100 Mile Race #3: Mohican 100 June 18, 2016.

Mohican 100 Mile race in Ohio

This race took place on June 18 and 19th, 2016. The race started on Saturday morning at 5 AM sharp. Here are my notes on the experience:

Thursday morning, I went and had a massage at 8am to get my muscles ready for a strenuous weekend. I felt very relaxed and excited to get to Ohio. After the massage I went home and we loaded up the car with everything I had ready for the trip. I didn’t pack too much and was going to go more minimalistic on this race. Matt ended up packing a whole bunch of stuff so most of the car was filled up with his things. It was good that he was prepared. I drove the whole way to Ohio. We stopped an hour before getting to our hotel and had sushi for dinner. I had a side of rice as well to try to get some extra carbs. We stayed at the Travel Lodge and our room was wonderful. Small but perfect for what we needed. I unpacked everything and had everything set up for the weekend. I took a half of a Unisom to be able to get some hard sleep. I went to bed around 9 PM and slept great. I slept in Friday morning and ended up staying in the room while Matt and Mark went and played disc golf. I organized around the room for a while and got more things together and then ended up going back to sleep. When the boys returned we went to Mohican State Park to pick up my packet and bib number. I was number 333. We went to Chipotle to get some food for dinner and some food for the next day.  I ate half of my bowl of rice and beans and chicken and Mark ate the other half. I took another half of the Unisom and went to bed. I was asleep by around 9 PM and set my alarm for 3:25 AM.

I slept well and was very excited to get up and get ready for the race. I woke up before my alarm clock and took the opportunity to stretch a little bit. Took a nice shower and started getting ready for the race. I used KT tape on my legs which was a first for a race. I tried using KT tape in my last trail training run and felt it really helped. I paid particular attention to my inner ankles and my IT bands and around my knees. This really helped significantly during the race and I want to do that again in future races. No IT band issues but getting ready took a little bit longer than I expected and I did not have time to have a full breakfast. I sipped on a spinach drink that Matt had made me the night before (blended spinach, one Kiwi and water). On the drive to the park I was able to eat half of a banana and sip on some more spinach. I was so well rested and excited about starting the race that I really didn’t want to do or have anything else. We arrived at the park in time to park the car and get the last minute things together. We took a picture in front of the sign and then headed to the race start. Since Mark is more of a morning person he drove me to the race and Matt slept in. I was going to need Matt’s attention/positivity later on in the race so I wanted to conserve his energy for later. I had plenty of time to use the restroom before the race began. There were 250 runners that started the hundred-mile race. I positioned myself in the middle so that I wouldn’t get run over and I wouldn’t have to pass too many people. I had my headphones and iPod touch and listened to my running playlist that Matt and I updated before we left for the trip. I tried to think about going on a steady/easy pace since I always start out too fast at the start of races.

As I was running there was a middle aged guy behind me. He said that I was very light on my feet and has been following my movement and style for a few miles. He finally got to a point and passed me and told me that. We started a conversation and I found out that he ran the Destin race this past February. When I was in Destin and getting ready for the race to start I was hanging around the tent. There a was a nice couple named Steve and Raie there that I chatted with. I had asked Raie to take my picture before the race started. Turns out that it was Steve who I was talking to. I thought that was very cool and was happy to see a familiar face. I found  out he did not finish the Destin 100 and pulled out before mile 80 because he knew he would not make the cut off time limit. (Unfortunately he had to pull out of this race as well because his blisters were hurting him too much and he was going to miss the cut off again). I also met a younger man named Ben who was wearing a tight hot pink long sleeve shirt and hot pink compression calf sleeves. He was very friendly and we chatted for a mile or two. This was his first 100 mile race and I was explaining how the lows can get very bad and how he could battle them with either food or positive music. I told him that they would pass but to try and be prepared for them. Little did I know that my major and only wall was very close to happening. It was nice to chat with him for a bit until he picked up his pace and went on. One thing I try not to do is run other peoples pace. I try to listen to my body and push it when it feels right but walk or jog when I feel it’s necessary. Because of this I rarely stay at a consistent steady pace. I prefer running alone and concentrating on my thoughts or music anyway.

