Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Prairie Spirit 50 mile

When I write reports from big races like this it's always hard to know where to start. I guess I should start with how I got here. In May I went for a little training run in the Flinthills with Jason. He told me he thought I could run the Heartland 50 mile. I think I probably laughed and said no way at first. Then I kept talking to him about it by email. I started thinking I'd probably do it. Then I found out Eric was going to have a fall Prairie Spirit that would be a 50k or a 50 mile. Woohoo! A flat course? Sign me up! I started mentioning to family and friends that I was thinking about doing 50 miles. The reception wasn't what I was hoping for. Most of them stared at me with a blank look. Some were really negative about it. I remember emailing Jason that I was kind of bummed. I thought people would be excited like they were when I did the other distances the first time. Not so. Jason assured me that's pretty normal and that it's unlikely people are going to get it. He told me something like "do this for yourself and don't worry about what anyone else thinks."

My training was so so. I could have done more, but considering I moved twice during the training I did ok. I did Lunar Trek, which was not a great race and almost kept me from signing up at all. I just wasn't sure I could do it. Then I did the Hawk marathon and just fell apart emotionally. I was really close to dropping out entirely. I have some pretty amazing friends though and they rallied around me. Joell, Justin, Candi and Zach weren't having any of my pity party. My friend Libby wrote a blog post once where she talked about foxhole friends. These are friends that kind of come out of nowhere and support you and have your back. You knew they existed, but they were kind of in the background. These four people have done more for my confidence and attitude than I can ever repay them for.

A few weeks before the race I found out I could have a pacer. Woohoo! Now to find someone. I asked Candi and she said yes, but, her son might have a football game she couldn't miss. She really wanted to do it but I needed a backup. I couldn't find anyone. Jason was going to be pacing his friend Megan, Justin was volunteering, Zach was going to volunteer if he could and Joell was running the 50k. Crap. Justin knew I really needed someone and was bummed that everyone else had other commitments so he went to work finding me someone. He sent me a message saying he had me a pacer and her name was Kodi Panzer. At first I think I asked who the heck that was, then a lightbulb came on. I asked if she had done Lunar Trek. He said yes. I said "OMG! I think I showered with her!" He told me that I had in fact. He knows this because his wife Joell was there too. It was a special running moment :) Kodi agreed to be the backup, but she wanted to run some even if Candi came, so I worked it out so they could share pacing duties. Candi's son ended up having a game, so she couldn't pace. My son Ryan stepped up though and wanted to do it. I thought that would be awesome, so I took him up on it before he could change his mind!

My crew person was Libby who is such a great friend and is always willing to support me in my crazy running adventures. I'm so lucky to have her!

Race day started with a 4 am wake up call. Not cool! Trying to wake Ryan up proved to be one of my bigger challenges of the day. That boy likes his sleep! He needed to be at the race at 5:15 though because he was headed to the Princeton aid station to hang out with Justin and help out until Libby got there. After they left I finished getting ready and talked to Reina. She is Joell's friend that I met briefly at FlatRock and have gotten to know a little on facebook. I'm so happy I got to visit with her more this weekend. She's so sweet! I also talked to Dennis Haig a little before the race. He's just an awesome ultrarunner and has run in every single FlatRock event since it's inception. He's a pretty badass dude! I told him I was worried about being last. He told me that he ran a 100 a few weeks ago and got a hoodie. On the back it says "Finisher" but nowhere does it tell his time or what place he was. I thought that was an awesome reminder that it doesn't matter where you finished. What matters is that you did.

