Indiana Trail 100-mile Race April 29, 2017.
Today is Thursday, April 27. I have started my drive to Indiana in preparation for my 7th hundred mile race and I’m very excited and feel ready. I am going on this trip alone because it just worked out that way. Matt had yoga teacher training, Mark and I are broken up, and no one else was available. I have been looking forward to some alone time to do some thinking and reflecting so it’s all good. I feel like this is going to be a good racing experience. I have been feeling a little bit under the weather but feeling a lot better today. Matt gave me some immunity supplements and the Oil of Oregano really helped keep my immune system strong. I woke up this morning at 5 AM which was an hour before my alarm was set because I was so excited to get going. I played with Millie for almost an hour and got up slowly which was nice. Millie is our new 6-month-old puppy that we adopted two months ago and we love her so much. She is a Miniature Pinscher/Chihuahua. A ball of energy but so sweet and a great trail runner!
I have a hotel room for Thursday and Friday in Indiana that is 30 minutes from the park where the race will be held. For Saturday and Sunday I will be at the race and then I will spend the night in my tent before I drive home on Monday (at least that was the plan). I thought it would be more fun and easier to camp at the park where I’ll be running.
Matt and I are in a good place which makes me feel secure and happy for this trip. We had been fussing a little bit the last couple days but the talking has brought us closer and issues and feelings on the table to discuss. Very glad that we did and I value our talks and connection. This morning he left me a very sweet letter on my stuff to find before I left. He wrote it out last night and put it in my cooler so that I would find it this morning. It was such a nice note and I brought it with me to look at throughout the trip. He does support me a lot and I am very fortunate that he does.
This morning before I left the house I cooked some gluten-free lasagna and macaroni and cheese for this trip. It’s in the car and it smells so good. I’m looking forward to eating some of it throughout the day today and the weekend. I pretty much have bought and packed all the food that I will need for this whole trip. It should make things a lot easier.
Friday, April 28, 2017.
I went to bed early and slept as late as I could which was about 9 hours total. Felt well rested and excited to prepare for the race tomorrow. I took my time organizing my gear and clothes. Ate some food in my room and then headed to the park to set up my tent for the race. I found a perfect spot near the trail where we run to set up my tent. The weather predicted some heavy rain so I brought my canopy to put over my tent area. I was able to set up my tent and canopy by myself (first time without help). I brought a flag that said peace love and happiness with a big smiley face that I hung up on the canopy. I used that as my theme for this race. I tried to focus on connecting with nature and the woods during this race. I tried to keep my mind calm and not worry about drama and emotions. I never hit a major wall or had extremely low points which was the goal. This race was simply because my mind was simple if that makes any sense. I did not fret over anything and just went with the flow as things happened. Things such as the weather conditions and how cold and wet it was. I focused on going with the flow while remaining calm and things fell into place smoothly throughout the whole race.
Just as I was finishing I man and woman pulled up and wanted to set up their site near me. I introduced myself and offered to move my car so they would have more room, which I did. Due to the rain, we were supposed to experience I suggested to them that they set up a little closer to me on a slight downhill slant to avoid some of the rain pooling into their tent. The man of the two was a little arrogant and grouchy and did not take my advice. He paid for that later when his car got stuck in the mud when he tried to leave! Told ya so J His friend, the female, came to support him and had never been to an ultra-event before. She asked a lot of questions about how things work and what she could do to help him. He was snappy with her towards the end and I felt bad for her. When he walked away for something I went to her and told her I would be happy to help her with any questions she has during the whole event and to not hesitate to ask. She was so sweet and offered to help me too if I needed anything. Soon after that, the guy announced that they had to leave right then and go get food and drink supplies for the race and they were gone.
I had some time before the packet pick up so I read my book and relaxed in my tent. I had a small blow up mattress in there and enjoyed some relaxing time in the woods with my book. I really love all my camping gear and it’s so fun using it out in the beautiful woods. At 3 pm I went to get my packet and bib. That didn’t take very long and I decided to skip the runners meeting and head back to the room to rest up for tomorrow. At the room, I ate some dinner, showered, watched TV and then went to bed at 7:30 pm.
April 28, 2017. Race Day!
I woke up at 4 am and was excited it was race day. Took a nice warm shower to get my bones moving and got ready to go. I was out the door and headed to the race at 5 am. The race started at 6 am. I had just enough time to park the car, use the restroom real quick and jump in the runner’s area before the race started.
