This was a post I didn't want to write. I want to move on, but I feel that I owe it to anyone who chooses to read this blog (you puzzle me, but I appreciate you) to write about the bad days as well as the good ones. In the end, the decision to drop out of the San Diego 100 wasn't a life-changing, dark, spiritual, overly emotional, or dramatic event. In the end, it was banal (which is a word I "drop" frequently when hanging with my "boys").
I was sick. I started puking at mile 32 and walked and stumbled for the next three to four hours, trying and failing to take in water, salt, nutrition, even a popsicle. I'll spare the technicolor details, but everything I tried to put in my mouth came out five minutes later. It was the middle of the day, it was hot, and it was a downward spiral leading to dehydration and more sickness. The decision to drop at 44 wasn't that difficult and I don't regret making it.
The decision to drop wasn't momentous, but the kindness I received on the trail was. The runners were all suffering on that stretch, an epic climb up a steep asphalt grade from Pine Creek aid station to Pioneer Mail. Without fail, everyone that passed me on that stretch stopped to make sure I was okay, asked if I needed anything, and offered to help. In the midst of my own personal struggle, I was amazed at the kindness and the shared bond of suffering that is felt out there. It lifted my spirits to see my friends Kara and Jeremy Scarbrough at the aid stations and they did everything in their power to help me get through. I also appreciate the failed efforts of Jeff Coon and Stephen Kirby who tried to motivate me to continue the race.
I want to thank my wife for being there for me, too. She is going to school to become a nurse, and I can't think of anyone more suited for the job. She has the innate ability of knowing when to be tough, and knowing when to be soft and caring. I was so happy to have her there.
A lot of people sent nice messages after I dropped, but I have to give it to Ryan Holler for summing up pretty much exactly how I felt: "I wish I could say knowing I tried, and put in the training, and competed hard, and such, is what counts. But I don't want it to count. Not finishing just sucks, and that's it. What counts is forgetting about it and going home for some quality time with our wives and kids who don't think one bit different of us either way." The only part I'm confused about is how many wives Ryan has.
The San Diego 100 is run by amazing people. The race director, Scott Mills, the volunteers, the other runners, all make this race something special. I'm excited to try it again next year.
Here are some pictures from the race.
|I love this picture even though it was nearly an action shot.|
|With the speedy and inspiring Chris Sigel (who placed 4th) and his crew, Chad Spaman. (Pannikin represent)|
|photo courtesy JKS Imagery|
|photo courtesy JKS Imagery|
|Jeremy trying to tell me how to not throw up (photo courtesy JKS Imagery).|
|A welcome sponge bath. It's weird...I started the race with a full head of hair. (photo courtesy JKS Imagery).|