All too soon it was time to line up. We did and suddenly it was go time! Everyone took off really fast. I didn't. I had a plan and I was sticking to it. I knew if I started too fast it could mean not finishing or doing a 20 mile death march. No thanks. Soon I was at the back, all alone. We had to do a short out and back and Eric was there to make sure no one cheated. I got a high 5 and made a joke about being number 1 (yeah, that was my bib number!) and being in last place. It was pretty funny. I started heading back to the start/finish area, still last. The first aid station was supposed to be unmanned but Jason was there along with Dennis and someone else. It was dark, I have no idea who it was. I handed Jason my headlamp since I knew daylight was coming and I didn't want it on any longer than I had to have it. I filled up my bottle. As I was doing that Dennis said, "Hey, did you see Jason's hoodie? It says finisher on the back. Do you see where it says his time?" Nope, I do not! Thanks again for the encouragement Dennis! I took off and Jason asked if I was eating. Yes. I am. He said to eat as much real food as I could. This seemed like a solid plan, so I ran back to the aid station and grabbed a cinammon roll. I ate it while I ran.

Now I had a long stretch to get to the first manned station where I'd see Libby and Ryan. I just took it a mile at a time. I was back and forth with another female runner and eventually got a bit ahead of her and she didn't pass me again for a while. I truthfully don't remember much about this section. I know my legs were already aching when there is no way they should have been so early on. Not enough taper maybe? I don't know. When I was getting close to Princeton Jason walked out and met me. It was nice seeing him. He asked what I needed and I said coke and food. I also needed to pee so I told Libby I needed my vaseline and ibuprofen and to use the bathroom. She couldn't find my vaseline in my bag so I grabbed it and took off for the bathroom. I peed then came back and they started giving me stuff. I can't remember all of what I had there, but it was a lot. Justin was manning this station and his adorable twins were there with him. It was so fun to see them. As I was leaving Jason asked if I was taking s-caps. I don't use s-caps, I use endurolytes, but same idea. I wasn't. I had forgotten to bring any. They got me fixed up and I took off.

Here's a pic right after the aid station. I was being a cheesy dork toward the camera. I am a total dork, so the moment was captured well.

The next stretch sucked. Not a lot more to say about it. Nothing was terrible, I just didn't feel very energetic. I think it was through here that the lady passed me again. I passed a guy though, which felt good. I never pass people in races! He was starting to cramp so I felt bad for him. That is no fun, especially early on.

Another pic along the course

When I got to Richmond Jason came out again. I was taking my arm sleeves off as I ran in. I was getting pretty hot. At this aid station Libby had laid out everything I might need. She was awesome! They offered me food and one of the things they offered was a soft taco. Heck yeah! I reapplied vaseline under my arms, drank coke, took some endurolytes and grabbed my taco. The best part of the volunteer handing me the taco was the look of  WTF? on Jason's face. The very awesome and kind aid station worker knew I was in a hurry so he rushed it out to me but it wasn't folded and I needed to take it to go. No time for just standing still to eat! Jason dug deep and went back to his days at McDonald's and folded it up for me. (just to be clear, this is in no way shape or form me criticizing the volunteer. He was very very good! I just wasn't clear on what I needed)  I took the taco and headed out. It tasted so good! That and the coke really breathed some new life into me. I cruised through the next 5 or so miles feeling great. Then I ran out of water. It was getting hot with the sun shining down on me and I drank a lot. I started to freak out because I thought maybe I had misunderstood and there wasn't an unmanned aid station on this stretch. If that was the case I had at least 4 more miles to go with no water. I sort of fell apart. I did pass another guy though. Woot! I finally got to the unmanned station. Hallelujah! By then though I was just cranky.I also caught up with the lady I had been playing cat and mouse with. She was in a lot of pain due to her IT band and wasn't sure she was finishing. I felt awful for her.

I did not love this next section to Garnett. When I got there and saw Libby and Kodi (yay for a pacer!) and Ryan I totally started crying. They were happy tears and definitely not the last tears I would shed that day.

Coming into Garnett with Libby

My awesome pacer Kodi!