Because of the steep incline on certain parts of the trail we were all forced to walk single file. Many of the parts are very narrow and steep so we did not have a choice but to walk at times. I thought this was a good thing, it was slowing me down but come to realize I did the first loop in exactly to the minute six hours. The race consists of four loops. Two loops at 26 miles and two loops at just over 23.5 miles. Considering the steep incline of this course I definitely started off way too fast on the first loop. I was over an hour ahead of schedule and missed Matt and Mark at the main aide station at the park entrance. This was a very bad thing because I did not carry any food with me and they had everything that I needed. I had packed a black backpack for Mark to carry around with everything that I could possibly need when I would see him. I did not use any drop bags during this race. Not seeing them at that first stop was a major problem. Since I did not see them I just kept going. I must comment that this was the most beautiful course I have ever run. Being in the forest with so many beautiful trees and brooks were gorgeous. There was even a water fall at the bottom of the mountain that was fun to run through. I took my pack off so my iPod wouldn’t get wet and cooled down in the freezing cold water. That was very refreshing.

At the next minor aide station, I did not see them either and continued running. The aide stations were not stocked with food yet. They were still getting things set up and didn’t even have ice open and ready for the runners. I was able to refill my water bottle with some more water. I had a scoop of Tailwind supplement and one MeStrength electrolyte supplement in my water bottle so I continued to fill that up with water and drink it. I stayed up on my hydration through the first quarter of this race just fine. Just needed more calories to keep my energy up and I noticed this  was becoming a big issue quickly. I was starting to feel weak and knew I would need some real food pretty soon. I had not eaten much at all since the night before and I was starting to feel the caloric deficit. I knew this was going to be a very difficult race especially at around mile 16. That is when I started to feel some blisters beginning to form and my legs becoming a little bit tired. I thought this was early  for that to happen which meant I would really be hurting later on (I was right and most definitely was hurting the last 20 miles of the race). My legs were more tired than a normal run, training or race. Around mile 30 I ran into Ben again and ran with him for a few more miles. We talked about a half ironman he did in his home state of Wisconsin. He said he wanted to tell me that I was beautiful and had regretted telling me that at our first encounter. I was flattered and told him so. I thought that was very nice of him to say but that I was not in my most flattering outfit or state. I wore a black thin tank top, my grey tight yoga pants, and hot pink calf compressions along with my black hydroquiver pack on my back. I also wore a light pink head band with puppy paw prints on them. I decided to wear things that were comfortable and that I had trained in so I wouldn’t have any issues during the race but I must admit that it did not match or look that appealing. Nonetheless, I was flattered by the complement. We ran for a little while together when he said he was having a bad cramp in his right calf that would not go away. I told him it would eventually pass with enough electrolytes and fluids. He ended up picking up his pace and moved on while I started slowing down due to caloric deficit weakness.

About eight hours into the race I knew that I was going to need some calories and quickly. I was starting to really wear down on my energy levels and knew I was going to be in trouble. I still had not seen the boys and had not had any access to food. I was kicking myself for not carrying a Bonk Breaker bar in my pack (I know better and that is not much weight to throw in my pack…dumb mistake). Between hours 8-9 I was definitely starting to feel nauseous and extremely weak. Apparently I was looking very pale as well because other runners asked me if I was okay and said that I was looking rather white/pale. I told them that I didn’t feel well. One runner offered me a small Welches fruit snacks pack he had. I graciously accepted it and devoured them all in a second. That did help me feel a little bit better but it was temporary (maybe 20 minutes). I was at the bottom of the mountain walking pretty slow since the terrain was tough and steep. All of a sudden I saw Mark wandering towards me. I was very happy to see him but I really didn’t have much energy or strength to talk. Finally, when I got closer I told him that I did not think I was going to make it to the end of this race. I told him that I was in a deficit and I was not feeling well at all. I was starting to feel very dizzy and my hearing senses were starting to go. I told him I did not think I would have the strength to continue. This was hardest wall I have ever hit in my racing career. I had never been so depleted and weak in my life. My plan was to get to the next aide station and let them know that I was not going to continue the race. I was very sad and upset about this. I tried to keep it to myself but I could not help the tears that came over me when I felt such defeat and disappointment. It wasn’t like I had an injury or illness that was stopping me from going on. It was an error in food calculation which was so simple yet so stupid of me to make. I was upset that this detail was going to prevent me from continuing….at mile 35 no less. That was even worse, that I was only a third through the race. I had already decided what I was going to say to everyone to let them know that this was not my day or my race and that I was not able to continue. I have never come so close to quitting a race in my life. I feel like I can work through injury and hunger but I was at a new low. This was a major wall that I hit. A wall that I have never experienced before in any other race. Of course I have hit walls before but they were definitely not to this extent or drastic measure. I felt so completely worn down, worn-out, defeated, nauseated, overheated, dehydrated, and pretty much in just a devastated state. I knew I was in trouble when my senses started to go. I wasn’t comprehending what runners were speaking to me completely. I understood most of it but there were parts that I was not hearing as they were talking or I could not understand a part of what they were saying. Between that and feeling dizzy I knew I was going to be passing out very soon (it has happened before and I know how it feels before the lights go out). I was disappointed because I wanted this race to be a success. I trained for it and prepared for it but  definitely not enough. The difficulty level was greater than I expected for sure. Making the mistake of starting out too hard and then not bringing any food or bars with me was what I thought would cost me the race.

