8/23/11

A Race to Remember - Part III

Start of the second half of the race was difficult. 2 of the 4 laps were complete, daylight still lingered and it was about 7-8 pm...I didn't know what to expect with the night time legs ahead of me, but my legs kept up pretty well and felt ok or better than my Bear Mountain Race, where I had actually felt my legs were done! I felt fine and could still go...which is always a great sign...I could only imagine a hard course with major hills...seriously!

I was lucky...I knew what was coming up ahead of me and it's an entirely flat course...which is good and bad. You only work one type of muscle, but really it's an easy course...tale of two evils.

So the 3rd lap was rather pretty tame. The PBJ's were replaced by grilled cheese sandwiches, which were delishious! I would be certain that I had used my juice purees and filled it up all the way with ice filled to the top, then the juice. I made sure that I wouldn't drink it till the middle of the lap leg and urged myself to portion out my juice...I needed half for the second half of the 12.5 miles till I got to the other half way point where I would refill. Crazy system huh?

I also found a system with my aide stations. At every aid station, I would take one or two slices of watermelon...eat one there and one on the road. I would take one PBJ or grilled cheese sandwich with me. By the first two laps, I ate it early on and needed some chomps in my later stages before I reached any of the aide stations to make it without faltering to nutrition issues.
So I changed the system to carrying my grilled cheese sandwiches to about 3 miles or half way into the leg to eat. I would walk away from each aid station finishing my watermelon slice and tossing it into the woods for recycling...or rather compost.

Oh and before I headed into lap 1.5, I facebooked onto my cell phone and turned off my cell after I had messaged. I also did this half way, which I had forgotten to mention. I took off my camera and carrier at the half way point as well...lighter load!

So...made it to the first aid station after starting up the second half. I recalled when running with Kat that she said she felt more comfortable running with someone during the nighttime shifts. I knew she was coming in back of me right before a water station before the aid station as she needed to fill up. I talked to her telling her that I would wait at the turn around aide station at 12.5 + 50...to run with her at night...since we would be safe till then due to some light in the sky.

So I sped ahead oh her after we chatted and discussed and we were ok with it. As I got into the half way point of the aid station at 12.5, I waited. I wasn't taking this race too seriously and just wanted to finish, really had no experience at night running and just waited for Kat wanting to know that she was ok in her running abilities as this lap she was without her pacer. I waited a while and then sat down on the chair as I had everything in gear. She then popped in and had to go to the bathroom and do her things and told me then on...to go! Uh! Really?

Anyways, up to her! I then went and could see that the other female, Iris was on our tails as she came in with her husband flying in. I had about 800 meters on her as they were running together. Great...oh well...see if she can catch me.

I turned on my head lamp and started the nighttime running portion of the race and tried to catch some good tunes on my SONY walkman. Tried to tune out a whole lot of the race...I was about half way to the aid station when all of a sudden my head lamp dies...what! No light! I would be whizzing by people asking if they had a spare batteries on them or what not for my head lamp, I really didn't want to get DQed or anything but just improvised and ran with it. I had my back blinker on, so that was ok, but it was actually easier to see at night without the head lamp, due to always running side by side to see where the end portions of the trail was. I reached the half way aid station and asked if they had any double a batteries for my head lamp...they looked and then a person sauntered to his car to look for batteries and finally gave them to me..so I had light! Wheew! I was good for a while...

As I went along, I would slowly sing in and out. I could understand people saying that they hallucinate while running for this amount of time...night time hits and all you see is runners lights and blackness...gosh, it's pretty darn dangerous! I would find that at night I saw a REAL snake as well...oh my gosh! Good thing I had my light on as I passed it without a whim...I luckily told the next runner (Jackie O) as she came by and she was frightened...I later found out it was a gardner snake and had no affliction towards this.

But as I made it back and about 3 mile left, my light would go out again...even with the new batteries and an unknown (which was probably the reason!) Arg...went to the bathroom and did my fill up of juice...got a pbj and saw the rest of the crew at home base.

I chatted a while and quickly changed my top to my Alzheimer's singlet...this one's for grandma!

I was lucky to ask if anyone had an extra headlamp or batteries as Jim had one! Awesome! Oh you are a lifesaver! Seriously...I found it hard to get it working at first and then figured it out...then I was off...