My toes had started falling asleep and my left big toe felt really off and I thought maybe I was getting a blister.I went through the stupid process of taking off my gaiter, shoe and sock. Toe was fine, but I applied vaseline anyway. I ate some food, got my refilled water bottle, grabbed a Starbucks frappuccino, told Kodi I was ready and we took off. I walked a while drinking the frappuccino and then I was ready. My stomach was really really not thrilled. I had already thrown up a couple of times. I knew I needed to take it slow for a bit. Kodi let me walk a while, then she got me back to running. She told me hilarious stories about her dating life. We saw someone we thought I could pass, so that became my goal. I passed him! We kept going, I whined, Kodi told funny stories and kept me going. I thought I had a rock in my shoe at one point so we stopped to get it out. I shook everything out and put my shoe back on and started running again. I could still feel it. I thought maybe it was in my sock. Kodi thought I was probably getting a blister. Every step from then on felt like I was stepping on a rock. Yay! A few times I stopped and did some stretches Kodi showed me. It really really helped. During this stretch my stomach was really upset. We passed another guy and as I was passing I asked how he was. He said good and asked how I was. I said good and promptly vomited right in front of him. It was an epic moment! Kodi was laughing and asked if she could post it on facebook. I thought it was pretty hilarious too, so I said yes. She posted "we've got a puker but she's still running!"

We FINALLY got to Richmond. I don't remember a lot of this station. I peed, re-lubed everything, ate, drank, etc. I asked Ryan if he was going to be ready to pace me and he said yes. We took off for the final 6.5 miles that Kodi would be with me. I whined and moaned but ran when she suggested it. Well, mostly. I think it was through here that she started lying to me. Once she said "if you run just a little further you will be at the end of a mile and can walk. I said ok. Then I said "when you say a little further, you don't mean like a quarter of a mile or something do you?" She smiled and said "not quite that far." I don't know how far I ran, but it was way longer than I wanted to! I also stopped looking at my watch and just relied on her to keep me going at a decent pace. BTW, my decent pace at mile 35 isn't quite what it is at mile 5. Oh, how our standards get lower! A very funny thing about Kodi was that she was all messed up on the distance since she didn't start the race with me. I'd ask her how much further I had and she'd say something like 15 miles when it was more like 8. It was so funny. I was mostly just done during this section. Thinking I'd never run a race this long again. It was so hard. Not far before we got to Princeton I heard someone coming up behind me. It was the female runner I had been leap frogging with. She was feeling much better and had caught up and was passing me. Wow! I was a little bummed because this made me last place female (there were only 4 females in the race) but I was so incredibly happy for her that she was feeling that much better.

Right before we got to Princeton I looked ahead and saw Joell. I started crying. I said "Look! It's Joell!" I was so happy to see her! She ran the 50k and was amazing. Several times during the day when I wanted to give in and walk I thought of her. I would think that no way is Joell going to give in and walk several miles, I'm not either! She was a big source of motivation for me. I got to Princeton and hugged Joell and started getting ready. Libby told me to change into a dry shirt and I did. It felt so much better! I also tied a long sleeved shirt around my waist because I was getting cold. I ended up never using it. Justin told me it was time to take a shot with him. I said I couldn't because I was too nauseous. He told me he wouldn't be at the finish line though so if I was doing it now is the time. What the hell. Let's do it. We went in the tent and got our cups with bourbon. Someone handed Ryan the camera. He said "I'm taking the picture?" It was so funny. He said it with a tone of "what? You all get to drink and I have to man the camera?" That wasn't what he meant, but it's what it sounded like.

Libby handed me my bottle and I told her to please take out the gels and chews and stick something real in there. Yes, candy and cookies are real at that point. I could not eat one more gel or chew. Every time it hit my mouth I started gagging. They gave me some candy and cookies. Because at mile 42 candy and cookies are real food! Don't judge! Ryan and I took off and I told him I was going to walk for a minute and pointed to where I'd start running. As we were walking I asked him if he thought Rick and Adam would be at the finish and at that point I started sobbing. I was tired and I missed Rick and Adam and knew they weren't going to be there and was just sad. It's then Ryan looked at me with a completely straight face and told me something Justin told him to tell me when I was in a bad place. It was perfect. I laughed out loud. I can't tell you all what it is because it wouldn't be funny anyway if you don't know the whole story and it's a secret :) The delivery was probably what made it the best. It was a joke but he was so serious.  I started running. My plan was to run a half mile, then walk a tenth. It was obvious pretty quickly that was too far to run without a walk break. I ran a while and then started walking. I walked and walked. I walked 3/4 of a mile, which was my longest stretch of walking all day. I finally told Ryan I was walking too much and he couldn't let me. I was a little nervous that he wasn't going to be able to be mean and make me run, but he did it. 