I told Mark that I was not going to be able to continue. We had about a mile to hike before we got to a place where other people were coming to see the runners. We pretty much walked in silence because I didn’t have the strength to talk. At one point nausea came over me so strong that I started to quietly shed another tear. I really hate crying,  but I hate that extreme nausea even more. I was at a point where I just couldn’t help it. This is when Mark grabbed my hand and we just kept walking. Nausea passed and I just kept moving forward. I heard Mark make a phone call to Matt and tell him that I was in very bad shape and that I was going to need food and water as soon as we got to him which would be pretty soon. We made it out of the woods and through a path when I finally saw Matt and the car. I was very happy to see him and his smile. I walked towards him and told him I needed to sit down. I found some grass and just plopped. He asked me what I needed and I said I needed to get calories but I did not think I could eat anything solid. He went and grabbed the spinach drink and I started sipping on it. Mark got the Chipotle rice and beans and I was trying as hard as I could to get some of that in. I was able to take about two bites before I was overwhelmed with nausea again. The nausea was so bad that I almost passed out and couldn’t take another bite. I laid back on the grass and just tried to breathe very slowly. I laid there for about 10 minutes and tried to relax and calm down. I did drink a little bit of water as well. Matt gave me a carrot but I wasn’t able to eat it.

I knew I had 10 more miles to get to the main aide station at the race start area. I told the boys that I was going to take it easy and get to that station and then decide if I was going to continue the race or not. I was very concerned that I had hit such a bad wall at mile 35. This was so early on in the race and I didn’t feel well at all. I became very discouraged. I decided that I had nothing to lose and I was just going to get to that aide station and then make a decision then. As we were sitting there we saw multiple runners come in and give up. It was an extremely hot day and this course was brutal and I didn’t blame them for a second. I saw one guy walk past everyone and get into the car and say he was done. I saw another guy come in, sit in a chair, holding his head….I knew what he was feeling. I figured I was going to be one of them soon to quit but was going to do it at the main aide station. I changed my shoes and socks and grabbed a whole water bottle of spinach blend and one carrot and started walking. I didn’t have my strength back at all and I was just pushing it as hard as I safely could.

It took me almost 3 hours to get through that 10 miles. I will say that those 10 miles are the toughest part of the course with the most incline (just my luck). It is a lot of straight up climbing and is the toughest portion of the course. I just took it easy and would take a sip of spinach every couple minutes. As time went on I started feeling better and feeling my strength returning (very slowly). The spinach was working until I was able to get some solid food, then I ate the carrot. I drank three-quarters of that spinach drink and the carrot and started to feel like myself again. I started jogging and got to the end where I met Matt and Mark (at the main aide station). I told them both that I was feeling a lot better and that I wanted to continue the race!!! I knew that I had spent a lot of time on that second loop (9 hours!) but if I kept a steady pace I felt like I could finish in time. I would not have time for another breakdown so it was cutting it close to the race cut-off time of 32 hours. I was 53 miles into the race at that point.

It was about to get into the evening so at that aid station, I got some warmer clothes (arm sleeves and a pink vest) and flashlights for the evening run. Matt and Mark had gotten a hotel room right down the road and were going to go relax for the night while I kept running. I had everything I needed and packed extra food and electrolytes. I knew that the aid stations would have some more food which I was counting on having throughout the night and I did (one slice of pizza, oranges, watermelon, ramen noodle soup). It felt good to not be nauseous anymore and I was excited to get back into the race. I gave Matt a big kiss and told them all to have a good night and I took off with determination to finish what I started. I switched from my music playlist to the “sex and the city” episodes that Matt had put on my iPod for me. I had a great time listening to one episode after another and before I knew it I had gone through 10 episodes. In the middle of the night, one guy had a pacer and had offered for me to run with them since I was alone. I ran with them for a little while and chatted with them but then wanted to get back to my shows that I was listening to and dropped back. It was nice of them but I preferred to be in my own zone and go at my own pace. It was very dark out and my headlight was starting to die down so I was having to be extra careful with all the roots and rocks on the ground. Luckily Mark made me take a backup flash light which came in very handy.

