This is my 4th Ultra Marathon and 2nd Ultra this year
Photo by Casey
This is my second time running this ET race, last year I was running my 51st marathon so I had requested my bib number to be 51 and Joyce, race director, was kind enough to give me the number 51. So last year I was running my 51st in Area 51 with bib number 51. My friend told me I should have done the 51K instead, but I count my Marathons and Ultra separately so I rather want to do the 51K this year.
Saturday - 8-21-10
I left my house at 2am and started to drive to Vegas, and after 4 hours of driving in the middle of the night, I arrived in Vegas around 6am. Then I drove to this Motel 6 right across the street from MGM Grand to check in, yes even at 6am in the morning, you can still check in, I always love Motel 6, plus after I found out that they have remodeled some of their rooms here, I had to try it out, and I was really impressed with their new look.
Because it was so freaking hot outside, like above 100 degree, I decided to stay inside my room and just chill out, I was gonna go check out this place called Omelette House, but I just dont want to deal with heat. So I just hung out in my room, watching TV, getting online and enjoy the AC.
At around 12pm, I decided to call Pizza Hut and ordered my pasta for my carbo load, since the race start at midnight I want to get my carbs in no less than 12 hours from race start, that's the advice I got from Dick Beardsley.
I only ate the pasta, saved the breadstick after the race
Then around 4pm, I headed my way to the Hard Rock Casino, which was only around 2 miles drive, to pick up my packet. The expo was small, typical Calico Racing's expo, while I was in line waiting to get my stuff, I bumped into Emil, he just finished getting his stuff and was ready to leave, we chatted a little bit before we saw Don with his friend, they are gethering a dinner at the nearby PF Chang's in an hour but me and Emil decided to skip since we have already eaten.
This is the COOLEST bib EVER!!!
After I got my packet, I ran into Vince, who also ran the Devil race 2 months ago, we actually walked together for a few miles during the that race and we met up again after the race in my room cuz I was really really sick and he was able to provide some help that I needed to recover from that hot race. We exchanged conversation a little bit, then he told me to meet up with him, his family, and the 2 guys that I met during the Devil race, Brian and Jake, at a restaurant inside the Hard Rock Casino. They had rented a RV so they wont have to take the shuttle bus to the start, they invited me to their RV and I couldnt say No since I never ridden on a RV before, although I have bought the BUS ticket, but if I can get to the start early, I am ok with that.
So they decided to leave in an hour so I quickly drove back to my room and grab my stuff and meet them back at the lobby by 5:30pm. We didnt actually leave until around 6:30pm cuz we were waiting for Brian to show up, although he actually stays at Hard Rock, wonder why took him so long? overslept?? =-)
We made one pit stop at the LOVES gas station to get gas and grab some food on the road, then we were ready to hit the road and head to the starting area.
We arrived at the start area around 9:30pm, there were only a few cars parked along side the dirt road by the start, we saw one of the runner all decorated himself with glowsticks all over his body, too bad I didnt get a pic of it. He told me he bought like 10 packs of glow sticks.
By 11pm, we saw the shuttle buses started to arrive, there were like around 10 or so of them, we were just hanging out infront of our RV, watching runners getting ready for the race.
Brian, me and Jake hanging out before the start.
By around 11:45pm, 15mins until race start, we started to head to the start area, there were lots of people have their glowstick around their necks, its look like a rave party, everyone has their headlights on and everything.
Brian, me, Jake and Vince getting ready for our 51k.
The race start at midnight, we were near the front of the group, since everyone is going by clock time, so we want to get out there early. We decided to go out on a slow pace together early on and just enjoy the camaraderie. Within for the first few miles, I noticed a Maniac running pass me on my right side, and it was Ron, we exchanged hellos, then a moment later, I heard someone called my name from behind, and when I turned around, they were Maniacs Ward and Casey, I was glad they recognize me cuz it was tough to pit point ANYBODY in the dark!! Ward wasnt sure he was gonna run this race , but I am glad he made it. And Casey was running her 1ST Ultra!! She couldnt have picked a better ultra to run!! Then a few mins later, I heard ANOTHER person calling my name from the back, and this time it was Jasmin, who was also running her 1ST ultra marathon. So I was kind of glad I didnt go out fast cuz if I did I wouldnt have caught up with my Maniacs friends!!
I was still going on a slow pace since the elevation started to affect me, it was around 4500 feet, so I was just enjoying myself on the run with the guys. Then a few miles later, I heard ANOTHER person calling my name from behind!! And this time, it was another Maniac Morgan Cumming, she is on her quest to become the youngest person to ever finish 50 marathons in all 50 states, current record holder is Laura Skladzinski, she just recently finished her quest in June at the Minneapolis Marathon at the age of 24.
Morgan is a true warrior, she recently finished a marathon ON CRUTCHES because of her injury on her left foot!! We ran for a few miles together before she had to stop at the aid station, I wished her good luck since I had my water bottle so I didnt have to refill just yet.
Then around Mile 10, I caught up with Casey, she was taking her walking break so I decided to chat up with her since I was in no hurry. She was telling me that she was looking for me all over at the expo and before the race, but since I was with my Devil's friends, I was MIA until earlier during the race when she finally found me. As we were walking, we saw Maniac Ed "Fancypants", he was wearing this spacesuit with helmet on his head. See the pics below.
Casey and "Fancypants" Ed
The backside of Ed
The after Mile 13, I decided to start running again, but my stomach was acting up, I wasnt feeling hungry, I wasn't feeling like throwing up, I felt like I have a cold stomach feeling, which I have never felt before in a race, so I quickly put my left forearm infront of my stomach and tried to keep it warm, which helped a little but I wasn't able to run on it, everytime I tried to run, it bothers me. So I pretty much just started to walk in discomfort. I was really in a bad mood cuz I felt like I wasn't having any fun walking, plus my shoes werent comfortable, I was really thinking about quitting, or just finish the marathon distance instead of 51K.
Then around Mile 18, I can see the Finish Line ahead of me at Mile 20, but for us marathon/ultra runners, we STILL have to go for an out and back to complete our distance before we return to the finish line. So I was at the aid station at mile 20, I FINALLY decided to try the Hammer Gel to see if it help relieve my stomach pain, and it took me by surprise that it actually helped!! the cold stomach feeling was gone!!! I felt an instance relief, but I STILL have 12 more miles to go!!! My first plan was just get to the next aid station(Mile 23), then if I feel a little better, I will continue up with the 51k, if not, I will head back to complete the marathon distance.
I finally got to aid station at Mile 23, then I asked the volunteer to refill my water bottle when I sat down in the chair to take my Hammer Gel, I sat there for a min then I felt better and decided to complete the 51K. It was around 5:30am in the morning and the sun just barely came out and I could see the road pretty clear, sometimes I think it's better to run when you are actually see the course instead of almost totally darkness.
The Mile 26 point turnaround for our 51K runners was just ahead of me, I found a few familiar faces coming back, including Ed, Casey(gave her a high five as she ran by) and Jake. I felt alot better than earlier after I started taking the Hammer Gel, I was able to pass a lot of runners after the turnaround, it was pretty nice running on the highway when the sun is coming up, I got the perfect view of the sun slowing rising above the mountains.
Then with less than 1 mile to go, I could see the A'Le"Inn, the finish line, ahead of me, plus I also saw my friend Jake was a little bit ahead of me, so I tried to catch up with him a little as possible, when he started to walk, I start to run just to close up the gap between him and I, I continue to do that until I finally caught up with him, we talked for a little bit before I started to sprint to the finish line, I crossed the finish line in 7:10.21. It was a tough race, I was glad I survived without dropping out.