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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Boston Marathon

Boston has always been the "BIG" running goal. It's always been about getting stronger, faster and better in hopes of being able to line up at the historic, magical race in Boston. The road to qualifying for Boston was not easy, but the actually journey to get to Boston tested me more than I could of imagined.

We set out for Denver after Kiera & Brady got out of school on Friday afternoon. We had a early morning flight out of Denver and were going to stay in a hotel near the airport the night before.  I heard of some spring snow coming into Denver on Saturday so I called Southwest and asked about flights. They informed me that they already made most the cancellations and if it wasn't canceled already it would probably depart. I asked about getting it changed to Kansas City or Omaha because even the thought of chancing it was not something I wanted to do. I was told you can't change airports, so half an hour later we took off for Denver. Six hours later we started to see the mountains on the horizon and shortly after got to our hotel. Just as I sat down on the couch an email from Southwest came in: Your flight has been canceled.

I was devastated. I called right away and said what can we do to get to Boston?
Can we get on another flight out of Denver? Nope they are all shut down until Sunday.
Can we get on one tonight? Nope.
Any options? Please?

Well we can check other airports in the area.
"Omaha?"
-nothing

"Amarillo?"
-nothing

"Witchita?"
-nothing

Kansas City?
-We have openings from KC to Chicago and then on to Boston tomorrow.

Ok, Quick how long of a drive is that from Denver? Ok 9 hours. and the flight leaves at 4:15PM. We can make it. Let's get on the road soon before the storm starts. Ok re-book our flights - let's go!.....Woah, why does my stomach feel so tight. Probably just nerves of the news, it'll bounce back. lets GO...BOSTON!!!

When I was 5 years old I had to have a surgery to prevent stomach acid from burning up through my esophagus. One of the consequences of this surgery was I would  never be able to vomit. So since that day in 1988 I never have. My body still tries to vomit but it goes through this horrible dry heaving process that makes me feel like I look like a weird zombie creature. Why I'm telling you this will be more clear soon.

Hurry everybody the rain is starting to turn to ice! Let's get out of Colorado. Never in my life do I remember wanting to get out of Colorado faster. The kids did great with the change of plans and we were off to Kansas City.

The lowest point of the entire trip was shortly after that at a truck stop in Limon, CO.  I had had 2-3 dry heave episodes in the car before that point, violently trying to void my entire body of everything inside it. In Limon, we had stopped to use the bathroom. I came back out of that station and the car was locked and the others were still inside. An episode hit me right then in the parking lot, in the ice rain. I collapsed to the ground and spent the next 10 minutes uncontrollably dry heaving. Drenched from the cold rain and a serious cold sweats I laid there on the cement and asked God for the answers. I prayed like I've never prayed before for it to stop, to know why I was going through this, for any answers, again for it to stop, again for clarity. Finally I got myself up and went back inside and laid in the hallway and waited till I could get back up and we could get back on the road.

We started back down the interstate, all of us sleep derived, exhausted and worn down. My stomach muscles were sore as can be from all the work of retching over and over. It wasn't another half an hour on the road and I had another spell. This was the point where we decided to go to the ER in Colby, KS. We dropped the kids & my mom off at a hotel around 1:00 and Suzi & I went over to the hospital. We walked up to the door, rang the call bell and explained as best we could what was going on. Soon after getting a room I was down on the floor dry heaving until I laid there in a cold sweet. The nurse was in the room and got to witness this episode. The PA came in shortly after and kept trying different solutions to get it to stop & to get the pain to go away. After 4 hours, numerous pills, some morphine and huge shot in my hip we all decided a cat-scan to get a better idea of what was going on was best. The cat scan revealed my stomach had stop processing anything in it; it had shut down, no clue as to why or when it would start again. I was instructed to not eat for 48 hours because it would not process it, so  I got a few prescriptions to help with the pain and nauseousness and we hit the road again.....6 hours from KC.


With only a few more episodes we got to KC with under an hour to get through security and get on the plane. Luckily we had no issues with that and we were in the air heading to Chicago and then Boston. We landed in Boston and got to our hotel around 11 o'clock Saturday night and crashed!!!

Sunday was suppose to be exploring and seeing the city but I missed out on most of that with my stomach issues. I did get my packet picked up, checked out the expo, got to meet Scott Jurek & got to hang with the Clif Bar people who made this whole journey possible. We all went to the spaghetti feed that night and I ate for the first time since Friday lunch, I had a little pasta and a little salad. Sunday night I went to bed early and hoped Monday morning would bring relief.






