The Franklins 200 Miler

Two years ago, Dustin, Julie and I ran the inaugural Lone Star 100 in El Paso, Texas. Between the ridiculous non stop wind, the heat, the exposure, the climbing and all the rocks, it was an incredibly tough race. Only 8 of the thirty or so starters finished.

2019 was the inaugural Franklins 200. Why in the world would we want to run twice as far on such a brutal course? I’m going to chalk this one up to willful ignorance and peer pressure. Dustin and I hadn’t even completed Bigfoot 200 before we had signed up for Franklins. We signed up early for the discount. That’s probably the main reason.

Training went off the tracks early. i started climbing which was fun, but took time away from running. Didn’t plan much, didn’t make a pace chart AT ALL. Barely had drop bags planned. Figured I would take Dustin’s approach: just show up and run.

I was stoked for the intro section where there was supposed to be some climbing of sorts, but it was called off at the last minute due to the rain. Instead, we had to summit Franklin Peak. This was drag because we were already doing that 5 times.

Rain is never an ideal way to start a race. But it wasn’t heavy and it didn’t stick around too long. The first trip up the peak was shrouded in fog. We were all in good spirits, excited to finally be doing the damn thing we came here to do.

Ed and Dustin were pretty chatty, Erin less so, and I just listened. There were other runners around us forced to listen to our inane banter. At one point I apologized to this couple that was within earshot for several miles. They didn’t seem friendly.

Later i found a pair of Julbo sunglasses on the ground. I picked them up and hustled up to the couple just ahead of us. Sure enough, they belonged to the girl. She said thank you, but didn’t seem overly grateful considering how expensive the glasses are.

Maybe it was the second loop I came up on the couple. Asked them if they were ready for a 4 day long game of leap frog. Had visions of scott and sandra from Bigfoot. They didn’t seem to keen on me passing them, so i just hung with them and chatted. Turns out, they knew me and i knew them. Matt Zmolek super strong runner who had run with Julie a lot. And dena carr who had narrowly beat me at cactus rose a year ago. She told me how she had to keep going when she saw my headlamp and i told her how i was crushed having just missed catching her by minutes.

We had a nice conversation, and eventually I left them behind. They planned and ended up running the whole thing together.

Running the section to Bowen after 140 miles. Unbelievable that i can still run!

Running hard at night. Calories never seemed to be an issue.

Thinking in percentage of race completed. Hit 20 miles and thought, oh hey wow, im 10% done! Every 2 miles was another percent.

Discovering that my left quad was blown and then my right. Struggling to get up the mountain without my poles. Realizing my mistake just as i entered the rock fied to Mundy’s, but not able to do anything about it. Using a stake from one of the signs as a pole. (Whatever signs it held had been blown off.)

Feeling so weak. Feeling dumb for not anticipating this result from running too hard the previous days. Hubris.

Sleepwalking to the same Pandora mix. This was definitely worst lowest point. Couldn’t stop long because it got cold. Struggling to keep eyes open for blue flags. Drinking a RedBull with no effect.

Trail naps by the dozen up and down the peak. Maybe for two minutes, right before actually falling asleep. Afraid to actually fall asleep and freeze. Afraid of losing a position because I fell asleep.

Following Marco and his sleepwalking self.

Getting passed on the downhill to Bowen.

Seeing the sunrise and knowing that would help.

Not knowing how long i slept. Not being warm enough to sleep.

Seeing Elizabeth out of nowhere and her massaging my feet and having the exact size poles that i needed, and since her runner Ed dropped, she wouldn’t need them.

Seeing Dustin coming down and chatting with him. Giving chase.

Hanging with Erin. Her losing sight in one eye. Trying to help her navigate and not freeze to death. Realizing i should’ve done more sooner.

Lapping Ed. Talking-to him a bit and then planning to leave him. Not realizing my friend needs help. Ed runs as much as he can and does well until we get to the downhill. I leave him at the straightaway to West. I feel bad, but I want to catch Dustin.

30,000 clothing changes. Too hot, too cold, take off pants, rain jacket. Not enough space to pack all this shit. Best gear change was just running in my boxers and base layer shirt and finishing the race in them.

Becoming somewhat familiar with the course was nice. But there were gaps, and it took longer between known points. But became challenge to remember at some points. Mistaken some areas,

Taking a wrong turn. Going back to SF instead of back down the hill. Proud of myself for not flipping out or getting worked up. Was just like okay. Went back up and over the longest 1.1 or 1.8 miles.

