A Picture is worth a Thousand Words!!!
I DID IT!!
Not sure I could ever express the emotion that I felt when I crossed that finish line, so I’m very, very thankful that Kristi M. was able to capture this moment. This isn’t pain, this is pure, raw happiness and exhilaration!!! Thanks Kristi and Congrats on your awesome race!!
OK now onto my report..remember I did run 40miles so this isn’t going to be short! Read if you Dare!!
The week prior to the race was a busy one. My work Annual Conference was Monday and Tuesday so I spent a lot of time on my feet. Yes, I was the one walking around with the bottle of water glued to myself since I wanted to make sure I was staying hydrated. Plus the lunches were very runner friendly and quite delicious so I was definitely getting food and water in. Since the work event was closer to home than my usual commute, I was able to sleep in and get a few more winks of sleep each night and that was great. I got yoga in Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, one short run Tuesday and one short walk Thursday before race day. Tuesday’s run wasn’t as good as I would have liked! Shins were tight and left knee was tweaky..but I moved on! I had a sports massage scheduled on Thursday which felt awesome. Coach wanted to me to do my heavier meal on Thursday as far as Carbs, so Waldo Pizza was the pick of the night. Packet picked up on Friday, a chat with coach to make sure I had my head on straight and got things right in my drop bags, followed by a simple and plain burger and fries on Friday and off to bed!
I had about 6hrs of pretty decent sleep the night before, but 4.30am seemed to come quickly. I woke up, took a deep breath and realized what I was trying to do. My husband always tells me that this is just another run…so I tried to think of it in those terms and it helped me calm down..a little . Got out of bed, showered, ate a bagel with PB and honey and got dressed. It was about 39F out so it I opted for short sleeve short under a long sleeve on that I could take off easily, CW-X compression shorts, skirt, CEP calf sleeves and my trusty La Sportivas! Hubby drove me over to Lisa’s house and we headed out to Clinton trails in Lawrence. Lisa was pacing me for the last loop and was just incredible that she woke up early and went with me to watch me start! I will repeat this many more times, but she totally rocks and I could not have asked for a better friend in all this!
We arrived at the race start with about under 15mins to spare, just enough to hit the porty potty, take off my outer layers, say a few hellos’, take a few pictures and get to the start line!
The 100k runners and 40mi runners started at 7am. A few words from Ben, our RD and we’re off….
I started at my usual back of the pack and when everyone started taking off I purposefully let them pass and just decided then and there to simply stick to plan and run my race! I could hear the cheers that kept getting fainter and fainter as the lead pack pulled away. I stuck with a few until the dreaded shin tightness started! I was really hoping that I would not have to deal with this, but there it was! This was not the first time its happened so I knew what I had to do…simply keep moving, stretch it out a few times and just keep moving! The first hour was kinda miserable because of it, but I kept telling myself that this was nothing I had not experienced before and that it did not mean things would go bad. Deb and Coleen’s words of wisdom rang through my head…"if you feel bad, just keep moving, adjust and it will pass”.
I ran when I could and power walked when needed and after about 3.5-4mi mark the shins were loose and ready! I knew I was likely behind everyone by a decent amount, but I was running to prove to myself that I could do this and kept telling myself that I just needed to stick to my game plan and not worry about where I was in relation to others! The trails were perfect! The weather was perfect and I didn’t even have any music on! I just trotted and kept moving along, eating, drinking and salting as we had practiced during training and simply enjoying the fact that I was actually doing this!! My left hammy was a little tight, but knee seemed to be behaving ok. Keep on moving…
I kept waiting for the Red trail and Shoreline section. This section is pretty much all rock and just basically slabs of rock that you run over. I felt confident as I did well on this section during training and it didn’t cause me any issues. Plus I wanted to moved out there quick as I knew this was a favorite basking spot for snakes in the area! Out of the Shoreline and into the Land’s End Aid station where we had all the Mud Babes doing a kick-ass job of taking care of the runners!
It was great to see Sophia’s here and she was running a hell of an aid station..of course!! She told me Allison would be out there in a little while and I looked forward to seeing her on my way back. I was sticking to my eat and salt every 45mins plan. I did have a little coke here as my throat needed a little more than water. I had a piece of a banana as well. As I crossed the road headed into the turnaround aid station I crossed Coleen and Deb. It was great to see them. Coleen checked to make sure I was hydrating and eating and I confirmed yes and we parted. she also reminded me to leave my shirt at the aid station since it was getting warmer! Such an awesome Coach!
