"I've always just looked at 100 miles as life in a day. You have all the trials and tribulations of a life in one day." - Ann Trason
I accomplished a very big thing this past weekend. It was one of the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but what a privilege it is that I was able to choose to do this hard thing.
The day started off at 8 AM along the buttery Pacific Crest Trail and winding back around Timothy Lake. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day and the forest provided shade and some views of Hood through the trees. I saw Keiren around mile 7 at the first aid station and we did a little dance and hugged before I continued moving. The next 24 miles were spent listening to a throwback Thursday playlist @katherine-withak put together for me and talking with people on the trail. I went into the race with a goal of getting sub 24 hours (sub 14:24 min miles) which was ambitious but didn't feel impossible after speaking with Anna Mae. I started off conservatively, averaging 11:00-12:00 min miles, knowing that I would slow down later on in the race and also lose time at aid stations. I ended up running with a group of infectious disease docs/professors from Seattle for several miles before I landed at mile 31 to see Logan, Mom, and my uncle David again.
We spent a total of 13 minutes tending to my feet, refilling my pack, taking in some Tylenol and salt tabs, and slathering my legs in diclofenac gel before I set out again. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the chaos, I forgot my phone with Logan and couldn't listen to any more music until I saw them again at mile 57. This stretch was tougher (more ups and downs vert wise) but legs were still feeling pretty fresh and I was in good spirits. Passed a "Disco and Dad Joke" aid station, heard a few dad jokes that were just as bad as you'd expect. Saw an amazing sunset over Mount Hood National Forest. Didn't realize how low I was on water and ran out with about 4 miles to go before I saw my crew again. Made it through though and came into the mile 57 aid station at around 8:00 PM.
I was feeling much worse at this aid station. Getting ready to run for hours alone in the dark felt daunting. My feet had started to develop some nasty blisters and my shirt/sports bra were soaked with sweat from the day. I had packed a long sleeve shirt and spare sports bra, but had completely forgotten to pack a spare short sleeve shirt. My uncle David gave me the Under Armour shirt off of his back and it made all the difference having dry clothes on. We slathered my legs in diclofenac gel again, popped two Tylenol, filled up my bag with all the caffeinated things, and I set out into the night.
Miles 57-83 consisted of me going through most of the aid stations again (this part was an out and back). The climbs were hard. I was very tired, mentally and physically, and had been up for almost 24 hours at this point. I started getting paranoid about mountain lions following me while I was alone in the dark. Every shadow scared me. Every time my life hit a reflector on a course marking, my heart skipped. But another playlist that Kat made me got me through it and I kept repeating the mantra that Alli told me before the race- "It's not always. It's just right now." I said this to myself over and over and over.
By the time I got into the mile 83 aid station, I was still 40 minutes ahead of schedule for my sub 24 hour goal. Mom, Uncle David, and Logan were pretty dialed at this point, lightened my pack for the last 18 miles. Crew was very limited and so many of my friends couldn't be there in person. Logan showed me videos they all created to encourage me - Claire, Mindy, Kirsten, Alli, Dani, Kat, Tay, Bronwyn, Alex, Anne Mae. So much support, so much love. It was completely overwhelming. I was finally able to pick up Keiren at this time to pace me. She was so encouraging, distracting me with stories about her time in the Alps this past month and holding me steady as I went uphill. I had knots in my right calf and left quad that wouldn't go away and every step uphill hurt badly.
Once the sun came up, I got a little bit of a second wind and saw the end was so close. I thought rocks on the trail were potato sacks. I told Keiren that I missed malls because they're so nostalgic. I'm sure I said other very silly things.
I heard the screams at the finish line and ran as fast as I could down the hill, trying to hold it together until I crossed at a time of 23:44. As soon as I did, I broke down crying, hugging Logan and my family so tight. I hugged the race directors, who handed me my sub 24 hour buckle. I hugged Keiren, who was also crying.
I think the most overwhelming part of running 100 miles is how many people were willing to help me get there. Running 100 miles is innately very selfish. Time is suspended and you are solely focused on putting one foot in front of the other. Not to mention the time it takes to train for one. Friends modified their schedules to get in miles with me. They sent me care packages and encouraging messages. My family flew across the country and spent 2-3 days helping me prep for and complete a 100 mile race, all while sleep deprived and jet lagged. Logan made dinner almost every night as I put in the miles after work, walked Harper every morning because I was too tired and needed more sleep, adjusted our weekend plans around my long runs, crewed for 3 days at Wonderland while I ran around Mt. Rainier with friends. He did all of this and never expected anything in return. The most selfless, giving partner I could have ever asked for. I just feel so lucky and so loved.
I don't really know what's next for me. I'm taking a break from training for a while and just plan on doing what feels good for my body and soul. Whatever the future holds, I've taken so much away from this entire experience.
September run streak days 25/26 and some weird sunset light from today. Post night shift isn’t great for motivation but I managed to get out there. It was extremely hot earlier but a front is easing in and it’s much nicer now! Have an 8hr emergency response training class tomorrow so of course on the first day of the cool front I’ll spend it at work in a class I’ve taken 16 times…
There was a small kid running around a house which was built on water. As he ran around, he saw a huge spider on the door which offered him candy. The kid accepted the offer only to be scolded by the spider because he shouldn't take candy from strangers.
i learned that Tiger beetles run so fast they temporarily blind themselves. When moving at up to 120 body lengths per second, their environment becomes a blur as their eyes can't gather enough light to form an image (x)