I started doing 1/4 mile intervals. I'd run 1/4, walk 1/4. This was just what I needed! The first couple of intervals were just so so. I was moving slow, Ryan was pretending to run beside me even though he could have walked and kept up. I gave him my watch so I didn't have to know how far I had to go. I wanted to just run when he told me and walk when he told me. I asked him at one point if he thought I could still finish under 12 hours. He said it would be tough. I must have had a devastated look on my face because he said "Is that really your goal?" I said yes and he said "ok, lets go!" He started encouraging me more and trying to get me to go faster. He'd run a little faster and walk a little faster and tell me to try to keep up. He'd tell me if I could go just a tiny bit faster I could get under a certain pace. His competitive instincts kicked in and the kid was amazing! When we got to the last three miles he told me it's just a 5k. Anyone can run a 5k. He reminded me of my old 5k route in Elk City. Every 1/4 of a mile he'd tell me where I was along that old route. Then he started having me imagine running in different places. Just pretend I was somewhere I loved to be and picture running there. How did this child get so smart? 

When we were getting close to Ottawa I looked up and saw a sign from a truck stop on the edge of town. I was so excited! I think I yelled "LOOK!!! We're there!!!" I'm pretty sure it was LOUD. Ryan laughed and told me to keep going. We got to the edge of town and had to run on some blacktop under I-35. We came around that and onto a straightaway into Ottawa. Ryan had to pee so he went off into some trees. He kept encouraging me! It was funny. He was peeing and yelling "you've got this Mom! Keep running!" He also told me I got one more walk interval and then I was running it in. I was skeptical. We were running along and I saw someone up ahead. I started telling Ryan I could see where we turn off the trail toward the finish because I could see people. He didn't believe me. I think he thought I was hallucinating. I knew someone was up there though! I got closer and said "OMG! It's Jason! I told you I saw someone and I know who it is!" Ryan told me don't get my hopes up. He said when I got there and it wasn't Jason I was going to be disappointed so don't try to guess who it is. We got there and I was right! He yelled for me to go have my moment. I so did!

We turned toward the finish line and I feel like I picked up my pace but I probably didn't. I saw Eric and I gave him two thumbs up. I had told Ryan earlier that I really wanted him to cross the finish line with me. Typically pacers don't, but I don't care. He isn't just my pacer, he's my son. I wanted him to cross that finish line with me. We crossed the finish line in 11:48:58. Woohoo! 

Yes, yes I did throw my hands in the air in celebration! It was such an awesome moment. The early mornings, the many many miles, the blisters, chafing, puking, tears, etc during training were all for this. Was it worth it? Abso-freaking-lutely! Crossing the finish line of my first 50 mile race was always going to be awesome, but when I had Ryan by my side it was just so much better. 

There are a ton of pics of me at the finish line (really, it's embarrassing) so I won't include them all. I'll put a bunch on FB for those of you that are friends with me on there. Joell and the twins were there, as were Libby and Reina. Eric grabbed me and hugged me and then gave me my buckle. Woohoo! Missing was Kodi who had stayed at Princton drinking and helping out. She also got a tiny bit lost. Here is a picture of my face after she told me something really really funny that she said.

Another of us

Sadly I only have one pic of me with Libby and it's really far away and you can't really see us. So disappointing :( She was so amazing out there and helped me so much. I'm so so so so thankful to have her in my life!