Switchbacks down the mountain before West. At least 20.

Waiting for the race to begin at mile 150. Playing the long game. Expecting Dustin to crash and burn eventually, but somehow that never happened. Ran my own race and did what i could. Slept about 6 or 7 hours. Need to become more efficient in and out of aid stations. Def need to have someone wake me up.

Remember being cold and afraid to get out of sleeping bag, but once I was dressed and out there. It wasnt so bad. After first night freezing ass off, put on every layer i had. Wool base layer, windbreaker, rainjacket, race hoodie, and vest. Need to have a layer for warmth next time. Had my down puffy, but had lent it to Katherine, didnt have the heart to ask for it back, especially after what she was doing for us as crew.

Breakfast tacos, then whataburger, pizzA in the same day. I was like whoa, dont overdo it, we have three more days. There would also be chic fil a, ( what else am i forgetting?)

Felt bad because Katherine kept missing dustin because was running too fast. And Ed saw Katherine, his girlfriend and HIS crew only on the last night because he was running too slow.

Didnt run with anyone too much. Most s th erin and Joe. I kept trying to lose her. While it was nice have company, i didnt want to compromise my pace.

I would build up what i thought was a decent lead, but if i stopped even for just a bit, she would eventually be on my heels. Its hard to gauge what a real “lead”. Guessing maybe once you are 30 minutes up, which is maybe a mile or two, then you can breathe a bit. But not much.

It was pretty lonely for most of the race since everyone was so spread out.

No good jokes.

Best joke was leaving ducks for Ed. Someone left a duck for him at the peak. Our Bigfoot joke continues.

Joe as pacer, everyone is dressed for snowpacolypse, joe is wearing shorts. But then changed into… Jeans? Somehow it worked for him. And luckily, that night wasnt that cold. Still….

Puking. Twice. Can recall puking during a race only one other time at Zion. Managed to double that. Blame it on Chrisy asking me if i ever puke. It was nausea at first, but then sat on my knees and my guts tried to cone out my throat, but nothing but bile came out. Think it was the broth.

Funny enough, after the first time, right after the final heave, a good song came on my ipod. I got up and just started running. I was surprised how much better i felt having puked.

Aid station hot food selection was abysmal. Same slim choices: broth (not even good or even hot sometimes) ramen, mashed potatoes, quesadillas. Quesadillas were rarely evenly heated. Beans were a nice add in, but still. They also lacked any fat, so were super dry.

There were some sections of the course that could have used more confidence markers. Luckily, no signs were blown away by the wind like at lone star.

The last miles. Starting out from bowen. Fully dressed. Removing clothes almost immediately and realizing my pack is completely full. Have no hat and the sun is full throttle. Thanks goodness have sunglasses.

Takes forever to get over ridge. See some other guy pop over and running towards me. WTH is he doing? Stop and chat, he’s out training for some ultra in Mexico. Have a surprisingly longish conversation with him.

Make way down mountain side. Think about how windy it was previous times. Think how THIS IS THE LAST TIME I’LL HAVE TO DO THIS SHIT AGAIN.

Remember how i ran almost the entire straightaway to West. Hobbled it. Found a sign post to lean against to poop because i realized i couldn’t squat down.

Ran some of the flats, ever so slowly. Somewhat depressing getting passed by fresh faced 100 milers. Wanting to let then know that hey, ive been running since Wednesday. One guy actually asked if i was doing the 200, and that made me kind of emotional.

Overall, had a decent mental mindset. Wasn’t terribly affected by getting through the distance. The repetition was probably the hardest part, but it also made it easier knowing what was coming up.

Things to work on.

Pacing. First 120-140 should be slow and even. Dont try too much. Then the last bit, give it what you got.

Less time at aid stations.

Have your shit organized.

Know what you need and when and where you’ll need it.

Avoid carrying things you dont need. So check your pack when leaving aid station.

Bring more of your own food. Snack logs should NOT be 99% candy.

Utilize bottles over bladder when aid is close.

It was nice not carrying poles. Maybe save those for last miles.

For God’s sake, new pandora music.

Pretape for blisters. Maybe just tape everything? Next long run, try taping everything.

Food bag.

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