Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rio Del Lago 100K Pacer Report

I had the privilege to crew and pace my friend and team mate Anthony at Rio Del Lago 100k. He was originally signed up for the 100 miler but due to a sprained ankle which he did a few weeks before the race he opted for the 100k.
My day started early as I had to go to work for a few hours as my time off request was denied. I arrived at Lily’s house around 8:15 enjoyed some pancakes help load the car and we were off to Beal’s point so that I could check in. Once at Beal’s the volunteered told me that the Bibs were handed out to the aid stations and to just head to aid station and I could get my bib there and if there wasn’t a bib I was good to pace as I had also turned in my waiver form. I did let this volunteer know that I was pacing a 100k and she said I was good to go.
After checking in we headed to Cool to wait for Anthony and help him with whatever he needed. We saw the front 100 milers come through and then we heard that Anthony was in first place. Lily stayed at the car making sure everything was ready as we really didn’t know what he would want or need, so she was ready for anything. I headed out to meet him so that I could get an update from him on how he was doing and what he would need so when he checked in at the aid station we would have everything ready.
100 miler runner coming into Cool

Jimmy Dean Freeman coming into Cool

Fleet Feet Ultra Team

I saw him coming down the fire road and he rounded the corner. He looked good he was smiling and was focused. I got the information I needed, he wanted his spiz and water and ice in his pack. He also did a quick shoe and sock change. He told me he took his time from the overlook which was probably a really good idea as the day was getting rather warm out. He was downing salt like it was candy. His fueling was on track and he was drinking plenty of water.
Anthony coming in looking strong!

As he checked in, Lily and I went to work filling his pack, filling his bottle, and making sure he had everything before leaving. It was a quick stop and he was off and running within minutes. He told me he was going to take his time heading back as this part of the course was hot and fully exposed.
Quick Stop

After getting Anthony everything he needed we loaded the car back up and made our way to the Overlook. The plan was for me to pace him from here to finish.
Heading out

Once at the Overlook I checked in right away, which turned out to be very smart on my part. The volunteer there told me that there were no pacers allowed in the 100k and that I couldn’t run with him. Now, I had done my homework and read the entire wed page. On the pacers web page it did not specify which distance and there was also no disclaimer stated only the 100 milers were allowed a pacer. Before I told him any of this he had called the race director and she said no I could not pace him. After hearing this I told him about the web page and Lily pulled it up on her I phone, I also told him that I tried checking in at Beals like the web site said too and the volunteer down there told me I was good to go. He read it and then called the Race Director back and left a message. He was very helpful and did everything that he could; now we were just waiting.

I didn’t want to do anything that would disqualify Anthony and I had to make sure I had the green light on pacing him. The Race Director eventually called back and told us I could pace Anthony. That was really good news, but a bit stressful. I re signed the waiver and had the volunteer put a side note on there that I was given permission to pace Anthony. I wasn’t taking any chances on someone forgetting this conversation and then DQing him.
Re-signing the waiver after getting the green light to pace

I quickly got ready, went to the bathroom ate a gel and filled my pack and than just sat and waited. It was nerve wracking just waiting. So many thoughts running through my head and the knowledge that he was in first place and we had no idea where second place was.

Katy and Eric headed down the hill and would shout when they saw him. Lily had everything ready for him. Then we heard them shout. I ran down and grabbed his pack to refill it and also his bottle. He wanted coke in his bottle and he also needed a refill on his salt. He was pounding the salt like it was going out of style. While we were refilling everything he walked over to the canal and soaked himself. It was a pretty quick stop and soon enough both of us were on our way to Rattlesnake Bar.
Crewing for Anthony at the Overlook

I let him take the lead at this point. He was chit chatting up a storm. I knew that Anthony was talkative but after being alone on the trails for a good portion of the day he was super talkative. We talked about everything. He told me his hip was feeling a bit off so I gave him Tylenol after finding out if he had any, which he did at the start. As we were on the canal I told him it would be a good idea for him to get in before we hit cardiac and the long section that is exposed. He soaked himself once at a very easy access point about half way before cardiac. I think during this 3 mile stretch we were both chit chatting up a storm and you could feel our energy and my excitement. As we neared the descent I had him get in the canal one last time. He was a bit apprehensive at first but I assured him I would be able to get him out and I did just that.

We cruised down cardiac talking up a storm and as we neared the aid station we heard howling. They had heard us coming. We drank some really cold water, filled his bottle with coke he took 1 more salt pill and we were off on the 6 mile stretch to Rattlesnake.

It was very hot out. The sun just baked us and I could feel the heat coming up from the ground and the heat directly above me. I knew that any water we came across we would use to stay wet as this was the only way to battle the heat.

I gave Anthony one more salt right before we hit the single track. As we hit the single track his legs became alive. This section is very runnable and run we did. He took off and I as was sprinting to keep up with him I noticed my Garmin was telling me 8:30 miles on the single track with rollers. He slowed down and hiked a climb and I told him he looked really good and that that was a nice clip he had going there. Secretly I was wondering if he kept this up I wouldn’t be with him much longer.

As he crested the top he transitioned quickly into a run and he was off. I kept him in my sights but he just seemed to be going faster. Slowly he was out of my sight. I couldn’t his pace. I tried for as long as I could.

He arrived into Rattlesnake about 10 minutes ahead of his original time frame. I arrived about 5 minutes later I think. I did my job as a pacer even if it was short. I think he really just needed someone to talk to for a bit, someone to bring a little bit of energy, and someone to keep him on track. I was there for him and it was amazing to see the transition once we hit the single track.
I can't believe how fast I had to run and he still dropped me

Lily cooling me off

It was cold, but felt good

Anthony picked up another pacer another team mate who original runner had dropped and just by change happened to be at Rattlesnake. It is amazing how things turn out and even more amazing at how supportive the ultra community is.
First place in the 100K

Anthony battled through some very tough conditions and preserved. I was very honored to have the chance to crew him and pace him and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Congratulation Anthony on an excellent race and for you first place finish. You are truly inspiring. Thank you for letting me be a part of your day.
Body is slowly shutting down

This is what 100+% Effort Looks like

Totally exhausted

Excellent Job Anthony!


  1. Great post and photos. Congrats to Anthony and his crew + pacer.

  2. WOW, very inspiring read!! thanks for sharing Melisa!