To the Epic Ultras Brigade: Thank you! All of you are amazing and I can't thank you enough for giving so much of your time to help us out. Ryan, Libby and Kodi, you're the best team I could have asked for! Jason, I'm still not sure I want to thank you for talking me into this! I cursed you a lot. You should expect that at this point though. Thanks for helping crew me too! Justin, thanks for talking me into taking the shot and for so many other things I can't name them all. Joell, you're just the best. Seeing you at that last aid station helped me more than you'll ever know. Candi and Zach weren't there physically but they sure were in spirit. Kodi was reading me your comments and I knew you were behind me 100%! Rick, Ryan and Adam, thanks. Thank you for being patient while I was grumpy, tired and sore. Thank you for letting me run instead of spend time with you, thank you for maybe not understanding why I do this but supporting me anyway. 

I think it's time for a little break. Not sure what's next, but I'll let you know when I do!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pacing and Crewing at Heartland 100

I could also title this post: How I accidentally ran an ultra. We'll get to that though. First, how did I get here? Once upon a time (April 2013) I met this guy named Jason. He was friendly and possibly a little crazy. We hung out at an aid station together and he seemed pretty cool. He mentioned that he was going to be running the Heartland 100. I think I told him that sounded nuts, but good luck, and forgot about it. He also told me he'd be running the Storm the Dam marathon and that I should do it. I had just started running again post-hysterectomy, so I dismissed him. Oddly enough, ignoring things he tells me I should do has become the theme of our friendship! A couple of weeks (maybe?) after I met him I sent him a message on facebook because I knew his daughter was doing a half marathon and I wanted to tell her good luck. We started talking, and at some point he asked if I would be interested in pacing him at his 100. I said sure. It sounded fun, and so far away I didn't have to worry about it for a while. And so it began. He helped drag my butt through a marathon and several tough training runs. He provided encouragement and support to sign up for my first 50 mile race (OMG!). The day of the race dawned and as I was driving there, past El Dorado lake where we did the marathon together, I figured it was my turn to drag his butt through a few miserable miles on a dirt road!

Now, if only things had been that simple on race day! A few weeks before the race I was talking to Justin Chockley and he mentioned that if I wasn't doing anything else I could help his wife crew for him. I said I could before I paced Jason if he needed me to since Jason seemed to have a good crew and didn't need me. Joell wasn't going to be getting to the race until he was past the halfway point, so I thought I could crew for him before I paced as well. Joell and I communicated a lot before the race to decide when he would be at which aid station and how I could help him. Then I found out that he'd probably be running part of the race with Candi, so I decided I could help her out as well. You see where this is going with the craziness, right? The night before the race I went to the pre-race dinner with Candi and Joell told me that Adam Monaghan didn't have a crew and that he'd be with Justin and Candi and could probably use some help too. Crew 3 people? No problem!! I had seen Adam and knew who he was, but hadn't officially met him, so Joell introduced us. I also met his sweet wife (seriously, she's sooo nice) and his daughter.

Race morning came and I got up early to send Candi off. I felt like I was sending my baby off to her first day of kindergarten! She was nervous and I was nervous for her. I tried to go back to sleep but never slept well. I went to Adam's football game, but after getting updates I realized Justin was going faster than he anticipated and I didn't want to miss him, so I left. I got to the Teterville Rd station, which is mile 25 and went to grab Candi and Adam's drop bags to have their stuff ready. Adam's bag was nowhere to be seen. I thought I must have been mistaken about him having one there. I went to Jason's truck to hang out with his crew. Justin arrived and I jumped out to help him. I filled his hydration pack and waited while he ate some food, then walked out with him. I had some pretzel m&m's in my car and they sounded good and it was on his way out, so we went and got them. He was looking great right here!

Candi arrived and I was helping her, then Adam got there (I hadn't notice him coming in) and asked me if I'd seen his bag. I told him they didn't have one so I thought I misunderstood where his bags were. He said, no, he had one. Right then someone pulled up with a bunch of bags that had been forgotten. His was there! Yay. I got him what he needed and he took off with Candi.

I waited a bit longer and Jason came in. He was doing great! We got him fixed up (I did very little, his crew had it) and sent him off.

