June 1, 2017 Kettle Moraine 100 mile endurance race
100 mile race #9
If you want to go to just the details of the actual race go to part two. I think the trip leading up to the race and the mental mindset before race weekends is important so I talk about that a lot in this one. The actual race and event will all be detailed and part two.
Today is Thursday (June 1st) and I am driving to Wisconsin solo for the second race in the super slam series challenge. This will be my 4th ultra this year and the 2nd out of 5 races for the Midwest Super Slam challenge that I signed up for.
Two weeks ago I did the Key West 100 and it went pretty well. Janice and Andre crewed for me and we made some wonderful memories. I have been in recovery mode since that race and have just been taking it easy. I have done some walking and strength training and abdominal work and that is it. I wanted my legs to recover as much as possible for this race. After the keys 100 race, we spent a few days in Key West and then a few days in Fort Lauderdale. We drove home this past Monday which was Memorial Day. Then I worked a 48-hour shift on Tuesday and Wednesday at Fort Mill Rescue (I’m a Paramedic). Got off shift this morning and finished packing up my car and took off for Wisconsin. It’s a 13 1/2 hour drive and I should be there around 9:30 pm Wisconsin time and 10:30 pm Charlotte time.
I have 6 hours and 45 minutes left of the trip and it’s going very well so far. I just stopped for gas and a bathroom break which was my first stop. There was a Moe’s there and I got a rice and vegetable bowl for later.
The trip has gone very well so far and the time alone has given me a lot of time to think. I debated whether to get philosophical but figured that that is where my mindset is which pertains to this race. In my opinion, it is very important to be in the right frame of mind and mentally ready for races. So I would like to share some thoughts that I have on my mind as I am driving to Wisconsin.
For those of you that don’t know my profession is a paramedic in Fort Mill South Carolina. I have been a paramedic since 2009 and for the most part, I very much enjoy the job. As I mentioned, two weeks ago I did the 100-mile race in Key West and took some vacation time down there in Fort Lauderdale before returning home. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I worked a 48-hour shift before leaving this morning to go to the next race. We regularly see death at work and I have come to realize it’s part of the cycle of life and it does not seem to bother me too much when I have to directly work with a patient that passes on. It does provoke some thought though. On Tuesday I worked a cardiac arrest and the patient did not survive. On Wednesday I confirmed the death of a suicide. Last week two acquaintances passed away as well…one from medical issues and one from suicide. I mention these cases because it has further got me thinking about life and our purpose. This is a topic that I am very interested in and have researched a good bit. I thought I would share some of my thoughts since maybe others out there are wondering the same thing. Please understand that we all have our own opinions and no one is exactly right or wrong since nothing can be proven without a shadow of a doubt. These are only my opinions and thoughts and they are subject to change.
As I have mentioned in the past few blogs I have gone through a break up with my boyfriend who was part of our polyamorous triad. Although it was very difficult to go through a lot of good has come out of it. I believe that things in our life happen for a reason but even more importantly they have been at the right time. Different stages of the break-up have allowed me to process feelings and emotions about it and have allowed me to realize a lot of different lessons from it. Although there were many good times there were also many bad times and I’ve learned that I’ve come out of the relationship stronger. I believe this is the case primarily because of the time-frame things happened and in the lessons that we learned. I don’t think I would’ve completely understood or gotten as much out of the relationship if the breakup process had not gone as it did.
