DD100 2021, or the 1st Annual Ultra-Trail Mont Diablo: A Retrospective

In Running

One reason why I run is because each and every run holds a promise to surprise.

During the 56-mile DD100 Perimeter run last Saturday (3/27), I was surprised that I ran into trouble so early. I was surprised how emotionally and mentally drained I felt after I got home. But most of all, I was surprised by the number of messages and comments I got both directly and publicly after I wrote possibly my first “race report” of the year!

To everyone who messaged or commented: THANK YOU!

Sometimes it takes a bad day to remind me that another reason why I run is for the community — that shared experience of moving the way we’re born to do.

Over the past week, I’ve tried to expand on that initial write-up. But, as usual, as the initial euphoria and disappointment has wind down, it’s become increasingly hard to write a Part 2. So, in typical Victor fashion, I’m just not going to write that Part 2 (since this was, after all, not a “real” race haha).

The main thing that I might add is that I’m honestly going to continue taking it easy this year (as I did last year). I know runners who have surprisingly full race calendars this year (mostly outside the Bay Area, of course), but I only have two confirmed races coming up… maybe 3. All of which I’m almost certainly not going to actually “race”, now.

I’ll also add that starting next month, I feel that I’ll be embarking on another journey that will come to define my 2021… almost half-way into the year. Compared to what many friends have done in the past, it’s nothing ambitious. In fact, it’ll well-trodden. But, for me, it’ll be outside my comfort zone. It scares me, which means I look forward to it. I’ll be bringing my running shoes, of course, and maybe my bike. We’ll see.

For everyone might’ve missed that initial write-up, you can find it below, or at https://www.strava.com/activities/5021734499.

Normally, I reply to everyone directly who comment on runs like this. But to be honest, I was so ready to put it behind me afterward that I feel that I’ve missed the window to reply (without annoying everyone with “someone has replied to your comment” notifications, haha).

That said, one comment did stand out to me, which finally inspired me to write this mini-follow-up: “it’s so humanizing to live through other people’s suffering. Bad run = interesting story”. I feel the same! For better or for worse, I’m looking forward to more, uh, interesting stories to come! 😆

Today was far from my best day.

It started off well. But problems started after mile 6. First I rolled my left ankle. Then I rolled my right ankle even worse. Then, after climbing up North Peak and the Summit, my old left hamstring injury acted up.

After some 18-ish miles, heat headaches set in. Then around mile 22, I rolled my right ankle again.

Most importantly, I had a hard time shaking a negative mentality about it all. I was able to walk off a lot of the ankle pain. I really had no cardio or nutrition issues. I didn’t even have any hydration issues, despite the fairly warm day. But I couldn’t shake a voice in my head asking me why? Why endure the slog? The misery?

Both amusingly and unamusingly, in the end, what persuaded me to *actually* bail was my own lack of research and preparation, and not anything to do with injury or mental distress. I was prepared to stay in Diablo for up to 16-17 hours. But I had only thought of calories — not water. I assumed that I’d be able to get water around Diablo (and I was, at first, at the Summit).

But to my dismay, I found out that I had assumed wrong. As I arrived at the Rock City and Live Oak campgrounds, I found no water at the first campsite. The second and third also had nothing. With little power left on my phone (and my spare charger not working), I discovered online that because of drought conditions, all campsites now don’t have running water!

Because I had (1) very little water left, (2) no idea where I’d get water next (even from a creek), and (3) really had no appetite for more risk, I decided that Rock City was the end of the trail for me.

Lessons learned?

1. Have a GOOD reason to run. This is bedrock advice that’s given to any runner. The main reason, I surmised, that I wanted to run today was really pandemic boredom and isolation. I wanted _something_ to do, with a group, and this was an opportunity. But this reason couldn’t carry me when I needed to “embrace the suck.”

2. Do due diligence. Another fundamental piece of advice. Obviously I should’ve done my research on water. I knew I didn’t have any drops, so I knew I needed to either carry everything or get what I needed from the park. I brought my water filter because I thought I would need it. But I didn’t use it when I could’ve (despite the low water volume overall, on the mountain), because I kept thinking that I could rely on campsite water.

3. Get back into strength training. For many reasons (which I won’t go into detail here), I’m prone to ankle sprains. They’re my most common running injury. Not knee pain. Not blisters/PF/foot stuff. Not any muscular thing. In 2018 and 2019, I often worked on improving ankle stability and injury resistance. I’ve let that slip. I paid the price today. 😓

DD100 2021, or the 1st Annual Ultra-Trail Mont Diablo: A Retrospective 1

Originally posted to https://www.strava.com/athletes/11269888/posts/15521497

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