, I got a shirt and since I picked a women’s medium – which was just a little too big – I would go with a small next time, I was able to pick from either the 2016 green color or the 2015 navy blue. Neither said the date so it was just for a color preference.
Sean got a green shirt, a super nice logo gym bag and a logo beanie.
After picking up our stuff, we headed out to the trails for a quick 2 miles. Funny enough we ran into the lovely Jen from Dirtbagrunners while we were out there. We got a quick photo and then headed back so we could get some dinner.
We got our gear together, we were going to have to check out of our hotel before the race so we needed to make sure we were able to pack up quickly.
Fortunately we were really close to the start – less than 10 minutes away so the alarm wasn’t too early. I think I set mine for 4:15am. We got up, got dressed, did a quick and simple strength training routine and then got ready to head out.
We decided to bring a cooler with us since we drove because even though they had a great aid station at the start/finish area, we wanted to have our favorite things in the cooler.
We got there early and got a good spot near the start/finish. Dropped off Sean’s drop bags the far aid station and then waited until we were close to the start time. A few of our instafriends were there, dasilentassassin, runemz, and Shannon who would totally kick butt in the 52 miler.
It was time for the start, it’s a relatively small race and it seemed like no one wanted to go first so I saw Sean leading the way for about 2 steps before someone else took off. Later he said that no one wanted to go so he figured he’d lead the way 🙂
My race was going to start at 7am so I had an hour to kill. I watched the sunrise, which was gorgeous and chatted with Emily & Shannon for a bit, watched Shannon start her race and then got ready for my own.
I was feeling surprisingly good that morning. It was a little chilly but not too bad so I felt like I would be fine running in shorts and a tank top. When it was time to go, I started towards the middle/back of the pack but I was feeling good and surprised when everyone started walking up the hill at the beginning. Since we had run this part the night before I was feeling confident, but I held back a bit & followed the pack.
Once we got up and over the first big hill, I just focused on taking it step by step thinking about getting to each aid station. The first one was at 3.7 miles – this was a big station because we would pass it twice. I got a few orange slices and a cup of water. I didn’t fill my bottle because I didn’t drink much of my bottle at all. I’d say probably less than 1/4 of the 20 oz bottle.
After munching on a few orange slices I thanked the volunteers and headed off to the next aid station. One think I’ve learned from Sean and I think I did a really good job of here was just thinking in terms of one aid station at a time. This next station was 8 miles out and one of our friends told us that like 6 miles of it was going to be sand so I occupied myself listening to music and biding my time until we got to the sand.
The desert is so beautiful and this course didn’t disappoint. I miss running the Arizona trails on occasion and it was a perfect day for running. There were a bunch of little ups and downs and I kept seeing quartz out on the trail. At one point there was a giant boulder of quartz that was so beautiful. I took a picture of it and some of the course, but alas, I destroyed my phone later in the day and lost all those pics.
During this section I was still feeling pretty good and just taking everything in stride. I was drinking occasionally and I think I ate one jolly rancher. Around 6 miles into this section we hit the sand. It was rough, but I just kept moving one foot in front of another and I knew that we were coming up towards the aid station soon.
And then I could see it! It was like an oasis in the desert (lol, it was a desert oasis!) I got to the aid station, had my bottle filled with water, ate a bunch of orange slices and headed out for the next station which was about 4 miles away. At this point, I was feeling ok. I had about 3/4 of my bottle in the 8 mile section.
So off I went, at this point I had been getting passed by marathoners for a while, and during this section quite a few of them were passing me. I was ok for the first mile or so, most of which was in the sand again – ugh – but then it started. By the time I saw Sean a few miles into his second loop – near the aid station – I was struggling. I hugged him and cheered him on, he was feeling really tight but good, and then headed to the aid station.
At this aid station, I got my bottle filled again, had more orange slices and a cup of ginger ale because I had a weird feeling in my throat. I started running this section, which really was challenging, it was a very rocky and slightly hilly section. I think I ran about a mile before I started feeling sick. I had a few ProBar bolt chews, drank more water, had some PowerAid from my second bottle and nothing was helping. With every sip I just felt more sick.
