Saturday, October 29, 2016

40 Years Ago Today - October 29, 1976

By my four week check up on October 29th, I was diagnosed with Eczema and given a prescription for daily use.

Friday, October 14, 2016

40 Years Ago Today - October 14, 1976

It would not take long for me to return to the hospital. I would have visits with various doctors for various reasons beginning October 14, 1976 for a newborn care checkup with Dr. Cho. He said everything was fine and to use “Similac + Tri-Vi-Sol vitamins.”

Sunday, October 09, 2016

2016 Oil Creek 50k Race Report

Once again, Tom Jennings puts on one of the best races I've ever been to. Like I told him last night when I finished, if the race wasn't that good, I wouldn't want to come back so much. Oil Creek is becoming a little home away from home. I'm still horrible at names but I'm starting to recognize some of the volunteers and racers that come to the race.

This year's race was a little different for a few reasons. First, my wife was traveling which meant I was in charge of the kids. Which meant they came with me. My mom was thrilled to hear they were coming so I knew I'd have childcare during the race. This year was also different because I was "taking it easy" and "only" doing the 50k. And I have to say, after three 100k starts and two finishes, this is the first year I fully enjoyed the first loop. Knowing I wouldn't need to go back out there, tripping over the same rocks and roots, seriously helped me enjoy the race.

I was also completely planning on being the last person in the race and planning to just sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery. So that's what I did. I was the last one off the Start line and I just poked along taking my time. The sun wasn't quite bright enough but gave enough light to not need a headlamp. As I walked down the paved path to the trail head, I met up with Beth who won last year's Wildcatter Award (the last place finisher). Once on the trail, we ran into Darlene who had never done a 50k and never been on the trail. So the three of us cruised along for a few miles keeping a decent pace when we caught up to Piper. She had a broken toe but was still moving as a solid clip. Soon Piper and I moved ahead of the others and she even pushed past me to Aid Station 1.

At Aid Station 1, the theme was Birthdays. So it was weird, but cool, when they greeted you with a "Happy Birthday!" They spelled my name wrong on the sign but I didn't care. I was too focused on getting in and getting out of there. So I hustled out of there and ended up catching up to Gale and Cheryl. Gale was sticking with her as it was her first 50k (but not her first time on trails). They were both moving along quite well and I was surprised I was catching up to them. So I figured my pace was too fast and I dialed things back and hung with them for a bit. We rolled along up a few hills and down a few and carried on. At some point I got in front of them and ended up putting some distance on them. I hadn't planned on it but it happened.

I rolled into Aid Station 2 feeling pretty good. A little tired but good. The new playground looked like a lot of fun. One fisherman asked me if this was a 5k run or walk. I'm guessing it was a dig at all the people walking. I politely said no, it was a 50k. "15k?" he asked. Nope, 50k. "50k?" he asked. Yep. 31 miles. And there's 62 miles and 100 miles too. That seemed to impress him enough to go back to getting his fishing gear ready. I wasn't upset at all. I'm sure he's a far better fisherman than I ever will be. I don't even like touching worms.

Somewhere after the halfway point, I caught up to Jerry and his partner. Both gentlemen were moving a little too slow for me but I made sure they were okay before moving on. Somewhere around the halfway point of Section 3, I caught up to a group of four people. As we reached the water table before the Boy Scouts, I passed them and hustled on my way. I rolled through the Scout section and started slowing down a little.

Coming into Aid Station 3, I was feeling good. I had caught up to the last 100k runner (I think she was the last one) but continually reminded myself I wasn't racing. After the first 5 miles or so I realized I would NOT be winning the Wildcatter Award. I never thought that the competition for the last place finisher would be so stiff. Those ladies were amazing back there at the end of the pack and I applaud their effort.

As I was at Aid Station 3, I had a grilled cheese in one hand and chips in the other when somebody hollered that the train was coming. Some runners took off to get on the other side so they could get back to the trail wile I shoved my food in my mouth so I could grab my camera. I'm sure I was quite the sight to see for those train riders with food stuffed in my mouth, holding a camera to video them, waving, and drool coming out of my mouth. But I think I got the whole thing on video so that will be awesome.

Coming out of Aid Station 3, I trooped up Cemetery Hill and tried to keep moving up that long, long hill. Once I came out on top, I continued on. I caught up to Patti and her pacer (I can't remember her name right now). Patti was moving slowly but her pacer was moving along like the previous 20-some miles were nothing. Both of them pushed a solid pace and I was able to keep up with them until we'd reach a hill. They'd grind it out keeping their steady pace while I would need to take frequent breaks.

I put some distance on them towards the end as Patti slowed down just a tad. And with about a mile or so left of trail I had to stop to empty rocks from my shoes. Twice. With all the effort involved, Patti caught up to me again. With my shoes back on, and the Finish so close, I pushed my pace a bit harder and was able to put some distance between us. Even though I continually reminded myself this wasn't a race, I was tired, cold, hungry, and ready to finish the race. So I pushed my pace.

I dropped out of the trail, grabbed some water, went to the bathroom, and moved along. I tried to run but by this point I was just too tired to do more than a shuffle. I walked all of Section 1 and maybe 95% of Section 2. Section 3 I ran maybe 10-15% and it was finally catching up to me in Section 4. But I pushed myself a little the closer I got to the Finish and ended up maybe running 10% of Section 4. Not bad.

