Sunday, April 6, 2008

"Ramblings of a Loser"

This is what I posted to our local "buffalo list" the day after McNaughton Park 100 almost two years ago (my 2nd DNF at the 100 there)...I DNF'd again last year too. This race has my number! I have a new strategy this year...and I will finish.

"Ramblings of a Loser" (April 17, 2006)

Hey Buffs,

I'm a loser. I DNF'd at McNaughton Park Trail (MPT) again at 75 miles. Yes, all the running magazines say "You're a winner by just having the courage to stand at the starting line." Fucking liars! I stood at that line, ran/walked 75 miles, and dropped out...that doesn't make me a winner. Tracy Thomas is a winner (shattered the course record!) and all the folks that sucked it up and got across that finish line AFTER 100 miles (or is it more like 104 miles?)...they are winners. I'm a loser. That's OK, it's good to be a loser every once in while.

Who else is a winner? All those aid station volunteers. Especially at Heaven's Gate. It was a pleasure passing that aid station twice per loop. All the buffs were supportive and on top of the runner's needs. Brian kept scrambling for more ice and supplies on a brutally hot day. Jay P (the new "fat kid") rocked as a volunteer, but needs to run more and hang out less on the couch! Tony & Danielle ran 30 miles then volunteered all night and part of the next day. I think Don ran a fast 30 and helped for a while too. Marla ran "more than 30 miles," looked great at the finish, and then made some killer PB&J as a volunteer. Jeff & Jim camped Friday night, worked all day, then paced me part of the day/night. Tom volunteered day & night plus paced me for my "last loop" (65-75 miles)--and kept my spirits up--as best as anyone could. "John & Son" volunteered and "pseudo-paced" me for one loop. Gregg ran with me for the first 45 miles (and finished 50 miles looking strong). Good people. Hell, Spencer even called at night to say "take a nap...keep going!" Yeah, right. I appreciated the support and kind words. You all are winners in my book.

And Andy's a winner. What a great race. Well organized. Great fleece jacket. Nice hat. Awesome volunteers and aid station food. Did I say "great course?" I'm not sure about that! After 40 miles I was saying "Is that all you got MPT!" Unfortunately, MPT still had a few tricks. 86 degrees and hot sun were just the beginning. MPT delivered some nice rain, lightning, and wind at night. And then the slick mud. Hills were almost impossible to climb. I was dehydrated, hungry, tired, achy, and dizzy...and that was after 70 miles. I don't know how Tom & I made it back to Heaven's Gate at 75 miles. MPT whooped my ass! Put a fork in me...I was done. (I swear there was a BIG fork at that aid station). No one's fault but mine. I can't blame anyone but myself.

Everyone tried their best to keep me going. I can still remember Tony & John yelling at me to keep going as I sat comatose in a chair. I vaguely recall Danielle singing and saying "Finish it for Hammy!" Someone kept kicking me...can't remember who...probably Tony and/or John. Tom & Brian were sleeping by then and Danielle is too nice to kick someone when they're down. Good try, but I wasn't budging.

No regrets. Sometimes you just gotta try things that seem impossible. If it wasn't so hot and sunny...if I drank more and ate more...if I trained more...if the streams weren't so high...if it didn't rain...maybe I would have finished. That's a lot of "ifs." Plain and simple...I DNF'd. As I write this Monday morning, I'm still happy with my decision. Who the hell runs 100 miles anyway? As the saying goes..any idiot can run a takes a special kind of idiot to run 100 miles! Tracy isn't an idiot, but she is special. Good job woman!

A big "thanks" to everyone. You all are fantastic. Not sure if I'll ever try a 100 miler again, but if I do, I hope there will be "buffalo-like people" at that race. Oh, and next year...try some reverse psychology...tell me to quit. Tell me I look terrible. Tell me it'll feel nice to stop. Tell me there's no shame in quitting. Tell me "75 miles ain't bad." Tell me I'm a winner to have just started. Tell me there will be dancing girls after I DNF, shower, and change clothes. Please people, help me DNF! It's a tradition now.

NOTE: The 2008 race will be my 4th attempt at the 100 miler at McNaughton Park. This is the only race I've ever DNF'd. Let's hope that on April 14, 2008 I am posting "Ramblings of a Winner" rather than "The DNF Tradition Continues."


ed said...

Chris, you're no loser, anyway I have better qualifications!

Your blog entries with all your enthusiasm & optimism are very motivating to me, not to mention they're also entertaining & fun to read! Now that sounds like a winner to me.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself on my trip to Clinton Lake with all those roller coaster hills – you & your support crew put on a great event!! I plan to better prepared next year & the experience can only help. I’m also hoping your race has prepared me to complete my 1st 100 at McNaughton this week. Are you starting Saturday morning? I’m leaning towards the early start Friday -- not because of the 34 hour limit -- but because of the noon start that changes when I’ll be running the course at night & because it changes the time of day when hopefully I’m in the home stretch. Looks like it won’t be as hot as when you described, but my guess (& my luck) is that it will be very muddy and/or raining -- will keep the fingers crossed.

I’m looking forward to your blog entry on your 100 mile finish.

Chris Ⓥ said...

Ed, Best of luck at McNaughton 100--it is one tough first 100 miler. It won't be hot, but maybe cool and a little rainy or muddy. I plan on starting early with the 150 milers (Noon on Friday). I want to take it easy and just run 30-40 miles each day--without too much required night running.

sherpajohn said...

Bah!.. We'll run the damn thing together if we have to!