My mom & I walked down to the buses early Monday morning and we parted & I headed to Hopkinton. Athlete's Village was one of the coolest sunrises ever, I knew in that moment that I was where I was suppose to be. Everything it took to get here was worth it; this is Boston and it is worthy of my everything. Ever since the tragedies of 2013  I've wanted to stand at this start line for this city, this country and this running community. I felt so many things, I started calling them the BosFeels. I felt emotional, I felt worthy, I felt pride and pain. I felt anticipation and pure bliss in the moment. This is Boston!



We walked for about a mile from the village to the official start line, we were in groups by our qualifying times so I was in Wave 1, Corral 6. The start of the race most my pain faded away in my stomach and we ran in a group for the first mile or 2. My adrenaline carried me though many of these first miles. I was loving every minute of this. I spent many miles waving my arms to get the crowd even louder and high fiving everyone I could. I held my hand to my ear in my best Ryan Hall impersonation through the Wellesley scream tunnel. All the cheers made this run so much pure fun. I finally cramped up around mile 16, I knew this was coming because I hadn't eaten or drank almost anything in the last 48 hours, I was just so ecstatic that it waited this long and I was able to enjoy my first Boston Marathon so much.


I truly did not expect to fall so hard for a race as I have for Boston. I normally prefer trails and mountains but I have a strong pull to come back and stand at that start line year after year and embrace the journey to qualify, tackle any hurdles to get here and then take in all the BosFeels.

Happy Trails,

Jeff



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rockin K Trail Marathon(ish)

Rockin' K Trail Marathon(ish) Race Recap
April 2nd, 2016

"As Iron sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another"  Proverbs 27:17


After making some pretty damn clever dam jokes; we found a camp spot just south of the dam at Kanopolis Lake in central KS Friday afternoon. We had some friends from KS come up and join us along with Mike & his family. Community type camping is always such a blast, we had big meals, lots of laughs, battleship battles & campfire chills. We kept warm in the pop-up camper that night and it was quickly 5 am and time to start getting up and getting ready to hit the trails.




I ate pretty good before the race because I didn't want to get hungry or bonk later in the race. I had a banana, some peanut butter trail mix & a granola bar. The race start was buzzing with around 150 people anxious to get this party started. The time moved by quickly and soon we were at the start line. The temp was right around 30 degrees but moving up to 40's by late in the race. I elected on just shorts, a t-shirt and a beanie. I knew it wouldn't be long and I'd be warming up. It was 7:00 AM & we headed down the road for about 3/4 a mile to the trail head. It was only about a quarter mile into this I found myself in the lead, not necessarily what I wanted to do but I checked my watch and I wasn't running too fast by any means, especially for the road. Soon I hit the trail and hit that nice feeling when the first mile of stiffness passes and you feel in the zone. I instantly remembered how much I loved these trails. It's always a nice feeling when you've done a race before but haven't been on the trails for a year and the things start coming back to you. 

Mile 3 looked like this

Mile 3 felt like this:


It was around mile 3 when my hands started to get pretty cold too. I had a buff from the Hitchcock 50 in my pocket so I took that out and wrapped it around like a glove and alternated each hand for the next mile or so. Soon though I was warmed up and running good; I held the lead until around mile 5 when 2 guys from Wichita came behind me and we chatted for a bit. This was nice to have someone to run with and chat. Turns out Zach is the other 3:15 marathon pacer at Garmin that I was suppose to do on April 17th but then I got into Boston. He forgave me for bailing on that duty to do Boston.



Around mile 6 or 7 Zach was still looking very strong though the ups and downs and moved quickly out of site in the lead. I ran with the other guy for a while and then we separated and he wished me a good race. Miles 10-13 here are some of my favorite, they are nice dirt run-able single track trails. I talked with a 50 mile runner Adam here and had learned of some epic stuff he's done including Western States & Leadville. Envious!! We hit the aid station at mile 13 around the same time and I didn't even slow down here. I just called my number out and headed right on down the trail.



