Hitting THAT Wall – Cuyamaca 50K Training Run
Today was an extraordinary day for me, running over 30 miles in what I think was extreme heat! Ashley and I headed out super early down to Cuyamaca to get in a 50K training run organized by the race director of the Cuyamaca 100K. I was so excited and nervous for this day since I had never run this far before.
We were really surprised to see how many runners showed up for this training run (36 in total). I guess like us, they also thought it would be a great way to log in needed mileage with others to make the run feel a little easier, and of course, a great way to get to know the course we would all soon be racing.
By 6:20 am, we were off on the course. This particular training run consisted of loops two and three (we had missed the first loop training run previously) which basically allowed us to regroup near the start.
I can honestly say this run was SUPER easy for the first 24 miles or so. I attributed this to the fact that we were all running together and walking the uphills as you so often do during ultras. But once we got around to mile 23, I began to freak out mentally. My Camelbak which holds only 1.5 liters of water, was running out and we weren’t going to have an opportunity to refill for a few miles. It was about that time that I realized how hot it was, scorching hot, at least mid 90’s (and later when we finished and got in the car, the thermometer was showing 104 degrees!). It seemed like forever to get to the cars again to finish.
After finally reaching our water station, which was literally an old tree that had only about a gallon and a half water remaining for us, we rationed the water and headed off again. It was a short time later that I finally hit that wall that so many of us talk about. Mentally I was a wreck and just could not imagine getting to the finish. The reality was that I could not just stop and quit because I would still have to somehow make it back to the car. Physically I felt like I need to vomit and use the restroom at the same time. NOT GOOD. It was then that Ashley and I realized that we had failed to nourish ourselves appropriately having only at three cookies, a banana and half of a Cliff Bar. DUH!!!
At this point it was just me, Ashley, Pam and the RD, Scott Crellin and we all decided that we didn’t want to keep running so we walked. And walked. I was feeling so bad that I wanted to run so I could justify to myself that if I did that, we would get there faster and the breeze felt cooler if I was moving faster. I tried but then quickly walked again. Ashley kept telling me to eat and I just couldn’t imagine getting anything down. I had no desire, I couldn’t even get water in. Scott asked if I wanted baby food and I reluctantly agreed. Baby food? Kill me now! Taking a few swallows of blueberry and banana flavored mush, I handed it back almost as soon as it was given to me. Ashley had taken a few of my Cliff Shot chews and swore she was feeling better while I seemed to get progressively worse.
FINALLY, I realized that I needed some more of that baby food so I asked Ashley if she could ask Scott for more. Why I asked her to ask him is still funny but I guess I felt helpless. I even asked her to hold the lid for me as I finished eating the rest of the baby food. With about a mile and a half to go, the haze in my head finally disappeared and I was feeling better. Still tired but very hopeful that I would make it and finally be able to eat all the things that Ashley and I thought we wanted to eat and drink: Orange juice, pineapple juice, beer, watermelon, etc.
Six hours and fifty-one minutes later we finally got to the end and I was elated. We did it! I know know firsthand how important it is to plan for an event like this. It’s no joke and as Ashley always says, “Fail to plan and plan to fail.”
Garmin Connect stats HERE.