I started to seek information to understand emotions that I had been struggling with. I had been feeling alone and had lonely feelings since the break-up. I experience those feelings because Mark was a large part of our lives and the races. Not having him as part of it has led me to run a few of these races and do a lot of traveling on my own. I love traveling and don’t mind traveling alone. It gives me a lot of time to think about life and the direction I am going as well as reflect on the past which I get a lot out of. I did some further research on this and discovered some interesting perspectives. I have been listening to a YouTube channel that I’ve subscribed to called actualize.org and the gentleman that talks are named Leo. He has some awesome YouTube videos that really explain a lot about life and self-improvement. I’ve been listening to him quite a bit lately. Here is the link to a video on loneliness that I want to share:
He said a few things in this video that really made sense to me. He suggests that we embrace loneliness. That we can learn so much about everything, ourselves, life, and self-development by being alone. That essentially we are alone going through this lifetime. We are fortunate enough to have experiences, relationships, and the opportunity to develop our virtues. This ties into what I believe our purpose in life is. In my opinion, I believe we are all on this earth, in this lifetime to develop. We develop virtues that we set out to acquire or strengthen. We all have different virtues and life purposes but the point is that we all have some things we are working towards and learning. When he spoke of loneliness and embracing it, it made sense that we are able to develop these virtues a lot more clearly when we are alone to ponder our past, current, and future life experiences. That’s why the Buddhist religion and many other religions advocate meditation. It’s all about perspective and how we look at things. I was looking at the loss of a significant person in my life and wanting to fill that void. I believe this was the wrong perspective of looking at experiences and the races. Looking at the past and the races that I have done alone I have definitely gotten a lot out of them. I have gotten a lot out of each race and that is what draws me to these races. With each race, I most definitely focus on gratitude and how thankful and fortunate I am for so many things in my life which are a great thing to focus on. I will admit though, there have been periods throughout races where I have felt sorry for myself for being out there alone. Also feeling lonely with day-to-day activities or when I was missing having that significant other to be with. Please don’t get me wrong, my marriage with Matt is strong and wonderful and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. Being polyamorous, I became accustomed to having a significant other to spend time with, give attention to, and receive attention from. Now that the person that had spent a lot of time with me and I really enjoyed is no longer a part of my life, it has left a lot of time on my hands. Time to be alone and embrace it, in a positive manner.
I think it is an immature way of thinking to expect a person to make someone happy. I think we can find happiness within ourselves as we develop. It’s wonderful to have great memories and experiences with people we love and care about but if we are counting on those things to make us happy then we would be going from one moment to the next. What happens when those moments stop or those people leave, are we forever unhappy? I think we need to be strong and happy within ourselves and all the memories and experiences are a bonus. The icing on the cake.
I will take this race for example. I had been looking forward to an adventure and that is exactly what I’m going after. I do not expect to win anything or to be competitive. I am going after the experience. The experience will incorporate everything from the drive up there, resting for the race, running through the woods, meeting new people, feeling so accomplished after the race, resting up and covering, and then the drive home. I am not sure exactly what experiences I will have but I know it will be great. It will be great for the fact that I do this on my own and will be out there with this body that can go for 100 miles. I do this because I know I have the ability and the will but also because I grow so much stronger as a person. All the messages and development I received from each of these races are irreplaceable. That is the experience I am going after and the reason why I am doing this. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy having a crew of people at the races with me because I very much do. I am just saying that it’s also good to have this alone time and embrace all the feelings that go along with it. This lifetime is very valuable to each person and each person gets as much out of it as they choose to. That’s not something that another person can do for them. It’s something they have to have and experience on their own, which I am trying to do.
Some of you out there may not understand or agree and that is completely fine. These are just some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head today that I thought were significant and wanted to remember in the future. Like I said, I’m sure they will change and evolve as time goes on and I begin to understand life more but I wanted to write down my thoughts as they stand right now.
I just finished reading the book called “Becoming Odyssa.” It was an excellent book about a female hiker that hiked the Appalachian Trail. She hiked it through more than once and she set the record in 2014 for hiking through it the fastest. The book is based on her first hike thru and she discusses a lot of her thoughts and emotions while on the trail. She spent a lot of time alone out there and when her life was in turmoil she craved the solitude of the trails. Leo also talks about meditation quite a bit in his videos. There is something to all of this. I am starting to realize that alone time is a powerful thing for self-discovery.
Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions or comments or even just want clarification on any of these thoughts. I am open to your suggestions and perspectives on these topics as well.
It’s a good thing that I’ve had some alone time in the car because whoever would be riding with me would have bleeding ears by now with the amount of loud singing that has gone on during this trip. I have an XM radio and they’ve been playing pretty cool songs today and I have played some extra loud while embracing my alone time, LOL. So all my potential crew for this race has been spared, lol.
Friday, June 2
I arrived at the hotel last night around 10 PM. I was able to get all of my stuff in the room and situated before I took a shower and took a Unisom to get some hard sleep. I ended up going to bed at 12:30 and slept for 10 hours. Then I was lazy in bed for a while before getting up. I always use Thursday before a race as my main sleep day because I’m usually too excited about the race on Friday. I finally got up and started moving. I went to Wal-Mart for a few last minute things and then went on to Nordic Trail to get my packet for the race.
