Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Post race photo op in Key West
The Race:
The Keys 100 is an ultra marathon run from Key Largo starting at mile marker 101 and heading south all the way to Key West ending at mile marker 1.  It is run all on concrete sidewalks or blacktop shoulders on the road.  It is notoriously a hot race but this year they said it was a few degrees cooler, but I'm pretty sure they were full of it.

Race Plan:
Uh yea right.  Well I had one.  But this is essentially a step by step account of what happened to it.  Step 1: Tape said "race plan" to a target frame down range.  Step 2: Load shotgun magazine tube to full capacity with buckshot.  Step 3: Combat load one round in the chamber.  Step 4: Yell "Going Hot".  Step 5: Commence to blowing the shit out of said race plan with all rounds from the shotgun.  Step 6: Repeat step 2 through 5 until you run out of ammo.  Step 7: Go buy more ammo and repeat step 6.

Race Actual:
Contrary to the uninformed and incredibly incorrect belief of a few people, I did not go into this race underestimating it.  Nor did I fail to give the course the respect it deserves.  Its 100 miles in heat and humidity on concrete and black top!  I may not have it all together upstairs, but I'm not THAT stupid.  I knew even before finishing my second 100 at Umstead in April that this one was going to be the toughest one of the three.  So I planned accordingly and left the start line at the slowest trot I could manage without wanting to shoot myself.  Who knew that in about 20 hours, this pace would seem like a sprint.

The Meltdown:
Or maybe this should be called the upchuck.  My stomach started giving all those bad little tell tale signs in the mid teens and by mile 20, it started working in reverse.  This was before it even got very hot out and my pace was still a very easy jog.  No Bueno!  I started with just burp pukes in my mouth and spitting them out on the move, but I knew I was in serious trouble.  At the 26.5 mile mark was a parking lot where my crew met me and I sat on the back of the van for a min to try and settle my stomach.  I believe it was one bite of honey stinger waffle that started Niagara Falls.  It was pretty bad.  Enough came out that Steve said the puddle went from the back of the van and had reached past the front passenger tire before they got rolling again.  Worst thing was that it still showed signs of what was for dinner the night before.  Leads me to believe I had some stomach issues before the day started and that pretty much, no matter what, there was no way going 74 more miles was going to help them go away.  So what do you do?  Go 74 more miles anyway.

I wonder if I can crawl in here?
The Heat:
Holy smokes the heat.  It was very hot and humid.  I was drenched and dripping off every part of my body.  Dani gets the engineer of the year award when she figured out she could tie my calf compression sleeves together at the end, rubber band them together, fill them with ice and rubber band them back together around my neck.  Fancy handy work seen in pic to the left.  So a Ziploc bag of ice in my hat, my neck wrapped with ice filled calf sleeves, topped off ice water bottle to squirt on my arms and I still felt like I was on fire.  These all had to be refilled every mile or two.  The run/walk/puke kept up for the rest of the day.  After awhile I just stopped trying to get anything to stay down because I was tired of puking it back up.  I was so thirsty but I just could not drink.  Anything more than half a swallow would start my stomach heaving again.  I learned to squirt water in my mouth, swish it around to kill the thirst and then just spit it back out.  Not good when you are going 100 miles in heat and humidity.  But somehow I managed some kind of forward progression.  The last 25 miles took me a grueling nine and a half hours.  It was not actually a crawl, but I should have tried that since it probably would have moved me faster.  But I pushed it, sucked it up and finished.  27 hours 17 mins.  The cramps were agonizing in all my leg muscles, the blisters became huge after so long on my feet with horrible form from the cramps and the overall body soreness was like nothing I have ever felt.  I have never hurt this bad from anything in my life.  Marine Corps boot camp, Police Academy, SWAT school, Ironman.  All equivalent to a pin prick on your finger compared to this.  But I finished where most other would not have wanted to.  Or been able to for that matter.  And that still makes it a good day in my book.
Skin from largest blister on right foot.