There were 192 100-mile runners that started the race. All the people and excitement created great energy. Because there were so many people we had to walk a good part of the first 3 miles until people started to spread out. I started off listening to my iPod touch music for the first loop. There were 5 loops we had to complete, each being a little over 20 miles. I did a quick stop at my tent as I passed and shed some clothes I had on because I was already hot by that point. The first loop was steady and took me 4 hours and 25 minutes to complete. The trails were so beautiful and I loved the fact that the whole course was in the woods and fields. I took a few pictures along the way.
During the second loop, it started to rain. I had a poncho in my pack and used it. This loop took me 5 hours and 30 minutes. The mud was starting to form from the rain so it made us all slow down some and be careful not to fall or twist an ankle. I saw the woman from the people next to me camping and she was so nice. She asked if she could do anything for me and was so eager to help. I gave her my iPod and a charging cable and asked her to charge it for me and I would get it on the next loop. She was so excited to help and announced happily that it was ready for me the next time I saw her. The charging device I brought wasn’t working so I didn’t worry about it since she was willing to help.
I asked her about her runner friend and how he was doing and she said he was behind me and that was it. I had a feeling he was not as pleasant as I was or most of the other runners out there. I felt bad for the kind lady for having to put up with that grouch. A person with a grouchy attitude really stands out in events like these. The ultra community is so humble, helpful, and overwhelmingly kind. That is one of the many reasons I love them so much.
I stayed up on my hydration and nutrition. The race was set up and organized very well. Everyone was extremely friendly and kind at all the aid stations. They were so willing and eager to help us in any way that they could. They gave us words of encouragement and try to help us with our gear if they were able to. Plus, they had the largest array of food choices I had ever seen during a race. I ate a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches which were delicious. I also ate a lot of chicken noodles soup which was so warm and needed later on in the race.
For the 3rd loop, things were going smoothly. I was plugging along and listening to an audiobook on my charged iPod touch. My new Garmin watch (Fenix 5s Sapphire) that I just got and was using for the 2nd time died during this loop. It only lasts for 4 hours and I didn’t have anything to charge it with. That was ok and I just left it off for the remainder of the race. Next time I will bring a little portable charger to charge it on the run.
It started to rain again and I used another poncho I carried in my pack. It started to get dark and I used my headlight for the last hour of this loop. I was looking forward to meeting my pacer, Jennifer when I finished loop 3. I was starting to get tired though and new I would need to take a little break soon. I had not had a break since the race started and my body was starting to get tired.
This was the most difficult loop and I was so happy to have had Jennifer help me! As soon as I approached the main tent I recognized her because of her pants. She sent me a picture of the leggings she was going to wear and I spotted her before she even saw me. Jennifer is a woman that reached out to be my pacer when I put a message on the Indiana Trail 100 group on Facebook requesting a pacer. I wasn’t sure I would need one but figured it would be nice since I was up there all alone and may need some company by that time. I sure did and she was amazing. I introduced myself and we took off running. I told her about the race so far and how I was feeling. I told her that I was starting to get tired and that a 20 minute reset at the tent in three miles would be really helpful. She was supportive of that and agreed. We got to my tent and I put on some warm clothes because the heavy rain was coming. She waited in the warm volunteer staging tent right next to me for exactly 20 minutes while I lay down in my tent. I couldn’t actually fall asleep but felt wonderful to snuggle into the covers, be warm and off my feet. My alarm was set and at 20 minutes I got right up, had half of a GU which had a little caffeine in it, grabbed a new light because my head light died, and we took off. The rest was just what I needed and I was feeling good.
30 minutes into our run the thunder and lightning started and the rain came down in buckets! I felt so bad for Jennifer being out there on my behalf in these conditions. She drove 45 minutes to get to the park and had been there since 7 pm awaiting my arrival to mile 60. I told her that she seriously could stop at the next aid station when we arrived and warm up. I would go on running on my own and wouldn’t blame her a second. She looked at me and said she committed to this and she was going to stick it out with me by my side. I couldn’t believe it. That was incredibly kind of her to go through for me. I was so grateful and we became instant running buddies. I was impressed by how she did such a selfless and kind act for someone else, a stranger no less. It was so nice to have company during that part of the race. I would have been really lonely out there in that storm.