I enjoyed the drive to the Nordic Trail Park. Wisconsin has some beautiful country. I was in and out getting my packet and did not stick around. On my way out I found a general store that the race gave us a $9 voucher for. I stopped in real quick and got some snacks for the race then went on to my room to relax for the rest of the day before the race. I had a turkey sandwich for dinner and some gluten-free chips. I tried to go to bed early but I was a little bit excited about the race and did not end up going to sleep until around 9 o’clock. My alarm was set for 4 AM.
June 3, race day!
I woke up five minutes before my alarm went off and did some stretching before I got up. I had my clothes and gear all ready to go. Didn’t have too much of an appetite but I was able to eat a banana on my ride to the race. I arrived in plenty of time to double check my gear and do some stretching. When I drove into the race parking lot I was directed to park right next to a hippie van. I thought that was really cool and then I would be in good company for this race. Before the race started I had decided to really try to connect with nature and the trails during this experience. I wanted to take some time where I turn off all of my devices and just felt the trails.
The race started at 6 AM when a huge mob of people started. As I crossed over the starting line I pushed GO on my Garmin watch and it would not work. I had waited a few months for this fancy watch to come out so I could use it on these races and I was disappointed that after all the time and money for it that it wasn’t working. I tried everything to get it to start but for some reason, the darn thing would not start. I got a little frustrated with it because I wanted to have the details of this race and that this big fancy watch wasn’t working. Rather than get upset about it I just took the watch off and put it in my pack. I considered that a sign to connect more with the trails and nature rather than electronics. I started the race in a positive mood looking around at the beautiful country and trails that I was on. Wisconsin truly has some beautiful country and I was honored to be able to see it. I was feeling well rested and good until 5 miles into the race I realized we had a problem. I have a lot of pairs of shoes that people have given me and I have collected from Goodwill. I use different shoes for different events and that includes trail running. I grabbed a pair of shoes that I don’t use often and had completely forgotten that they screwed up my feet a few months back. This particular pair of shoes puts pressure on the top inside of both of my feet and causes excruciating pain. Why I did not throw them away when I figured that out when I did a training run Myrtle Beach I have no idea. I remembered it on the trail and it was becoming a big problem quickly. By mile 10 my feet were hurting at a point where I could not ignore it. I had a drop bag at mile 17 and just needed to get there and get a new pair of shoes that I happened to throw in that bag at the last minute. I didn’t think I would need them but threw them in just in case. With each mile, the pain grew a little bit stronger. I consider taking off my shoes and running in my socks for a while but there were too many rocks to do that. I made it to mile 17 and got out of the shoes as quickly as possible but the damage was done and my feet hurt and were more difficult to flex.
On the upside, it was just starting to rain. The forecast said 30% chance of rain and I threw a poncho and waterproofed vest into a drop bag just in case. That turned out to be a good idea also because it was a downpour thunderstorm. I like storms and enjoy running through the rain when it’s not freezing cold typically. So I took this opportunity to turn off my music and try to connect with nature. I enjoy all the different smells of the forest, all the different sounds, especially the birds chirping and playing in the water. I really love the feel of the rain dropping onto my open hands. I became a little concerned when I had to go through a huge field with the thunder and lightning going crazy. I thought for sure that I would be struck to my death since I was holding three electronic devices in my pack is my iPod touch, iPod shuffle, and good for nothing fancy Garmin watch. I prayed that if I was the runner that was going to be struck that the job is done quickly and complete. That was some motivation to get back into the woods and I picked up my pace. Things went pretty smooth for a few miles and I was happy with the new shoes. Although my feet were aching way too early in the race I felt that they were not getting any worse so I was happy about that.
Mud running is not the easiest thing to do when you are ankle deep in slick, slimy mud. All of that rain turned the trails into a slip and slide of goo! There was no avoiding it since the trails were narrow. We all had to trudge through them and my shoes were quickly filled with mud. I was wearing gators to prevent rocks from getting into my shoes but that just help trap in more mud. I soon felt like I was running with cement blocks on my feet. That normally would not be a huge problem except for the fact that the mud managed to get into my socks and under my shoe padding. It literally felt like I was running on hard uneven rocks. It was extremely uncomfortable and my pace slowed to a 20-minute mile. I started to get very concerned.
