I JUST FREAKING RAN 100 MILES!!!!!!!!!!!
Literally that's all I want to keep saying over and over BUT I'm sure people would like to hear more details about the race so I will happily share my journey with you all.
|Getting my bib Friday afternoon|
Emir and I drove down to Maryland Friday afternoon. We picked up my number and my sweet Patagonia jacket and then chilled at the hotel for a bit before meeting with my friend Carolyn from high school for dinner. I was feeling so excited/nervous so it was great to distract myself by catching up with her and just in general made me so happy as we haven't seen each other in years.
|Me and Carolyn!|
|view from at Camp Manidokan|
|goofing off with the #teamdedic crew|
|The BEST :-)|
|can you tell I was excited?!|
I really enjoyed the day on the canal. It was probably 60 but overcast so really perfect running weather. I was very comfortable in my singlet and shorts. I listened to music on and off. Talked to runners as we passed each other. I had asked coach Caleb for some advice about run/walking since I never ran a mostly flat ultra before. All my other races had hills or technical areas that force you to take walk breaks. He advised me to walk for a couple minutes every 20-30 minutes even from the beginning for physical and mental reasons which really all did make sense. I seriously did have good intentions to follow coach's advice but once I was in the moment I couldn't help myself. Literally before I knew it, I was at 20 miles and it was at this point at the aid stations, people started screaming for me by name and telling me "you are second female!! keep it up!! go go go!!" How could I possibly take walk breaks at a time like this when I didn't even feel like I needed them?! I did though make sure to walk into/out of the aid stations and stop for a couple minutes in addition to eating and drinking.
|(PC Kevin Sayers)|
|(PC Kevin Sayers)|
I knew when I was almost at the Brunswick aid station which was mile 28 and the first time crew had access to me. I was excited, however I had a strange feeling inside me. I was on pace to get there around 4:30 or so which is amazing but very unexpected. I was hoping my crew would just be so excited to see me that they might get there extra early. As I approached I heard people screaming my name so I thought "oh good, they are here!" But once I actually got there and was scanning the crowd, nope they weren't there! I was disappointed because I was so looking forward to seeing them but I didn't let it get me down. Also the volunteers wouldn't let it get me down. I CANNOT say enough about these people at the race. I am really not exaggerating when I say they were all absolutely amazing. Someone was already standing there with my drop bag in hand for me when I got there. They had written down all the runner's names with their numbers so they could tell everyone the runner's name and everyone could give encouragement and cheer. They took my pack off me, emptied my trash, filled my pocket back up with gels and honey stinger chomps, they refilled my liquids, helped me lube back up with more 2TOMS, got me some PB&Js and fruit and had me out of there with all that done in minutes. AND they weren't even my crew!! I was just so blown away. This was the case time in and time out all race long. I've never felt so well taken care and so well supported at a race not to mention the aid stations had anything you could have needed or wanted, hot or cold, gear, batteries. Emir saw a volunteer give a runner the sweatshirt off his back. Truly incredible.
|Paul helping me out since my crew was MIA! (PC: Shannon Murphy)|
|(PC Shannon Murphy)|
The next 15 miles went by fast and smooth. Not much to report other than my stupid phone somehow got stuck on repeat and kept playing the same song over and over. We had a fight for a while and eventually I figured it out however it went through my Pitbull playlist(um hell yeah) and then started repeating again. I got so pissed I tore off my headphones and into the bag it went. My watch also said low battery (shocker) so I had to get out my cable and charger. I wasn't sure where to put my watch but I realized I could still wear it on my wrist even when it was hooked up. I'm sure it looked a little weird with wires coming from my watch but who cares.
|only selfie I took of the day|
|Emir helping me at mile 50|
|seriously had a great time|
About a mile or so into this stretch, I started feeling nauseous. I thought "oh no! this is not good. Am I going to feel like this the entire rest of the race?" I was worried but also trying to figure out why. While I've never completed the 100 miles before, I did run for almost 24 hours at TARC and no nausea. I've done some other REALLY grueling ultras in severe heat and no nausea. But I did go faster than in any other ultra, was it too much? The next aid station they insisted I take some quesadillas. I tried to take a bite and almost puked. Ugh so awful. It took about 5 more miles before I could take a few bites. I was able to take sips of liquids the whole time but I definitely was not fueling properly for that 9-10 mile stretch.