When the rain was not pouring as hard and we were able to talk we had a great conversation. Her and my life are very different and we both enjoyed hearing about the others life. She is one year older than me and is married with three kids under 10 years old. I could tell she loves being a mother and enjoys working with her husband for the same company together. They have a strong faith in God and it was cool to hear about her dedication to her faith. She asked about my life and was curious about the polyamorous lifestyle which I was happy to talk about. As a matter of fact, I was very chatty for a while after the rest and caffeine boost and told her a lot about my life and experience. We also talked a good bit about running and our goals with endurance sports. We also had a conversation about the drug epidemic which we both agreed is a growing serious problem as well as how ultra-running helps people work through issues they have rather than have to heavily rely on medication. That’s not the case for everyone but for myself I know I have worked through so many emotional issues I have had in my ultra-running journey and have not had to resort to medication which I’m thankful for. We talked about much more but those were the highlights. She was very positive and upbeat the whole time and I really appreciated that.
We both had very cold hands since they were wet from the rain but luckily I had a drop bag at the Rally aid station and we were able to get new gloves for me and arm warmers made of thick socks for her that did the trick. Then we were back out there to tackle more rain and mud. Towards the end, I started getting very tired again. We passed a bench and I asked if I could take a quick rest. She was good with that and turned out her light while I lay there for 5 minutes. That helped so much and we finished the rest of the loop without a problem.
As we approached the end of the loop I said my goodbyes to her. It really was such a pleasure to meet her and run with her. She helped me so much and I am forever grateful for all she did. I was feeling so good and refreshed from running with her and was very much ready to tackle the final loop of the race.
Loop 5 to the finish.
Like I mentioned, I was feeling good at this point and ran the three miles to my tent. I decided to stop, get some dry clothes on, and rest a bit since I was doing okay on time. I didn’t really feel tired but knew this was my last opportunity to rest if I wanted to so I laid down for 5 minutes. Then got up and got ready to head back out. It was at this time that I looked over at the arrogant guy and saw him in his car. I asked the nice support lady how he was doing and she told me he dropped out. She wished me luck and I started to leave just as he was getting stuck in the mud with his car. Looks like it turned out pretty rough for him but I hope his support friend had a good time at least.
I took the last loop slow and steady. The mud was crazy and I had to very slowly and carefully walk many parts of the trail to avoid falling or twisting an ankle.Towards the end of the race at the last station, they gave us coffee Bean chocolates. That was the perfect get to the end of the race. One of the guys at the Rally aid station was joking around with me saying that I shouldn’t be so happy and smiling that far into the race. He said he was going to go back and look at the cameras to make sure I covered all the distance. I joked back with him and said, “oh you go ahead and check because I was there!” He started laughing and he said he has no doubt but that I look too happy.
I finished the race with plenty of time to spare with a time of 29 hours and 16 minutes. Everyone at the finish line cheered and clapped for me as I came through. I got my new belt buckle and picture with the race director Mike. I was so happy to be done and really enjoyed this race from start to finish. After the finish, I walked to the aid tent and got a delicious burrito that I promised I would be back for. The ladies were very sweet and made it for me and suggested I go eat it by the heater to warm up which I did. When I finished I asked one of them to take my picture with my metal and she was happy to. She asked if there was anyone with me and I told her I was alone. She then lunged toward me and gave me a massive hug that surprised me. She said, “you did so good to do that on your own and congratulations!” I told her thank you very much and that I had the best pacer in the world with me for mile 60-80. That was nice and I headed to my car. I drove to my tent area and went ahead and packed it all up. I was tired but not terribly exhausted. I broke down my tent, canopy and all my gear on my own and got it into the car. I changed my clothes again and was finally dry and warm.
After packing up I drove to a nice quiet parking space in the park and took a 3 1/2 hour nap in the back seat of my car. When I woke up I felt refreshed and decided to head on home (9 ½ hours away). Before I left town I stopped at a Mexican restaurant and had my traditional post-race meal of a vegetable quesadilla and queso dip. I decided to drive as far as I could and if I got tired I would stop and rest. I drove till midnight and stopped for gas and a snack. After I ate the snack I got really sleepy so I stopped at a travel plaza that was well lit and had many other people sleeping in their cars. I locked my doors, of course, had my taser and mace ready and crawled into the backseat for a nap. I slept hard for seven hours and woke up feeling great. My legs were a little stiff and I had a blister on my toe but otherwise, I was feeling great. Then I drove the rest of the way back to Charlotte which took three hours.
Entertainment during the race: For the first loop of the race I just listen to music on my iPod that Matt was kind enough to help me get and sync. I just got lost in the music for a while and that was relaxing. For the second and third loop, I listened to an audio-book that I had downloaded. For the fourth loop, I talked with Jennifer, my pacer the whole time without devices. For the last loop which was number five, I listen to an audiobook again.
