Monday, May 19, 2008

OHLONE SOLO 100 MILE TRAIL RUN.People often ask why do you run so far especially if it's not an official race. I say to them, I do it for the challenge and to feel alive.
I started Saturday at 4:20am I was going to start at 4:30am but got there early.
I had about 3 hours sleep the night before.
Andy flew up from SoCal and his flight was delayed ,and we went for dinner, and I still had to decide what to wear when I got home.
It was really warm at the start, no need for a jacket. I ask Andy if he wanted to pace me up to the Horse Heaven junction, he agreed. I felt really good and we talked all the way to the junction. We said goodbye and Andy gave me a little gift it was a little key- chain of a cute doll and it said "Superstar". I loved it. It would be my new good-luck charm. I hooked it on the front of my pack. I knew if I hit low points along my journey, I would look at it and it would make me smile.
Andy's last words to me were to drink, and eat ,and take my endurolytes. My plan was to take 1 cap and eat 3 clif bloks every hour. That's what Andy does and he's fast so I thought why not try it ;)
I don't eat much in a race because I'm not usually hungry . I knew it would be hot so I didn't want to fall apart so I would try his advice.
I made it to the top of Mission Peak in 78 min. It was the most beautiful sunrise. I took my first endurolyte and ate 3 bloks and took off into Sunol. I got into Sunol around 2:15 from the start. I went to my resupply which I dropped and stored next to the EPRP rangers office. Ranger Neil drove in as I was getting my water , ice and food.
I gave him a hug ,he wished me luck, and off I went bopping along the trail listing to my MP3. I would not have any supplies again until 31 miles where I would meet my crew in Del Valle.
I took off towards Rose peak the goal get there in under 5:45. I got there at 5:40. I ran out off water ,maybe a mile before the summit ,but only had to go another mile to Maggies where I would get water. I filled up and took off to Del Valle. I called Andy from the summit to let him know I would be there between 12:30-1:30.
I arrived in De Valle 8:35 into my run. The plan was between 8-9 hours. I stayed to regroup eat a popsicle which Jerry brought for me at my request. Mike Palmer would pace me from here to Sunol, where Andy would be waiting to take over pacing. Mike was there to pace me and help mark that section of the Ohlone 50k course.
It was hot out there and I knew the climb out of Del Valle would be tough. I said good-bye and me and Mike took off. I told Andy and we Should be to Sunol at 7:30pm but I would call from Rose Peak. I felt like I was going to die climbing out. It was hot but I knew it would start cooling down. I looked at my watch at one point and it said 104 for the weather. I just hiked all the uphills as best I could. I had to stop and sit many times alone the way. We arrived at the aid station that was 5.50 from the finish of the 50k race, they had dropped the supplies off, they always do it the day before, and most of the volunteers hike in Sunday morning or camp out.
I went through the supplies to get ice and water and found some tea. I really need that it tasted great. We headed out to Maggies where I knew I would see the volunteers who were camped out. My friend Jurek was already there. I had seen him with the rangers dropping off supplies earlier that day.
I was slow and the heat was taking it's toll. I just kept focused and looked at my little"SuperStar" doll. We made it to Maggies and there must of been 8 volunteers who were going to camp out that night. They gave me ice and some chips and sent me on my way.
I called Andy from Rose and said we would be there at 8:30. We took off I was starting to feel better because I knew all those big climbs were finished for now.
It was getting late I asked Mike to run ahead since the park closed at 9pm and didn't want him to get stuck inside the gate. It was no big deal because they actually lock the gate at 9:15.
I was only 5 min. behind Mike. I showed up at 8:55.
Andy took pacing duty from here. I was super happy to have him out there with me. The plan do a 2.5 mile out and back along the Little Yosemite trail than head 11 miles out over Mission peak to the trailhead than run 1 mile to Jerry,s house where I had aid. Head back to the start where I would start my watch for the last 50k, which is the time they put as my 50k result for the race.
