by Fred Thompson
Meadowmere Park, Grapevine, TX
November 17-18, 2007
Now that a week has passed, my reflective perspective.
I sit here now unable to run due to a strained calf muscle. How did I get here? I took the week off prior to Ultracentric 24 Hour. No running. My main concern going in was my feet–more specifically, my left foot. Neuroma. I didn’t know how it would react with 24 hours of running, when I can experience some serious discomfort after only a few hours on the trails. My theory was that the smooth pavement surface would actually benefit my foot. That seemed to prove true. I experienced no foot pain.
Throughout the week leading up to Ultracentric, I experienced the usual paranoid concerns. Is that a tickle in my throat? Am I getting a cold? What’s this pain in my butt? etc. I did, however, have real lower back pain. I don’t know why. Standing on my feet all day Sat. at Rockledge Rumble aid station after cutting weeds and an 11 mile run the day before? That’s my only theory. Anyway, Monday and Tuesday I could hardly put on my socks. Wednesday and Thursday saw some improvement and Friday I saw Benny, my athletic therapist and general magic man, for my prerace treatment. He worked some on my back and then a good, thorough stretch routine.
Work has been crazy lately so I wasn’t able to take it easy the day before as hoped. In fact, worked until 7P Fri night in the field and wasn’t able to hydrate per plan. The run didn’t start until 9A Sat so I could sleep in a little. Showed up, found a spot to park along the route, and backed the Suburban up for my own personal aid station. Once we started, I cruised along steadily, but I had serious tightness in both glutes. I sprayed Biofreeze on my ass for several hours and kept moving. As the temps moved into the 80’s, things started to unravel. My Perpeteum was starting to gag me, as was GU or even water for that matter. I look back now and recognize classic dehydration, but, in the moment, how do you deal with it. I experimented with soups, peppermint tea, spaghetti, ginger, E-caps, whatever. I knew I had to get calories, nothing appealed, but I just forced stuff down and kept moving. Just more slowly now. I never did vomit, but on more than one occasion I wished I could.
After about 8 hours, my glutes finally loosened up. After about 10 hours, I started to adjust my goals. 80 became the new 100. I remember hitting the 12 hour mark and being somewhat overwhelmed by the fact that I was JUST half way done. I kept moving. You can look at the detailed results and see this play out in the times. Slow, but still moving. 12-14 hour stretch was a bit of a rough patch followed by a brief rally then another down stretch as I was WAY past my bedtime. Fatigue and lack of sleep is a deadly combination, but I kept moving.
Friendly faces in aid stations became too inviting to encourage me, I thought, to stick around for awhile. The chairs at the back of my car were too close to the trail and also invited me to sit and rest. On the up side, though, as little as 5 min in a chair could do wonders for my pace and attitude–if only briefly. My quads became mush and I was reduced to a walk for the last 7 hours. Once I had my 80 miles, I sat at my car thinking I was done. The sun started to rise and so did my desire to finish in the close quarters of the .25 mile loop of the last hour. I’m glad I continued because the excitement of Connie Gardner going for the American female record of 145 miles was pretty cool. The P.A. announcer was screaming and everyone would get out of her way and cheer her on as she passed. I cheered and just kept moving.
83.75 miles. I’ll take it. I’m glad I did it, but don’t know if I would do that again under that format. The pavement was tough, but I’m sure the biggest culprit was dehydration. Once I was done, then I had foot pain. Weird. Didn’t realize until Mon. that what I was feeling was a big, blood-filled blister.
Didn’t do a thing all week. Some soreness, but all-in-all not too bad. The blister was painful, though. Everything I read said do not drain blood-filled blisters so I hobbled around waiting for the discomfort to dissipate. It didn’t and, come Thanksgiving morning, I wanted to run. Tradition. So, Dr Char went to work and the relief was instant. Went to Northshore and felt great–for about a mile. Then I realized my body is fatigued. Still had a good run, but felt a little pain in my right calf on the way back. Oops! Tried again on Sat., but still painful to go uphill. So, here I sit a week after afraid to run. Need to heal. Got SunRock in 2 weeks. Stay tuned.