I did it. I ran 100 miles. I ran for 27 hours and 51 minutes and in the end I got a belt buckle and a lifetime of smiles. So now that you know the outcome, let me tell you how it went down.
The gun went off, jog slow, slow, slow. Stick with Kara and jog real slow, have I mentioned we went out really slow. Without fail all advice to people running their first 100 mile race is go out slow and when you feel like it is your all day run real slow pace, go a bit slower. Strange to have no real sense of urgency at a race.
The race started with a few miles of dirt road then the first real climb, a slow walk, up to the first mesa. We were rewarded with cheering friends, a guy in a gorilla suit and 1/7 of the elevation gain behind us.
Mile 6: Met Karl, he completed Ironman St George the week before and was here racing his 13th 100 mile race. I asked if he was feeling recovered, he said no. Feeling surrounded by the most hard-core group of people ever.
Mile 19: Gorgeous rappelling section with ropes and steep loose ground. So fun, left me smiling for miles.
Mile 27: Meet Liz Bauer, she has run 13 hundred mile races THIS YEAR and is going for the record, 30 in one year. Holy crap that is awesome and thank you for the great advise while we ran along side you!
Mile 30: feeling pretty slow which is the plan but hoping I can keep my patience
Mile 35: about to meet my crew and pick up Jessica who has offered to run the next 10 miles with me before I meet Brian. About 8 hours in and feeling so slow but strong.
Mile 42: Hot damn, it is hot. The breeze is barely there and I am depleted. Jessica forces broth and snacks on me at the aid station and then dumps salt right from the container onto my tongue. Tastes like a horrid ocean accident, works like a charm.
Mile 45: Pick up Brian, walk up the steepest hill of the race and get to the top feeling like a balloon that has no air in it just some of the spit from when it was once inflated. An angel is at the top serving slushies made from electrolytes and I take one to go mixed with Gatorade and although it takes 6 miles of a slump from the dark side, I come back to life eventually.
Mile 53: I toss a half eaten Nutella wrap off a mesa along with my self doubt. Brian puts on some music and we start running again.
Mile 55-65ish: The trail is a zig-zag-a-palooza rocky whoop-de-doo fest of horrible unrunnable trail. The trail is slow but so am I so hey, what the heck. The sun has set, lights are on and I am doing okay but the trail has Brian and I both cursing the words “Bi*#h Motherf#$@er”
Mile 65-70: The most glorious, beautiful, wondrous, fire road in the nation. (use your Forrest Gump voice here) We Were Running!
Mile 70: Weigh in goes well, I am less than one pound heavier than when I started the race. Race medics ask me to sit so they can take my blood pressure. It is around midnight and I haven’t sat down yet. I am not starting now. They take vitals while I stand, ask me their standard questions to check if I am loopy or ok to continue. After the first 2 questions they see that I refuse the chair and won’t stop smiling and let me go.
Mile 73: Tina and I are having fun but all of a sudden it feels like my foot is broken. I think it is a cramp, hope it goes away and Tina gives me salt.
Miles 75-82: Tina is juggling my needs which means she is running with a fork that has a salty potato on the end, her iPhone playing happy music, a can of protein shake and every flavor Gel they offered at the last aid station. Hilarious. She is an awesome athlete as anyone else would have completely wiped out managing that and running a technical downhill. We get to a nice fireroad from a crappy technical downhill and it is a crossroads of what feels like 8 intersections at a golf course. We can’t see markers, my foot is feeling broken and I am in a bit of a dark place. Luckily Tina runs her little butt off all over the world and finds the markers so we find our route. Then even luckier, we figure out that my broken foot is actually just my shoes getting SOOOO tight from swelling feet. After Dr. Tina loosens my shoes there is NO pain at all and we are off again running.