I was starting to feel better and getting back into the race. It was so beautiful and peaceful throughout the night. I greatly enjoyed looking around at the Forrest and beautiful moon. The moon was so full and bright that night. It started to cool down so I was more comfortable running as well. I had brought a vest and extra snacks but I did not need to use the vest because I never did get cold. I carried it with me for a while and then finally ditched it at an aide station. The aid stations were set up about every 5 to 6 miles. Perfect time to refill on water and ice. They had HEED electrolyte drink for the runners but I can’t stand the taste and stuck to my MeStrength and water throughout the whole race. I can’t seem to drink enough unless the water is cool or cold so the ice was much needed. At one of the aid stations, I had a slice of cheese pizza and it was delicious (I gave up gluten so indulging on races is an extra special treat) and I enjoyed each bite. I would also have a quarter of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that they offered when I was able to be hungry enough for it. I was still struggling at times with eating solid food simply because I had no desire to eat. So when I saw food I was actually able to have and get down I took it.

I really enjoyed running at night. It was so peaceful and easy to get lost in my thoughts or whatever episode I was listening to. At one point for some reason something told me to turn around and when I did I looked at a tree that was hollowed out and saw the biggest rattlesnake I’ve ever seen. He was curled up and staring right at me but not in a threatening manner. I was thinking that would’ve been a bad place to take a pee break. I just kept going and thought about how incredible his size was. He was the only snake I saw on the trail. I took all my potty breaks on the trail when no one was around. It was faster that way and easier to get it done and keep going. Luckily I did not need an actual bathroom throughout the whole race. Although, I was caught by a guy who came around a corner before I could realize it and he saw my bare butt for a second. I didn’t care and he didn’t say anything. Guys pee all the time on the route so what can they expect from a girl.

Later on in the night, something incredible did happen. I was running along when two runners behind me were gaining on me so I stood aside so that they could pass. This is the trail etiquette and what we all do for the runners who want to pass. The first person was a male and right behind him was a female. When I looked up at her I realized it was Connie Gardener! My running Idol! I had run with her in Destin when she paced me for my last 20 miles on that first race that I ever did this past February. She presented me with my first belt buckle on my first 100-mile race in Florida and I was always in awe and so grateful for it. She is the most incredible female runner I know and I felt star struck again when I saw her pass me. She was on her 4th and final loop while I was on loop 3. She was so focused and determined and of course did not notice me. Later I found out that she had won the race in the female category overall. She has won this race many times and has set the record for the fastest female to complete it. I would’ve expected nothing less. She’s the most hard-core ultra-runner I have ever known or met. You would never know it because she is so down-to-earth and cool. I have always been a big fan of hers and have followed her for a few years now on Facebook. Now that I’ve gotten to know her and met her she has really become a motivating and inspiring person to me in the running community. As she passed me I started getting this tingling feeling of excitement. I started running and thinking about how I wanted to see her and talk to her again at the end of the race. That was very exciting to me.

As dark and lonely as it was out there all night I really was not scared at any point. I really enjoyed it and looked forward to seeing Matt and Mark in the morning. We had decided to meet around 4 o’clock at the main aid station at the start of the race. If I can get there and get out by five then I would’ve had just enough time to finish the race. As it turns out I did end up getting there at 4:45 AM. Matt and Mark were there and happy to see me. I think they both had dozed off in the car so it was quite a surprise when I arrived. I didn’t have a lot of time to change shoes and refuel before I had to get back on the trail so I was very snappy. I told them exactly what I needed and gave them both jobs to do so we can get things done as fast as possible. I did get a little perturbed with Mark as he kept offering so many other things. I finally turned to him and said, unless I ask for something specific please try not to over help me. I was wasting precious time, energy, and effort in getting things together that I had needed and I didn’t need the added stress of him offering me so many other things that were unnecessary. I apologize later to him. Later on, he mentioned that he knew that I was feeling better since I was becoming snappier and focused, and that was very true. I knew at that point that I was going to finish the race if I didn’t waste any time. It was a good feeling yet I was still very focused and determined. I had little time to waste or room for error. 23 more miles to go and I was tired. It was a great feeling honestly. To be in such a devastating and low place and then to be able to feel like you were going to be able to finish this goal is amazing.