It got to the point where I was pretty much just walking with some small sections of running. As I mentioned in my last post, I hate being sick so I was trying to avoid that if at all possible, which meant more walking.
I finally got to the road and ran the rest of the way in. I got to the finish line area and they asked me if I was finished. I could have said yes and got my cup and been done, but I wasn’t positive I wanted to do that yet.
I went to the aid station, asked for some more ginger ale, which the very nice volunteer offered to flatten it for me. As I was drinking it, I started getting really cold, I had been feeling fine out on the trail and she recommended I go talk to the med tent people.
I ended up over there under a blanket and a sleeping bag having my blood pressure taken, it was surprisingly good, but my pulse was somewhat weak. We discussed that I was dehydrated, uh yeah – so true – TMI but when I finally went to the bathroom many hours later it definitely wasn’t a color I’ve seen in a very long time. Basically the fact that I had been sick, taking Mucinex and more importantly not drinking much at all during the race, especially for the desert climate was all working against me.
So needless to say, I ended my journey that day at 20 miles. I have no regrets and I actually feel good that this happened. Surprising I know, but it’s pushed me to really focus on my run nutrition and making some changes. I’ve got a bunch of nutrition coming in the next few weeks and I’m excited to start experimenting and running to my potential.
If I had been hydrating & fueling properly, I think I could have had a decent race. My legs and lungs actually felt great. I finished the first 20 miles, even with the last 4 miles taking quite a long time, in 4:24 which I was happy with, but I know I can do better and will do better at a future race.
After I warmed up, I got changed and spent the rest of the day crewing Sean. My family came by to hang out and ended up taking me to closest Apple store, about 45 mins away, so I could get a new phone after I smashed my in my trunk. I have no idea what I was doing but thank goodness I was able to get a new one and get back before Sean finished his 3rd loop.
I would just hang out in the parking lot mostly in the car, sleeping (since I was going to be driving home the next day) and waiting for Sean to finish loop 4 & 5. When we saw him after loop 3, it was around 7:30p and he was gunning to finish loop 4 by midnight.
He was just barely over this at about 12:30am. Got some fuel and I sent him off hoping of a sub 24 hour finish. He got to the last aid station with about 90 minutes left and then his Garmin died so he booked it in. I was watching around this time and saw 2 lights coming down the mountain and then one single light. The single light was gaining on the other 2 and then they were all coming in on the road to the finish and I saw that the 3rd light was Sean!!! He was going to crush the sub 24. He ended up finishing 8 seconds behind another runner. Incidentally the runner he came in right behind is someone I’ve been following on Instagram for a while, Jason of CookTrainEatRace, who also had an amazing race!
I’m so proud of Sean for working so hard and having a great race.
Now for the specifics on this race. Aravaipa Running has been doing this for a while and they have it together.
Swag: Shirts are have the logo on them, they are comfortable and a nice material
Photos: Though Sweet M Photography and were up about a week from the race. They did put up a few free teasers which Sean was one of. But the others were available for sale. I paid $5.95 ea for 2 photos.
Live Results: Streaming throughout the race, I kept checking them throughout the night so I could see where the leaders were so I had a better idea of when I needed to be up to see Sean
Finisher Awards: If I had finished, I would have received a logo’d tumbler and two coasters – there were no medals for any race but the 100. 100 mile finishers received a buckle, in Sean’s case he received a silver one that said 24 hours, or if you finished over 24 hours it was more of a gold color and a bit smaller than the one he received. He also got the tumbler and coasters.
Parking: There is a $6 fee to get into the park, it was a daily fee so I was good overnight but we did have to pay to get in to pick up our packet too
Camping: There was the availability to camp, I believe it was a $20 fee but then you could set up your own tent. Aravaipa had tents & sleeping bags that you could rent as well. We thought about it but I figured I’d be warmer in my car so we just brought a sleeping bag and I slept in the car.
Course: Well marked. It was a washing machine race so you would alternate directions on your loops. It is an deceivingly difficult course with rocky technical areas and sand.
All in all, I think it was a well run and well organized race. I would definitely go back and run there again. I’d like the opportunity to see what I could do on this course with proper fueling.