During the 2.5 mile out I was falling apart, poor Andy had to deal with all my emotions. I was crying one minute laughing the next. Earlier in the day, at mile 43 I felt a bladder infection coming on. I was able to keep it under control. But it was getting worse again. I just had to make sure to drink a ton. And to make sure and use the cranberry juice I had waiting at Jerry's. I stopped and had to lay down at mile 55. Andy also massaged my neck & shoulders. I regrouped and we headed back to the aid in Sunol. We got what we would need for the next 11 miles and headed out into the night. I was getting sleepy so took a nodoz at 11:30. I was excited to have Andy out on my trail that I talk so much about. He was excited to pace me. We have run a few Ultras together now and have seen each other at hundred milers through the years. But never has he been around me to see how I am during a hundred miler. I will say I only had 1 mini melt down and that was because I was mad that I was so slow in the night.
We got to the top of Mission Peak and looked out to all the city lights. The weather was warm still no need for a jacket. During the whole run I put my jacket on two times for maybe a few minutes.
The plan was to be to Jerry's by 3:30 we got there at I think 3:10. I heated up some Miso soup and we headed out.
We got back to the parking lot and I started my watch at 3:40. We saw one of the usually hikers Doug and his dog Joe. He always hikes in the wee hours of the morning. We hiked and talked a little bit with him.
Andy and I enjoyed bonding out there. We really had fun.
We got to see the sunrise which was awesome. Heading back to Sunol we saw Phil Stark who was running 100k out there. I had seen him the day before. He had a friend pacing him. We wished each other well and off we went.
We arrived in Sunol sometime after 6:30. We got our supplies and said hello to the people who were setting up the aid station for the race. I knew it would be tough the rest of the way ,the climb to Rose, the climb out of Satans pit but I knew I would get there. My bladder infection was getting worse and there is nothing to do about it but drink. I was dry heaving coming into Sunol so I took a pill I had for sour stomach it worked. My feet were really sore. But knew I had to do what Andy said just put one foot in front of the other. He also said I shouldn't worry about my finishing time that it's all about the journey.
There were many times climbing out of Del Valle I want to quit but keeping positive turned it around.
When I was feeling sick at mile 79 I just wished I could quit but I knew I was just having a low point.
I was happy to reach Rose Peak but at this point the bladder infection was kicking in more. I had to keep stopping to pee. My feet were so trashed no blisters just sore. I was wearing shoes that I have never tested during 100 miles. I won't wear them that far again.
When we were heading to Rose the first runner passed us it was Jean he had won it last year and had a huge lead. We exchanged greetings and off he went. He went on to win.
I was now very encouraged to see all the runners passing me. I saw my friend Will who looked super strong and finished 7th. Most runners knew what I was doing and offered words of encouragement and commented many times that I was crazy.
The climb going down Satan's pit was painful my feet hurt so bad and my bladder hated it too. We stopped at the bottom to prepare for the climb out. I soaked my bandana and wet my legs down. I swear keeping your legs wet keeps your body cool. Many times on the course I wet my legs down with my water bottle. So many runners were having problems with the heat. Most of us struggled at some point out there. Having Andy out there all those hours was a blessing without him I don't think I would of wanted to keep going.
He is truly an Angel to have put up with me for so many hours.
I looked at my watch at the aid station that is 2 miles from the finish. I wanted to finish in 34 but that went out the window hours ago. I thought it would take me over 36 hours. But looking at my watch and doing some basic math in my head I thought I'm going to push to break 36. I always have given myself a little goal when running this solo that I finish in under 36 hours because that's my cut off.
I started shuffling faster and we made it to the finish in 35:50 WOO HOO!!! I was super happy. This was my 5th Ohlone 100 mile run with the race and my 8th Ohlone finish.
Congrats. to all the 50k finishers.
I want to thank Andy for being the best boyfriend ever and keeping me positive and motivated all those miles and hours. Oh and awesome job to Andy for running 53 miles out on the Ohlone. Thanks Jerry for the popsicle and helping with taking Andy back to Fremont and letting us use your house as mile 67 aid. And Mike who paced me 20 miles and than ran the 50k race the next day.
I will be back to do it again next year. Really my secret goal is to someday have this as an official 100 mile race ;)
click for pictures Andy took while on the trail.
Thank you to RD's Rob & Larry ,and all the volunteers you guys were all so helpful and happy to help.


