250 Mile Run April 1-5 2009 THE YEAR OF MORE!
WOW! Maybe I am a little Crazy! I completed the 250 mile run following a Zig Zag course from Santa Cruz to Santa Rosa in 4 days. 15hrs. and 1 min. To time me on this run you had to turn the calender 4 times. I slept about 13 hrs. over the course of the 41/2+ days. I was on my feet moving between 19 to 21 hrs. a day. I had over 25 people crewing and pacing over the course of the race. Typically 2 to 3 people for 9 separate 12 hour shift.
We started at 7:29 am out of Santa Cruz Apr. 1. My sister Leslie would be my pacer the first 121/2hrs. My dad and his wife Murphie would be crewing. I felt that I was mentally tougher then when I had ran the 199 mile relay solo a year ago. So I had set a first day goal of no rest stops till I slept at night. Les and I covered the first 50 miles in 121/2 hours. This included the 14 mile climb out of Santa Cruz on hwy. 49. My dad and Murphie ran interference as we found hwy 49 was loaded with Porsch’s, Ferrarris and Ninja motorcycles out practicing there high speed cornering. I told Les lets run with traffic at our back. I would rather not know what hit me. That he died Stupid Thing!
The graveyard shift came on at 8 pm. It was my two kids Heather and Billy. It was great to see them! I was still moving along real strong till about 10 pm. Then my energy finally started to wane. The Good news! I did make it till midnight without a rest break. My first break would be a 11/2 hr. sleep break. The Bad News! Mentally I was strong enough to make it 161/2 hours with no breaks. But physically I had not taken in enough calories and I was bonked! When I got up at 2 am. my energy level on a scale of 1-10 was at a 1! It was now freezing cold and it was exasperated by my depleted state. I had to go to 5 layers of clothing.
As I went through the early morning hours only able to walk 25 mins. per mile. About the speed I was able to pull a 40lb. sled through a snow storm in Alaska. My quads and feet were now killing me. Negative thoughts were trying to bombard my head. I was seriously bonked at just over 60 miles, I still had 190 miles to go! I was freezing cold and in alot of pain. I am a big believer in making public declarations. It takes you to another level of commitment. As I looked at the support van with a big sign saying I was running 250 miles for organ donation awareness. A picture of my friend Rudy on the van who I was dedicating the run too and who was awaiting a kidney. I thought about the article Bob Padecky had recently written on me in the Press Democrat. I thought about the 25+ people who had signed up to crew and pace. I looked at my shirt which said I would, Run when I can, Walk when I can’t and Crawl if I must! to finish the 250 miles. Yes I had done a good job of making a public declaration!
I wonder to this day if it was just me out there no crew, No public declarations. Big time Bonked on only the 2nd day of a 5 day run. Would I have been able to continue? We will never know because I had done all those public declarations! I would let to many people down. I hadn’t even crawled yet! I told my body to just keep moving!
My dad showed up at noon the next day. I told him I was absolutely cooked! I was running on fumes! He told me to sit down and just start eating. I needed more fuel. I sat there and basically ate for an hour straight. I ate so much I actually got nauseous. I tend to always be on the extreme side. If you haven’t already figured that out. I took a 15 min power nap and then hit the road again. My energy level was now up to a level 3. Not an earth shaking improvement. But alot better then I was. I still could only walk and walk I would!
I would walk a total of a 11/2 days before I would be able to run again. When I hit the Great Hwy. in San Francisco. The head wind was so bad my pace slowed to 30 mins. a mile. I tried to eat a sandwich and it got covered in sand being blown by the wind.
