Burning Hot Durty Spur 30k Race Report! ;)
Many of you know me rather well so I am going to preface this race report with something that will set the stage rather nicely…
I do some REALLY stupid things sometimes (ok… a lot) and had I listened to my amazing wife, this race report would have turned out significantly different.
I have put off writing this for several weeks because it isn’t really a race report as much as it is a lesson on pain, stupidity, and of course sunblock.
I came home from Afghanistan on leave to accomplish 3 things. Go on a cruise, do a race with my son, and sit around being lazy with my family. The good part, I did them all!
It all started on April 11th when we boarded the Carnival Triumph in Galveston, TX. Liz, my MIL, and I were going on a 5-day cruise to Mexico. This was the 2d time we had done this cruise and we couldn’t wait. Our first day at see (April 12th) I thought it would be a great idea to get some sun out on the deck for 30 min (yes…I laid on my back for ONLY 30 minutes) while Liz took a nap. After 30 min my alarm went off and I walked back down to the room to meet up with Liz to go galavanting around the ship before getting ready for the evening’s formal dinner. Looked in the mirror and realized that it didn’t look like I got any sun.
We went back to the room to shower and get ready for dinner and that is when things started going south. I got in the shower and felt the odd sensation of being burnt on my chest and stomach. What was odd was it wasn’t red… it just burnt.
All during dinner it started hurting more and more. So not to ruin my running streak, after dinner we went back to the room and I hit the treadmill for a short 2mi run. Not to keep it short, but because it hurt to run. I went back to the room, took a shower, and that is when I REALLY screwed up. Apparently blisters had formed while running and they broke open in the shower and peeled off in chunks… MASSIVE chunks. That night in bed was miserable. No matter how I moved it hurt. I couldn’t lay on my back because the sheets would touch me. If I laid on my side it pinched and hurt and laying on the stomach… that simply wasn’t happening at all. The blistered that had peeled off in the shower now exposed freshly burnt skin and began blistering.
The remainder of the cruise consisted in a lot of pain killers and finding the softest clothing I could wear that would allow me to move without being in a lot of pain. Oddly enough I found that sweating cooled me off and made it feel temporarily better. This was helpful in that it allowed the streak to continue! Come to find out that everything we had tried to do was only making it worse. We used solarcaine, neosporin, milk lotion ($74 lotion from the ship’s spa). Anything we could possibly find to relieve it we bought and used. The cruise was still amazing, but the painful part hadn’t gotten there yet.
Once we returned home I began living with my shirt off and wrapping myself in a wet towel. While this did absolutely nothing to help the “sun burn”, what it did do is make me feel relief for a little while. This is how we laid around during the day and how I slept at night. I even took a wet towel with us when we went somewhere so I could put it on in the car!
So where does this race come in? Well April 18th (1 week after getting burnt) Anthony and I had the Durty Spur 30k.
NOW we can get to the “race”!
Like all races, I prepared “Flat John” and made sure that I had everything I needed for the race. I kept asking myself how exactly i was going to do a 30k race report when it hurt to even move. Regardless…We were doing a race together and I was going to go toe the line!
The next morning we woke up and headed to the race. The race was only about an hour away so the ride wasn’t too bad (with my wet towel). We arrived, checked in, attached the bibs and timing chips, and patiently waited.
My plan when I registered for this race was to finish in 2:30. Based on what I had been running in Afghanifunland I was confident that I could have accomplished that goal. As we walked to the start line, I knew what the reality was. I would be lucky to finish. There were still blisters on my stomach, I was still bright red, and every time my shirt touched me it hurt. I had my drop bag with Sarah (AJ’s girly friend) so I could come back and grab a fresh bottle of Tailwind after each loop and there were bottles of water and a towel so I could cool off the burn if needed. This wasn’t going to be fun, but I was going to at least shoot for a finish!
(Have I mentioned yet that you should REALLY use sunblock out in the sun?)
There had been rain so the course was going to be muddy and wet. I was actually hoping for it to rain on this race; It may have made this a bit easier.
Before we knew it, we were off. Each step off of the line hurt. The vibrations up my body just happened to resonate perfectly with the blisters and the rubbing of my shirt. I expected this to subside as we ran and I became sweatier but that never happened. As a result, I held my shirt away from my body most of the time just to ease the pain a little bit.
My nutrition was spot on. Like always I took a drink of Tailwind Nutrition every 10 min and other than the burn I felt awesome. Several times on the first loop we somehow or another even started picking up the pace and logging 8:00 – 8:30 pace. About a mile from the end of the loop I was starting to get excited… In just a few minutes I could get a cool wet towel and get some temporary relief while we did the entire thing again (total of 3 loops) and grab a fresh bottle of Tailwind. One we approached the aid station that is when the run went from bearable to miserable. The course was not setup to loop through the start/finish and I wasn’t going to get my wet towel OR a fresh bottle of Tailwind. While we had only run 6mi so far… this was a pretty hard blow. The start/finish line was only about .25mi away. AJ ran off to get a refill but I could not. At that point, if I went back to the start/finish… it would have been my finish.
I took off back down the trail, through the water crossing, and out into the field for my second loop. I only had about 1/4 of my bottle of Tailwind left, had more blisters forming on my chest, legs, arms, and stomach… I just needed to keep moving. About halfway through the loop AJ caught up with me. I may have picked up the pace a bit when I got mad (ok…I did).
We looped back around at the end of the 2d loop and like before… I kept on running while AJ went back. He did offer to grab me something but I was still just annoyed and didn’t care.
The third loop ended up being pretty crappy. I had not had any Tailwind for the last 6 miles so I had to resort to the watered down gatorade that was at the AS. The third loop ended up being a combination of walking and running. It was getting warmer outside and the warmer it got, the more it burned.
Before long we rolled came to the end of the loop, back across the water, and crossed the finish line. This was one of the shortest races I had done in awhile and was also the worst race that I had done. Not that it was difficult physically, it was difficult mentally. Every step I wondered what the fastest way back to the jeep was so I could get a cold towel to make the pain go away. I was at a pretty low place.
Had it not been for Anthony, I never would have finished that race. He stayed with me the entire race and we crossed the line together (although I beat him my 1/100th of a second! lol. Running with him that day made me real proud and happy. I could not have asked for a better day to spend with him.
Oddly enough, AJ and I both walked away with an AG award. AJ finished 2d in his age group and I finished 3d with a time of 3:01. Looking back would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! I had the best time that day with my son…
You are probably wondering what happened with the burn? Well I was scheduled to fly back to Afghanifunlan on April 27th. April 21st (now 10 days after getting burnt) I finally broke down and went to the doctor. I still had blisters all over my chest and stomach and if it didn’t go away, I was going to have the WORST 21 hours imaginable on an airplane…. When the doctor walked in we talked about Afghanifunland and the cruise and I told him I may have gotten a little sun on the ship if he could give me something to relieve the burn… When I showed him my chest and stomach his said “Oh my god, you have got to be in some serious pain… We need to take care of you!”
I walked out of the doctor that day with 5 tubes of steroids to treat the open second degree burns…
For everyone… Don’t do a 30k road race with open second degree burns… It is not a wise decision and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS listen to your wife!!! Love you honey!!!
That was an awesome vacation! 😀