HappyTrails said...

You are awesome and inspiring! Great job! Andy's photos were great - the trails looks wonderful!!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats! You are awesome!
(runningfreeusa on the RW forum)

olga said...

Oh, girlie, that's tough, and yes, you both are angels to each other, and I am very white-jealous and happy for you! That's a relationship to cherish!

Ewa said...

Congratulations Catra! My son and I saw you and Andy on Sunday morning on Mission Peak. Doug and Joe were there and Doug asked if I knew you. I said that only through your blog. And then you passed by but I don't think you heard our "Good Luck!" wishes.
Awesome job!

Shari Baby said...

Congratulations Catra! So..I'm NOT an ultra runner so I have no idea so forgive this question if its dumb...but Is it normal to start and stop so much during a ultra race ? Like did you drive to a house to eat, and get supplies, then back to the trail, etc ? I'm just wondering because it's way different than any race I have done before so I want to understand. I have a few friends that have done Western 100 and I dont think they started/stopped much. Inform look great and strong btw. Nice job

Judi said...

You are a very special girl Catra.

Catra said...

It's not a dumb question you don't understand that's ok.
This is a solo run.
It's my own thing I only ran it.
People often sleep on the trail in a 100 mile race. Out of 55 100 mile races I haven't had to do that.
I ran to Jerry's house because I did not have aid and I needed 2 miles to make my total 100 miles.
I was having issues and when I would stop and sit down it was a few minutes.
People do this at aid stations in races. There is a saying beware of the chair. It means don't stop and sit because you don't want to get to comfy you might want to drop if you're having issues.
It was pretty much one foot in front of the other for 35:50.
You do what you have to do to make it safely to the finish. Saturday was very hot and I had to take care of me. Many people who ran the 50k race Sunday had to rest at aid stations or under trees.
Western states 100 is easy compaired to what I did. You have aid stations every 5 miles so you don't have to carry your stuff for 20 miles at a time.
I love the challenge and that's why I map out courses and run my own runs.
Thanks for the post.
I hpe all is well..

miki said...

Good job Catra! My boyfriend saw you just now at Whole Foods in Cupertino so I knew you had made it thru this weekend. Personally, I would not even be able to walk yet. :)

*Ultra*Rockstar* said...

Hey Catra:

You rocked it once again. That is why you inspre so many of us, and you just keep smiling through it all. YOur positive energy is infective,
Thanks for the pep talk after the run. I was feeling so low about dropping, it was such a tough decision to make and your words mean a lot.

This Sunday Morgan & I are going to do our own "rise from the dead 50k" we are going to do it along beales point,rattlesnake area...and start very early.

Anywa congrats again !

Ultrarockstar: Michelle & Morgan

Victoria said...

So I just want you to know that my friend's comment about you after he found out you'd just finished 100 miles-- "But she looked really good for finishing 100 miles-- I mean, she looked tired, but she didn't look any more tired than anyone else who had just done the 50K." And on the big scoreboard in the sky, you get 1000 bonus points for finishing with a BLADDER INFECTION!! I remember you saying that at the creek (before that ridiculous uphill), but I was so mush-minded at that point, I don't remember if I told you that then... hope you're feeling better!

Anonymous said...

Hi Catra! You're awesome !! Me, Ruby and Wayne are sooo proud of you! You really toughed it out!! You're my hero, Kathy D.

Heather said...

Dude... YOU ROCK!

CoyoteGirl said...

Yay Catra! That's awesome! You are such an inspiration to me.

Yoshiko said...

Dear Catra,
You are so awesome! I just came back from Jemez Mountain Trail Run in NM. I've got love trail run even more ever since I met your blog. You are my hero as you always have been to me.
Love, Yoshiko (Japanese)

Catra said...

thanks happytrails.
It was wonderful being out there with someone I'm so in love with!

Catra said...

Hey Melissa thanks.

Catra said...

Hi Olga-
Andy is and was amazing we had so much fun together out there. The memories will last forever.

Catra said...

Hey EWA-
I was pretty much out of it. I do remember seeing a tent on the top of Mission Peak and two ladies and a few people coming up the peak.
I didn't hear you, or notice who you were darn. I would of stopped to talk :) thank you.
Yeah we saw Doug & Joe at the bottom and hiked a little with him. He than took the short cuts and we eventually turned right to head up Horse Heaven and the South side.
Next time stop me in my tracks so I can meet you ;)

Catra said...

Thanks so much and great job on your marathon.

SLB said...

Awesome job, your motivation and determination are an inspiration. I am nothing but amazed at your ability to conquer these distances and races so close to each other.

Keep it up.

Old Man and mid pack runner said...

cool you can still "strike a pose" even with the miles and other issues of the day. awesome job!

GB said...

Catra, you're a womanimal! I need to pick your brain and learn about preparing for ultras. You are a pro in every way, and it is great to see your happiness with Andy. You both looked great when I saw you on the trail, and I know you had already been through hell and back out there.

I imagine I would have probably been crying more than laughing if I ran ONE HUNDRED miles! You're just plain tough!

Shari Baby said...

Thanks for clearing that up and explaining to me. I do understand that 100 miles is freaking long ass way and I would be resting under a damn tree too! Way to go - you're one helluva crazy broad.

willgotthardt said...

Always inspiring Catra...GREAT recap of your time out there, I can't even imagine...was good to get a handshake in with Andy as I passed by the two of you near Rose Peak summit, obviously a very cool guy.

Thanks for the nice race comment, appreciate it, I had a good day.

Will G.

Catra said...

Hey Will-
Thanks for the comment. Yeah, you did great! And you will only improve when you do your next 50k. I hope to see you make the jump and move up to 50 milers and than 100 milers ;)
Have a beautiful day!

Anonymous said...

Hey Lady!

I am running my first Ultra this november (JFK 50) and thank you for the inspiration.I Your experience, strength, and hope is a beautiful thing, thank you for sharing that! Much love and peace to you sister and i am looking forward to reading about your journeys.