Zion 100K: pacer and crew. . . the heart

Teresa sent me an email about a month before my race. It was a questionnaire. (She actually sent it to someone named ‘Liz Johnson’ first. . . then, to me). It had 14 questions on it, some of which included. . .

When you’re tired, do you prefer lots of conversation, or absolute silence? How will you communicate that you want the opposite of what I am doing?

Do you want me to learn any bible verses or mantras to recite to you?

What do you want me to do at the aid stations? Run ahead and let Kathy know what you want? Fill your bottles?

About a week before the race, Teresa asked me to write a race plan. A race plan? I just want to finish.. I’ve never run this distance, how was I to plan? I fought this a bit in my head. I sought the advice of five running ‘greats’, Jobie, Joel, Scott, Matt and Kevin. I needed some feedback, before I started writing. I loved each of their words of encouragement and advice. Their thoughts helped me to make a tentative plan. Since my first priority was to finish, I designed my plan, based on cut off times. Then, I rewrote it with cutoffs in mind, breaking my plan down from aid station to aid station. Finally, I finished it with cutoffs, aid stations and ‘climbs’. There were three different climbs–all before mile 35! I knew I could not have my quads trashed or my body exhausted, going into the last 50K. I’m glad Teresa encouraged me to write a plan. It DID relax my nerves and helped me to begin visualizing my ‘checkpoints’. Def–have a race plan, even if it is based on finishing.

Kathy came over a few days before we were leaving to look at my plan and to go over some crew details. She too asked me about my expectations of her. My words to her? “Be YOU!” Kathy laughs easily. Kathy is a rock of calm. Kathy has a bit more control over her emotions than I do. What am I saying?! 🙂 The fact is that a large majority of people have more control over their emotions than I do. HA! I wear my heart on my sleeve, most of the time. I also tend to put my foot in my mouth, from time to time.

We arrived in Utah on Wednesday, two days before the race (good choice). First stop? In-&-Out! Well, our first stop was Arizona–who knew it was SO close? Who knew I would get lost?! HA! Second stop? In-&-Out.

Thursday, we went to Zion and took an easy two mile hike, has a GREAT lunch, per Teresa’s recommendation. The weather twas fantastic and promised to be that way for our entire trip. It was during our lunch, chatting with other racers that we realized I had to go pick up my race bib and check in before the meeting at 6:30 pm.

Got my bib and began to get nervous about my drop bags.

Kathy and Teresa were calm. They held it together, kept it light and got us back to our house to work on my two drop bags. We got everything together and wrote down aid station to aid station details.

Those two were rock solid! I cannot express enough or emote what that meant to me or did for me. They had NO doubt in their mind. They never backed down in their confidence and calm. I would try to shake them with my uncertainty. I remember saying something to Kathy about my feet. Without hesitation, she said, “Your feet are going to hurt. You’re running 63 miles!” She did not say, “duh”, but maybe, she thought it. 🙂

I am telling you, rock solid!!

Race day. . .

Kathy got me to the start. She saw me off with a hug, and we’ll see you in 15 miles! I was looking forward to seeing them. I saw them four times, during the race. I cannot tell you every situation or detail. They were always on it! They were the loudest cheerleaders, when they saw me. I felt like a prize fighter in the corner of the ring, each time I met them at the aid stations. One was getting food and drink. One was tending to my pack, my feet and my sunscreen needs. We had the best time together. We laughed. We smiled. I believe that everyone around us could feel our positive energy. I’m not sure you can rehearse this stuff. It is a bond that we share. My low at mile 30.5 was just a hiccup. Teresa walked me through it and ‘pushed, not shoved’, me along. I had complete confidence in the ability of these two.

My fav Kathy look? Two braids, Patagonia trucker hat, buff and lime green REI jacket!

My fav Teresa look? The one on her face, when she turned to me 100 yards from the finish and said, “You did it!”

At the end, BOTH of them were able to express the emotion that I had no energy to express. It was way more than a “high five”. I owe a lot of this accomplishment to you both, Teresa and Kathy. You helped to get me from start to finish. You believed in my ability and refused to let me disbelieve.

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