The next concern was the 9 pm cutoff on the Golden Gate Bridge to pedestrian traffic. We hit the city side of the bridge at 8:30 pm so we thought we were golden. About 10 yards from the Marin side of the Bridge a loud horn started sounding. And a large gate began to close. It was like something out of a prison movie. After almost 100 miles and in my bonked state I was moving at a pace just slower then molasses. My dad ran to the Northside of the gate and Coach Ken stayed on the southside. Both trying to slow the gate closing so I could get through. By the time I got to the opening I had to go through sideways and just got my trailing hand through when the gate slammed shut! I had barely made it! But Ken was stuck behind the gate. He began climbing the 8 foot fence and got to the top. He was ready to climb down. When I saw a sign and a green button through the fence that said if you get caught on this side of the gate, just push the green button to open gate. Now it was more like a Keystone Cop movie.
Starting the Lawn Mower! Every so often I would try to run to see if my mojo had returned. Like pulling the cord on a lawn mower. I usually would go about 10 feet and have to stop with exhaustion. I must have attempted to run over 20 times. Keeping the Faith! My friend Robert after walking the whole second night with me said I think you are going to be able to run again today! Thanks Buddy for Believing! Somewhere outside of Fairfax on the third day. I pulled the cord on that lawn mower and the dang thing started! I ran the usual 10 feet and just kept going! I wasn’t breaking any speed records but I was running! After 11/2 days I had found my MOJO!
I hit Petaluma at Dusk of the third night. I was really hitting my stride now! Friends and family were coming out of the woodwork! I surged through town with a small caravan of vehicles behind me. It was an incredible uplifting feeling! I was 60 hrs.into the run and at about mile 145 and I felt like a million bucks!
I had been trying to eat steady since the Big Bonk! I was strong through the 3rd night. A combination of running and walking. My buddy Wayne was pacing and the Big man Kyle was running interference in the van on those skinny roads on the way into Napa. I told Kyle he was doing a great job! He told me he had to or he would have my two sisters after him if we got run over. Since Wayne is Karens Boyfriend. Wayne told me he never thought he would go on foot from Petaluma to Napa.
The start of the fourth day I again found myself in a weakened state. Kathy and Cliff were working the van. My friend Hannah showed up to pace as well as my cousins wife Karen and there son Frank. It was a bummer that again my mojo had left me all I could do was walk again. After going through three nights I noticed the highs were shorter and the lows were longer. I really had trouble going into Dusk of the fourth night. My buddy Dave showed up to offer some encouragement. But I had hit a real Low Low!
GOOD COP! BAD COP! I talked by phone to my dad during this time and told him I was extremely weak and way behind schedule and probably wouldn’t finish till Monday morning well behind my 6pm Sunday projected finish. He said that was fine. Just try to finish. Les called to inform me I had gone 3 miles in 3 hours. I told her I was very weak and was refueling with food. She told me “You are at mile 178 and way behind schedule and you need to Suck it Up!” Her sensitive side was coming out!
The Graveyard shift of the forth night showed up at 8pm.. Liz who works with me and was a collegiate softball player at Notre Dame and has just recently took up running. She would be pacing me the fourth night. All new territory for me. I told her my dad had told me just to finish and time didn’t matter. And my sister had told me to suck it up and get moving! I said what camp are you in? She said “I am here to push you through the night”! I said” That would be the Suck it Up Camp!”
My friend from high school Scott got behind us and started blaring old school Rock and Roll out of his truck. I could feel my Mojo returning. Liz and myself started running 15 min mile pace. We would walk 2 minutes then run another mile. We knocked off 22 miles in a row like this in between 2 half hour sleep breaks. My new mantra was ” Suck it Up! On the fourth night from mile 178 to almost 200 I had just run the strongest I had ever run through a night! After a 2 hr. sleep break my cousin Kevin paced me over the rest of the way from Calistoga over the hill to Santa Rosa. Kevin the 12 handicap golfer is now officially a runner.
The 9th -12 hour shift came on. My friend Gary and Leslie had returned. She said she was very pleased at the mileage we had covered through the night. She knew her kick in the butt had worked! I had been out there for 4 days and we were now at mile 215.
