The Connection Runners + [running man]

Jemez Mountain Trail Run 2012

The course is amazing. Lots of fun and challenging in some sections. And with that said, I did not have a good race. This is the third sup-par performance in a row, so I'm starting to get down on myself. Here's how it went down.

The first part of the run is rolling and nice. I took it very easy through this section - conversant pace, no hard breathing. Had a great time chatting with some guys very familiar with the area. My HR was a little higher than I wanted it to be, but I was keeping a pace I could hold all day.

The next section consisted of a few climbs. They were not too tough, but they were longer. I hiked, but didn't overly exert myself. I picked up the pace a little, but felt fine. I made it up over the first climb, and descending into the ski lodge the first time. I still felt well.

From the ski lodge to the Pipeline was a very mellow section, easily runnable. The pipeline section was perhaps my favor section. Downhill, steep, technical. I ran into the weasel at that point, so I stopped and took a few photos then headed down.

The caldera was a nice section, but a little too much jeep road for me. After 20 miles through the course, I figured it was time to start working hard. I picked up the pace, and caught the 5 people in front me. Throughout this section, I was feeling ok - not great, but not bad either. I continued fueling as I had been doing.

Coming out of the aid station at 31 or 32, I was in fourth place, and was started hiking out of the caldera. I figured I'd take it easy on the way up and then throw down the hammer so I could try to catch the leaders.

And then everything went wrong.

On the way out of the caldera, I got nauseous and then started throwing up. I started feeling a bit weak, but nothing too bad. I downed a little water and continued on. Then I had to stop and throw up the water.

At this point, I determined I'd keep running, but that my race was over. The people I had passed, started passing me. I sat down and looked down on the caldera. I tried to re-group and concentrate on the natural beauty, but I started feeling worse and worse. After sitting for 5 or 10 minutes, I couldn't keep any food down. So I figured I finish the climb and make it down to the ski lodge to chill out for a while.

I made it to the ski lodge for the second time and hung out. My friends were there, which was nice. They tried to make me feel better. I ate a Popsicle, had a few sips of beer, and drank a lot of ginger ale. My friend Simon, was also feeling bad and he wanted to leave, so I decided I'd walk out with him. I got a few steps out of the aid station and puked up everything.

People came running out, handing me water and food. I drank some water and resigned myself to a slow finish. The weasel tried to talk me into dropping - but I wasn't having any of that. He then offered to pace me the rest of the way. Some company would be nice, so I took him up on the offer.

We walked and talk to the Pipeline aid station. We picked up Simon along the way. We stopped at the aid stations, ate some food and then I'd puke it up. We'd continue on.

The section from Pipeline to the end was almost entirely down hill. I wish I'd been feeling well because I would have loved to cruise down that section, especially if I was in the chase. But given the state of my stomach, I was just trying to hold it together. At some point, Simon was feeling well and he took off. I was just trying to finish and wasn't in any hurry so I hung back and took my time.

I (finally) made it to the last aid station and I sat down to relax. I ate some food. And then puked it up. Awesome. The weasel, was like, "get out of here because you're just wasting time." And he was right. So we walked out of there. Eventually Andy Gisler caught me and he gave me the final boost to run it in (perhaps the last mile or so). So I ran and finished. Glad to have finished, but a bit bummed too.

I didn't finish in a spectacular time and I didn't have the race I wanted. But I did finish. I loved the course and would happily run it again (if I was feeling better). The organization was stellar, the after party was kicking, and I think everyone had a great time.

This is the third race I've done where I've become sick either during or after the race. It is the third race where half way through my energy levels plummeted. The first time, I thought I got sick because I was working hard. The second race, I thought I was coming down with a bug or was having an off day. With this being the third race where I've had very similar symptoms, I have to face the harsh reality that something is wrong.

I'm going to the doctor sometime this week to get some blood work done.

Hope you all are doing well. Thanks to my friends and family that came down to NM with me, put us up in a great cabin just outside the caldera, helped me finish the race, drank beers with me, ate ice cream, and put up with my crankiness about the race.

Congrats to everyone that finished and was able to enjoy a tremendous weekend in Los Alamos!