Traveling Friday wasn't too bad, just very long. I had to connect in Portland (was probably there the same time Olga was leaving for Reno to run Silver State), so I had a couple of hours to review some of the data we collected at Western States last year and the year before on finish line CPKs and sodiums. Time went quickly and I hopped my flight to Reno. I sat next to this 50+ year old woman and we had quite a stimulating discussion about Rhabdomyolysis (about which I was reading), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which she had), Neuroblastoma (from which her daughter died), adrenal "fatigue" (something in which I am interested and about which she knew), hypotension and hyponatremia, acidophilus, and research biases. We also talked about how doctors need to listen to and BELIEVE their patients. Oh, and we also talked about ultrarunning (me) and race car driving (her).
It was a delightful conversation. A thoughtful, intelligent conversation. And when the plane landed and we bid each other farewell, my belief was again reinforced that we (as doctors, researchers, human beings) can learn more from just talking and listening and believing people than we can from burying our noses in all the literature and research that is neatly packaged for the purpose of our acquiring knowledge....certain knowledge. I say with confidence that the answers to medical questions and scientific and physiologic quandries are less likely to be discovered in the laboratory than they are to be discovered on a plane in discussion with the non-medical woman sitting next to you.
So, I arrived in Reno at 3 pm and got my car and headed South on 395. I thought 200 miles would be a breeze since it was a straight shot down to Bishop. Little did I know, 395 was a 2-lane highway that took you right through the stop-light centers of every city (Carson City) and every little town. 60 mph, 45 mph, 35 mph, 25 mph, riding the brake, back to 55 mph and, when lucky, 65 mph. Now, everybody knows - don't they? - that 65 mph actually means "do not drive LESS THAN 65 mph unless you mean to incite road rage." So, yeah, don't drive like 55 in a 65 zone, especially when there are only a handful of these 65'ers between here and there....and I gotta be there by 7:30 pm or I'm gonna miss my pre-race packet pick-up!
But no. Two-lane highways are how all truckers and trailers and retirees get from here to there (sorry, no offense to my friends who are retired..unless YOU drive 55 in a 65 where there are no passing zones!).
So, when I had no choice but to ease (way) up on the pedal, that's what I did. BUT...., I swung left into the oncoming lane and kicked the pedal to the metal and passed when I could. Oh yes, you betcha! Fortunately, the last 60 or so miles were quicker (read: dashed center lines), so I was able to make up for lost time while staying relatively legal.
I must say, despite that it took me nearly 4 hours to get from Reno to Bishop, it was one of the most picture-book scenic routes I have ever driven! The bright blue sky, the pristine lakes, the white-capped mountains in the distance.... just gorgeous.
So, I get to the Whiskey Creek Restaurant at 7 pm. The pre-race meeting is over and they are giving away raffle prizes. I run into John Radich outside the banquet hall and he leads me in the right direction. I am greeted with friendly smiles and I check in and get my race number and shirt. Still a bit frazzled from my long travel day, I'm handed my race number and on it is a hand-written note. It says: "I love you, Lisa. Love, Kari." My nervousness immediately melts away and is replaced by gratitude for the love and kindness of my friends. What a nice thing for Kari to do, I say! She is there at the pre-race meeting but is sitting at the middle table. I was going to go over to her, but I am then greeted by Marie, the Race Director.
Marie (pronounced "Mar-ee") greets me with enthusiasm and asks me if I've eaten. Of course I haven't but the pre-race dinner is long over. I'll just get something somewhere else, I say. No, no problem, she says, and she gets the cook to come over to me and take my order. Now, how cool is THAT!? Lisa Henson says the veggie lasagna is tasty, so I go with that. A few minutes later, I am handed a plateful - and I mean a PLATEFUL - of veggie lasagna, salad, and about 5 pieces of garlic bread. I'm the only one now with a plate - a BIG plate - and I walk to the back of the room and sit next to Phil (Kari's husband) and John, both keepers of the Stovepipe Wells check point during the Badwater race. Good thing we were sitting in the back of the room or we would surely have disrupted the raffle with our chatter.
I say hi to Tim and Whit, and Ben and Denise Jones, and finally Kari and a few others. I looked for Anita Fromm - she's running Badwater too - but I didn't see her. I look forward to seeing her tomorrow since we haven't had a good laugh together since we were brutally attacked by a puny little cactus at Javelina in 2005.
So, I got my race number. It's 808. Guess it's fool proof for wearing it upside down (like David did once at Miwok). Back at the hotel, I got my stuff ready for tomorrow - leaving the details till the morning - and then started working on my CPK research data. ...Well, that was the wrong thing to do! You see, it's now after 2 am and my alarm is set for 4 am. And I tried and I tried and I tried to fall asleep around midnight (4 hours is good enough for a 50 miler), but I tossed and I turned and my brain kept going and going and going and going. I got out of bed and paced and got back into bed and did some crosswords (which help me fall asleep) but I was just thinking and doing crosswords at the same time. And I wasn't getting any sleepier. If I had had a sleeping pill, I would've taken it. But of course, I don't. So, at 1:30 am, I decide to just get outa bed. I'm up. I'm wide awake. I haven't slept a wink, not an iota. And I figured, if I turn on my computer, I have completely surrendered to the fact that I am running this 50 miler on fumes alone.
Ah, good training for Badwater, did I hear you say? It is, in fact, a brilliant idea! I haven't run a 100 since June 2005, I haven't even run a 100k or a 50 miler. I did 45 two weeks ago, but I need this 50. So, if I run it on no sleep at all, I'd say I can call it the equivalent of, say, hmm, 100k? Yep, that's how I'll view it! Of course, I'll only log the 50 miles, but in my mind I'll know it was tougher than that. :)
Doncha just love RATIONALIZATIONS?? I do.
Ok, so I'm gonna get my money's worth tomorrow and maximize my time on my feet. My goals are: 1) Find the start without getting lost, 2) Listen to my calf (which is like 80% better). If it gives me trouble, I'm going to have to stop. 3) Have fun and enjoy the views everybody is talking about. 4) Feel the heat and acclimate. This is my first hot run (it's predicted to be 90 F). 5) Get the time in on my feet. No racing. 6) Stay easy enough for this one so that I may recover in time for the Death Valley training runs next weekend.
Ok, I'm off to the race in a few hours. Might as well eat some breakfast now so that I've got good and plenty of time for digestion. :)
The Big Launch
2 days ago