This was a challenging race 100k Mountain run. This year only 33 runners started. It also ended up being my first DNF. Kind of a scary DNF. I started out at 2am feeling great, I got up to Camel Pass at 6am, and then started the climb up to Lightening Ridge, the toughest climb of the course. On the way up I noticed I wasn't handling the climb as well as I normally handle climbs. Even though it wasn't hot yet and I was taking Scaps and hydrating I started feeling very dizzy and nauseated near the top. I have run some fairly tough races, and climbs, and none of them have taken it out of me like that. It was bad enough that I had made the decision to drop at Big Springs (mile 23). However, by the time I got to the bottom, drank some ensure, got some potatoes with salt, etc, I was feeling OK (about 5 minutes). So I decided to go on to Windy pass. At this point I had made the first cutoff by an hour, and was pretty sure I could get up to Windy Pass(mile 29) by 12:30, and then run down to Little Valley and make the 40 mile cut off by 3--3:30 and hour to and hour and a half ahead of the cut of. From that point the rest of the course is not as challenging.
I made up to Windy Pass just fine, and felt OK, however, it was very hot and I ran out of water just before the aid station. I should have hydrated really well at the aid station, and then filled my water bottles, but at that point it was hot, and I was getting over heated, and I did not notice I was not thinking very clearly. I left the aid station with 30 ounces of water, and had forgotten to fill up my extra bottle I was carrying. I climbed the rest of the ridge at Windy Pass, and started to feel sick, half way down the pass I started getting a little delirious, but thought I would be fine once I got to the lower ridge. The last runner passed me and asked if I was OK. She noticed that I was down to 8 oz of water, and offered me some, but I didn't want to take hers and risk her not having enough. I should have realized I was going to be in trouble at that point, and had her get Jeff, who was at the Little Valley Aid station below, and send him up with water. However, she thought there was one person behind me, so I thought I was OK, and that if I wasn't I could ask the runner behind me to notify the aid station. There was no runner behind her! At that point I had 7 mile to go, at 8 ounces of water, in 90 degree heat, and I think I was already pretty dehydrated. Got down another mile or so with very little water, and started feeling very dizzy. I tried to take plan electrolyte drops with the few ounces of water I had, but then realized they Prolyte drops probably would not help much without actual water. I also realized that I could not eat because all I had left was gel, and it would dehydrated me more without water to take it with. At this point I also realized there was no runner behind me, and I was in trouble. I was dizzy, lightheaded, and very thing was turning blurry. I decided the best thing to do was to keep walking at an easy pace, another mile or two down, I felt like I was going to break down, and was having a hard time keeping my head, it took all my concentration to not let myself give in to wanting to sit down, or stop. Every time I stopped I would nearly pass out. In my delirium, I was not afraid of dying, but of passing out, and someone having to look for me and Lifeflighting me out of there, I thought that would be really embarrassing. But I was also afraid to just stop because I had over 3 hours until the cut off when I first started feeling like I was in trouble, and knew if I stopped it would be at least 3 hours until someone would come looking for me. I thought if I could at least get to the aid station, even if I needed IV fluids, at least I could be driven to the ER, and not have to draw a scene. It is really funny the things you worry about when you are not thinking straight. After a while I begin to notice that my mouth was completely dry, as well as my lips, then I started checking my pulse I could feel it on my wrist, but going at a speed of 2 miles per hour downhill it was about 130 bpm. My resting pulse is about 50, and it gets to 130-140 if I am exercising strenuously. So at that point I knew that I had to keep my head as clear as I could, and that every decision was probably life or death. Some how I finally managed to get far enough down the trail, and found a spring 1.25 miles from the aid station. I am not sure I would have made it the last mile without passing out if I had not found the spring. I was very dehydrated,and overheated. So I sat down next to the spring, and poured water all over me to cool me down, and then started to slowly rehydrate. Eventually I felt OK enough to keep going. At that point, I was still in time enough, that had a ran down the hill, I would have even made the cut off, but I had decided earlier on the trek down, that I needed to drop when I got to the aid station. I was too dehydrated to go another 24 miles. I got down about a quarter of a mile, and Jeff had finally realized I was probably in trouble when the lady who passed me told me how much water I had had 7 miles ago, and the guy just ahead of me had stopped at the spring for 30 minutes and waited for me and I never came. It turned out, he probably left about 30 seconds before I got there. He had already decided to drop himself. So Jeff walked down with me the last mile, and all I could do was sit in a chair and watch the aid people break down the station. The other guy who DNF'd was a paramedic, and offered to give me an IV if I needed one, but after sitting for 30 minutes, I thought I would probably be OK. I am still not fully re-hydrated, and can feel it. But I am ok
The moral of the story is, always have enough water! I am going to get a bigger hydration pack for the Bear 100.
The good news is, I finished the most difficult part of the course, and I learned that I have pretty good survival instincts. I think that is from the years of midwifery, and learning not lose my head in a real crisis. I thought I would have a hard time the first time I DNF'd, but I did not. I was so happy to come down the mountain alive, that I felt like that was a greater accomplishment than finishing.
I want to do this course again, but I will carry a lot more water. It can get really hot in August!