THERMOSTAT OUT OF WHACK! It was 8am. Sunday. When Les and Gary showed up I told them it felt real hot already and was going to be a hot day. They looked at each other puzzled and said it was 41 degrees. Two hours later I told them I told you it was going to be hot and requested my Ice scarf that I use in Death Valley in the middle of Summer. They asked each other should we tell him it is only 61 degrees and his thermostat is all screwed up or just give him the ice scarf. They decided to just give me the ice scarf. About this same time my mouth filled with painful stress induced canker soars. Do you think my body was trying to tell me something?
However, I could smell the Barn! As I got closer and closer I felt stronger! There was another humbling experience however. After I had run from Santa Rosa back to Petaluma. We saw a guy pushing his bike. He had gotten a flat with no repair kit. He asked what we were up to and we told him we were at mile 227 of a 250 mile run. As we headed up the home stretch from Petaluma to Santa Rosa on Stony Point Road. I turned around and saw this guy running with his bike. He said he was going to hitch hike but we had motivated him to run it home to Rhonert Park. When I stopped a little further up the road to take a break the guy pushing his bike passed me. I have now been passed by just about anything you can name. The only solice is that rumor has it, he and his buddy only made it a few more miles to the Washoe House where they stopped for a cold one.
With 10 miles to go my feet had swollen out of all my shoes and I was walking in sandals. My feet hurt so much I thought I would have to walk the last 10 miles in. My Ex wife Jody, her friend a fire fighter fitness trainer Lynette and my kids again showed up for the final push. Lynette was trying to get me to run again. She was making a little bit of headway. But what got me moving was when a guy in a car pulled up next to me looked at the sign on the van.Then looked at me and said that doesn’t look like running to me!
I told Heather to find my Badwater shoes. I loosened the laces as much as I could and crammed my swollen feet into them and said to myself “I will show him running!” After 4 days and 12 hours and with over 240 miles behind me. I was running again. I felt one of my big toe nails break loose. But there would be no more stopping! It was dusk of the 5th night and I was on Fire! My friend Cecilia showed up out of nowhere and we were banging out 10 to 12 minute miles! My son jumped in for the last 5 miles!
We now had a caravan of 6 vehicles following me through Santa Rosa blaring music heading for the finish! My nephew Austin Bradley also put in a strong 2 miles. My daughter joined Billy and myself and we ran in together the last mile. I made it to the Airport Health Club our finish line at 10:30 pm Sunday. 4 days, 15 hrs and 1 minute after I began this Epic Run.
About a Dozen friends and family awaited. All of whom had spent lots of time crewing and pacing over the last 4 1/2 days. I had ran the last 72 miles in 27 hours. I think Les thought I did a good job of Sucking it Up! As I stood there shaking from exhaustion. It was a very emotional moment for me! I thanked everyone for there support and and told them that this run was so Epic, that I was thinking of getting a tattoo that said 250 on my arm. Then I said Nah! Knowing me I will run 300 miles someday!
I big time want to thank my family and all my friends who came out and crewed and paced. Impossible to do it without you! Your sacrifice was greatly appreciated! Rudy Yu came out on Friday and crewed with my sister Karen for hours. Rudy will be getting his sisters kidney April 22. This is AWESOME! Greg Shank took a day off work to crew and pace on Thursday to fill a hole we had in the schedule. Eric Sorensen came out on Sunday and paced me for well over 20 miles. He went to the van to get me stuff over and over on top of the pacing. I was very high maintenance at that point. My Dad and Murphie put in over 20 hrs. on back to back days. Giselle and Adrienne were also strong pacers. EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED WAS INCREDIBLE!
Lastly I want to thank My Crew Chief Extraordinaire Leslie! She was HUGE! I scheduled this run based on her availability! Not only did she run the first 50 miles with me. She was on her phone nonstop over the whole 4 1/2 days coordinating this 250 mile moving Epic Extravaganza! AMAZING!
Thanks WBE and Everyone for your support!
Show up and Suffer,