Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Elusive 100 miles in 24 hours is Finally Mine and I have a Virginia State Record to Prove It!

It's been (gulp) a week since I ran the Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultra, but the miles still seem fresh.  This was the first year I achieved breaking the 100 mile barrier and ironically this year was the easiest.  Was I stronger than last year?  Probably yes.  Was I more patient than last year?  Decidedly so.  Was I more relaxed about it this year?  ABSOLUTELY.  I have photographic proof of my calmness.  In previous years I would not have stopped long enough for a photo for fear of being late to the starting line.  We were definitely bundled up because it was 21 degrees outside.  The good news is that we knew this would be the coldest it would get throughout the next 24 hours.
Me, Chris Bean, Trish Lebsack & Josie Whitmore

coerced convinced some tennis/running friends into participating in the Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultra.  Trish Lebsack & Chris Bean came to cheer me on last year with another friend, Chris Walker. Even though I had a rough day (didn't feel well, even colder than this year complete with snow showers) they loved the party atmosphere of a 24 hour race.  You see, everyone has different goals and aspirations but the common denominator is everyone has FUN!  The volunteers are awesome and since the loop is only .95 miles long you get to see everyone quite often.  By far, this is my favorite course.  I liken it to cupcake racing.  You get food and drink every .95 miles.  What's not to love?

Trish, Josie, Chris and myself show up to the starting line and it's like a reunion of sorts.  Usually at the start of a race candid shots of me closely resemble someone about to throw up, not this time.  I found this one and I look like I'm happy and confident. I don't know if I'm stretching or strutting.

 I got the most sleep I've ever gotten before one of these type of races and felt FULLY ready to tackle my 100.  My friend, Charlie Engle, and I shared a picnic table under the shelter.  Every year I've procured the same table.  I think his superior talent rubbed off on me which enabled me to break a 100.  Anyway, I had oodles of stuff (as usual) because  you never know what you are going to need for a 24 hour race.  I knew Charlie was going to be there all night, but I knew I had my friend Jen Pack running with me for a little in the evening (she ran 10 miles with me!) and Pam (who I met at this race several years earlier and I adore) running with me at 2am.  My friend, Dena, shared the table with us, but didn't show up for the race until the start.  In fact, I didn't see her until a couple of laps into the race.  We are sole sister racing buddies and good friends.  We have worked together at 24 hour races before and have pushed each other to new distances that we never thought possible.  She and I mostly ran together the first 50 miles.  She had logged many more miles than me the last couple of months, so her body was done after 50.  If she had not done a 24 hour race,  a marathon, etc. I think she would have been right there by my side.  We took a little photo somewhere in the 35-50 mile range.

Unlike last year, I decided that I was not going to attack the sugar table until deep into the race.  I think this may have had a big impact on my blood sugar levels.  I felt great throughout and I did not have a single gummy bear, oreo, etc.  I did have my magical elixir, coke, but I didn't have any until after the 50 mile mark.  I took a couple of ounces every 5-8 miles.  I did drink some Nuun, Heed, Gatorade and water throughout.  Another reason I had so much fun was that we had so many friends from Greensboro running in the event.  Everyone arrived with different plans, but it was so exciting seeing everyone throughout the day and into the night.

Food.  I probably didn't eat enough of it, but I did have Kashi bars, banana chips, Honey Stinger waffles and peanut butter crackers.  Crooked Road provided McDonald's hamburgers, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, soup, and pizza.  I stayed away from dairy this year, but had plenty of sandwich squares and chicken broth to fill up on.  The volunteers made it easy.....I would ask for broth and by the next time you arrived at the table, it would be there.  It was magical!  I also had some great help from Chip and Kerri Person.  They are Wilder's parents and it was so nice seeing them every mile while Wilder completed 50 miles!  I was so proud of his progress in this sport.  Longevity does not come overnight and he is well on his way to really make an impact in this sport.

Around 2am I (for some unknown reason) felt like I could not have solid food anymore.  I wasn't feeling bad, but I just knew I didn't want to eat anything.  I then switched to broth, Muscle Milk, Gu's and Honey Stinger Chews until I finished.  I never had GI issues (unlike the year before) which was lucky. I also never felt delirious and I definitely didn't do any death marching.  I was running, jogging and power walking throughout.  I don't think I slowly walked at all as a matter of fact.

Pam and I ran a few laps but I soon sent her to administer to the runners that really needed her.  I was feeling great.  Unfortunately we were passing some people that were doing a death march slow, staggered walk so I told her I felt great and they needed her more than me.  I continued my jogging/race walking as I counted down the laps I needed to achieve my goal.  I even took a selfie in the brand new heated bathroom with only 4 1/2 laps to go!
The eyes were definitely tired looking and the heavy salt intake was taking its toll.  But.....the bathroom was warm and I wanted 1 more minute of warmth....taking a picture seemed normal (maybe I was a bit delirious?).  Maybe it was foreshadowing because this picture proved to be the signal for my friends, Mel and Christine, to get there fast because I was going to finish ahead of schedule!  I had no idea they were coming.

Every time I was within 50 feet or so of the volunteer table I would say, "HHHHIIIIIIIII    Taaaaaarrrrrraaaaaaaa" (yes, I dragged out her name that long because it was great to see her each lap!)  Well....when she yelled that I just finished 105 laps my smile was huge, but when Mel and Christine appeared I went euphoric.  I remember jumping up and down (knocking my headlamp off) yelling, "You came!" over and over and over.  I then remember giggling like a kid at Christmas and we took off.  I forewarned the girls at the table that they might hear some yelling when I reached the 100 mile sign, but that I was okay.  The 3 of us took off hand in hand and we screamed at the top of our lungs at the sign....well, the girls at the table screamed back.  We couldn't stop laughing.  We ran the rest of the lap and I stopped.  Yes, I stopped.  My goal was 100 miles.  I completed 100.7.  Could I have gone on for the next hour and a half?  I don't know.  All I knew is that I felt so great I didn't want to jinx myself.  I then cheered Emily on to break the Virginia State Record for her age group and overall.  Little did I know that I broke a Virginia State Record that day for my 45-49 year old age group and ended up 2nd overall female. I sat by the fire and waited for my husband to pick me up.  When Dan arrived I think he thought he was going to walk a few laps with me, but I was already done.  We He packed up all my things and I decided I couldn't wait for the awards ceremony.  The tiredness set in.  Ricky Scott, the race director, handed me my precious jewel.  I couldn't have been more proud to receive this
My day got just a little bit brighter because I was inducted into the Team Buttercup group.  Bill Keane, pictured here with Amy Surrette and myself sent me a "Suck It Up Buttercup" shirt and the 100 mile sign he confiscated from the course.  I talked to that sign for 106 laps....I truly YELLED to that sign 106 times.  I cannot wait to hang it in my home office.
Sorry this was so long, but I am trying to blog a little more often.  I keep reminding myself it doesn't have to be big or epic.  It just has to 'be'.   Happy Running !!

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I felt lazy not running in a Thanksgiving Day/Weekend race, but I did manage to run 10 miles on Saturday with Jeriann and her husband, Byron.  We ran happy....can you guess who's wearing the dirty shoes?

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