I was actually glad to reach that crazy climb back to Manidokan so I could just power hike and take a little rest. My stomach was finally settling and I was happy to be almost back at camp to see my crew and pick up a pacer. Girl in yellow jacket had passed me somewhere around mile 56-57 so I knew I was in second. Which of course everyone announced to me as I summited that last giant hill to the top of camp. I told them about my nausea and everyone was concerned until Emir realized something. He asked me if I drank Tailwind while at the aid station with them and I said yes then he said AND you ate watermelon. I was like "um yeah so what, I was hungry!" He laughed and said "no it's just that I read recently a few places that people said mixing Tailwind and watermelon makes you nauseous or even sick." Wow, I had no idea. Ok, lesson learned! They insisted I put on a long sleeve shirt even though I wasn't cold because they were cold and thought it was getting windy which I tried to explain camp is literally like 500 feet above the canal and it wasn't windy down there but it was fine, it didn't make me too warm and I refused to take my jacket yet. They took care of all my stuff, I pottied and off I went back down the treacherous climb with Emily who would pace me for 20 miles. I left once again in first place.
|mile 60 back at camp|
We saw Emir and MO again around mile 69. It had become a slightly more steadier rain so I did agree to my jacket at this point. I also took my Altra hat so I could put my head lamp on as it was now pretty dark. I told them my quads were starting to hurt but otherwise I was ok. They encouraged me and took care of all my stuff. Emily and I set off again now in second place.
This stretch was a bit rough for me. I was still running but much slower. Emily was still running the same pace we had done early on in our journey together but I could just not keep up. I definitely took more rest breaks this section but usually only for 2 minutes at a time. The rain was becoming harder but my jacket is good and I was not cold at all. It just felt like forever to get to mile 79 where I would pick up Emir. It was really the only time I got slightly upset in my head, "WHERE IS IT?!" I didn't want to quit, I actually never had that thought for a single second the entire race but I just was so ready to be on the homestretch which would be signified by getting to turn around and picking up Emir.
|random pic since I have no night time pics ;-) (photo credit Hai Nguyen)|
Then things started to really deteriorate physically for me. My quads were just shot and I really couldn't try to run anymore. We still had 9 miles from the last crew access point to the finish and the rain was really pretty brutal so Emir decided to run to the car and grab an umbrella while MO and Emily took care of me. I sat for a few minutes while waiting for him, MO rubbed my quads some more and then someone says "Is that Amy?!" I said "yes" and he said "it's me! from TARC!" I couldn't believe it, it was the same volunteer from TARC who sat with me when I dropped, still wearing his Western States buckle. I couldn't believe he recognized me, let alone remembered my name. It actually was a pretty special moment because he was there at TARC at the very moment I DNF'd and now he was seeing me off on my final 9 miles of my first 100 finish.
Emir and I spent those last 9 miles avoiding ankle deep puddles, frogs, mud and fighting the torrential rain and wind. At least all these distractions made the time go by faster as I was going nowhere fast. I had given up on changing speeds and Emir tried to keep me on a steady walk pace that would still get me my sub 24 hour time. He said "I know you, and I know how upset you will be if you miss sub 24 especially if it's only by a little bit. I know you can do it!" I really can't say enough about what a great job he did managing me during his pacing duties. He was tough, firm but understanding and caring. He also held an umbrella over my head for 9 miles which I'm pretty sure was at least 2.5 hours. That's a long time to hold an umbrella! Finally with about 2-2.5 miles to go the rain started letting up. Emir told me that I could definitely make sub 24 but I needed to just speed up a tad because that last technical, steep climb might take a bit. I knew he was right. I'm sure it was not running but I was moving my legs faster than I had in a few hours. I kept that up until we finally reached the turn off for the climb back up to camp. We crossed the street and started up the trail. I successfully crossed the stream twice without falling but saw my race running friend looking really bad. I had talked to this guy many times before the race and throughout. We kept passing each other and we had the same pack, so we bonded. I felt so awful for him but there was nothing we could do. His pacer was taking care of him and his wife was making her way down to him as well. So I wished him well and continued to climb. At this point, MO was making his way towards us. He was SO EXCITED which at this point I was too. It hurt like hell climbing those rocks and steps but I was literally minutes away from my first 100 finish.
|MO ready to catch me if I fell back down the steep climb|
We finally reach the base of that last hill leading up to camp and I was grinning ear to ear but also feeling tears in my eyes. All that hard work for this moment.
|coming up that final hill to the finish|
|Me & RD Lance|
As for the race itself, I can not say enough about what a wonderful event it is. I could go on forever about the volunteers, organization and the runner support. It definitely made my race that much better. When I met Lance at the end, I could see why it was such a great event. He really cares about the race and the runners and wants everyone to have the best experience. I HIGHLY recommend this race and would definitely run it again in a heart beat. Of course it will always hold a special place in my heart, being my first 100 finish but even if it wasn't, I would definitely still love this race.
Check out this video of the race put together by Paul and watch me fall at 2:17 into it ;-)
And that's the end of my first 100 mile finish story. Thanks for reading!
PS I JUST RAN 100 FREAKING MILES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)