Monday, October 18, 2010

Zac's First 50: oops (lessons learned and other fun stuff)

I should start off this post with a little bit of explanation. I did not really want to be Zac's support crew (gasp! I know). It wasn't part of the original plan, actually (months ago when Zac signed up for the race) - but it turned out that it was just me. And I know it sounds terribly unsupportive to say it like this. But there are a few legitimate reasons for my feeling this way (I think):

1. I am not a runner. I don't know what it feels like to hit "the wall" and feel my body shutting down on me as I've pushed it beyond its limits. I don't really "belong" in the runner club (although I do feel like a groupie). I told Zac it would be a little like asking him to help out backstage at a ballet recital. It's not that the task itself is that "difficult," per se. It's just so beyond your comfort zone that you feel, well, uncomfortable.

2. I am not a cheerleader. I feel self-conscious and silly yelling things like "way to go!" lookin' good!" "you're doing awesome!" - esp to people I don't know. And I was afraid that driving along the race course as we did, that I would be expected to kind of be a cheerleader along the way. I am more of a behind-the-scenes, give-you-a-smile-and-a-hug-when-you're-done kind of supporter.

3. I am a worrywart. I get terribly anxious watching Zac run like this. I have deep fears of seeing him collapse - and I am not a "calm in crisis" kind of person that would deal very well with that type of scenario. So, being Zac's support crew in this race was just not really where I wanted to be. Oh well. I did it out of love, of course. ;)

Anyway - so after mile 23, Zac told us to go 7 miles ahead and stop and wait for him. Here we are at one of our pit stops.

Another really fun aspect of this whole deal was the lack of facilities, shall we say. This was the view in all directions at one point when I discovered I kinda needed a bathroom:

um. Tell me, where would you like to squat, knowing that a car or runner could be coming up the road at any minute?

Luckily, a little further up the road, I found this little gem. A lone sage brush that I willing to hike out to for even a small illusion of being shielded from view. haha. Awesome!

Meanwhile, back down the road 5 miles or so, Zac was beginning to feel the effect of the unrelenting midday sun beating down on him. Consequently, he was burning through his gatorade much faster than he had anticipated. And the heat was getting to him.

Lesson #1 - Train in the heat.

Zac had done all his long runs early in the morning before the sun had even come up, so he just hadn't even really thought about this aspect of the race. He also forgot to put on sunscreen until later in the afternoon - and the whole left side of his body is now bright red.

Anyway - so Zac ran out of gatorade long before he came to our pit stop and he became dehydrated and dizzy and not well. This was about 1 pm when he reached mile 30. After that, he had to start walking, and even thought at some points that he may have to drop out of the race (although he didn't tell me that until later). He walked for about 7 more miles (and 2 pit stops in that time), unable to get himself recovered from the dehydration until after that point.

Lesson #2 - Don't let your crew get too far ahead.

He expressed this sentiment to a fellow runner, that he had let his crew go too far ahead and was now in trouble. And the runner replied something along the lines of, "no, dude, it's the other way around." In other words, it's the crew's job to take care of the runner. (Yeah. Do you remember Reasons #1 and #3 of why I didn't want to do this?!?) So when Zac told me this, on our long drive back home that night, I basically felt like the worst runner support crew ever. Zac reassures me that I was only following his instructions and I couldn't have known otherwise. And being a first time 50-miler, he didn't really know either. But I just felt awful about it.

When we saw him walking up to the car, not doing very well and saying he was dehydrated, I felt awful. He ended up walking for a ways and Abigail walked for a little bit with him. But Zac was noticably discouraged that this was going to add over an hr to his finish time, if he was even able to finish at all.
Gratefully, by about 3 pm and mile 38 he was feeling better and able to start running again. And . . . we'll continue from there next time . . . ;)

Oh, but just as a side note - the roads were AWFUL. I couldn't drive more than about 20 mph the entire 50 mile route. And there were sometimes trucks that would come barreling down the road like this, with no regard for the runners or crews stopped along the road:

And my car (and everything else) soon was completely covered with a gritty layer of grime like this:
I think there was dirt in every crevice known to man. Whatever that means.
(to be continued . . . )

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Scary. There's nothing anyone could have done really since this was the first time. You will all be better prepared next time. It's crazy to think that he could have done it an hour faster than he did. Maybe next year he can be so well prepared that he can win this thing!

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