Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Happend In UTMF Last Segment?

As usual, I liked to review my own performance and see how I could improve for my next race.  So it was 2 days after completing UTMF that I downloaded my timing details from the official website runner's data.  I went through the photos, course elevation profile as well as timing clocked for each segment of the race.  What I couldn't understand was what exactly happened in the last segment of the race, from AS10 to the finishing line.  Well, I remembered most general details of every segment but for the last segment, I remembered some of the things I did and I couldn't recall the rest.  I wasn't sure what happened.  Only that something happened after I commenced my descent down to the foot of the hill.  I would now attempt to recall what exactly happened in this last segment:

From AS10 to top of the hill
I remembered this section very clearly.  After I refilled my water bottle, I continued walking to some entrance of a park (or something like that).  It was on flat ground.  Upon entering, I had to ascend to the top of the hill.  The ascent was not steep but it was long.  Very very long, in fact.  The area was also open to public so there were other park users.  I remembered seeing a couple, and a family on their way up the park/hill.  There were also some runners who walked past me.  Before I reached the top, I encountered 2 big groups of teenagers on some kind of trip but they were returning back from where I came from.  Most of them recognised us, the UTMF/STY runners, and shouted words of encouragement, which meant a lot to me at such a late stage of a race.  They were morale booster.  I also remembered Miki and her friend walking with me for a short section.  She also helped me re-pinned my bib number so that it could cover the portion of my tights which was torn and exposed.  After sharing with me the time that we might take to descend to the foot of the hill, Miki and her friend pushed on.  I was able to keep them and 2 other runners in sight until I almost reached the top.

From top to foot of the hill
There were marshallers stationed at the top of the hill.  Upon entering the woods/forest, I had to make my way down and that was when I regretted leaving behind the trekking pole.  But it was too late to do anything then.  I remembered I slipped a couple of times and I told 2~3 runners that I was okie and they should pass me.  I was not sure how long I took to move and how far I actually moved.  But suddenly, I heard voices.  I looked around but there was no one in sight.  But the voices told me that I should not be walking on my own two feet down the hill.  The voices told me that I should be taking a transport down the hill - something like a mini van or a cable car.  Whatever.  I was confused.  I remembered taking out my phone but I didn't know who to call.  Then I thought about calling Pauline from Avid Adventures but I didn't have their number stored in my cellphone!  It didn't occur to me to call the race organiser.  I panicked.  I started to walked up the hill to see if there was anyone around.  None.  I went back down again.  This time, I walked further down.  But I lost track of time and place.  All I could remember was that I just kept walking down without seeing any trail marker and runner.  Or perhaps, I wasn't walking but just standing there?!?

Then, all of a sudden, I saw 2 male runners walking towards me from below!  They said it was the wrong way down that path and that we had to walk further up to make a right turn.  I started cursing and swearing (at myself anyway) and followed them.  But they were too fast.  I was lucky to have followed them and seen them making the turn before they disappeared (suddenly).  And I was all alone again.  Since it was the correct path (I assumed they were right), I continued walking but I couldn't really recall exactly the details.  Another runner (310 - I think) walked past me and I asked if we were in the right direction.  Unfortunately, he didn't seem to understand English.  I decided that I should follow him.  Again, he was too fast and soon, I lost him.  Luckily, another runner walked past me and I reckoned I should be on the right track although everything around me seemed so vague.  I wasn't sure how long I was in that state but I just knew that I continued to walk even though I lost sight of that runner again.  Or perhaps, I wasn't walking but just standing there, again?!?  I was not sure how long I was walking (or wondering or standing???) but at one point, I suddenly recalled where I was.  (So most likely I was walking or wondering in the right direction).  That part of the trail became clear.  I had been here before - I thought to myself.  Yes!  This was where I was during the recce on Thursday morning!  I thought so.  To be sure, I had to walk further down.  If I came across the fence on my left, I would be in the correct path!  Luckily, I saw the fence and another 5mins or so, I finally reached the foot of the hill.

From foot of the hill to Finishing
I was very sure where I was once I hit the foot of the hill.  I knew very clear that I was not far from the finishing line.  My spirit was high.  But at that moment, I didn't know what happened to me and who were the voices that kept telling me to take a ride (by mini van or cable car) down to the foot of the hill.  I was also happy that someone could walk with me to the finishing line, and even more happy to see Winston with his camera, as well as seeing SK finishing his race.  :)

When I think back, I knew was that at some point in time during the last segment of the race, I was disoriented.  I was not sure if it was hallucination (a sensory experience of something that does not exist outside the mind, caused by various physical and mental disorders, or by reaction to certain toxic substances, and usually manifested as visual or auditory images).  Most likely not.  But I knew perhaps due to my weakness in coming down steep slopes, I started to imagine things that was not real or things to help me overcome my weakness (hence voices to urge me take a mini van or cable car down the hill??)  Or perhaps it happened because of sleep deprivation.  Unfortunately, during the race itself, I couldn't identify that mental state or how could I snap out of such a situation (since I wasn't sure what was happening to me).  I was glad that the voices didn't ask me to jump or do something that may harm myself in anyway.  It sure was scary, looking back.  I guess doing any race in such a long time might have some kind of mental effect.  Hopefully, I could do more 100 miles race to build up my confidence and gain more experience.  And if you have such experience before, I sure hope you could contact me to share with me how you deal with such situation.  Meanwhile, happy running long!


Rose Buenconsejo said...

creepy :) though, i know a friend who looks forward to that kind of experience on long runs.

blacksheep said...

Ripley, this guy saw a white horse on the trails!

Tekko Koh said...

No need to analyse too much. You were just tired and exhausted.

smokeybear said...

You were hallucinating because of lack of sleep and/or nutrition. Mostly lack of sleep. Although I have not done a 100mi myself. I know a lot of people that do... Maybe 20+ people... Ya. California has a lot of ultra runners. Most of them told me they experienced it before. You see things that are not there etc. One of my friend thought her dog was running with her, her pacer has to snap her put of it!