Monday, June 29, 2009

Mighty Mighty Bostones....

at the Fillmore in San Francisco. Yep, going to see them on the 10th of July. Should be a rockin' concert.

ws100 volunteer experience

This last weekend I went up to Auburn, Ca to volunteer at the medical tent, at the finish line, for the Western States 100. I wanted to get an up close encounter with what this event might have in store. It is one of the more challenging 100 mile races in the states, and runners come from all over the world.

A bit about the Western States 100, it is in it's 35th year of running, and had 399 runners signed up to run it (edit: 238 runners finished). With the 2008 race being cancelled due to smoke from forest fires being to thick, many of the runners that were slated to run in 2008, were actually carried over to 2009. I signed up to volunteer and was placed at the finish line. Some years they have enough volunteers and others, they don't. So I prepared myself for anything. Mostly, figured it'd be a lot of mass casualty scenarios as runners are coming in close groups, near the end. Lots of IV starts, rehydration and monitoring for hyponatremia, vomiting, et al.

I arrived on Saturday morning, while lots of the structures and finish line setups were just being put up, and then went for a quick run in the blistering 103 deg F heat of the central valley. It was fucking hot, plain and simple, with little to no air movement in the valley I was running, it sapped the energy right out of me. My friend, Steph, went for a bicycle ride around Folsom Lake instead, and did 45 miles, and also came in pretty beat.

My shift wouldn't start till about 9pm that night, when they expected the first runners to come in. I was asked if I could work till 11am, as that is the cutoff (30 hours) for all runners. I said I'd see what I could do.

After meeting the friendly staff in the medical tent, we went through what might happen, how the runners are acting when they come in, and what to expect...since this is my first year volunteering there. It was a good time, and then the waiting for the first runner, who was on par to finish in just over 16 hours, so we had heard. List of finishers.

The winner, Hal Koerner, finished in 16 hours 24 minutes 55 seconds. Damn.
The course record is 15:36, if I remember correctly.

It was interesting to see the first 10 finishers (which included the top woman finisher, Anita Ortiz) come in, some of them deliriously blabbing on and on, others acting like little babies, that need to be coddled and throwing tantrums in the med tent, cause they want to be tucked in and shit. really, come on dude! you're fine, you're now trying to take advantage of the situation. make room for the next runner. The womans 2nd place finisher (my new crush) came in and ended up needing some assistance and we kept her in the tent longer than normal. This was her best finish at ws100 and she'd pushed pretty hard. I was happy to see her get up and walk out on her own later on.

I spent all night there, till about 0730, when I decided it was time to go for a break, and was pretty much done for the day, since they had 5 more volunteers that were going to cover the morning portion. I started 14 IV's, and we monitored more than that, as they'd come in, cool off and then weren't able to move anywhere, vomiting, cramping, and needing fluids.

In the middle of the night, I texted my friend Jasper to encourage him. He texted back later saying he'd had to drop (mile 55) cause he was sneezing/coughing up blood. shit. well, I felt really bad for him, but he was in good spirits when he came in, and we talked for a while, as well as the other hashers that were crewing for him.
They went to the bar to get drunk and relax, and I went back to work, this being about 0030 in the morning.

I was almost ready to leave in the morning, when another hasher (Finger in the dyke, from the Long Beach H3 area) came running in. She wasn't the happiest, as she'd been on a sub 24 hour pace, and bonked hard, bringing it in about 25 hours and change. Still, she finished.

What did the constant site of pain and agony do for me...well, the same as the joy and elation that runners had when they crossed the finish line, it made me want to be out there doing the same thing. I have a long way to go in training and need to finish some races first, before even thinking about doing an event like this, but I've been known to do stupider things. So On On to new goals.

The most impressive runner, to me, was the older genlteman (had to be in his mid to late 60's) who was announced as he came in, and they read out his accomplishments for 2008. He had run 15 - 100 mile races, 5 - 50 mile races, and 4 marathons. WTF?!?! hahahaha that's awesome.

My computers have been giving me problems, but I'll be back with more photos of the RTO race, and the last few weekends of adventure and fun. With more coming.