As I got back onto pavement, I passed one young guy who was hurting but still moving. Then, like a jackass, I passed two ladies in the Finish line chute. And as much as I wanted to give them the honor of finishing before me, I was cold and tired and ready to be done. So I trotted by them with camera in hand and finished about 15 minutes ahead of my 12 hour goal.

I felt stiff and sore but not too bad. I chowed down on some un-healthy fast food but it tasted so good. I drove back to Mom's, showered, then watched a documentary on some crazy people climbing a mountain. The morning after I'm still stiff and sore but once I start moving, I'm good. I'm sure tomorrow's car trip will be brutal but I'll survive. And it'll be easier knowing I have a new sticker, new buckle, and for the first time in a long time, I've enjoyed an ultra. Like, I think I might have fallen in love with them again.

Temps were about 65F at the start but dropped to 55F by the finish. In between, the temperature would vary frequently. Sometimes you would go 5 miles and be hot then 5 miles and be cold. Sometimes you'd go 500 feet and fluctuate between hot and cold. Wind was light to moderate. Sky was mostly overcast until later in the day when the sun came out. Humidity was high in the morning with a few sprinkles and one moderate rain shower. After Aid Station 1, things improved.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the race I had half a bottle of GenUCAN, a banana, and a coffee. During the race I went through about 1 liter of plain water and about 6 servings of GenUCAN Hydrate. I could have used a little more Hydrate. At Aid Station 1 I ate two Fig Newtons. At Aid Station 2 I ate 2 whole grilled cheeses and two cookies. At Aid Station 3 I ate one grilled cheese, some chips, and two ho-hos. After the race I ate a cookie, then a Whopper with fries and iced tea. For breakfast the day after I went all out and had two eggs, four bacon, two toast, and biscuits and gravy. And coffee of course.

Aches and Pains:
Some mild chafing on my nipples because it was cold but the A+D Ointment saved me. Undercarriage was great the whole race. Right arm pit chafed a little from my hydration pack. I'm thinking the constant movement of getting my camera contributed. Feet hurt by the end. Left knee and right hip hurt too. But by far, nothing that's critical. No blisters, no bad toenails.

Wore my KREndurance kit: shorts, shirt, and hat. Shoes were Altra Lone Peaks. Socks were Smartwool. Used my rain/wind breaker jacket just a little, mostly to keep my gear dry during the short rain shower. Wore my Nathan hydration vest. Carried along my Samsung Gear 360 camera, my cell phone, and a few other essentials. Did my best to pare things down to the bare minimum. Those few times I was chilled, I wished I had my gloves. But when I wasn't chilled, I was glad I didn't bring them.

Today's Motivation:
Not sure I needed much more motivation than that belt buckle and sticker. This is such an awesome race that just getting in is enough motivation to do it.

Naughty Neil:
Overall, I did pretty darn good with things during the race. I kept the weight of my gear to a minimum and the backup battery is the only thing I could have left behind along with the spare socks. But I never needed what I didn't have. I think my biggest failure was the lack of electrolyte drink. I had enough and my pee never got too dark but I know at the end of the race I was just getting into that grey area of pushing things too far.

Splits are going to be broken down by Sections (1 through 4), Aid Stations (AS1 through AS3), and water tables (WT), there was one in Section 2, two in Section 3, and one in Section 4 - these were unmanned tables with just water. And all times are listed as HH:MM:SS (hours, minutes, and seconds).

Start to WT - 01:13:21
WT to AS1 - 01:26:36
AS1 to WT - 01:23:27
WT to AS2 - 01:18:58
AS2 to WT - 01:12:32
WT to WT - 00:36:04
WT to AS3 - 01:24:44
AS3 to WT - 01:05:47
WT to AS4 - 02:00:28

Finish - 11:42:00

Even though this was about an hour slower than my slowest ever 50k, this is also my 10th 50k finish. But I'm most proud of my consistent training going into the race. Even though I've been training for shorter distances, I'm much more confident in my training this year. I think it's getting back to my levels from years ago. I'm also proud of the fact that even though I planned on finishing last, and to some degree wanted to, I didn't. The competition is just as tough in the back of the pack as it is in the front. So to start the race as the last person across the line and to finish with 16 people behind you, it makes me feel good. You can see last year's 100k splits here.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

40 Years Ago Today - October 6, 1976

On Wednesday October 6th, my mother and I were finally released from the hospital. Everyone appeared to be in good health that morning.

Monday, October 03, 2016

40 Years Ago Today - October 3, 1976

I was born on October 3, 1976 in St. John’s Hospital at 2:44 am. I weighed 9 pounds, one and one-half ounces and measured 21 inches long. My doctor was Dr. Cho and I would see him, along with many other doctors, several times in the coming years.

I was lucky enough to track down Dr. Cho. He was nice enough to answer some questions I had but unfortunately could not remember any specific details about myself or my parents. He came to the US shortly after the Korean War ended, went to college, and became a doctor. He served in that role during the Vietnam War before going into private practice for several decades.