I had my Orange Mud Gear pack on with a 1L bladder of water. I had 5 packets of  Honey Stinger honey in 1 shoulder pocket and my phone in the other. It was around 2 miles into this loop that I grabbed my phone and cranked up some Lacrae as I needed some extra pep to tackle these hills. This 5 mile loop between 13 & 18 was the hilliest part of the course. We would hit that same aid station again after completing it. There was 1 little creek crossing here that I felt like I took way to long to cross. Other than that I felt like I ran these 5 pretty good and just let the down hills take me and didn't hold back any and kept my HR pretty steady on the climbs up.

Working my way up the hills at 15.



I came into the aid station at mile 18 and saw Zach as he was making his way back out. This gave me some motivation as I had plenty of water & didn't need to stop for anything here. I just rolled through and shouted out my number. The next few miles were on a nice gravel road and I was able to start dipping under that 7:30 pace again for a few miles as they were relativity flat. I really enjoyed quite a few of these miles.  There was an unmanned aid station at 21 with just water jugs, I was still good on water and rolled through this stop as well. I caught up with the lead shortly after that water station and we gave each other some encouraging words. The last few miles of this race are always pretty challenging. Their is quite a bit of sand and the 2 big water crossing. maybe 30 yards across and over waste deep. I wanted to be smart and just continue to run to what my body was telling me and I was still feeling great. The water was so cold but it felt so nice, that was one of my favorite parts of the whole race. If this was a training run I would of stayed in that 2nd water crossing for a minute or two and let it really cool down my legs, but it was race and I wanted to get it done. I had just over a mile after that crossing, just enough time to dry off. I came out of the trails and bolted up the road towards the finish.



I finished the 27.3 miles in 3 hours 45 minutes, good enough for 1st place. This was my 1st overall win in a marathon so I think that will hold a place in my memory. These trails were wonderful to run on. This place was one of my first introductions to trail running and where I really started to fall in love with this sport. A big thank you to the RD's who put on a wonderful event & all the volunteers who make it happen.


After the race I grabbed a Mtn Dew and waited for Mike who blazed through the trails to finish an impressive 5th place out of 99 runners. Then after him Aaron came in to complete his first trail marathon like a pro. It was a great day with great friends chilling and exploring after the race. Then to top off Saturday night we backed the truck up at the Drive-In theater and watched Kung-Fu Panda 3 & God's Not Dead 2

I think Rockin K has just became an annual race/camp trip for me & hopefully many more friends.

Strava route: https://www.strava.com/activities/533626928
Splits:
MilePaceGAPElevHRCadence
17:21 /mi7:05 /mift156 bpm174 spm
27:35 /mi7:22 /mi-30 ft163 bpm176 spm
37:53 /mi7:15 /mi39 ft163 bpm176 spm
48:17 /mi8:06 /mi-59 ft158 bpm176 spm
58:36 /mi7:50 /mift157 bpm174 spm
68:07 /mi7:15 /mi104 ft160 bpm174 spm
77:38 /mi7:08 /mi-54 ft161 bpm178 spm
87:23 /mi7:14 /mi-20 ft159 bpm176 spm
98:25 /mi7:38 /mift160 bpm174 spm
107:41 /mi7:16 /mi-33 ft160 bpm176 spm
117:59 /mi7:01 /mi16 ft162 bpm174 spm
128:21 /mi7:49 /mi-3 ft160 bpm174 spm
137:53 /mi7:34 /mi-13 ft155 bpm172 spm
148:12 /mi7:32 /mi-16 ft157 bpm172 spm
159:35 /mi7:52 /mi138 ft161 bpm166 spm
169:46 /mi8:32 /mi-62 ft158 bpm168 spm
179:33 /mi9:07 /mi-79 ft158 bpm164 spm
188:07 /mi7:48 /mi16 ft161 bpm168 spm
198:12 /mi7:49 /mi-3 ft163 bpm172 spm
207:51 /mi7:21 /mi26 ft163 bpm170 spm
217:32 /mi7:20 /mi-23 ft167 bpm174 spm
227:31 /mi7:11 /mi16 ft169 bpm174 spm
238:31 /mi7:40 /mift166 bpm170 spm
249:08 /mi7:58 /mi69 ft166 bpm170 spm
259:18 /mi9:16 /mi-115 ft163 bpm166 spm
269:54 /mi8:35 /mi98 ft163 bpm168 spm
279:14 /mi8:48 /mi-30 ft163 bpm166 spm
0.27:15 /mi7:07 /mi-10 ft166 bpm172 spm