Urbandictionary.com defines rebound as:
- The kind of relationship that’s simply happening in order to get over one that recentlyended.
- A rebound is someone who you date/go out with to keep yourself busy and you use him/her to keep your mind off your ex who you still have feelings for.
Substitute Grindstone cancellation above. I was going into my 3rd year of being totally infatuated and in love with Grindstone- the course, the people, and the challenge. However, within an hour of Grindstone being cancelled, I half-hazardly and spontaneously registered for Tesla. Only really knowing that it was loops, we could drive to it, it wouldn’t cost too much more money out of pocket.
The drive: Google maps said it would take 5 hours and 15 minutes… It took close to 8 stressful hours. And tolls alone were over $100 and that was with an EZPASS. Get one… it will save time and money. Who ever designed the New York City tunnel system was an absolute idiot- having 6 lanes go down to 2 within .10 of a mile. WTH. I got cut off once, and then as Max said it, “ I went all New York on their ass” and did not let another car in front of me the entire trip (I attribute that to driving into DC summer of 2009 for an internship). We stayed at the America’s Best Value Inn. 1. Because it was cheap ($89), 2. Because it was only 12 minutes away from the start line. 3. Camping wasn’t a viable option due to the rain through out the day Thursday and Friday.
The Course: The course is a 10.4-mile loop that you will do 10 times for a total of 104 miles. The course was VERY well marked and is extremely runnable… perhaps too runnable with only a hill or two in the beginning and one at 8 miles in. I ran it with a water bottle- the aid stations are so close that you really don’t need a pack unless your running clothes don’t have pockets to carry fuel. Rain really couldn’t affect this course as it is layered with pine, which makes for soft running. However, everything looks the same. So here’s my description from what I remember – You start on flat pavement that turns into flat single track trail and there is a 2 mini hills. You run through a series of switchbacks and across RTV trails and some rolling hills. All of the stumps were painted to lessen this clumsy girls chance of tripping and falling. About 2.5 miles you will hit a road crossing. Stop- because they zoom by. Continue to run and you will see cement cylinders on your right (about .6 miles from the turn to the aid station), run some more, turn right to go to the aid station (.4 miles). Going up to the aid station there is a sand hill that was not my favorite. Once you hit the aid station (5.14)- go back down from where you came from and go straight. Mile 5-8 there were a lot of straight a ways and wider trails. Mile 8 there is a GLORIOUS short hill. Turn left, go back down and turn left again… DO NOT go up the second hill (like a big group of us did). Around mile 9.3 there is another road crossing. Its mostly down hill for the last mile- except for one short up- when you are here its .4 from the aid station.
The swag: Well stocked aid stations, and the ability to ask them for something and they would magically have it for you at the next lap (I asked for Tums and ice). For coming they give you a nice long sleeve tech shirt. For finishing- it is my understanding that you would receive a really pretty wooden medal and a ceramic belt buckle (It looked breakable- so it would be a show piece, not something you could wear).
The race directors: Both of them are experienced ultra runners and have run 100-mile races. They KNOW what is needed to put on these races. It just so happens that they also cater to vegetarians providing vegetarian broth and miso soup for those who wont touch chicken broth. They welcomed the displaced grindstoner’s with open arms, and I feel like both of them were encouraging and truly cared for all of the runners that were out there.
So here’s my race:
I woke up at 4:00am, got coffee at 4:15. This was the first cup of coffee I had had in 2 months, and it tasted like cheap hotel coffee- AWEFUL. Anyways, we get dressed and head over to the race start at 5:00. But something was off… I hadn’t pooped yet. I ALWAYS DO! Be it from my IBS, coffee, or the nervous energy I feel just before I race. This was the first red flag. It took two trips to carry in all of our gear. We set up a tent and chairs for my sister and then set out all of our race gear that we needed.
Lap 1: Race started at 6:00 in absolutely beautiful conditions. You do need a head light because sun up wasn’t until 6:45. The group I was in was running smart 9:00-9:30 min/ miles. There was 6 of us in this lead group enjoying each others company we came up on 2 hunters that probably were cursing our existence, because with us running meant less chance of a successful day for them. I ran most of this lap just getting a feel of the course. ~1:37~
Lap 2: Let everyone go and walked all hills on this loop. Now I always feel low energy and crappy from mile 17- 24 in ultras, it’s a repeated fact of life. So when I felt this at mile 17, I slowed down, walked, and focused on getting to mile 25 where I start to shine. That never happened. Mile 18- que upset stomach and throwing up. I thought it was a 1 and done kind of thing… Boy was I wrong. ~1:45~
Lap 3: Decided that I should just try to do gels and liquids this lap to get my body back to running. Grabbed perpetuem- bad idea-. ~2:06~
Lap 4- Took 4 tums and decided to try only solid foods and ginger ale while walk /running of this lap. Took 4 more tums at the aid station. Felt a teensy bit better but still nauseous. Still no luck. It was 65 degrees and I was burning up even with ice in my water and down my shirt- 2nd red flag. ~2:03~
Lap 6- took my music and knew I was in bad shape and running on empty. If you know my style- and me- I don’t sit down… ever. I sat down 4 times this loop, on the trail, because I was lightheaded. I got to the aid station and some one was crewing for a doctor and gave me 2 prescription strength nausea and heartburn pills. And I sat and ate pretzels for 15 minutes. These I will say worked for about an hour. ~3: 15~
Coming in I knew I was done. Throwing up from mile 18-63 was not conducive to a 100-mile race. I balled my eyes out. My legs felt AWESOME! And no signs of chaffing! My stomach failed me. I still tried to eat something, sit, and then lie down to see if that helped. Within 20 minutes I was lost my stomach again. At this point, I’m seriously considering food poisoning because I was running a fever and it was impossible keeping anything in until Monday. My brain was screaming at me not to settle for this weakness and to keep plodding along. I mean, I had 17 hours to walk 40 miles… but even the thought of that was too overwhelming on no nutrition. I felt like a failure and was ashamed that I had to quit and disappointed in my subpar performance.
Deep Down in my heart, I know I made the right decision to stop. As Snipes put it- I Did Nothing Fatal. It just wasn’t my day. My rebound race was not meant to be.
Reflections on a DNF – I’ve cried, it stings, its like an instant replay questioning what I could have done differently. It made me wonder if I should find a new hobby, I questioned my training, my motives, my ability, and shook the small amount of confidence that had taken so long to build.
Time will heal. I hope I never DNF again, but with these races, it can be inevitable. It’s the ability to bounce back and fall back in love with trail running that matter. Which I successfully did this weekend.
Jenny’s pearls of wisdom have helped in my acceptance of this situation. She said, “I love, Love, love 100s and Ultrarunning but no Belt buckle and glory of winning or placing is worth a trip to the ER. Gotta Love yourself enough to know the difference when you are being stoic and brave and when you are being stupid and staying out on the course for the wrong reasons.”
It would have been vain to try and stay out on the course. I am truly happy for the only woman who finished this race AND it was her first 100! I am amazed at what my body can do and how strong physically and mentally ultra running has made me. Loving myself is the key to being happy and successful. I will be back to race here again. I have a bone to pick with this course.