4:30 AM alarm goes off. I am up. Made coffee and ate two waffles and peanut butter. I drank about 16 ounces of water. Left the house at 5:05 am. Arrived at the start at 5:35 am.
6:00 am the race starts promptly. The sun rises around 7:00 am. I had my head lamp but barely had to use it of rate first few miles. I was running with the pack and used their lamps. I conserved my batteries for later.
time now becomes a blur. I will track for you by miles
Miles 0-4 we headed toward ‘flying monkey’. This would be the first climb of 3. The sun was on the rise. The view was breathtaking. We were running on the edge of the mountain. At one spot, a rope hung down to help with the climb. You could use the rope or a side trail. I chose the side trail, because the rope was in use. I thought that this part of the race would be slow. No ‘conga line’. I was able to hike up these rocks without slowing down too much.
Miles 4-10 The first aid station was at mile 4. I grabbed water and some m & m’s and continued on. During this section, I ran a loop back to this same aid station, before heading down to mile 15 at Dalton Wash to see my crew for the first time! I do not remember much about miles 4-15. I was looking forward to seeing Teresa and Kathy before climb #2.
Mile 15! The sun was up and bright. I had my hat on. I put my sunglasses on. I gave the girls my headlamp, arm sleeves and some trash. They filled my bottles and supplemented my food.
Miles 15-19 were mostly uphill. I walked most of this at about a 14:00-15:00 pace. There was no need at this point in the race for me to run uphill. I made it to mile 19. The climb was not bad at all. I felt good. I was really trying to eat well, keep positive and run by feel to prepare myself for the last climb, starting at mile 30.5.
Miles 19-26.5 were tough. There was no climbing, but the mixture of small rocks, large rocks and single track made it hard to get a rhythm. It felt like an uneven conveyor belt of rocks and dirt that someone would turn on and off intermittently. I made it back to mile 26.5 with a last sip of water. . . barely (that was long).
Miles 26.5-30.5 for the most part this was downhill. I decided about one mile in, to use the downhill to my advantage. I also thought that if there was going to be a place to run, this would be it. I changed my shuffle to some good music and pushed my pace. I finished those miles with about a 10:00-11:00 average. FELT GOOD!! My feet had several hot spots. I needed some blister prevention.
Mile 30.5! Ran in strong. Teresa got my Perpetuem ready and Kathy helped me with the duct tape for my feet. Kathy also reapplied sunscreen. Blisters covered, socks and shoes on. . . headed to my LAST, HARDEST climb. Teresa walked with me a bit, while I ate. The joy of finishing 30.5 AND the task of running 32.5 collided. I started to cry. Teresa talked to me a bit, “This is your normal low, right?”. . . “You are strong!. . . “We’ll see you in 5 miles.” I calmed down and carried on.
Miles 30.5-35.5 I still felt like running. The beginning of this section was runnable and “fast hike-able”. I ran and hiked until about mile 34. At about mile 34, I climbed 1500′ in 1.5 miles. I hit this mile at the warmest part of the day. (The heat of the day, still, was nothing, compared to a hot, humid Southern day.) It makes me laugh to remember the steep grade of this hill. People were stopped, sitting, hunched over, throwing up, meditating, as I pressed on. I made it to the top in good spirits! 🙂 I beat Kathy and Teresa here. They came running into the aid station, about 5 minutes after I crested the hill. I was ready to get going. I remember Teresa looking at me and telling me that we were going to run down before sunset. I was invigorated because my goal was to get to mile 47.5 by 7:00 pm. We had to go down the same 1500′. I wanted to do that in daylight! We were having great time! My smiles were genuine. It was good to be cared for and supported. Teresa and Kathy helped me to get ice in my hat and sent me off. Twelve miles and I would be with my pacer!
Miles 35.5-47.5 were tough. There was not much climbing but the ‘conveyor belt’ (intermittent up/down and trail/rock) was back. The views were incredible! I remember watermelon at aid station 40 & 41–SO GOOD! This section was monotonous. Looking for the trail markers kept me busy. I was keeping my eye out for pink flags, chalk dots and chalk arrows. At times, my goal was to run marker to marker. I was able to pass a few people on this section too. FINALLY, mile 47.5. I could not wait to sit and reassess my feet. . . more blisters. . . they hurt.
I made it to mile 47.5 by 7:10 pm! I sat down for a bit. I didn’t know what I wanted to eat. I made the mistake of eating too much from mile 42-47.5: 1/2 sandwich, ramen noodles, 2 gels and Tailwind. As I sat in my chair, I ate 1/2 avocado. Kathy had to remove my socks, because I was afraid my leg would cramp if I had to bend it to pull off my compression sock. We placed some more duct tape on my feet, put new socks on and took my tank off. I switched to a long sleeve shirt and put my shoes back on. Teresa and I started at 7:20 pm! The sun sets at 8:00 pm. We were heading downhill into the sunset.:) I was trying to eat a 1/4 of a quesadilla, but my stomach was not feeling so hot.
Miles 47.5-55 7.5 miles until the next aid station. It was great to be with my person! I was pretty much alone for 13 hours. I was delirious, like I was just reunited with a long-lost friend. I was very chatty at first. Still not eating. I was anxious to get to the aid station at mile 55 and some TUMS. It did not cool down. I took my long sleeve off and ran in my sport’s bra. I could tell that my breathing was kind of labored. This was a dry and dusty place. I was breathing it in for 15 hours so far. It’s funny how this time with Teresa went from me being “chatty Kathy” (not to be confused with Kathy) to single word answers. We reached the aid station, I got some Tums, water and a small bag of pretzels. I still did not want to eat. We used the restroom and started for the finish line. Did I mention that there were compost port-a-pottys at EVERY aid station? (spoiled)
Miles 55-63 OH BOY! 8 miles to finish line. From miles 55-61.5, my responses to Teresa’s questions went from single word answers to NO answers. She got it. Teresa would run. . . I would run. . . Teresa would walk. . . I would walk. I managed to eat a few pretzels and sip water. The Tums made my stomach feel a bit better, but I still did not want to eat. When we got within 1 1/2 miles of the finish, Teresa let me know. I could carry on more of a conversation with her now. I was ready to be finished. Our last mile was a 13:00 pace.
We were 100 yards from the finish, Teresa turned, looked me in the eye, and said, “you did it!” She started crying. I joked that she needed to stop because I would not be able to breath, if I started crying. I ran across the finish and Kathy gave me the biggest hug! What a race! What a pair. . . of friends. What a majestic God who made this place and my body.
Along with Teresa and Kathy, I had a large group of friends at home praying, calling, messaging. I had a husband, cheering me on and taking care of the kids. NOT ONE TIME did I think of dropping out, NOT ONCE. Awesome race. It did not disappoint.
17 hours 57 minutes. 17:05 pace.
Stay tuned for a post on my crew and pacer. . .