Another major issue was starting to become more and more of a problem. Nutrition! For some reason I had absolutely no appetite. I had not been sick and I was not sick during the race but for some reason solid food was absolutely not appealing whatsoever. Adding in the pain from my feet and my appetite was pretty much knocked out. Nothing at the aid stations looked good and they put mayonnaise on everything which I find disgusting. I brought a turkey sandwich with me to eat but I was hardly able to eat it. I would take one bite and have to down it with fluids just to get it down but that was one bite every 30 minutes or so. Typically this wouldn’t be a problem but during an ultra-run you really need the calories to fuel your energy. By mile 40 I was going into the danger zone.
It was around mile 40 that I had my one major wall. I was hurting and feeling pretty rotten from the caloric deficit and my feet were killing me already. The slow pace had me concerned about finishing this race. I honestly really wanted to quit. I usually felt this bad towards the very end of my races, and here it was at mile 40. Not even halfway into the race and I was already feeling depleted and hurting. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to get through this race. My mind started wandering off to how I can get out of this situation. How can I DNF in dignity and not feel like a complete weak failure. A lot of other people around me were quitting so why couldn’t I? I have gotten to this point one other time in a past race. I was feeling pretty awful at the last Destin race around mile 85 and I called my friend Tri-Matt. We call him that as to not confuse him with my husband Matt. He’s a triathlete so it just seems to fit as a name for him. He is also an ultra-runner and understands the situations we go through out there. During a past race I called him and he helped me through a very difficult wall. He’s very logical and practical which I needed at that point because of feeling so awful and needing to get my head back into the race. The only problem was that I did not have cell service or my cell phone with me. I couldn’t call him. So that is when my hypothetical, yet very serious conversation with him started. I thought to myself, if I could call him right now what would I say and what would he tell me. I have known him for a while so I know pretty close to what he would say and this is how the conversation went:
He would answer and say “hey, how are ya?” I would say, “not good at all, I’m in big trouble”. He would say, “What is the main issue going on?” I would say, “I’m trying to figure out a way to quit because I don’t think I can go on and finish this race. Its mile 40 and I’m already in bad shape. I can’t get any solid food down, my feet are messed up, and I am feeling defeated. I feel so rough and I’m only at mile 40, I just don’t know how in the world I’m going to make it through this race. I want to quit so badly and don’t know how to keep going or to stop, please help me.” Then I would break down and cry because I was overwhelmed. Then I would get mad before he had a moment to respond and tell him that he needs to tell me to stop being a little bitch and get this done. (He would never call me a little bitch because he has such respect for women which is one reason why we get along so well. But, in this conversation and at that time in my mind I referred to myself as a little bitch, which I don’t typically do. I don’t know why, that’s just what happens when you’re breaking down during a wall at an ultra in Wisconsin I guess.) Then after my pity party and cry session he would respond. He would say, “What is the main problem that we need to fix?” I would say, “My feet are killing me and I don’t feel like I could walk or hardly move.” The second main problem is nutrition, I’m having a hard time eating anything and nothing looks appetizing at all.” He would say “okay, you need to address the food situation at the next aid station. While you’re at the station find something you can eat and eat it. You know you’re not going to be able to continue if you don’t have any fuel so you need to do that before you leave that station. While there you need to get the mud out of your shoes and socks and try to get new socks.” Then he would say, “You have been in this situation and feelings before and have gotten through it. That I will get through this one as well. He would say that I am the strongest woman he knows and he has no doubt that I can do this but that I need to believe and know that I can.” I would say that he was right and I will address the two major issues as soon as I got to the next aid station. I would thank him for listening and for his help and then hang up.
I have absolutely no doubt that the conversation would go very similar to how I just described it. He is a great friend of mine and wonderful listener and extremely helpful in very critical moments during a race. I followed the plan when I got to the next station at mile 45.As soon as I walked into the aid station I saw a water bucket and a sponge. I took my shoes and socks off and got all the mud out of them. I didn’t know my shoes could hold so much mud and still have room for my feet in there somewhere. I replaced the insoles of my shoes and felt so much better. I did not find any food on the table that looked like I could eat but I did have an airhead candy in my pack I ate along with two ibuprophen. Five minutes later I felt like a new person! I left the aid station and actually started running. I couldn’t believe it, just 2 miles behind me I was ready to crawl back to my hotel room in defeat but now I had turned it around and actually was back in the race.
