I’m going to break this trip into two posts. This one will be only about race day. But I really need to blog this whole trip. Wow is the only word that comes to mind.
This morning, I got up at 4:20am (after getting maybe 4hrs of sleep) and dressed for the race, putting my USATF Rain suit/ wind suit on over. After filling a bottle w/ water, I grabbed a pack of scones and headed for the lobby. About 4:50, the hotel had hot water and a small breakfast available for all the USA team. Coffee!!!!!!
By 5am we were all done with breakfast and gave final instructions to our crew people. Each runner had a “main” and “back up” person to crew them, who were all amazing! Then we squeezed 7 passengers into a 6 passenger mini-SUV for the round one drop off at the Athlete’s Village, which is a big cruise ship. Our team opted not to stay on the cruise ship because we all wanted to be able to stay in the same place as our support people.
At 6:30am (or a bit after) the race began. Carolyn, Megan and I all started together. Our guys team all started together as well, but in a different spot from us gals. Both the other ladies told me not to get caught up in racing from the line, as many of the ladies would do. For me, that was easy!
The course was laid out a bit oddly. We started next to the Ship and did an out-and-back for what should have been 5k before heading into a 5kish loop to be done 19 times. When I came to the end of the out-and-back for a second time, I was surprised to be directed back towards the ship. I also heard 2 IAU course marshals arguing over where the runners were going….uh-oh, I thought. When we came to what should have been the 10k, there were officials telling us that this is 11k. The chip board said 48:?? for me. Wow, I thought, that is faster then it felt. I decided to go ahead and slow down to closer to an 8min mile pace to be safe. And the board was really cool! When we stepped on the mats, our chip (should have) registered. Our name, country, gender, loop number, loop split and over all time showed on the board.
As I hit the course makings throughout the next loop, I saw that the distance sign had been moved to mark the new distances covered, b/c of the extra out and back we did. Later, they shortened one loop to fix the mess up. I think it all worked out.
As to my foot. It was hurting from the start. Not bad, but aching. I figured I’d run at least 30k, no matter what, to test it out. At the 30k, I felt a bit worse, but everyone was so encouraging I REALLY didn’t want to drop. By 40k my left hamstring felt like it was going to tear, so Dr. Lions put a spongy pad under my heel, but my Achilles then decided to tighten up bad. Apparently, I looked like I felt great. My stride was even and I was happily and comfortably (in some ways!) running a pretty stead 25min 5k. But I felt pretty injured. If I would have kept going, I would be very injured and I don’t think I had a chance of finishing 100k. You just can’t trick your body when it comes to injures and longer Ultras. You need your body on your side. Not only was I having left leg issues (mainly that darn metatarsal!), but I made 3 potty stops in 46k. Never ever has that happened to me before! I want to figure out why so it never happens again!!
The people along the race course were so supportive it had me in tears. Literally. They cheered, “Go USA!”, and if I yelped, they yelped back. I never had so many people taking my picture as did today. The last thing I wanted to do was drop! But I knew I had to. I so badly want to get better and train again! I love running. My motivation to race again has never been higher, and I honestly never thought I’d want to race like I do now! Heal foot, heal!!
When I dropped, a lot of the volunteers humbled me farther by coming over and saying, “No! I was cheering extra for you!” And then, as we were leaving, a few of the supporters for France came and said they were sad when I stopped coming by. I don’t think I can explain how humbling this whole experience was. I was injured, unable to do what I wanted, and people cared. People who didn’t know me came looking for me. Why?? My team said they were proud of me for coming and doing what I did. And I think they meant that. When I got on this team, I earned it. But the amount of care I have been given was purely a gift. Really, I had nothing to give any one on this team injured. In fact, our ladies would have meddled if I finished in anything close to 9hrs…a slow 100k is all they needed. Me not being able to give that is hard. But I can’t give what I don’t have, even if all of me desires to do so.
Our guys rocked today! We had 3 guys in under 7hrs, the 4th in 7:01 and the 5th finisher in 7:15ish. One guy was unable to finish the race due to feeling crappy. (Boy do I get that!) Mike Wardian took 3erd and our men’s team earned the Silver medal! So so exciting!! It was great because the guys race was close. The top 12 spots shifted through out the whole race, right to the finish line. Go Guys!
Megan placed 5th and Carolyn 9th. Megan and Carolyn both ran under 8hrs. Woohoo!!
I found out yesterday that, most likely, my Mad City time from last year qualifies me for next years 100k team. That means that I get to come back next year unless someone beats my time from last year at Mad City. However, I plan on running an even faster 100k before next years team is picked. Heal you foot!