I then got in my car and went to Cassoday, where the start finish is. I had some time to wait because I was picking up Kristi Mayo and getting her to Matfield Green to pace Justin. When she got there we were getting her stuff in my car when Joell called me. She asked if either of us had any vaseline. Justin's feet were in rough shape and had blisters and he didn't have any. Neither of us did but we felt sure we could find someone that did. We got there and borrowed vaseline from Jason's crew. I saw Candi briefly but had a lot to get ready for Justin and had to get my stuff ready to pace and Sophia had her covered, so I didn't help much. Here she is looking fabulous at mile 42.5! This would be the last time I saw Candi until I was leaving the race.
On my way back to my car from getting vaseline from Jason's truck I saw Adam. He was looking a little more rough than he had earlier, but still ok. His wife had sent me pics of his daughter to show him as a pick me up, but it was in the car so I couldn't show him. I grabbed his drop bag, got what he needed and he changed his shirt and was out of there. I got back to my car and Kristi and I got everything ready and we waited for Justin. He came into the aid station not looking the best but we sat him down and fixed his feet. What does that mean you ask? We got his shoes off, rubbed vaseline all over his feet, put his shoes back on. Eeeewwww. Kristi decided she would pace him from there even though she was going to wait until he got back to Matfield Green from the turnaround. This meant a lot of miles for her. As Justin was leaving Jason rolled in. Crap! I was not ready. I got ready as fast as I could. My watch wouldn't work and was frozen up. Not cool. I forgot my headlamp, but Jason had one so someone stuck it in my pack. After we got things sorted we were off. Here we are right before pacing.
We took off and he was walking fast. His legs are about two feet longer than mine and he's a crazy fast walker, so I was having a little trouble keeping up! We stared running eventually. We'd run a little and walk a little. Walking all uphills, running down and doing what we could between. Ha. Between is a funny word. It's not like the hills ever ended. There is little between. When we were getting close to the unmanned aid station I ran ahead to fill Jason and John's bottles. John had been running with Jason all day. Unfortunately, he dropped when we got back to Matfield green. Onward and upward! Literally. Lots of upward! We kept going and were getting closer to the turnaround. Jason seemed to be getting a bit tired through here. Not far before the turnaround I saw Adam and I broke out my phone to show him the pics of his daughter. Seriously, is there anything sweeter in the world than seeing a man melt at the sight of his little girl? It was a cool moment in the race for me. I caught up to Jason and John. We realized they could make the turnaround in 12 hours, which was awesome. When we got to the turnaround they had fried foods!! Yummy. That seemed to breathe new life into the guys. I filled bottles, gave them vaseline, and whatever else they needed and we took off. This section kinda sucks because it's uphill for a long time. The guys did it though and did it well! Back at the top and it's flat-ish (ha!) to the unmanned water again. I didn't refill bottles this time because it had cooled considerably and they still had plenty. I used that as an opportunity to boss them around about drinking enough! We kept walking and running and it started to get dark. I gave Jason is headlamp, only it was the wrong one. Oops! Since it wasn't the one he'd be using all night and he wouldn't have to worry about readjusting, I wore it instead of him. We ran when he could, walked when he needed to. My legs were hurting a little because the power walking that I'm not used to. Still, I was having a ton of fun! I always enjoy running with Jason and this was no exception. We got back to Matfield Green and he sat down and we got him all ready to go out and kill the rest of the race!

I was freezing cold at this time and all I could think about was getting into my warm, dry clothes. I was walking along trying to call Joell because I knew she was there and I looked over and there she was! She had her friend Marcia there that was going to be helping her crew. I talked to them a few and we went to my car so they could use their flashlight to help me get my stuff and get changed. They stood kind of in front of me while I changed clothes on the side of the road. Gotta love ultra running! I was as quick as I could be and thankfully no one drove past. We got in our cars and I followed them to the town of Matfield Green where I would leave my car while we went out to Ridgeline to crew our people. We got there and waited. Candi was already gone because she's a speed demon! Adam came in and was having some tummy issues. We did what we could and sent him on. He didn't have a jacket so Joell gave him hers. It fit pretty well. I so wish I had taken a photo. Here he is with his soup. Besides the tummy and being cold, he was having some foot issues but didn't have spare socks. He kept going though!
Justin came into Ridgeline and got back out pretty fast. Got some food and refilled his pack and off he went.

