HB Logo

Rio Del Lago 100

November 5, 2016

Folsom, CA

Mary encouraged me to sign up for this one.  I would have much rather done two or three marathons in a few days to pick up States back east, but no one wanted to go, so I got to sign up for RDL instead.  Now when I first signed up the elevation gain was only 9500 ft., under my self imposed 10,000 ft limit.  There were also people who finished all the way up to 32 hours so I thought I could handle this race.  Then about a month before the race the elevation profile and gain was changed on the website.  13,500 ft. Was the new number and strict cut offs would be enforced for a 30 hour time limit.  Yikes.  The only other hundred I have done over 10,000 was Zion and that took a long time.  So I thought maybe this will be my first DNF.  I thought I could at least get in a long training run.  I decided I would not quit and make them pull me from the course if I didn't make a cut off.  Well I didn't get pulled and here is my story.

Mary and I are pretty compatible when it comes to race travel.  We both like to go to sleep early and get up early.  We were one of the first to arrive at the start and waited for others to show up.  Our labeled drop bags went into the piles and we nervously waited for the start.  The first 20 miles are on pavement and with so many people around with headlamps on I just turned mine off and ran well.  We returned to Beals point and I changed socks and picked up my back pack.  The socks I changed into were a thinner pair of toe socks.  I would later regret using them as they gave me two blisters.  After 45 miles, I drained one of the blisters and taped the other.

Most of the trails we get to run on are quite smooth single track so running was easy at the beginning.  There is one section that is almost 9 miles long and I ran out of water.  Luckily a guy alongside the trail gave me a half of a bottle and that got me the aid station.  I cramped miserably going up the hill to the aid station and they gave me S caps.  It was getting hot out so I stayed a few minutes and drank a lot and doused my head with cold wet sponges.  During this next section there is the meat grinder.  I heard people talking about it but not realizing we were in it.  On the way out, early in the race the meat grinder isn't that bad, just some challenging big Boulder sections.  But coming back in the middle of the night that same section was miserable.  Kim K. warned me about this section and told me I would likely swear about it.  Lots of choice vocabulary ensued and a little slip down some wet and slimy boulders landed me on my butt.  No harm done so I got back up in my feet and trudged some more.

I was running well and feeling good.  I had done this trail before during the American River 50.  It was a lovely day for a run.  There was no real food at the aid stations except PBAndJ.  I don't care for that so stuck with Roctane Gus.  I would regret this later (after 10-12 of them), but I was running well and enjoying the trails.

Right before the 45 mile mark there are about 3 miles of uphill.  I was feeling good so I ran some of this as my walking speed is quite slow.  Finally at the top, my drop bag was there.  A change of socks, taped toe and no real food and off I went to the No Hands Bridge.  I stopped to take some pictures as I may never get to see or run on this bridge again.  People at the aid station were very encouraging.  I had finished 50 miles in 11 hours and in most races this would give me plenty of time to finish but the hard stuff was just beginning.  The aid station people were worried that I wasn't eating enough and the next time for food wouldn't be for ten miles.  So they gave me extra cheese quesadillas which I dutifully carried for ten miles.  Every time I tried to eat some, I would chew and chew and just couldn't swallow the things.  I was still feeling good.  My music would work and then quit working so that was a little frustrating but I was focused on trying to figure out what I could eat to fuel myself.  I pretty much stuck with gels and chews and coke and a banana.  

The changed course added a loop of 4000 ft gain with a hill people warned me about called goat hill, or goat mountain (maybe they said it was monkey breath)  I was doing fine and feeling good and then it was getting dark and I could hear fast running water.  A stream.  I felt fortunate that I got here before dark because I could just make out the rocks to jump on to get across without getting my feet wet.  Rocks in streams are always spread apart for those tall runners with long legs.  Us short people really have to leap and jump to successfully negotiate the placemeant of those rocks.  Then another stream and another and it was dark.  Fortunately I made all the crossings without getting wet.  I did hear a few splashes of people behind me that weren't so lucky.  Now the climbing started with some moderate hills that always take my breath away.  Tracy told me it never really gets easier and so you just grind through it.  Then goat hill. Yikes.  Like section line on Tiger but shorter and with a couple of level breaks.  This at 100k into the event.  It wasn't pleasant but I got through it.  All these hills were challenging but the real challenge was going downhill on sore quads.  Ouchy.

It was dark and my music was working so I didn't hear things in the woods to freak out about.  I just kept motoring.  My pace had slowed with all the elevation gain.  Then I kicked a rock, not on purpose and boy did it mess with my bit right toe.  At the next aid station I stopped to check out the damage. Just a sore toe with a nasty blister.  The medic gave me a piece of athletic tape and I told him it wouldn't stick to a sweaty toe without tincture of benzoin.  He then gave me some mole skin and it barely stuck but gave just enough cushion to dull the pain.  Sock and shoe back on, two cups of broth and off I went.  I was feelin strong in the middle of the night by myself in the scary woods.
The downhill was really starting to hurt and lots of choice words were coming out of my mouth.  I got back to No Hands bridge, around 70 miles and the aid station people were so supportive and encouraging and I had plenty of time to finish....I actually thought I might make it.  This is where my friend Mary ended her race due to foot issues.

I was a little worried about returning to Overlook as I knew that was going to be a climb.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be so a new pair of socks and bigger shoes and the pain cave begins.  Going down those three miles that we had come up before was excruciating. My quads were shot and so I had to walk most of it.  Arg.  At this point I was paying attention to my pace and doing a lot of math to see if I would make it back in time.  I had ten hours for 25 miles which is a lot of time but my legs were hurting a lot so there were some doubts.  Why hadn't I trained more in the hills, oh that's right I like the flat.  I was paying for that now.

During the last three miles we went up and down on a dirt road that I did not remember from the beginning, ah this is why my quads are shot.  A local runner starts walking and shuffling with me.  She and I talk to distract me from the pain. Thanks Mari.

It begins to sprinkle, she asks if we got rained on last night, I say no, and this isn't rain, just a nice mist, it goes away almost as a quick as it started, I see the finish line. The ugly cry overtakes me.  It must look awful to the spectators when I finish because I am so emotional.  Number 19 done, 12 hundreds and 7 more than a hundred.  They hand me my coat and buckle.  I stagger to a chair.  Cry some more and then eat a real food breakfast.  Yum.  Been waiting for real food for 29 hours and one minute.

Probably not going to do this one again.  Didn't like the lack of real food at aid stations.  I guess we are spoiled in the NW. I did enjoy the challenge and now think I really can do 100s with over 10,000 feet elevation gain.  I guess I just did.  Next time I need to train properly.  So of course the lottery for Western States opened up when I was delirious and I just couldn't help myself, I signed up.  Phones and credit cards are dangerous.  Happy running!

Return to Race Reports

Go to HudsonBeeks Home Page