Only to have Iris's husband "taunt" me a little with his two fingers pointing to his eyes and then later at my body...he said "she's gunning for you"...

I knew exactly what he was talking about and all along I have the greatest respect for Iris as she had the history and experience to catch me. I said to him, "if she wants me, she can have me, but she just has to work for it to claim that prize of 3rd place"

All along I had thought I was in 3rd place and really looking at the numbers, I was in 2nd place starting that last lap. But I was calculating how much of a lead I really had. I had probably about 400 meters in front of her as I started the last lap and she was coming for me. I could see her on the way out and saw her as I crossed the bridge...calculating when she would pass me.

So I had 6 miles to get up to the aid station and was just thinking keep my place...just keep my place! My competitive edge came out of me and I knew what I needed to do. I calculated that about a 9:30 last lap average would do the trick as I was not even sure if I could do that...she was probably going to go 9:45 or 10 min miles for the last lap as I calculated her speed with my own, but she was coming for me.

I needed to remain focused and I had to just keep what I was doing. By this point, I was running on dead legs and marco was trying to keep up with me as his lamp was bobblng up and down. In my mind all I could think was for marco not to shine his light onto the ground in front of me as my shadow was in the way...it was disruptive and all I could do was just focus...marco was trying to keep up as well, but I slowly got rid of him as he was jinkering around with all of his items...I needed to focus. I got to the aid station at 7 and was in and out...I got all of my essentials as I said to the helpers and awesome people that "I got the swiss miss gunning after me". She was...

I needed to keep pace as I always though that that first 7 miles was the most difficult because you are starting up your lap and the others go by pretty quickly due to the fact that the mileage is shorter and also you are going back to home base rather than starting it.

I looked behind...nothing...I could see some light, but wasn't really sure if that was her or not. I quickly kept plotting along and somehow reached the half way point...everything hurt, but I was running on pure adrenaline right now and needed to be quick. I had thought I lost time during that point and quickly filled up my juices and was in and out.

I saw the race director there as I told him that I was almost done. I told him if he could drive my drop bags back as I would be done.

Iris's husband was also there as he kidded around and I told him that she would be shortly there as well...she was gunning for me. I was in and out of there so fast that I didn't even pick up my PBJ that I left on the table...oh would that hurt me in the end? I didn't exactly know!

I would leave and right across the bridge about 400 meters away to the half way, would see Iris...damn, she was moving and gunning. I needed to push. I think she underestimated me as this was my first ultra over 50 miles and she didn't think I could move as most people would tire out.
I had luck on my side...

As I pushed through, I would see other people and their lights pass me by. It was nice to see other people and it was nice to see my friends along the way. I was gunning.

I reached the second aid station only to go in and out, getting food and then thanking them for all they have done. It was my last time seeing them and I wanted to be sure to thank them for their work...as they were psyched that I was gunning for 3rd place...

I quickly reached my friend Kino with about 4 miles to go and quickly said hello...he muttered something back, but I couldn't hear. I looked back...no one thus far. I was somewhat safe, but not really.
I looked at my watch...low battery punched two times and then...DEAD! What! Come on, it's 17 hours into the race and you are suppose to go 20 hours! Come on! I was relying on my watch to see what pace I was going...ok, now I need to go completely by feel...good thing I knew that!

I needed to push these last few miles out...I was tired! I saw the bucket of water at the water station as I was almost there...I saw the bridge that was about 3 miles away...I finally saw across the way, home base...and boy was that a relief! Seriously that 2 miles left was tough...relieving, but still tough to say the least that you needed to complete that out and back to get those last two miles in...I wanted to swim across that canal!

I quickly got to thinking in my head to keep rolling. I kept looking back to see if anyone was in back of me...keep rolling...keep going...I literally had to talk to myself at the very end...oh what a relief. I didn't see Iris coming in at all and I was safe...a mile left and over that bridge...I could saunter in, but I needed to run...run it all the way in as I didn't know if Iris had a kick. I don't think most ultra's do have a kick to the finish, but I was DONE! Oh joyous day...seriously...I completed my task! 100 miles!

Done!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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