Saturday, February 6, 2010
My race reports are typically long and include an abundance of pictures and videos. I tend to write them almost immediately after completing the event (in my hotel room or on the flight back home). Writing a report for the Brazil 135 Mile Ultramarathon has proved to be very, very difficult. Why? Well, aside from the difficulty of putting this incredible journey into words (you simply have to go and experience it for yourself), there are so many stories, so many other amazing accomplishments, that are far more worthy than my own.
Simply put, this event was spectacular from start to finish. From the moment I arrived in Brazil, to the moment I left, I felt extraordinarily blessed to be able to share my experience with so many great people. This journey all started as a whim, with an e-mail to my friend Lisa, asking her if she knew anything about the race. Before I knew it I was on the accepted runner's list. When I jokingly mentioned that I was going to my good buddy, elite ultrarunner Brian Krogmann, he immediately offered to come and crew/pace. "Huh? Thanks Brian, but why don't you just run it?", I said to him. Sure enough, he was game. I then found Jarom Thurston online (he had run it twice) and took a shot at sending him an e-mail. Today Jarom is like a brother to me, and we spent the entire 135 mile journey together. Add Ken Posner to the mix, and we had a team of 3 ready to share a crew and tackle this monster.
I still cannot explain in words how amazing this event was. It was certainly difficult to run in a group of 3 sharing one crew (4 crew members). Yet, the group we had was so well oiled, so in sync, that it made it easy to go at it as a group. We put together a spectacular crew of non-ultrarunners, and they were out of this world. Marcus and Cleriston were graciously given to us by RDs Mario and Eliana. Marcus served as our translator/tour guide, and Cleriston was our driver. Ken's wife Sue and my friend and co-worker Todd figured what the heck, and they rounded out a crew that never missed a beat. I never really wanted for anything for the entire 53 hours (aside from some beer, a shower and a good nap). Our crew hooked us up with plenty of local food, and even dealt with losing our crew van when David Walker had to be rushed to the hospital (Marcus took David and left Cleriston, Sue and Todd vehicle-less for a bit). In the end it all worked out, and me, Ken and Jarom would have never been able to cross that finish line without our amazing crew members. They are as much "finishers" of this race as we are.
In general, I had only 2 issues to deal with during the entire event. About 50k in or so, the climb up Pico do Gaviao took a lot out of me, and I struggled to the top. One up top, Jarom and Ken hooked me up with a beer and I was good to go from there. From that point on I had no physical issues. My feet stayed in fantastic shape thanks to Drymax Socks - not a single blister to worry about at all. I basically changed socks 4 times over the course of 135 miles, and despite all of the rain and mud, experienced no issues with my feet. The other trouble spot was the second night. I simply got exhausted from lack of sleep and was literally falling asleep while running/walking. I had never slept before in any race, and I was worried that if I did I would never get up. Jarom was all for a little rest, and the 4 hour nap paid off, likely saving some time in the long run.
Over the past week or so I've posted plenty of videos and pictures to try to convey what it was like being in Brazil and experiencing this incredible journey. I made so many new friends that I would have not otherwise have met, like Ray, Iso, Jimmy Dean, Marcus, Cleriston, Gustavo and his Dad, Michelle, Mario, Eliana, Ashley, Brian, Connie, Tom....I could go on and on. I consider each and every one of them a part of my family. There really is no way to describe the entire journey in words. So, with a little hard work, I have put together this video in the hope that it will do a much better job of sharing my experience with you than I have been able to do in words. Enjoy.