I’m not going to offer a traditional recap. Breaking down a 100 is excruciating. I have very few insights but I’ll let you in on a few things while I let my deep thoughts percolate.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. Between my terrible experiences at Graveyard and Lookout Mountain, my botched final weeks of training and my respiratory infection in the week leading up to the race, I almost didn’t have the guts to show up at the start. But, I did anyway.
I started the race running scared. Every step took me towards the 25-30 mile mark where my previous races fell apart. I ran conservatively and limited my caloric intake to Gu’s, saltine crackers, pretzels and oranges. After 20 miles I began to sip on diluted Sustained Energy and at night I added broth to my regimen. For hydration, I took only water and a few electrolyte tablets in the heat of the day. I had very little confidence in this plan. In my mind, even if it didn’t irritate my stomach, it surely wouldn’t contain the calories I needed to get to the finish.
Looking back, there were two things that saved my race. Sticking to my nutrition/hydration plan. Every hour I sucked down a GU, no matter how much I gagged, no matter how queasy I felt, I stayed on top of this. 26 GU’s!!! I never want to taste another Vanilla or Jet Blackberry GU in my life!
The second, Kim’s wise race tactics. Logically, the race flow would be start conservatively in the dark, make hay while the sun shines, slow off the pace after dark again. Early on, Kim decided it would be best to run the second loop conservatively because that’s when we’d hit the heat of the day. I can’t tell you how smart this was, how much it made a difference in my race and how counterintuitive it was.
The high was “only” in the mid 70’s but the high Texas humidity was very taxing. If we had not backed it off then, the later stages of my race would have suffered greatly. Instead, I finished feeling strong - well as strong as you can expect after 100 miles.
We hit the 50 mile mark in 11:09. At that point, I began thinking a sub 24 was possible - gutsy, but possible. I summoned up the courage to go for it knowing full well that I could fail miserably and even compromise a finish. I was, after all, only half way through the race.
To hit sub 24, I had to aim for my last 2 20 miles loops to be sub 5 hrs each. That didn’t scare me a bit. I must have been delirious.
I set my mind to sub 24 and every time I began to doubt, I would picture the finish, picture holding the sub 24 buckle and ask myself, “Do you really want it?”
The answer was (almost) always, “Yes!”
To which my inner coach would reply, “Well, then, you’re going to have to be a little ballsy.”
And, somehow, that was enough to light my fire. I was ballsy.
But this was not a solo accomplishment. I had a great crew that met me at all the crew-able aid stations, great pacers that encouraged me before the race and across the last 40 miles. I have the best “coach” in the world who trained me, planted the crazy idea of a hundred in my mind and cheered me through training and each mile. To them, I owe this accomplishment. I couldn’t have and would not have wanted to do this without them.
At mile 95.5, D stepped off the trail and let me run the final 4.5 by myself. I took every moment in. I knew I was just moments away from finishing one of the coolest things in my life. It wasn’t 100 miles. It was a journey of far more. And, like the quote I’ve been carrying around on my phone for a month:
“Devote yourself to an idea. Go make it happen. Struggle on it. Overcome your fears. Smile. Don’t you forget: this is your dream.”
This was my dream.
100 miles, 23:28:11
20 mile splits: 3:56:00, 4:56:06, 4:45:06, 4:56:52, 4:53:27
Overall place 84, 15th female, 4th in age group
And I still can’t believe it.