The wheels started to fall off a bit in Loop 5. I was expecting my pacer, Jason, who lived in the area, after the basketball game, which I figured would be midnight or so. I picked up my music for this loop, and that helped for awhile. But then the rain increased and fog moved in! It was so disorienting. After running loops on the same trail (and the year before) all of a sudden I couldn’t tell where I was. I stopped for water, at an unmanned water stop, and as I continued on, I thought I was gotten off on a side trail and somehow missed the AS where they would log me in. (Just another function of brain deadness around mile 68 or so).
Serge Arbona, the winner of the race, went blasting by me in this loop, running up the hills.
His pacer, Tom, lightless, caught up to me. His light had died. Serge had gotten wind that a female was only 6 or 7 minutes behind him, and took off and dropped poor Tom! I gave Tom my spare light and he then paced me in for a few miles. Then I dropped Tom also, as he stopped to chat with another runner, so Serge and I have something in common now, we’ve both dropped the same pacer.
I start the next loop, and my pacer Jason calls me before I hit the AS#2. He’s on his way to the park.Woohoo!! We exchange several phone calls as I keep stalling him. Uh, it’s going to be at least one hour before I get to mile 11 on this loop. I think he’s a bit puzzled, as it’s only 5 miles or so, but I tell him not to even start out to meet me for another hour.
In fact, I stall him off even more as I stagger through AS#2 and on. We meet up around mile 11 of the loop, and then both of us head back into the HQ to start loop 7.
I heart Jason! I would not have finished this race without him. He had never paced anyone before, and actually, we’d never met before. He was a fan of our podcast, www.trailsandtribulations.com and had volunteered to pace for me. I told him the pacing would be fine, he was there to baby sit me, make sure I ate and drank, ran the tangents, and kept a forward motion. I put the music away when Jason arrived, and we managed to talk and slog our way forward.
Loop 7 was pretty much as I thought it would be. It sucked. I was still being my mainly positive person out there on the trails though. It helped having someone to chat with, and to keep moving forward. I seemed to be doing better with the caffeine, although any sort of food was now kind of getting rather sickening. But I was still stuffing something into my mouth, because I was running a bit on the calorie deficit side. But still, it was better than the year before, but I think I now know what to kind of expect.
Of course, it was darkest before the dawn. It was cold, we were plodding along, but looking at my watch showed I was going to hit the last cut off (8am) well ahead of where I was a year ago. I asked Jason if he would like to do the last loop with me and he said yes!
Woohoo!!! Much encouraged, we got into the HQ to fuel up for the last loop. We dropped lights off because the sky was lightening up. The sun wasn’t coming up, because now there was a nice light downpour. It was cold. Good thing I’m hot blooded, because I am still in a short sleeved shirt and shorts. It seems like alot of southerners run this, because there were folks bundled up like a blizzard was occurring.
Forward motion. Forward motion. I was getting just oh so tired. I was not getting much in me in the way of calories at this point. I did grab an energy drink at AS#2 (the only time I used the energy drink) and it seemed to help a bit.
Where I set a goal
We’re at mile 10’ish. On the final loop. I look at my watch and see it’s 10am. “I could do this sub 29” I say out loud, and then start running (such that it is) down the long downhill at this point. I get to the bottom of the downhill, out of breath, already regretting telling Jason of this goal, cuz now I gotta do it darn it!!
Last time up this hill. Pass the unmanned water stop. Five inclines to the turn off to the HQ. Blech. Look at watch. Keep going.
Then begin to wonder at watch. I never synched it with “official race time”. What if it’s off? That would suck to come in at 29.01 when my watch says under 29.
Oh well. We go on. We get to mile 12. 1/2 mile to go. I think Jason asked if I was excited here. Not sure if I replied. With about a 1/4 of a mile to go, I told him “hey I need to tell you something personal about me”. “I tend to faint after these events. But’s it okay. I’ll go lay down and put my feet up.” Poor Jason! Just what he wanted to hear!!
We start down the last downhill. There are two cars attempting to leave the park. Nope, no way I will give them the right of way. They don’t move and congratulate me as I move by!
Down through the mud, and then the final climb to the timing tent and the finish!
Woohoo! A sub 29 hour finish!!
Jason and I
I just had a very good race. I had people tell me how good I looked all day; well, it was because I felt good. I was happy to be there (once it all started!) and having a good time.
The second fifty was not as fun as the first fifty. But having a pacer really really helped. In fact, just knowing that Jason was going to be there later in the night really negated any thoughts of stopping-but I wasn’t having those either.
I’m glad I got this 100 mile finish under my belt buckle. 100 miles aren’t fun, but I am going to go for it at Mohican again. This has helped buck up my confidence a bunch, and I am going to do both train and lose weight between now and June for that race!