Friday, June 18, 2010

Much more muchier

"You were much more muchier (then)...You've lost your muchness" said the Mad Hatter to Alice. Some folks say it of me these days. But I think I proved them wrong at San Diego 100. Wow, what an experience!

The day started perfectly. I was nervous but not too nervous. My crew and pacers were all fired up ready to go. By the first aid station I was 20 min ahead of my "best case" plan, 40 min ahead by Pine Creek 2 at 36 miles into the race. I had it together mentally and physically. I was on track for 25 hour finish. Then...

As I came out of Pine Creek 2 and began the long, long trek up to Pioneer Mail I was attacked by bees. I was stung multiple times. They went for my arms, my face, into my shirt. Very aggressive. Never having been stung before I wasn't sure about allergic reaction but as I seemed to be OK, I just got really mad. Mad at the bees, the pain of the stings, the fact that the two guys with me took off and left me to it. I killed the bees, pulled out the stingers, picked up everything I had dropped while dancing the bee sting boogie and took off up the hill.

By Sunrise 1 at mile 51.3, I was still ahead by 15 min. Kristen got me out of the aid station fast and off we went. It got really spooky out there after dark. No moonlight, flashlight only, lots of stream crossings, lots of animal sounds. I was starting to slow down, starting to have problems with dizziness and wheezing on hill climbs.

Lori was patiently waiting for me at Sweetwater mile 72.3. I was now an hour behind. I ate, drank and off we went. By now I was struggling. Every time my heart rate went up, I got dizzy. Legs like jello. No energy. Wheezing. My crew figured I just wasn't getting enough calories (I'm notorious for my ability to run 50 miles on sports drink and potato chips). No way was I quitting now so I picked up Dorene at mile 87.5 and we hiked/shuffled to the finish line in 28:00:18. 3 hours slower than I expected but still almost 2 hours faster than last year.

As the finish line volunteers put the medal around my neck, down I went. I simply couldn't breathe. Everyone assumed I was having an asthma attack. Luckily Dorene had an inhaler and after a couple of puffs of it, I was OK. Scared the beejeezus out of RD Scott Mills and my crew.

Turns out, I'm allergic to bee stings. Especially multiple stings. Luckily for me, I had so much adrenaline coursing through my system (from racing, from the way-too-close encounter with a rattler around mile 30, from the bee attack) that I was able to metabolize the venom quickly and keep moving. It may have slowed me down but no way was I quitting. Live and learn. Survive to fight another day (or race course). See you out on the trails... with my epi pen of course!

Many, many thanks to pacers - Kristen, Lori and Dorene - and crew - Shelli, Randy, Sensei Paul and Kellie. Without you guys, I couldn't have done it! Thanks also to my race sponsor, Dr Michael Shalhoub of True2Life. Check out their products at

Also, many thanks to Scott Mills, the Bad Rats and all volunteers - without you, no race is possible. This was an exceptionally well organized race from start to finish. And, although tougher, I do prefer the new course. See you next year!