Waldo 100K… Where to begin?
I started the trip with a long drive up from San Francisco, a stout 450 miles each way. In many ways, this road trip was an ultra drive for such an old Westy. Brumhilde handled the miles well and as I pulled into the Willamette Pass Ski Resort, I thought that maybe it was an indication of how my race would go.
The race started and I decided to stick to my bud Jessie who was pushing a good pace up the first climb. which comes in the first 100 ft of the race. Compared to the previous year, I could tell a huge difference in my breathing a legs. Both felt great and with a combination of run/hiking we stayed fairly comfortable the entire climb. After the first climb, there is a long downhill section of single track and we cruised comfortably. About 1 mile into the descent I caught myself from rolling an ankle. I was so thankful to have avoided a catastrophic injury. Then Bam, I rolled my ankle badly. At first it hurt quite a bit with every step, but numbed up by the time we get to the first aid station. It would continue to nag me here and there, but was not the demise of my race.
Laney joined up with us as we were rolling into the aid station and Jessie continued to push the pace as we started to climb Mt. Fuji, a fun 2,000ft climb. We hit the aid station about 1.5 miles from the summit and I grabbed some water quickly and took off. Laney caught up to me not too far up and I started pushing the pace much too hard up to the summit. I need to find a way to tame that competitive side of myself since I really should have backed off a bit to conserve energy. We summited (13.5 miles), I got the Where’s Waldo award (first to summit), and then we started flying down. The work I have been doing to improve running technical downhill paid off because I was comfortable, having fun, and moving pretty good on the descent. Laney and I would run together through roughly mile 25.
Around mile 21 I could tell my stomach was turning when I puked, albeit just a little bit. But my stomach issues came on hard just before Twins1 aid station at mile 27 and never stopped. I rolled into Charlton aid station (mile 32) having puked 3 times and in desperate need of nutrition. It was here I also saw my Dad, Denise, and Lincoln which boosted my spirits. I left feeling like I was on the road to recovery and hung on to Jessie as long as possible trying to keep a comfortable pace. Between Charlton and Rd4290 I felt like my stomach was coming back. I left the aid station watching Jessie fade into the distance as he continued to run strong. My goal was to run controlled and make sure my stomach continued to get better. But all of the sudden it turned again and I started puking. I puked two more times in this section, making it impossible to keep water, let along calories in. My energy was sapped at this point not having gotten many calories in the last 3 hours and I began a long slog up the Twins getting passed by Dan, then Gerard, and so on. I was so out of it I couldn’t even manage a jog downhill to the Twins2 aid station, where I sat down and started contemplating options.
I was determined not to drop. At Lake Sonoma I dropped at mile 35, 15 miles from the finish, after a similar stomach issue. I knew I couldn’t keep going if I could not keep liquid and food down, so I sat and slowly drink fluids and ate sugary foods testing to see if they would stay down. After 25 minutes there trying to recover, it was time to either keep going or call it a day. Thanks to the support from the Twins aid station, I was able to continue forward. The Twins aid station and their volunteers are the reason I finished.
The rest of the race was a tough battle just trying to get to the finish. And the climb up Maiden Peak… the last mile of that climb… that’s some serious shit under normal circumstances. I was so happy to get to the top, sit down, and shoot the shit with Scott for several minutes.
“You are looking kinda pale.”
Scott gave me some sound advice and was a huge help mentally even though he told me I looked like crap. And besides that, the views from Maiden were just outright awesome. I continued forward, awkwardly went down Leap Of Faith, picked up a young ultra runner (TJ Hooks) who wanted to pace someone from Maiden Lk to the finish, and with his awesome support finished. We’ll see how his GoPro images of me awkwardly running come out, but was fun chatting about his run at Speed Goat and other random things here and there. Unfortunately he missed filming me taking a dive into some soft dirt.
Waldo is a special race to me and I’ll be back. The course is by far the most beautiful course I have raced on, not to mention one of the toughest, but what makes Waldo 100K so spectacular are the people. And with Craig handing the race off to Meghan next year, I know it will be in great hands.
What I Believe Went Wrong: A Combination of Over eating and Pace
- Pace. I went out much harder than I needed to. My pace went from comfortably aggressive to outright too aggressive from Fuji up through Twins 1.
- Over Eating. I went back through my calorie consumption and straight up over ate.
- GU BREW Roctane. I don’t know how much this plays into it, but I learned the GU BREW on course was Roctane. I made a point this race to try to drink more electrolyte drink, but didn’t realize I was also hammering down some serious caffeine. Overdoing this may have been part of my issues.