I caught up with two cute boys that were power-walking at a pretty quick pace. I paced with them for a little while not minding the view of them as I followed. I hated to pass them but knew that I needed to keep going while I was feeling it. I told them both they were doing a good job as I passed them and kept on moving. The next 15 miles felt good. My feet and legs still ached but the ibuprofen helped a lot along with some sugar.
Usually I do not wear my wedding rings when I run because I fidget with them so much. I had forgotten to take them off for this race and did fidget with them which turned out to be a good thing. Every time I did it would remind me of Matt and how much we love each other. It reminded me of coming home from work Thursday morning and him waking up early to sync my songs with my Ipod and then helping me load up my truck for the trip rather than sleep. It also got me thinking about our security. He is the only man in my life that I have ever trusted 100%. Significant male figures in my life have not been good in my past but Matt is the exception. I trust him 100% without a doubt to love me, not lie to me, and not to cheat on me. This is huge in my world and I feel such gratitude for him and our marriage. Especially when my polyamorous boyfriend moves in with an ex-girlfriend, doesn’t tell me till after he moves in, doesn’t talk to me about it because he is giving me “space” and then they start dating. He had broken the trust in our relationship many times throughout our time together but those actions were the final straw and proof of lack of respect for our relationship. Anyway, I know Matt would never do anything like that and I thought about how fortunate I was to have him in my life.
One amazing thing about this race and course were all the beautiful purple flowers. My favorite color is purple and I am drawn to purple flowers, always have been. Throughout this race the purple flower patches and fields seemed to show up when I was feeling really tired or emotionally down. I took that as a sign that my angels and people that care were sending me a smile or a hug.
I thought I had made up some time and got to the aid station where my car was at mile 62. The sugar had worn off and I was feeling exhausted by then. I decided to go to my car and lay down for 20 minutes. I restocked my pack with some more candy and other supplies before I crawled into the backseat and set my alarm for 20 minutes. Just as I shut my eyes the people in the car next to me (not my hippie friends) showed up (after their runner DNF’ed) and were opening and closing their car doors repeatedly, over and over and over. I could forget about getting any sleep if I was able to anyway. I just lay there enjoyed being off my feet for 20 minutes. My alarm went off and that was my cue to get moving. I grabbed my pack and tried to reapply some coconut oil to potential chaffing parts but couldn’t get the coconut oil bottle open. Unfortunately nobody was around to help me get the bottle open so I went without. I was hoping that wouldn’t become a problem later.
At the car I was able to grab a better light so I was happy to actually to be able to see the trail. Those cheap headlamps from Wal-Mart or worthless, BTW (by the wy). I was feeling good when I left the main Nordic station after my short rest. I kept an even pace for the next 10 miles listening to an audiobook. I got tired of listening to the book because it was this lady complaining on and on about her life and I got tired of hearing it so I switched back to my music. After about 10 miles I started getting really tired. I was starting to stagger around some and decided to lay down on a bench that I was passing. I set my alarm for five minutes and laid down. Just as I put my head on my pack I was completely swarmed with gnats. They were everywhere and going into my mouth and nose and every piece of exposed skin I had. That rest break lasted two minutes and I kept on moving. It was nice to sit down for a minute and it was enough of a boost to keep on going and not run into a tree by sleepwalking, seriously.
I then caught up to an older man and asked how he was doing. He said, “not good, not good at all!” I said, “What’s the problem?” He said, “The time, the time, we are not going to make the cut off at the aid stations!” His voice was raised as he said this. We are too far behind. That scared the crap out of me and I took off like a bat!!! There is no way in this world I had come this far to be pulled from this horrible race because of time. That ignited a fire in me and I was moving! I kept a steady fast pace despite my feet aches and pains and absolutely no energy. It was like a shot of adrenaline that guy gave me. I have come way too far to not finish the race!! This was going to happen.