Jason was in and out of this station pretty quick as well. I had a minute to tell him hi and I think I grabbed him a sandwich from the aid station. Or Joell did. Either way, he got one!

We got in the car and went to get our cars (mine and also Adam's pacers car were in Matfield Green so Marcia was getting it to the start/finish for him) and took them back to Cassoday to park. We then took the loooong trip back to Teterville. We got there and waited and Justin was the first one in. He said that he had passed Adam and he was really cold and that when he got there we needed to get him a heavier jacket. We fixed up Justin's feet again and talked to Kristi about whether or not she would continue. She had been out there a long time! She said she was good to go. They took off and Justin was looking good. He had really turned things around. I think a lot of that was due to Kristi. What a great person to jump in and run extra like that to help a friend!

When Adam came into Teterville he didn't look good. He said he was thinking about dropping. Oh no. Joell and I went to work trying to talk him out of it. I won't share all the details because that's Adam's story, not mine. I will say, because it explains some other stuff, that his pacer wasn't doing great at that point. I asked if he wanted me to start pacing him. He said no, if he continued he'd continue with the pacer he had. We talked him into continuing onto Lapland, which was around 9 miles. We told him we'd reevaluate when he got there. Oh yeah, and just so you all know how devoted I am to pacing, I put vaseline on his feet too. Eeewww. I also never washed my hands all day or night. And ate food. I might never get clean again. Joell found him some fresh socks and we were hoping that would perk him up. I don't know if it did, but he left the aid station without dropping. Yay!

While Adam was at the aid station Jason came in. He was also in a rough patch here, but was getting a new pacer, so hopefully just having a new person to talk to and spend time with would help! I never once thought he might quit, and he had quite a crew, so I told him good job and left him in capable hands while I helped Adam.

We continued onto Lapland to wait for the guys. We had a long wait. It was also freezing but Ken and Dana Childress were there and it's always fun to visit with them, so we stayed outside the car quite a bit. Justin got there and Kristi finally got to sit down. We got some warm pants on Justin. I wish I had a photo of him sitting in a chair with shorts on, with his pants around his thighs. It was priceless. Joell was going to be pacing him into the finish. I joked with her that they had all that uninterrupted time and they should just consider it a date! I was sad to see them go because I enjoy hanging out with Joell and I also had a feeling I might end up pacing Adam and that was going to mean not seeing Justin finish. I was incredibly happy for him though that his dream of running 100 miles was about to come true!

After Justin and Joell left we got in the car and Kristi gathered her clothes to change and then use the bathroom. She was more than ready for some sleep, but we wanted to wait for Adam and Jason to come in. At that time Candi called me. She finished her first 100 mile in 21:54 and was 2nd place female! Wow. There are no words for me to describe how amazing she is. As I hung up with her I saw two people coming into the aid station and thought it was Adam and his pacer. It was! He said he was so glad he hadn't quit. Woot! But, he wanted to know if I'd pace him to the finish. Absolutely! What's another 16-17 miles that I hadn't planned to run? Who cares that I don't really have my running clothes? I'll wear what I've got and just deal. Then I debated. Text my husband at 4 am and tell him I'd be pacing someone I don't really know through the middle of the country just so he knows what's going on? I decided on a big fat no. Why make him worry? I got some gels from Kristi and took the water bottle his other pacer had been carrying and off we went. I texted his wife to let her know what was going on. I had been texting her updates all day.