Next up was the Army Corp Aid station which was the turnaround point. Headed into the aid station you pop out of the trail and then run up the road section and then back onto the grassy trails, into the single track again for a quick loop and then hit the aid station. I powered my butt up that road section and could really tell where my Ogg hill training paid off! I moved up very quickly up that hill. NO I did not run it, instead I power hiked and that worked just as well..or even better! Into the grassy section, back into single track and then popped out right by the aid station. I took off my long sleeve shirt as it was warmer now and ate a small piece of PBJ and grabbed some Pringles as well. So far so good on food and hydration as I had no issues.
At this point I was 9miles or so out from finishing the first loop. I also knew I was headed to the section that mentally I have a very hard time with, so I had to make sure I was prepared for that! The white trail going back to start has a lot of switch backs and it just seemed endless (for me). I broke it up into two and told myself to just get to the aid station! It seemed to take forever to get back to Land’s end. There were a lot of rocky inclines and at times I feel like I’m not really moving forward. Somewhere here I actually passed someone! So that gave me a teeny tiny boost I also came across a runner who had fallen and had bloody knees and was hobbling pretty bad. I checked in on him, offered him advil or anything else he needed. He said he was done as his ankle was hurting badly. I felt horrible for him as I know how tough just getting to the aid station would be when you are hurting. Finally I reached Land’s End again and got another boost as I knew I had about 3miles to get done with the first loop and grab my pacer Lisa! And also get some of my homemade orange/apple/strawberry juice. I texted Lisa to let her know that I’m about 45mins out and kept moving. I crossed the line for the first 20miles at 5:05 and change. Pretty happy that!
I dropped my bag for a refill and headed to pee. Then got out, had Chris W. smiling face hand me my juice…downed half of it, grabbed Lisa and kept moving! Thanks for getting me all filled up Mel B.
I was feeling pretty decent about things as I started on the second loop with Lisa. I was so glad to have company and someone to talk to as I pretty much went 5hrs without much of that other than at the aid stations. Lisa and I caught up on what had gone on so far. I let her know that its been ok so far. She updated me on what was happening at the main aid station. We can have such insane conversations! Dave caught up to us about 30mins (I think) and the two of them kept me entertained pretty good. They crack me up!! Hilarious!! At one point I was running along and stopped in my tracks as there was a skinny snake crossing the path! Lisa immediately checked on why I stopped and I pointed out the snake and she quickly stated that was just a garter snake. And I moved along! We had singing, we had crazy conversations and then Dave trying to convince me that I should have changed my name to ‘Indiana Jones McCampbell’ I did say hilarious right?!! We had a lot of Indie references for some time after that . We were moving decently for the most part! But I did notice that my energy was starting to dip low. Lisa realized that too as she told me I wasn’t talking as much.
I’ve been trying to pin point exactly when things started to take a turn. I think it was around Mile 25 or fairly close to it. I was starting to get pretty warm and so at each water refill I dampened my bandana and tried to keep myself cool. I was still keeping up with my eating. So far I’ve been working on Stinger Chews and was trying to get a piece of Lemon Lara bar in and was having a hard time. We crossed the Red trail and Shore Line rocky section and I was not moving as quickly as I had in the earlier loop. I do however remember running along, Lisa behind me and suddenly hearing Dave go ‘snake’. yeah..I didn’t even stop and kept moving. Not sure if he threw a rock at it or what, but I was ready to get to the Land’s end aid station. We hit the aid station and I was really happy to see some Coke in there!! Ahhhh..is there anything better than coke during long distances!! I was so glad to see Allison and Danny along with Sophia and the rest of the Mudbabes there. I was going to have Allison text my hubby when I hit that aid station on the way back. I was really touched that there was a ‘Go Indi Go’ sign at the aid station! They knew how to make a runner feel special! Thanks Ladies and Guys!! You HAVE to LOVE Ultra aid stations..they ROCK!! I grabbed a little coke, had some orange and grabbed a tums, thanked everyone and kept moving! Lisa grabbed ice and wrapped the bandana with it and tied it around my neck! I also grabbed a handful of ice and popped in down my shirt! Yes straight into my sport bra! I had my own personal ice chest! For the next 15mins or so, I would reach down my shirt and grab a piece of ice to chew on…Yeah I know!! hey whatever works right?!! I felt a little better, but it didn’t last. I knew I felt like I need to throw up and it all just hit. I stopped grabbed a tree and out came the orange and the stinger chews pretty much whole. Lisa quickly came over and rubbed my back! Again LOVE her! I don’t think she knew what she was in for in this! She grabbed my wet wipes and handed them over. I wiped my mouth..drank some water and kept moving. I felt tons better after it all came out. I tried to take the tums in..no luck! Had to spit it back out. I tried a few of her fruit punch chews and managed to keep a little of that in. We kept moving. They would keep chatting and kept my mind off the things and she made me trot as much of the flatter sections as much as I could.
