CHUCK RADFORD GUEST POST
Thank you AJ Wellman
July 14th, 2013
Silver Rush 50 ~ Race Report
As we were standing there shooting the bull, my stomach was wrenching with much more anxiety than I care to admit. I wasn’t sure what I was in for or if I was trained enough to even complete what lay ahead.
Start Line to Black Cloud Outbound (7 mile aid station) ~
Those first seven miles were not nearly as hard as I expected them to be and I found myself not stopping to hike even once all the way into the Black Cloud aid station. The pack was thinning and I stuck with two runners who were setting a sustainable pace (one of them being “Tom” who I ran almost 90% of the race with). Nutrition and hydration were going “ok” at this point and I was feeling fresh. As we approached the aid station, we found that it was still being set up and I hadn’t taken in enough fluids yet to need replenishment so I kept moving on. Tom stopped to use the Porta-potty and the other runner stopped to pick up trash he dropped leaving me alone for a few miles.
Actual Time – 1hr 3mins
Black Cloud to Printer Boy Outbound (13.5 mile aid/crew station) ~
I worked on eating a Bonk Breaker Bar, refueling on electrolytes and Roctane after leaving Black Cloud, quickly realizing that NONE of them were appealing in the slightest. Tom finally passed me again (a much stronger hiker than me) and I just tried to stay within 50 yards of him up to the high point turn (mile 10). At mile 9, I couldn’t sustain running any longer with the incline significantly rising (375+ feet of elevation gain in each of the next two miles) so I worked a one minute run/walk strategy. The view of the amphitheater bowl was gorgeous and worth the effort. At the high point turn, I caught Tom and we made some idle chit chat before I turned on the speed. I left Tom behind and focused on staying vertical at a fast pace (one small misstep could have ended the day). I bombed down the frontage road for the next 4 miles at a fast quip (two of the miles splits were 6:19 and 6:15).
Goal Time – 2hrs 10mins **** Actual Time – 1hr 59mins
Kissing my sweet Mia
Tackling a small hill out of Printer Boy
Printer Boy to Rock Garden (18 mile aid station) ~
Actual Time – 2hrs 42mins
Rock Garden to Stumptown (Half way point aid/crew station) ~
As we left Rock Garden, we were once again treated to some sensational views looking back down into Leadville and up into the Ball Mountain/Mosquito Pass Bowl. There was a mish-mash of running terrain mixed with some hard climbs. Sticking with Tom was a good strategy so far, so I continued. Another guy now passed me and Tom up the final Ball Mountain ascent and he looked VERY strong. I didn’t really care at that point and just kept Tom in my sights. When I finally peaked Ball Mountain, I said to one of the race crew, “That was brutal”. His response “Yeah, that f-ing sucks, but you’re kicking ass” appearing to have done it himself at some point in the past.
Renewed and focused, I relied on my good downhill running ability to catch up with Tom and make up some good time lost hiking up the other side of Ball Mountain. This section was hard to bomb because of its huge descent, but I did well. This was the first time in the day that I really felt my quads barking. I kept using excuses as to why I wasn’t eating at this point (not hungry, too hard to eat and run, blah, blah, blah), but knew I wasn’t doing well in that regard and I was going to have to fess up to AJ when I came into Stumptown. This was the ONE thing AJ emphasized most in training …CALORIES. Once I caught Tom, we BS’d the last mile into Stumptown as I found out he was using this race as a training run for the LT100. We talked about family, where we were from, how we were feeling and just how happy we were to be half way done.
I rolled into the crew station not feeling very good and the first thing I said to everyone was, “This is HARD”. I then fessed up to AJ that I wasn’t eating at all and not feeling super well. His response, “You’re going to fast …borderline irresponsible”. It was at that point that I realized I was almost 20 minutes ahead of pace for an 8hr finish. AJ asked me if I needed anything and I’m pretty sure I said “NO” to everything until he asked if I wanted my energy drink, at which point I gratefully accepted. I knew as I was standing there sipping on my drink that I was getting very comfortable not moving and said, “I need to get going or I’m going to sit down and not get back up”. AJ’s very fatherly-stern advice was, “Slow down, hike the up-hills and EAT”. For the first time that day, I was worried about a DNF (Did Not Finish) and was very concerned about my nutrition (or lack thereof). One more kiss to my wife and I geared up for a MONSTER climb.
