(Here I am at Cal 2 looking a more than a little out of it)
Once we hit the bottom I felt a little better and was able to get rolling a little again. Ford’s Bar to Rucky Chucky went by faster than I expected and before I knew it, I was at the river crossing. The river was great and all the volunteers were extremely helpful. I think after seeing me they made a point of reminding me to hold on “with both hands!” Matt met us on the other side and the three of us walked up to Green Gate with some feeble attempts at running. I collected myself at Green Gate (79.8), and remember telling Courtney that this was “by far the hardest thing I had ever done,” and that “this hurts so much.” You know—what every loved one wants to hear from you almost 80 miles in. Courtney and Matt got me loaded up and traded my hat for a head lamp. Matt kept me focused and moving and before I knew it, we were off. At Green Gate I was still in about 16th place but was quickly caught by three other runners including Bev. Matt had me focus on trying to stay with them, and after a bit, amazingly I was able to hang on all the way to ALT (85.2). The trail was mercifully flat and I was starting to think maybe I could actually finish this thing at some point. I really hadn’t cared about my finish time since Cal 1. It took me a long time to get out of ALT and even longer to get up to a shuffle again. We decided Brown’s Bar would need to be a quicker transition. I lost contact with the runners ahead of me as I had a few painful creek crossings. When I reached Browns Bar (89.9) I was dizzy, overwhelmed and felt like hell. Everyone was wearing red dresses. I got some soup, some fluid and we were out. When you leave Brown’s Bar you go down a long technical downhill until you reach the Quarry Road. It was now 10:30 pm and I hadn’t had to run any real downhill since 6:30 pm, back on the Cal street section. Just out of the aid station, I tried to run a step and knew that was not going to work… in fact, walking was proving to be very difficult. My quads were shooting with pain and each step was taking a tremendous amount of energy. I eventually made it down to the bottom on Quarry Road. As I walked slowly down on the flat part of Quarry Road, Lewis and Craig passed us and both looked great. Craig told me to take it easy on the decent down to No Hands Bridge. The only way I could take it easier would be if I sat down a scooted down on my butt—not an exaggeration. On the assent up to the Hwy 49 crossing, I was staggering, trying to sit down, peeing dark brown, and only barely moving forward. Matt kept me taking calories, kept me from falling, and declared he wouldn’t let me pass out in the woods, though I tried several times. He made sure I made it to the Highway crossing. According to the race splits, it took me about 3 hours to go the 3.6 miles from Brown’s Bar to the Highway crossing (93.5). At the aid station, I weighed in and told the physician I was having brown urine. She said she wouldn’t let me go till I was peeing clear again. Ultimately, that wouldn’t come until the next day and after six IV’s. I sat in a chair and drank 3 bottles of water, some soup, some Coke and was able to give her a sample. She then recommended an ambulance trip to the hospital, and started an IV. In the 45 minutes I was waiting at the station, I saw all the rest of my Eugene friends pass through. At the hospital, a blood test revealed I had a CPK of 95,940, and normal is between 20-200. I checked in, and in weighing in, was close to 20 pounds over my normal weight. We stayed in the Auburn hospital for two days, and I was released the Monday following the race with a CKP of close to 45,000. About two months ago, the Atlantic Monthly cover story highlighted a 70-year study on what makes us happy. It was mostly a boring eight pages of the means and methods of the comprehensive study, but the conclusion of the study was that friends, family and good health are what keep us happy—your financial or professional status, fame, or education don’t matter. Having never done a 100 before, I thought this race would be a sort of personal journey, emotional and spiritual, and maybe even and transformative in some way as I reached my lowest of lows and pushed through to the end. What I came away with was a beautiful display of selfless love, support and community from the spectators, volunteers, friends, family and my wife. I’m disappointed I wasn’t able to finish the last 6.7 miles, but when I finally did get emotional on the drive home—in a car left behind for us by a friend—it was from happiness. I took a flying leap off the Western States stage and from the start all the way to the drive home I’ve been crowd surfing the kindness and friendship of all those involved. Thank you everyone, that was awesome.