As far as supplements I took a lot of vitamins and oregano oil before the race. During the race at two different points I took magnesium and one sodium bicarb pill. On loop four and five I took two ibuprofen before starting each loop. I also used two Tailwind supplement packages and two electrolyte packages in my water bladder for my pack throughout the whole race. I did feel bloated mid-race and towards the end. Somehow or another I was getting too much sodium and I was feeling it. Much more bloating than normal. My feet, legs, hands, and face all swollen. I did have some chips, grilled cheese sandwiches, bacon, and watermelon which I think was laced with salt at the aid stations. I’ll keep that in mind for future races and try to keep the salt intake lower. My body is not used to that level of salt and is upset enough from the gluten shock since I try to eat gluten free when not racing.
My next race will be in 18 days in Florida. It will be the Key West 100 mile race. Janice and Andre will be crewing for me and I will drive down prior to the event. They will be flying down to Florida the day before the race. I’m looking forward to this race and it will be drastically different from the Indiana trail experience. I’m imagining it will be quite warm and humid along with total road running rather than any trail running. I do find trail running much more enjoyable and know the pavement is a lot harder on my body. I’m looking forward to the race but I am going to consider that race one of my tougher ones this year. I used Indiana Trail as a confidence boost which was definitely accomplished. I tried to keep things smooth and easy which it was throughout the whole experience. Going with the flow and not worrying about anything kept everything really light and happy. I was very grateful of how beautiful the trails were and tried to connect with nature throughout the whole race. Everybody except for the one guy next to me in his tent was all super friendly and kind. I was not going for any special time so I just took the whole race easy which was a great experience. I’m glad I did it that way because it was very much stress-free and relaxing. That is exactly what I was going for. Nothing complicated or disturbing, nothing to worry me or any breakdowns. It was exactly what I needed to build up some confidence for some tougher races I have coming up.
I meant to take this race easy and smooth because the last race I did in Destin I came in first place and won overall which was so much pressure and very difficult. I have a whole new respect for runners who can keep top positions in these races. I was able to do it once but it was an incredibly difficult experience. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing to have that experience but it is way too much pressure for me to try to maintain during races. I particularly took this race smooth and steady without worrying about times or placement. Doing it that way let me enjoy the whole experience from start finish while finishing in the time frame of course. Come to find out that 92 of the 192 runners finished the race. 100 people DNF’ed which is a high number for a race but the weather conditions were very tough. I saw a lot of people getting hypothermia and new the DNF rate would be rather high.
As far as caffeine and stimulants, I sipped on a NOS drinks before the start of the race but did not have too much because I didn’t want the carbonation to upset my stomach. I took a five-hour energy bottle with me in my pack but forgot to use it most of the race. I only took two little sips of five-hour energy during the third loop and that was it. I also had 5 caffeine beans and about 5 coffee beans during the last loop. That seem to work out pretty well because I did not have any highs and lows that were too much to handle. I stayed calm and steady throughout the whole thing. It is nice to have the highs but sometimes I get too excited burn too much energy. Oh, I did have a ½ a GU before starting the fourth loop with Jennifer and that had 32 mg of caffeine in it. I did not take the entire GU because that seems to upset my stomach. Not sure how much caffeine that was but it was definitely a great boost.
There was no signal on my phone for service so I was unable to receive Facebook messages or posts until after the race. I was amazed by the messages I received from people that support my racing goals. People were also able to follow me and receive alerts and a good number of people did. I was so honored. This is my 7th 100-mile race and I was surprised to still get so much support from everyone. So much so that I made a post on Facebook thanking everyone. Here it is:
I just wanted to take a moment and thank you all for all the love and support I continue to receive with my racing goals. It surprises me because I have done a good bit of them by now and I figured people would lose interest and not really care. I just finished reading my messages on my posts and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all the support I continue to receive. It really means the world to me. Thank you all for the support and love. From hitting like to sending me messages, it means a lot. Thank you 💜 (side note…I have 5 more 100’s this year so unfollow me if it’s starting to get old. I won’t take offense).
I survived another 100-mile race in the woods 🙂 I had the amazing pleasure to have a pacer, Jennifer who ran with me from mile 60-80 in the freezing cold rain, wind, and mud. Jennifer, I can’t thank you enough for all your help and support. You are truly a sweet person to come run with a stranger especially in those conditions. Thanks for being out there with me and for the conversation.
This was a very well put together race by the nicest race community that really cared about all of us out there. The weather conditions were definitely a challenge but they all worked hard to keep us as safe as possible. They also had some really funny signs that I included in this post.
I received so many sweet messages and likes for these posts and a few others I made pertaining to the race. The support is very touching and I appreciate it. Thanks for reading this report. Hope it didn’t put you to sleep. Happy running!!