Goal Time – 3hrs 50mins *** Actual Time - 3hrs 34mins
Rolling into Stumptown
Drinking my Bing energy drink and trying to keep my composure
Stumptown to Rock Garden Inbound (30 mile aid station) ~
Actual Time – 4hrs 33mins
Rock Garden to Printer Boy Inbound (34.5 mile aid/crew station) ~
As I came into Printer Boy, I was VERY encouraged by the cheers of my family, friends and spectators. When I came upon AJ, I wasn’t given the choice for sunscreen …he just sprayed it on me, which I was grateful for because I’m not sure I could have made smart decisions like that myself. I ditched gloves, arm sleeves and extra food. AJ offered me some food, the first of which was another PocketFuel and I emphatically said “NOOOO”. I grabbed 4 gels, AJ refueled my fluids and told me that I had one final push to go and then it was all down hill. One more big kiss to my wife and a kiss to my daughter, who wasn’t really interested in any more kisses from her sweaty, smelly dad.
Actual Time – 5hrs 12mins
Feeling hot, but "up" coming into Printer Boy Inbound
Trying not to fall down the steep little hill at Printer Boy Inbound
Printer Boy to Black Cloud Inbound (40 mile aid station) ~
On the way out of the aid station, I could see Tom and Aish ahead of me chatting. Aish dropped back for a second to meet up with me and said, “no need to run alone. Come up and run with us”. What I wanted to say was “Piss off Aish”, but instead I said, “Don’t wait for me. I’m going to take my time”. He promptly went back up to Tom and ran with him for a few steps and I could tell immediately that Tom must have said the same thing because in seconds, Aish was almost a half mile ahead of us. It was clear that both Tom and I were struggling up these HARD four miles and it was easily the most hiking miles of the day. As I lumbered through those 4 miles, I pushed on knowing that AJ was right …this was the last hard push of the day as my gluts and quads were screaming. About 50 yards from the peak/high point, Tom slowed down so I could catch up with him. He congratulated me on a great first ultra and told me he wasn’t going to push the downhill coaxing me to push as hard as I could the rest of the way home. Stand up guy through and through.
As I turned the corner to go down, I could immediately feel that my quads were wrecked and I couldn’t bomb this section like I had hoped. It was a challenge to keep the wheels on all the way down to the Black Cloud aid station. It was a muddy and technical section and I almost went straight into a mud bog as I took a bad step, but I recovered quickly. It was right after that when the hail started. The tiny little pellets at my back, neck and exposed arms were never a problem, only a nuisance and it only lasted about 5 minutes.
The biggest struggle for me in this section was expecting the aid station any second, but it just never felt like it was going to come. I finally ran into the aid station and was greeted by about 8 race crew members. They asked me what I needed and I said, “Nothing …I just want to stop for a few seconds”. I walked a few steps, cleared out all my trash and grabbed a gel, which I threw back down my gullet. Time to tackle the final 7 miles.
Actual Time – 6hrs 23mins
Black Cloud to the Finish (HOME) ~
After the laughs were done, I made the final push home. Much to my delight, it started to lightly rain as I crested the top of Dutch Henry, which I saw over 7 hours earlier. I heard the cheers of my family and friends below not knowing what they were saying, just encouraged by their cheers. I rounded the corner and headed down a steep hill to see my daughter first, then AJ, then my happy wife and friends Heidi and kids. I raised my hands up high with pride, joy, relief and satisfaction. Coming out of the finishing chute I was first greeted by AJ with a hug …something AJ swore he’d never do and did. I was a rookie and was very pleased with my debut performance. I finished in 6th place overall and 1st place in my age group and crushed my original goals. I started the day with anxiety and ended the day with a gratitude for the love and support of my family, friends, fellow racers and especially for my health. This is a day that I will never forget.