We started out and he said he might need a few miles to get into some kind of rhythm. We hadn't actually gone very far when he wanted to run a little. Yay! I was a little afraid we'd be walking all night. I was freezing cold and sleepy and I wasn't looking forward to a long slow death march. That is not what this was, thank goodness. I was often just a little ahead of him and I asked if that was ok or did he need me beside or behind him. I think he said something like "I'll let you know" and we never talked about it again, so I guess it was ok. I tried to get him to run every downhill. When we started running I would look ahead and see where I thought we'd be able to run to. I wouldn't tell him, but I knew if he was struggling I'd say "let's try to make it to that tree" or something similar. Every.Single.Time he exceeded my expectations. It was so cool. I was glad I didn't tell him where I thought he could make it. Actually, I think I did one time, because he seemed to be struggling a bit but he made it past where I suggested. So tough!

Really, there just isn't a lot to say. We trudged through the early morning darkness. He knew when the sun came up he'd feel better. Like I did with Jason, I would run ahead to fill his bottle when I could. Basically, it was just hours and hours of Adam listening to me talk because I didn't want him to fall asleep. I didn't want to fall asleep either for that matter. When we were getting close to the last manned aid station, battle creek, I ran ahead to get his bottle filled and some food for him and for me. They fixed him a cup of soup and we left the aid station eating it. When I got there they told me to sit down, take a break, etc. Heck no! We have a race to finish and no one is getting comfortable until it's over!

I asked him a lot of questions about races he'd done, what he still wants to do, etc. By the way, at mile 93 when you ask someone what else they want to do with running, what races they've dreamed of, etc, the answer is nothing. They don't ever want to run again! It was kind of a funny moment. While chatting I told Adam that I thought his wife seemed so sweet and nice and he told me about her and how much he loved her and their daughter. And they're having another baby in December! Yay! It was very nice to hear someone talk to nicely about their spouse. They seems like a great couple.

Continuing on, we could see the finish! There is a water tower and man, you can see that thing for miles! Kinda sucks! Still, you know it's coming. This was Adam's 10th 100 mile finish. I felt honored to have helped him get there. Honestly, the entire experience of this weekend was just amazing in ways I'll never be able to articulate. One of those things you just have to experience to understand I think, and then no two experiences are the same.

Adam with around 4 miles to go

We kept moving and I was doing my best to just remain positive and happy because if I started acting like I felt it wasn't going to do Adam any good. I hope I was successful in not being too whiny. The closer we got the more we ran. And ran and ran! Our run wasn't very fast, because, hello, 100 miles, but I think we ran well over half of the last 4 miles. Or I was dreaming. It's possible.

We crossed the finish line at 9:48 am, 27 hours and 48 minutes after he started. Well, he crossed this finish line. I did not. It was not my moment. I went into the tent and got him food and something to drink while he got his award. Marcia and Joell gathered all of his stuff and got it in his pacers vehicle. He had to get back to Wichita ASAP for a meeting. I texted his wife that he finished, then went and talked to Justin, Joell, Marcia and whoever else came in and out of the area where we were. I walked past Justin and said "just so you know, I'm a freaking badass!" He started laughing. He was on the phone with Zach Adams and told him what he said. Later Zach called me to tell me how much help I had been to so many people and how great that was, etc. It was so kind of him to do that and made me feel so good.

I went to change my shirt and then wait for Jason. He came in less than an hour later. He had finished his first 100! I was so proud of him. He had a bunch of family and friends at the finish line, which was great to see. I told him good job, but I was toast so I had to head home.

I'm so happy to have helped pace Jason and Adam and crew Justin and Candi (just a tiny bit on Candi). It's awesome to see people do something so huge and accomplish their goals. I left there so inspired. To see them go through a rough patch and dig deep and gut it out is indescribable. I know when I'm running my race in a few weeks. I'll remember them and how they gutted out the race and use it for inspiration.

So, that's how I accidentally ran over 31 miles. I had a nice easy 15 planned. I'm thrilled with how things turned out though. I learned a lot and I'm ready for my 50!

Prairie Spirit in two weeks!! Gulp.