It’s Sunday and I’m at Louis’ Restaurant at Land’s End eating breakfast. It’s become something of a tradition for me to eat here the morning after a local ultra. I can’t sleep, can’t eat (or eat much) after a race so I’m usually wide awake at the crack of dawn and starving so I hobble the few blocks over. It’s nice to enjoy the ocean views when it’s quiet before the hordes of tourists descend on the area.

I ran the Dick Collins Firetrails 50 yesterday. I felt really good until I didn’t. Even during the climb out of Lone Oak (mile 26), which always feels too long and too hot, I was still feeling good and moving well. I got through Steam Trains (mile 30) in good shape but by the time I reached Sibley (mile 34) the wheels had started to fall off.

The only thing I could eat was orange slices and drinking turned into chewing on ice chips. I spent way too much time leaning my head on the aid station table trying to control, what, I don’t know. I didn’t feel terrible but I didn’t feel great either. Or maybe I did feel terrible and was in massive amounts of denial so I could get through this thing.

Rinse and repeat this scenario at every aid station until the end. I couldn’t believe there were still Pamakids waiting at the finish for teammates to come through. I’m pretty sure I yelled that they were awesome. Somehow it was heard and translated as me hurling f-bombs at them. The latter is certainly funnier than the former. That encapsulated my day, where it started out as one thing (fantastic) and turned into something else (craptastic).

Per my old coach Ann – “Tell me three things you did right, three things you learned, and three things you would do differently.”

Three Things I Did Right:
1. I had a great first 50k or so. I was eating and drinking and keeping my energy up.
2. I challenged myself to run more of the ups than I normally would.
3. I finished.

Three Things I Learned:
1. If you look pathetic enough, like lying on the ground in a heap, Noé will actually offer you some of his precious Cheetos.
2. Be grateful for any finish, even if it’s a “fugly” one. I may be having a rough day but it’s likely someone else is having an even worse one.
3. Throwing up sucks.

Three Things I Would Do Differently:
1. Maybe that 90 mile week with a triple 20/30/20 mile weekend two weeks after I DNF’d Pine to Palm and two weeks before this race wasn’t such a good idea.
2. Stooped with your hands on your knees or your head on the aid station table is a bad, bad, bad thing. What momentary relief you may feel doesn’t offset the potential to pass out when you stand up.
3. Perhaps saying yes to Marie’s offer to pace me? I declined because I really wanted to go solo to simulate the miles I’d be on my own at Rio Del Lago. Maybe that was the point of this all along.

Funny moment because there has to be one.

Tony: Laura! Where’s Laura? Did she finish?
Granted it’s dark but I’m lying on the ground 5 feet away from him. I can’t do anything other than raise my arm.
Me: I’m right here.
That got a good laugh. It was my version of waving a white flag.

Or maybe you had to be there.

2 thoughts on “The Threes of Dick Collins Firetrails

  1. Ha ha ha – leave it to Tony to not see you five feet away! And Noé has Cheetos, and cherishes them? I’ll file that away – it could come in handy at some point. Way to hang in there and get it done! These kinds of finishes are the worst but best – HUGE congrats!

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