Next we headed up the road to the turnaround at Army Corps aid station. Went into the little loop before hitting the station. What a teaser! Here I got some ginger ale in me! I got my pack refilled and ate a ginger snap cookie, a piece of tortilla and Nutella, some iced watermelon and grabbed a ginger chew for later. Here I knew I had this…yes it was going to be slower than my first loop and not the time goal I wanted which was between 10-11hrs, but with around 9miles left I was not quitting and I wanted to see that finish line! So out we went!
I knew the rest of the 9miles was going to be tough. I thought of all the training runs, all the miles I put in, the fact that Lisa woke up crazy early to be out here with me and Dave even with all his quips was motivating me, everyone who sent me good wishes and was encouraging me and Coleen who had so much faith in me and there was no stopping now! The next 6miles to the Land’s end aid station had me digging deep like I hadn’t done before! Barely a mile out from Army Corp I had to pee. Of course pacer duties also apparently included keeping an eye out for runners or bikers while I pee’d! More love to my awesome pacer!! A few mins later I tossed out all the watermelon! At this point, I couldn’t even take in a salt tab and all I wanted was coke or ginger ale!! So I was desperate to get to Land’s end! Those 6miles to that aid station was insanely far! I kept telling Lisa that it has to close and it would never come! She was so great and trying to get my mind off of it. About a mile out from it my hubby sent me a text. I let him know that I was struggling a little but to start heading over. We hit the aid station and Danny and Allison were all over getting me ready for the last 3miles! Thank You so much guys!! They made sure I got some Sprite in me, I took some potatoes with salt, more ice and then headed out.
Three more miles! That is all I had, I was almost done! I’ve made it 37miles, longer than I’ve ever run before. A few more rocky inclines and a few more switchbacks was across another 5k was ALL I had!! I ran as much as I could muster energy for! I powered up those damn rocky inclines like it was the last one! We even caught up to another group ahead of us and then a few more steps and I could hear cheers and hollering!! Holy Crap..I’m there!! Coleen told me finish strong!! I turned up onto that gravel road and there was no way in hell I was walking that! I ran up that little gravel incline and ran towards the finish line!!
All I remember is the beep of me crossing the line and hitting that finish line and having this incredibly giant, goofy smile on my face!! I ran over and just exhaled and realized although I had visualized this many times this past week, I could not have known HOW TOTALLY KICK-ASS AWESOME this felt!!! That was the moment Kristi captured!! I could hear people yelling out my name and I was so delirious with happiness!! I just finished 40miles!! Yes, it took me a little longer that planned, but hey I had not planned on the puking part!
11hrs 20mins 09secs of running, trotting, power walking and hiking later I had my 40mile finish!!
Thank You to everyone who has always been supportive and encouraging and sent me good vibes this weekend! Thank you to everyone who has motivated me in so many ways to even try something like this!! Thank You to all the amazing volunteers and Bad Ben for another truly memorable event!
Of course goes without saying A huge THANK YOU to my biggest supporter in all these crazy adventures my hubby! I know you think I’m nuts..but I also know you are proud of me and that means so much!!
A huge THANK YOU to Coleen!! Your coaching and encouragement throughout this training cycle has been what made me stronger and able to take this on! I cannot wait to see where I can go next with your experience and coaching to guide me!
And Most of all A HUGE, HUGE, HUGE Thanks to you Lisa!! Not sure you knew what you signed up for…but You were the BEST pacer and more importantly BEST Friend through this entire training cycle!! When I was thinking of pacer for this race, you were the first and only person that popped into my head and I’m so glad you were there with me for that last 20!! I will totally return that favor ANYTIME!!! Hope you are ready for more adventures! I promise to get the puking under control
I still can’t believe I did it! I have some pretty tender feet and some soreness that is going way slowly to remind me of what I did! For those that wonder why, I say WHY NOT? We have one life to live and I’m simply seeing what this mind and body can do! It doesn’t come easy to me as it might to some and I have to work by butt off for it! I may not be the fastest, or the strongest out there, But I don’t care!! I have found a passion for this amazing sport, with its’ even more amazing people and cannot wait to see where it takes me next!!!!
Happy, Wonderful Trail Everyone!!!