Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The adventurous endurance run - Shavi's first 100-miler in scorching July 2013

Even though it has been almost 11 months of the 100-mile run, everything is so fresh in the memory, as if it was just yesterday. With the upcoming another 100-miler for him in a few days, I finally thought to post this blog of his first 100-miler in July 2013.

TRT 100 miles - Shavi's first experience running a 100-miler race was awesome and grueling. We knew that it was never going to be easy, even when he was training hard for it. We knew it would bring us long lasting memories and great stories and so it did.

What a journey it had been for him since the day he signed up for TRT on January 1, 2013 at 2am from his iPhone, drinking cocktails, celebrating new year's in Monterey. It sounded like a great idea at that time, and boy was he in for a surprise. The training that goes into running a 100-mile run, the sacrifices that the family makes for you, the lack of social life because you sleep before the sun goes down to wake up at 3 am on weekend mornings to run 10 hours, is no less humbling than the race itself. Shavi surely has a long list of people to be sincerely thankful of who motivated him during the last 7 months of the race, and kept him going.

The race itself was way brutal than he expected, thanks to the heat, lack of altitude training, UV index of 12+. Surprisingly, the two things that he was most worried about (fatigue due to lack of sleep, and tight/achy muscles) was never an issue. He did have some blisters, stomach issues and other heat related issues.

In Shavi's words: "I would have not been able to keep moving forward if it were not for my crew and pacers: My sister, Anu who traveled all the way from D.C. to support me and Ruchi who had more confidence in me finishing than myself. My running buddy, Keith who hiked up to Tunnel Creek TWICE and stayed there middle of night for hours to see me come in multiple times, also 'crewed' my pregnant wife, Ruchi when he was not crewing me. My other running buddy, Antonio who paced me for 30 miles knew exactly when to talk and what to talk and when to shut up He kept me going through the night from dusk to dawn. And my ex-running coach from Sacfit, Ken who paced me for the last 20 miles when I was as exhausted as I could have been, helped me recover from my stomach issues and kept me going in the brutal heat."

We started at 6 am from Spooner Lake State Park in Nevada. The race authorities provided good shuttle service from the parking to the start line for both runners as well as their family. Shavi's crew (my sister - Anu and me) was more than ready!

Spooner Lake at mile 0 - the Start Line: Easy for the crew to reach the start line. Ample parking space from where the shuttle starts. Arriving a bit early is the way to go, just to make sure you do not miss the shuttle. It is a 5-min walk to the start line where the shuttle drops inside the park. Good shuttle service.

Hobart at mile 6: This was too early in the race. So, I decided to skip going here plus it wasn't easily accessible for the crew.

Tunnel Creek at mile 11: Skipped this aid station too as this was a steep hike.

Tunnel Creek at mile 17.3: The runners come through this aid station three times in one loop of 50-miles. Very well equipped aid station.

Bull Wheel at mile 20.3: No easy access for the crew here as well.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort at mile 30.3: This is the first point where I saw Shavi and which was easily accessible. There is plenty free parking at the resort and great waiting area. Shavi looked great at this point.

Tunnel Creek at mile 35.3

Hobart at mile 40.3

Snow Valley Peak at mile 43.1: Skipped this aid station as well since I was going to see Shavi in another 7ish miles.

Spooner Lake mid-way at mile 50.2: This was the next point where I saw Shavi. Since it was the same place from where the race started (TRT is a 50-mile loop through which the runners go twice). This was the first point to pick a pacer. Shavi picked his pacer Antonio here. At this point, Shavi was having some heat issues and stomach issues. His weight had dropped quite a lot, per the weight check point. This was because he had been unable to eat anything except for chocolate milk which was keeping him going. Thanks to our friend, Keith who volunteered to go up Tunnel Creek to give him chocolate milk. I was pregnant at that time and could not climb that steep hill for going to Tunnel Creel. Tunnel Creek is not an easily accessible crew point. It has around 1.5-mile steep hike and it would almost be night at the time when Shavi would have needed us at Tunnel Creek. Shavi changed his shirt and shoes here and checked on other things that needed a refill. He had been alternating between his back-pack and hand-carrying bottles. That relieved him a bit from his back ache. Carrying the back pack for 100 miles is no joke! We always had all his stuff ready before hand. For example, his back pack would always be re-filled with his power gels, charged mp3 player, new bandana, more vaseline etc.

There were lot of people at this aid station, crewing for their runners and volunteering. Shavi sat on his chair at this aid station for good 10-15mins. It was soon going to be dark. Shavi took his flashlights (with an extra one in his backpack and some batteries), handed over his sunglasses to me and took off. I went back to the hotel with my sister. Needless to say, we had a sleepless night that night.

Hobart at mile 56.2

Tunnel Creek at mile 61.2: Even though I did not go to this aid station, our friend Keith went and got me these amazing pictures.

Tunnel Creek at mile 67.5

Bull Wheel at mile 70.5

Diamond Peak Ski Resort at mile 80.5: I was going to see Shavi here again. He was to pick his second pacer, Ken Press, at this point. He was little delayed that his expected time but we knew this since we saw him at his half-way point. Shavi was smiling here, feeling much better than when I saw him last. At this point, I was quite confident that Shavi would complete his race.

Tunnel Creek at mile 85.5

Hobart at mile 90.5

Snow Valley Peak at mile 93.3

Spooner Trail Head at mile 100.4 - the Finish Line: What an awesome finish!!! With a smile on his face, Shavi crossed the finish line. Unbelievable! He almost sprinted the last 7 miles. He said his second wind made him run faster during the last miles, giving him extra energy. Cannot be more proud of him!

More from Shavi: "Of course, goes without saying, I could not have done it without Ruchi. I am sure the last 2 days were more mentally and physically brutal on her than they were on me. I could not have been even able to line up at the start if it were not for her consistent support, motivation and care that she took of me during my training."

"Thanks to all you friends who followed me and cared for me and cared for Ruchi while she was worried 'sleep'less. It means a lot to me."

"I wish to dedicate my first 100mi bling to my Naani (Maternal Grandma) who taught me how to walk, when the doctors said I may not walk."

Needless to say, being 6-months pregnant, I could not have crewed Shavi all by myself, without Anu's support. A whole big thanks to her from coming all the way from East Coast!!