Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Angeles crest 100 mile endurance run.Every year I ask myself the same question at the end of AC 100, why do I go back year after year ,getting my butt kicked by this grueling course. Why?? Because of the people the wonderful volunteers, crews, pacers and supporters of this event. They all bring me back. Oh and of course the beauty of the Angeles national forest.
This race was not easy for me this year. Most of my 7 hundreds this year have been some what easy, but AC 100 I was put to the test and didn't give up the fight. I hung in for each round and came out on top a winner. It wasn't because of me. It was only because of my crew and pacers. Without these people motivating me, and inspiring me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I could of easily stopped. But that is not who I am, I don't give up I am stubborn which is a good thing to be ,when running hundred mile races.
My crew and pacers were made up of some very hardcore peeps. Crew, Kellie who is a very amazing crossfitter/runner who will be at the start of AC 100 in 2010, I think she knew more about the course then I did, and I have run it 6 times. Also I had Vanessa who is an amazing crossfit trainer and full of life, and has the most beautiful smile. I'm thinking in time I might rub off on her, and she might want to run a 50k.
These two girls where the best crew ever cheering me on at each aid station. There were times when I would hit a low, but the closer I got to the aid station the happier I got knowing someone who cared about me would be waiting to take care of me.
The pacers Johnnie B who is also a member of the crossfit elite fitness academy and Coach Eric LeClair.
Johnnie B I met at crossfit and the minute I saw him knew I wanted him to pace me. Maybe because he reminded me of myself just a boy version of me. He will be running his first 50 miler next year along with coach LeClair and by 2010 I expect to see Johnnie at the start of the AC 100, if not sooner ;)

The start of the race was perfect not to cold not to hot just right. I enjoyed the climb up acorn and thought of my PCT journey as we hit that trail. I got to enjoy hiking 42 miles of it last year and was happy to be running it again this year.
It often takes me 30 miles to hit my groove in a hundred.
I didn't bring any shot blocks for the first 25 miles, forgot them so when I was climbing Baden-Powell I ran out of gas. I was so tired and slow. I really wanted a sup 30 hour finish but felt like crap. No energy what so ever. I sat at the top of the climb to regroup and watched a hiker climb with a heavy load. I instantly stopped feeling sorry for myself and thought I'm lucky to be going light and not carrying a 40 pound pack. I popped up and took off running down the trail. I came into islep where I would get to see Kellie and Vanessa(my crew) for the first time.
I was so excited to see them. I got some coconut water and ice in my bottle some shot blocks and took off.
The climb up williamson was a bit hard but knew there would be some good down hill into the next aid station. I was flying down, hit something and hit the trail with my right knee. I was ok, I jumped up and went on.
About 5 min. later I crashed hard flying through the air landing on my left knee and left hand and right wrist. I freaked for a min. but got up hoping nothing was broken. My knee and hand were a bloody mess. I had all kinds of little rocks under the skin. I just had to take it easy and not kill myself before the next aid station. I was about 1/4 mile from the aid when I fell on my knee again and this time almost fell 100 feet down a slope.
I arrived at the aid station where Deb fixed me up with some very stylish purple wrap to go around my knee and hand.
I was a little bummed that I had to slow down because of the pain but happy to see my crew. The next section through cooper canyon was nice, ran a lot and enjoyed the cooler temps then normal. It can easily be 100 degrees in the canyon.
Saw the girls at Cloudburst refueled and was ready to make up some time to three points. It's mostly downhill.
Made good time through here and just continued thinking about how much fun I had hiking this section of the PCT last year.
I caught Mike Palmer at Three points and decided to hang with him for a bit. We headed into Hellyer together but I took off at some point wanted to get to Chilio before dark.
Got there and was feeling great. My pacer Johnnie b was there. I would pick him up in 8 miles. Said goodbye and off I went alone into the dark.
Newcombs saddle took forever and was happy Johnnie was there. We headed out for some fun. He was great we just talked about everything. We got to know each other out on that trail through the night. Being out there I think inspired him more. He wants to run a ultra and I know he will soon. This section went well I ran and walked and made good time. I ran at a good pace on most of the down hills.
We finally arrived at Chantry, this is where the race starts for me mile 75 it will make you or break you. Most people who are having a bad day drop out here.
I was so happy to see Eric, he would take me from here on home. This would prove once again to be my hardest section. I must say I made one of my best times on the climb out of Chantry to the bench. Eric was the best coach giving me rewards to work toward, like; you can take a two minute rest at the top or just two more switch backs and it will get flatter. He encouraged me every step of the way.
There were a few times I thought I wasn't going to make the 33 hour cut off. My mind gets wacky and I can't think during a hundred. I had a few melt downs, but Eric was awesome, he would talk me down and help me focus my energy on what I need to do ,and that was to keep moving so I could finish the hundred miles in a good time.
I even got cranky and moody and cried and he kept calm which helped me to focus again. He made me believe in myself when I was falling apart and my brain wasn't functioning.
I really didn't think I could get in under 31 hours. But once again it was Eric he got me to move and to set little goals along the way. He said I could get in in under 31 hours so I focused on doing just that.
We arrived in 30:57. I was overcome for a moment by emotions but was really to tired to cry much.
It was my 6th AC 100 and I will be back again next year.
I hope to have the same crew and pacers, they really made this race special without each of them my finish would just not be the same. They are the ones who helped me earn the buckle.
You guys rock. Thank you so much Kellie, Vanessa, Johnnie b and Eric.
You are my angels.


Stuart said...

Awesome job, congrats on another finish!

It's a race I aspire to run and is my on my 2010 list


Soooooo happy/proud of you Catra!!!! How long have I been following you? Lets see I first started chatting with You when I lived in Nome..... So it's been at least 7 years....... I've said this before many times, but thanks for the inspiration! It's been wonderful following your zest and achievements! I'd really love to crew for You someday on one of your runs.......

Love ya!! Namaste,


Miss SassyLaLa said...

You are such an inspiration. I think that you did awesome. Way to go, your awesome.


Kellie said...

Catra, this is a wonderful post, thank you. It was great fun to crew for you, and I also hope the same team pulls together again next year... only then I'm bailing at Chilao to run with you.

I love reading your perspective and appreciate your detailed post and honest accounting.

Thank you my friend, you are my hero and next year holds bright promise! How's Andy's foot?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Congrats Catra. I love the stubborness. And what an exceptional finish. Good for you. Much love from Holland, Deb

EnergeticRick!!! said...

Well Done Catra!
I will be thinking of your strength and will power on my AT hike. Happy recovery. I am so inspired by how you hung in there.
Drop me a line.
Happy Trails,
p.s. I finally posted my Headlands Hundred Race Report. Check it out!

The Amazing Rosso™ said...

You are so hardcore! I love reading your adventures! Keep 'em coming and keep moving!

Judi said...

Catra - you are my hero.