The Wasatch 100 is a fickle mistress. I pine for it all year and then regret its advances while in the throws of embrace. With a couple of weeks between me and this last Wasatch 100 it’s maybe time to collect my thoughts without screaming. This was my eighth start and third DNF. Something worth screaming about. I just want that sixth finish! At one point in my life I thought I had this distance dialed – or at least the Wasatch 100 course dialed. But both the Wasatch and 100 mile distance seem to be increasingly out of reach.
I spent most of my summer chasing summits and vertical – hoping this would carry me through the 25k+ of vertical gain and descent on the Wasatch course. And I spent a lot of time running in the heat – mostly running after work in 95-100 degree heat. But in the end, my stomach ruled (ruined?) the race day and I just couldn’t take it.
I felt great through the first 20 miles, pursuing a slow but consistent pace. Trying to be o-so-careful to manage dehydration, fuel, and heat. I tried to keep out of the heat by soaking in any trickle of water I passed and by dumping aid station water over my head. But leaving Swallow Rocks (~mi.25) I threw up for the first time and continued to throw up for the next twenty miles. I’ve faced this before – but never this early in the race. In 2012 and 2015 I started puking at around mil 40 and was able to continue on. This time the puking was more intense and somehow more debilitating.
By mile 34 I was pretty much tapped out – mentally and physically from the inability to drink or eat. I spent a solid half our at Alexander Ridge (~mi. 39?) trying regain some hydration and mental stamina. But I still couldn’t keep anything down. I stumbled my way to Lamb’s Canyon making okay time was incredibly demoralized.
My ever patient wife arrived soon and did her best to get me back into shape. But the puking continued periodically for the next two hours before I finally called it and reluctantly signed the DNF form proclaiming “Traumatic Stomach Disorder” as my medical cause. I was PISSED but obviously relieved. I had puked my way through 60 miles of Wasatch in 2015 and at that current moment, couldn’t consider doing it again.
So, a few things I learned this time around that are worth noting (partly as a personal note-to-self):
- Running without a crew is just plain stupid. I always think I can hack it on my own without a crew – but having a crew would have made an incredible difference. I need to remember that folks want to help and I can’t consider it an inconvenience to them unless they tell me such.
- Running without a pacer is great when things are great, but miserable when things are bad. Everyone else on the course seems happy with their pacer and it’s a drag to be solo and miserable. Boohoo for me 🙁 Given that, pacers are key.
- Be prepared for the heat. Even with an afternoon storm during the race the heat was too much.
- Tied to that, I really need to figure out this stomach issue. It’s my fourth round with this issue which is perhaps related to heat exhaustion/fatigue. From reading online I may be more prone to with each successive bout – which explains the earlier issues.
- Next time will be different.