Mile 82-83: I pick up Troy and leave behind Tina and we are off running. My crew tells me how confusing this section is so I am super proud when I see how obvious the pink markings are and we run down the trail at what feels like a sprint. In just over half a mile Brian comes running and yelling after us that we are heading the wrong way. We followed the 50 mile course which should have been marked in yellow. After some quick freaking out, we turn around and calmly head back on track. A bonus mile which was no biggie in the scheme of things and really didn’t do too much mental or physical toll.
Mile 85ish: SUN, SUN, SUN, here it comes! Sun comes up, Troy helps keep me fed and entertained with stories and the trail is gorgeous.
Mile 88ish: Holy crap, I look at Troy, realize I am going to make it and we have a moment. I get teary again thinking about it. SO fantastic. Glad I didn’t know that the next section of 2 miles downhill would hurt so much and turn my running into a silly shuffle.
Mile 90: Last time to see my crew before the finish. I am tired but know I can do it. That said it is also a frustrating realization to know that 10 miles will take around 3 hours at my pace. Patience, patience. So Jessica and I take off for the finish. Jessica looked like a supermodel in her cutest lip gloss, running skirt and perfect hair visor combo. I told her she was not allowed to stand next to me during pictures at the finish and we started for it! We walked, we shuffled, we ate, we made it to mile 95 aid station with the help of some Bollywood music.
Mile 95: At aid station 95 I figured out how to make rocket fuel (dip vanilla cream cookies into Coke so you can swallow them easier- so that is why those hot dog guys wet the buns!!!) and I ran like the wind for home. Ok, I ran like a gentle breeze for home.
FINISH: I have definitely never tasted a finish line so sweet. My friends never looked so tall, amazing, cheerful, wonderful and glowing (and with silky hair, clear skin and extra white teeth). I heard them cheering from block away. I couldn’t have done it without their help. They forced me to eat when all I wanted to do was spit out the nasty crackers that turned to mortar in my mouth. They cheered when all they wanted to do was be asleep. The walked when they were trained to keep on running. So awesome. Thanks to Jessica, Sam, Tina, Troy, Brian, Falk and Kara for making this race so special and helping me with my biggest problem: a buckle but NO BELT!
Congrats to Kara who also had a killer race, ran with me for the first 35 miles, shared her wisdom and trail food with me and is an awesome friend, competitor, athlete and person.
Shout out to Matt Gunn, race director. He looked like he had run 100 miles before the event even began. He worked his butt off for that race and it showed. His transparency on issues, thought process and preparation was admirable. It even calmed down my very nervous mother. While there were some course markers that didn’t quite lead easily, I found that 95% of the course was marked insanely well. The volunteers were kind and plentiful. The trails were gorgeous, more gorgeous and then it would get even better. His attention to detail included a guy dressed as a monkey at the top of flying monkey trail, a monkey again a few miles later to remind us to keep it light, volunteers where we were rappelling, light sticks all over, his mom and her homemade broth, awesome finish line food, superbly thoughtful buckles and reservations at a hot springs for the evening (which we didn’t get to enjoy, darn). Hats off to you for conceiving the event and making it happen. (I am the girl who gave you a high five at the 51 mile aid station and then a huge bear hug at the finish)
Some race stats:
0: Number of blisters
1: Number of pairs of Nike Pegasus trail shoes to run the race
2: Number of Garmins used to get through the whole race
3: Number of recovery shakes drank during the run
4: Number of sores in my mouth (from sugar, 24 hours of food in my mouth, unsure?!?)
5: Number of awesome friends who crewed for me
6: Place amongst the females, cool!
30: Number of gels counted in my garbage pile, possibly more tossed before being counted
32: Number of batteries it took to run all night
101: Number of miles run!
27:51: Number of hours total time
In case you are wondering I wore: Nike Air Pegasus Trail shoes, Inov8 gaiters, Smartwool PhD socks, Atalanta Skirt Goddess running skirt, Adidas running tank, DeSoto Cool Wings arm coolers, Headsweats hat from TransRockies (WILL RUN FOR COOKIES!) and my Ultimate Direction Wink hydration pack.