I grabbed a snack, changed my shoes, and hit the trail in full steady force. I always seem to get a second wind when the sun comes up. The sun rose around 5:30 AM and it was beautiful. I was feeling strong and determined and really enjoyed the time at that particular part of the race. I was looking forward to finishing, seeing Matt and Mark, and visiting with Connie again. I knew she would remember me and I couldn’t wait to talk to her again and show her that I had done another hundred miles. I turned 35 this year, but I felt like a child being proud of the good report card to show their parent. I was excited and looking forward to it. In the beginning of the fourth and final loop, I did pass a few people. They were struggling and hurting very badly. I told them that we can see the light and you’re all going to make it if we keep going at a steady forward motion. One girl started to cry and said that she didn’t think she was going to make it to the next aid station. I stopped for a second and told her that she can do it and to keep moving forward. I told her she was right on track with time if she kept going and didn’t hang out at the aid stations. At the end of the race I did find out she did make it and I was happy to see that.

I have come to realize that in every long distance race that I have done so far that I am really not competitive. I don’t have that desire to place or beat someone. I have the drive to beat myself and finish strong but no desire at all to have competition with anyone else. It’s more so the opposite. Once you get to the end of the race like this and you’re so exhausted I’m almost proud of whoever can pass me. Giving them words of encouragement and praise as they go. It is wonderful to be able to push through anything at the end of the race like this and I am very proud of whoever can do it. I think for this reason I do not want to be a competitive runner. I really enjoy the experience in all aspects of the race but I don’t ever want it to stop being fun. To me, it seems like a time of reflection and gratitude. I dedicate these races and thoughts to all the things I am grateful for and the things I am able to accomplish and do in my life. I’ve been given many opportunities and I’ve been fortunate enough to take many of them. Not everyone has these opportunities and I don’t think that should be taken for granted. Sometimes it takes a great level of suffering to appreciate all that you have. I seem to realize this more and more with every race I do and it seems to really draw me back to do it again and again. Grateful for the people in my life, for the kind words that they say and mean, for the things I have been able to see and experience, for the people I’ve been able to touch and help, for the few family members that I have that mean so much to me, and also for the wisdom to realize the people that are in my life that is toxic and I should avoid. I am a very fortunate person and feel that I have gone after many things with full force, many of my goals and accomplishments, just like this race. I can be reduced down to something that is barely able to hear or walk and then finish a 100-mile race strong in conditions that were extremely difficult. This determination and will can be applied towards everything in my life that I feel is worth it. My relationship with people I care about, my marriage, and so many other significant factors that make me who I am. I appreciate the aide station that hands me a slice of watermelon and gives me ice in my water bottle as I pass, giving me encouraging words as I go, just as I can appreciate growing up a good majority of my childhood with very little and such difficulty and appreciating all the luxuries and wonderful things that I am able to experience now as an adult.

During the beginning of the race, I had an idea that I’m thinking about putting into effect. I was thinking that this accomplishment is difficult yet so well worth it especially for the fact that it scared me a little bit to tackle it. Made me think about wanting other people to take that leap and do something that is out of their comfort zone within a safe limit but completely worth it when they’ve accomplished the goal. Something that will positively impact their lives and make a difference in how they live or think. I thought of putting a post on Facebook with this type of challenge and encouraging people to message me with what it is so that I can encourage them on their journey. Something that does scare them a little bit but motivates them enough to get it done and as long as it has absolutely nothing to do with weight loss or gain. Everyone is so focused on that and I don’t want this to be anything about that. I wanted it to be something significant in their life that allows them to have strategy and determination for what they want to achieve. Just as these races do for me.

Now back to the race. Like I said I was feeling pretty strong on the last loop and determined to finish. I couldn’t wait to see Connie and the boys and I was pushing it a little too hard. I did not realize that I was running through all my calories again and started to feel weak. The aid stations were running out of food and so all I could get were some slices of oranges and an occasional slice of watermelon. This did not hold me over so towards the last quarter of the loop I was starting to struggle pretty bad again. One runner asked if I was OK and I told him I was starting to feel pretty weak and dizzy again. He offered me a tailwind supplement that he had had in his pack. Again, I graciously excepted it and put it in my water bottle. As I sipped it I started feeling the strength come back to me. I was so grateful especially knowing the ultra-running community will go above and beyond to help anyone out. That stranger did not have to do anything but he gave me his backup supply and that significantly made me feel better.