All I could think about was moving quick and steady and not walking. I did calculations in my head with distance and time. I thought about when I could take my emergency caffeine, sugar, and 5-hour energy. I decided to go ahead with my emergency energy plan early since I was not feeling so good. I took a whole Stinger GU that had 32 mg of caffeine in it and waited for that wonderful boost of energy…..never happened. That got me concerned. Then I thought I just am too deficient on B-vitamins and my 5 hr energy will make me feel a lot better. I took the remaining ¾ of a bottle of 5 hr energy and waited for that rush of energy to come. It never came and I knew I was in trouble. That always works but I was in too much pain, lack of calories, and energy for any of it to work. At this time I rolled into an aid station and there was a kind volunteer lady there and came to help me. She said are you okay? I told her no, that my caffeine I took is not working and that’s not good because it always works. She thought I was a little crazy and offered me food. I told her no thanks and asked her to help me figure out the times and mileage. She said I was doing well on time and was an hour and a half ahead of the cut off time for that station at that point. I was thrilled! That old man got my ass moving and I now had a buffer on time. I thanked her and kept on going. It was 4.5 miles to the end of this loop and another 4.5 miles back to that aid station. Meaning, this was the furthest point on this loop and when I was able to turn around it would mean heading back towards the finish line. They didn’t tell me it had some ridiculous hills. Good thing they didn’t and I trudged through them. I made it back to the aid station and did a shoe and sock change. Even though they were soaking wet because everyone’s drop bags were left out in the thunder storm, it felt nice to have something different on my feet. I still had an hour and a half time buffer at that point and knew I was going to make it :-). I ate some fruit (1/2 banana and ¼ of an orange) and headed back out. 9.5 miles left to go. The sun had come up about an hour prior and I wasn’t feeling so sleepy any more. Tired physically, very much so. The heat was rising too and Sunday was in the mid to upper 80’s. It was fine in the shade of the woods but the open fields we ran through were brutal. The chaffing issue from lack of coconut oil was starting to become an issue in my female areas. I applied Vaseline but that didn’t help at all. Coconut oil does the trick for me and I was missing it. Everything hurt by that point so it didn’t really change anything.
From mile 90.5 to mile 99 I listened to my iPod touch music. I had heard all the songs so many times and I was getting tired of many of them. Then one particular song came on that sent chills through my body. It is the song by Kellie Pickler – “Best Days Of Your Life.” I have heard this song so many times and never realized that it very much relates to my last relationship with my ex-boyfriend Mark.
Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLUvO8QUmXc
That got me thinking about how much love and effort I put into that relationship for him to walk away from it and start another life with someone else. It was not a waste and I learned so much. I will love again as I become vulnerable to love because it’s worth it to me. To me, it is worth the risk of being hurt to feel the emotions love can have. We evolve as a person during the experience so it can’t be a waste to go through love and then loss. I did not want the relationship to end but it was not my choice or actions that led to our unexpected demise. He made the decisions and actions that caused our relationship to end and that is very painful. From what I understand he and his girlfriend are happy and doing all the things we use to do together. That is why I thought the song had so much meaning. I thought about this topic for a few miles until I finally reached mile 99.
The last mile of the race I planned to turn off everything and give thanks to this experience, my ability, and the opportunity it provided and that is what I did. I thanked my angels, my friends that have passed, Mary Jo, Tara, Nora and everyone else involved in helping me get through this and keep me safe. I was thankful for the friends and family that believe in me and help me be strong. For my husband that has never ever put a limit on me (not that it would have worked) and is always so supportive of whatever I want to do, no questions asked. For Tri-Matt and our friendship, especially his very helpful pep talk at mile 40. Then I took a minute to be proud of myself. Proud to get through something so difficult and doing so on my own with my own ability…alone. It was very hard and I wanted to stop but I didn’t. I kept going forward until things got better. That is a big lesson to apply to life.
I crossed the finish line in 29 hrs and 03 min, so relieved! The director came to me and gave me a high five and then handed me a small copper tea kettle that said “Kettle Moraine 100 Endurance Run”. I thanked him and asked for my belt buckle. He told me I don’t get a belt buckle and that they only give runners the kettle. I was like, oh L. After that brutal race we should have gotten the traditional belt buckle, the tea kettle and possibly a medal for all that work, lol. Not cool that they didn’t give a belt buckle but at that point, it didn’t matter. I went and found the closest chair I saw and sat my butt down. It felt good to sit and relax. No gnats, no slamming doors, no time scares, just peace. I had a view of the finish line and watched a few other runners come through and cheered for them. One woman came through, crossed the line and went right over to a bush, sat down and started sobbing. I knew how she felt and wanted to go comfort her but she had a crew with her so I just kept sitting. Then a volunteer came and chatted with me for a bit before I decided I needed to get back to my hotel room and rest.
