Saturday, June 13, 2009

1st 100

On April 12 2008 I ran my first trail 50K.
On March 28 2009 I ran my first trail 50-mile.
On June 6/7 2009 I ran my first 100-mile - the San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run.

I always set goals for the year and this was one of them; the other was to finish The Coastal Challenge Rainforest Run in the Expedition Category (which I did). The few weeks leading up to the race were not ideal for training with financial pressures, working a ton of hours, sick kids, injury etc. so I started the race with only one goal - to finish and do so in under 31 hours.

The SD100 course is two 50-mile loops that allow runners access to their cars at miles 20, 50 and 70 (the start/finish area). It is amazingly well-managed and supported.

Shelli and I spent the night in luxury in her motorhome, parked right at the start/finish area at Camp Cuyamaca. It was unseasonably cold and windy and when we saw fellow Trail Headz Kirk preparing to sleep in the bed of his pick-up truck, we invited him to come inside to join the party. Race morning was also cold and windy, not quite what we expect in So. Cal.

Off we set, deliberately keeping the pace slow, hoping to preserve strength for the second 50-mile loop. At the first aid station, Sunrise Hwy, the wind was so strong that I fought to keep upright. It was so cold. Same at aid station #2, Pedro Fages. I took a bad fall, catching my foot in the low brush lining the single track. Back to the relative warmth of Camp Cuyamaca where I rewrapped my toes and headed out again. Miles 20-30 were uneventful except for the long climb out of Big Bend during which I amused myself by picking a runner ahead of me and striving to catch him. We were right on schedule coming in to mile 50.

Shelli and I had not found a pacer for mile 50-70 so we were delighted to hear that Alexa's pacer, Wendy, had offered to pace us (Alexa dropped due to knee pain). This is us heading out....

All races have high and low points. The next 20 miles were my low point. As soon as we started climbing, the wind hit us again. It was cold and oh so dark. The coyotes were howling. It was spooky. Fighting the headwind sapped my strength and by mile 70, my legs hurt so badly I thought they were about to fall off.
My crew was great. Henry had hot soup ready. Kristen, Dennis and Kate were there to help rewrap feet. Lorraine fed me copious amounts of Vitamin I and told me that my legs were indeed supposed to hurt - it was, afterall, a 100-mile race! Hot soup, warm clothes and I was ready to hobble out with Maya leading, Kate bringing up the rear.
It took some time to get out of the daze that I had entered and when I reached the Paso Picacho aid station at mile 75.3, I had no idea who the two guys were that were waving a bottle of Coke in my face. I will never live this down - it was my boss Sensei Paul along with Sensei Marco from Zen Dojos, who had come out to crew and see just how bad a shape I was in during the later stages of the race! Luckily for me, Coke and No-Doze woke me up, I realized who everyone was and I was good to go. In fact, I got stronger from that point on. Once the sun came up, my spirits rose too.

Last aid station, L to R: husband Mike, pacer Maya, Sensei Paul, Sensei Marco, son Colton and me.

A change of pacers and Shelli and I now had Kristen leading with Dennis bringing up the rear. There was no running at this point, rather a determined march towards the finish.

And here we are, running in to be greeted by RD Scott Mills at the finish line. Official finish time 29:49:45

My first buckle. Bronze for sub-31 hour finish.

Many, many thanks to:

  • my pacers (Wendy, Maya, Kate, Kristen and Dennis) for keeping me on track for a sub-30 hour finish.
  • my crew (Henry, JD, Sensei Paul, Sensei Marco) for keeping my spirits up and providing to my every need.
  • RD Scott Mills and his army of volunteers for making this a great race in every way from trail marking to aid stations to ham radio support to medical support. They all worked extremely hard and most froze their butts off to make this a successful race.
  • all the Trail Headz who were out there to offer support and cheer me on.
  • my husband Mike who puts up with my crazy ideas and is always there to support me.
  • my boys Colton and CJ who were there at mile 92.4 and the finish to cheer Mom on and who just can't stop telling everyone they meet that Mom just ran 100 miles!
Thanks everyone! Now to get that silver buckle....