After I got my strength back I started running again. I thanked him very much and he was happy to help. One of these days I will learn to bring more fuel with me so I am more prepared and able to help others if they need it. I did not realize the intensity of this race and how fast I was going through so many calories with the effort I had to exert on such hills. The hills around Charlotte and in my last blind pig 100-mile race in Spartanburg did not come close to the intensity and hills that I had to tackle on this race. Once I got to the campgrounds (1.5 miles from the finish) I saw Mark waving his hand at me. I had about a mile and a half to go to the finish and I was so excited yet totally drained. I so badly wanted to finish and be done with it. I had been awake for over 33 hours and was really feeling tired. I have been running and moving forward nonstop except for the little breaks at aid stations and when I tried to recover when Matt and Mark found me about to give up. Between mile 94 and 97 I passed a good group of guys. I gave them words of encouragement and told them that we were all going to make it and to keep pushing forward. Some of them were happy and replied positivity in return. A handful of them I think did not like being lapped by a girl so I just kept going. Or they may have been depleted and exhausted and not in a good mood so I didn’t think anything of it. The emotional highs and lows in a race like this are such a roller coaster. You can’t expect or predicted anything except that it’s going to be extremely great and extremely miserable at various points in the race.

I got to the campgrounds and ran through them as I met Matt with the car along the way. I had less than half a mile to go and was feeling very weak again. Matt gave me a big handful of blueberries that I scarfed down and told myself to pull it together for the end. I didn’t want to look like a complete zombie when I ran across the finish line. I had asked Matt and Mark to talk to Connie and ask her if she would present me with my belt buckle (again). Mark said that he had found her before he met with me and she agreed to do it. She talked with the race director and got my buckle from him and as they announced my finish she was going to give it to me. Matt ended up catching this on video and it meant so much to me. I was so happy to see everybody and cross the finish line that I was just on cloud 9. Especially when I looked over and saw a tear in Marks’ eye. He saw the struggle and saw me get through it, he was very proud of me and I felt wonderful. Matt was also very proud and happy and his normal bubbly happy self. Connie gave me my belt buckle and a hug right after I crossed the finish line. She took a picture with me and gave me a handshake. Then she leaned into me and gave me some advice. She said that if I can get through this course that I can get through anything. She said that this was the toughest course and even harder than Western State. She said I am now qualified for Western State and I need to put my name in the lottery system for that race. I thanked her very much and told her it was great to see her. She then had to go and accept her award for winning the race because they were doing the awards ceremony which they had stopped so that she could present me with my buckle as I cross the finish line. To say that I was honored is an understatement. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending and just wanted to stay in the moment.

After I got a few pictures with my buckle and with Matt and Mark I went and found the closest bench and sat down. I sipped on some water and watched the end of the award ceremony. There are some incredibly strong women out there and I’m in awe of what they can accomplish. We sat down for a little while and relaxed while we discuss the race and how good it felt to be done. We cheered on the rest of the runners that came in before the cut off time. I had exactly 46 minutes before the race ended and in that timeframe, quite a few runners came in which we were all so happy to see. We were so grateful and happy for them. They worked so hard and I was out there with them at the end. Unfortunately, my friend Ben did not make it. His calf cramp hurt too much and he pulled out shortly after I saw him the second time.

These races are nothing like marathons or half marathons. We all are so genuinely happy and excited for each other especially when we get to the goals that we set out to do. I think that is one reason it draws me to this level of challenges as well. The community is just amazing. People will give you their snacks right out of their pack just to help you out. People say things to help you if they can and do everything to push you along if you need it.

I had brought a change of clothes and my gym bag to take a shower after the race before we had to drive back to Charlotte (7.5 hours). I was so tired at that point that I just didn’t even care. I stayed in my sweaty running clothes and just sat in the back of the car. I knew I smelled like sweat but at that point, I couldn’t care less. I told the boys that I needed to eat soon because I wasn’t feeling well. I got mad at them because they didn’t make it a priority and two hours later we still had not stopped to eat anywhere. Finally, I was like we need to stop at the next place and I don’t care what it is. We found a great Mexican place and I had a great dinner. I had a hard time eating too much because my stomach was still a little upset but I started to feel better the more I was able to eat. After that, I sat in the back of the car and slept a good portion of the way home. Periodically I would go on Facebook and read all the wonderful comments that people had left for me. I appreciated them very much but was still too exhausted to respond much to them. I replied more the next day. We made it home safe and sound with a new belt buckle and 100-mile race completed. What an adventure! I did it and survived in one piece. Although I lost two toenails this time it was worth it. Who needs toenails anyway? I can’t wait to do it again next year!


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