Many people might ask, "why?" --- "Why Wildwood?"--- "If you're going to put out that much effort why not pick something a little more inspiring, or something you haven't done before?"
1) I love the Wildwood Trail and run out there quite a bit, I know every section quite well, and I feel that I have a special connection w/ the park/trails, etc.
2) Only one other person that I know of has done the full 60- mile run for time (Sean Meissner a few years ago in like 12 hours).
3) The aesthetic of the run: Roll out of the basement on my bicycle, never touch concrete, park it at the start of Wildwwod, run over 60 miles of trails, cruise back downhill to basement. Simple....right?
Easter Sunday 2012--- 5 a.m. the alarm goes off. It takes me a full six minutes to realize what that sound is and why. I awaken and make my way downstairs and start packing my small Patagonia backpack---- Moroccan Roll burrito for lunch, Clif bars, and shot blocks, gels, some other random goodies, yummmm....the thought makes me a little ill so I am really able to enjoy my breakfast at home w/ our cat Olive purring next to me.
I fill up a bladder of water and thread the tube through to the front of the pack for easy access. I am not full accustomed to wearing/using this Camelback....nor do I prefer it but this is going to be an unsupported run....meaning I will carry all of my own fuel and not receive help from anyone----nor will I stash anything along the route.
Upon arriving at the start of the Wildwood Trail I drank a full 16 oz. bike bottle of water and started the run carrying about 100 oz. of water (80 on my back and 20 in my hand). My thought was that I could make it to Pittock Mansion where there is the only water fountain along the whole route and re-fill my hand held bottle. When I got there I was only like 4 miles into the long run and I felt fine and told myself I'd be okay w/ all the water on my back. I stashed my hand held a couple miles later up by the Aspen Trail and headed out to Newberry Rd. (the halfway point of my run).
I reached Newberry right around 4-ish hours and was pretty pleased w/ my pacing and noticed that the temperature was really starting to rise. When I started my return I decided to walk and eat half of my Moroccan Roll as I was getting extremely hungry. Choking that down didn't help much so I ate a full ClifBuilders bar too along w/ some dried apricots. Then I started running again and was feeling very confident about my time and how I was feeling, etc.
Then all of the sudden at about mile 40 I went to suck some water out and realized that I was bone dry!!!! How could I have consumed that much water??? Upon further investigation I realized that the Camelback contraption was leaking and I lost precious H2O!!!! I was in no man's land and I stopped and froze like a deer in headlights for a second. I had a couple options bail out and quit the run and somehow walk down to an access point which still would have been a task......or....fill up from a stream and risk drinking "bad water" (pun intended since I was so parched from the rising mercury!).
I chose the latter and told myself that it was clear, cold runoff and that since I was so far out there that I'd probably be fine. It took me some time to get my bearings back but I did what I had to do to keep the mission alive. I was back on track but could definitely tell that I was a little dehydrated by the color of my urine and the way that I felt but plodded onward even though my pace was slowed considerably.
Around mile 54 I started my 1000 foot climb from Stone House to the top of Pittock. Again I was out of water but I knew I had a water fountain at the top. From there is was about four miles to the finish. As I was coming down through Washington Park I serendipitously ran into my good friend Nick Triolo who was out on a long run of his own. He gave me some fist pumps in the air and some really motivating words of encouragement that boosted me extremely and I really needed that! It's amazing how just a little bit of human contact can help so much!
I was able to recover from the mishap/dehydration and finish strong in 8:48. It was really nice seeing Benjamin Chan around mile 10 or so, Rebecca Williams out by Germantown, Steve Sexton, Ellie Justice, Marta Fisher and friends, Nick Triolo who helped at just the right time!, and a few others who I am blanking on right now. It was one of the most beautiful days of spring and on positive note...it was great Western States 100 heat training!
Like I said I cruised downhill back home pretty beat up and collapsed on to my bedroom floor. It was about 4 in the afternoon and I had already put in 60 miles for the day. My daughter Farah just woke up from a nap and came over and spooned with me. I'm not sure if there is a better feeling in the world! I had a dreamlike day in the park I love so much, and I settled in for an early night reliving the trials, tribulations, and triumphs and am happy about the fact that I made one of the runs I always wondered about a reality. I wonder what I'll do next!????!!!!!