It felt great sitting in the car and having some air conditioning. The hotel room was 28 minutes away and I focused as hard as I could on getting there safely. That included going 30 miles an hour in a 55. People were flying around me in the single lane route but that was fine with me. I made it there and laid down in the bed. I texted Matt and Tri-Matt to let them know I finished and made it to the room safely. Also, told them I was too exhausted to talk and needed to rest and that I would talk to them later. Made a quick Facebook post so people who were following knew I finished and was okay then tried to sleep. My legs and feet hurt so bad that I couldn’t sleep but just laying still was good for the moment until all of the sudden both of my hips locked up. They cramped badly and I had never had that happen before. I then got really cold so I went into the shower and the hot water felt amazing. So I laid on the floor in the hot water for an hour since it provided so much needed pain relief. Eventually, I realized that they cramped because I was severely dehydrated. I finished the shower and drank three water bottles and started to feel better. Bed time came soon after that.
June 5, It’s my 36th birthday!
35 was a hell of a year and I feel I have done the most growth and development of any year yet. I have a 13-hour drive to make it back home and I cannot wait to see Millie and Matt. Millie is my new little puppy and she is seven months old now. They will be very welcoming to come home to and I cannot wait.
I have mixed emotions about this past race. I thought I would wake up feeling so proud of myself for getting through something so difficult. While I am, I also have other feelings that go into it. A lot of things went wrong and some of them could’ve been avoided. I learned to expect the unexpected, to prepare a little bit better, and that things can and will go wrong. I know overall this race has made me a stronger runner but as of right now and today I feel a little bit rough. My legs are so sore and that really concerns me for the Mohican Trail 100 race in two weeks. I will do everything I can to recover and be ready for that race. I did that race last year and it was very hard so that has me a little scared now. All I can do is be as prepared as possible, this race frightened me into doing that even better.
I received a bunch of messages and texts from so many people wishing me well on my birthday. It was wonderful to see them throughout the day and makes me so grateful for all the special people in my life. On this long drive home I thought about what I would wish for if I could wish for anything and I came up with two wishes. These wishes may sound silly but it’s my birthday and I will wish for whatever I want. My first wish is something I’ve thought about for years and have not actually accomplished it. I have always wanted a very specific picture. You know all of those beautiful flowers that are usually along the highway and sometimes you come across a big field of purple ones, I have always wanted a picture of me laying in that field surrounded by gorgeous purple flowers with my eyes closed and my arms out in true bliss. I don’t know why it’s just a picture and experience I’ve always wanted to have. My second wish will take a lot more time. I wish that one day when I have another significant other boyfriend that we find a section of the Appalachian Trail and hike it, giving trail magic to everyone along our way. (Read “Becoming Odyssa” to figure out what trail magic is). We would go twice, each choosing a section to hike and doing that section during the months of each of our birthdays. Mine is in June of course, I can choose whatever section to hike and then he could choose whatever section on his birthday month. We would also be able to choose what trail magic we wanted to give along the way. I think that would be really fun and an amazing experience. So I am officially throwing that out there so the Universe can work on making that happen :-).
Another thing that I thought about as I am driving home is all of you. I can’t believe how many messages and notes I received after each of my races. People concerned about me finishing or making sure that I was OK. I am flattered and surprised by how many people take interest in what I am doing. I get so much out of these races and try to write things down in detail of each experience and what I learned and get out of them. I do this because I reflect back on it and try to be better in future races and with life. I started sharing all of this because people have asked about my experiences and questions about ultra-running. I’m just amazed at the number of people that have started to take an interest. You are reading this report now and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kind words you’ve given me, the kind thoughts during the race and all the support and love you have shared with me. As always, thank you for reading my report. Stay tuned for the Mohican Trail 100 in a few days. Please send me all the strength you can because I will need every ounce of it.