The Aftermath:
To the best of my knowledge and after some extensive post race research, I'm pretty sure there were no blood drawing check points during the race.  No one waiting to stick me and fill up an empty vile with my name on it.  No awaiting courier to drive it to an awaiting lab technician who would then send word if I had any medical issues.  I do however know the signs of Rhabdo.  The most prominent one being cola or tea colored urine.  This sign I did not have.  Most other signs are the same signs as dehydration and of just running a 100 miles.  My urine was frequent and clear so I just figured the pain and discomfort the next couple days was from the hell I just forced my body through on almost no nutrition.  When I still wasn't feeling too hot Tue, I went to see the doc who did a urine test on the spot and said it looked fine and drew some blood to send to the lab.  The next morning she was a little worried over some of the liver numbers and wanted me to have an ultra sound done on my organs to make sure they were still there.  Apparently, the important blood test, the Creatine Kinase takes a bit longer to come back.  But when it did, my phone blew up.  I'm pretty sure everyone at Kaiser called me in a 15 min period telling me to go the ER right away because I had Rhabdo and acute kidney failure.  Who knew?  So they admitted me and held me captive over night while they pumped IV bag after IV bag in me.  The next day they said I had made great progress getting my numbers to come down and said I could go home as long as I promised to keep drinking water and Gatorade.  Stay in hospital with IV stuck in me or go home and drink Gatorade?  No brainer.  For you number nerds or those who understand just what the hell they mean, here are some of the blood result numbers that caused Kaiser to blow a gasket: Liver ALT: norm 33, mine 421.  Liver ASP: norm 41, mine 775.  BUN: norm 8-20, mine 81.  Creatinine: norm .6 to 1.3, mine 4.1.  And the winner Creatine Kinase: norm 38 to 174, mine 32,821.  As I write this, I am still working on getting all these back to normal.  Another blood test scheduled tomorrow and hoping they are all back under control.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I have pissed once every hour since the Tuesday after the race.  And I am including night time during when most people would be sleeping through the night with maybe one bathroom interruption.  Oh well, at least its flushing me out and everything is getting back to normal.

Me and the crew at the start.

The Crew:
Worked their asses off.  I felt so bad for them.  At one point they were stopping every mile to refill me with ice and attempt to keep me cool.  I can never express enough thanks.  This one I can truly say I would not have made it through without them.  Thanks to Dani as crew chief, my brother Steve and good friend Jimmy.  Also props to Stephen Spencer who helped crew Tatyana to 1st place female and a new course record on the 50 miler, without the help of any negative infidels.   I also have to mention a woman I met at the start.  Down to earth awesome attitude.  She chatted with me for a bit at the start like I was her equal.  I had no idea until after that I was talking to Pam Reed.  She is basically the female Dean Karnazes.  She did Ironman St George the weekend before, won the Keys 100 2011 that day and had Ironman TX planned the next weekend!  What an absolute beast.  She is doing Badwater this year and my money is definitely on her to win the women's race.  Total BAMF.  My final thoughts on the race?  It was a bad day, no doubt about it.  But I still wouldn't have traded the experience.  Whether it be a good day or a bad day, this race was proof, in more ways than one, that a positive attitude can get you through anything.

Keys by the Numbers:
100- Miles in the heat and humidity on pavement and black top.
95- Number of starters for the 2011 Keys 100
74- Miles completed after total stomach shut down
50- Number of drop outs for the 2011 Keys 100
45- Number of finishers for the 2011 Keys 100
44- Number of stops my crew made to tend to me
27- Place overall
21- Number of 10lb bags of ice my crew went through
20- Miles into the race when I started puking
5- Number of shoe changes
4- Number of sock changes
3- Number of times I fell asleep while actually walking
2- Number of times I saw the sun rise during the race
1- Number of times I fell asleep sitting down
.75- Miles left when Dani said I actually started complaining
0- Number of times I thought of quitting

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."