I will try to recap this as best as I can for everyone. I had an awesome time and enjoyed every minute of it! We left on Friday energetic and anxious!!! During the ride down we discussed last minute race details and things I should and shouldn’t do. Once we arrived we got our camper set up and we were ready to get things under way!!!!
We walked down to the spaghetti dinner and packet pickup/informational meeting. We got in line to pick up our race numbers and shirts. I was excited seeing the shirts they looked really cool but, then found out that they had men’s shirts and women’s shirts. I didn’t like the women’s shirts as well as the men's. Once we went through the all the business of getting our race numbers it was off to eat the pasta dinner. The normal fare: spaghetti, bread, salad, a cup of fruit, cookies and a bottle of water. This gave people a chance to mingle and meet new people. The informational meeting was next. They went over the race rules and the course. Once we finished that we went back to the camper to pack our drop bags. We pack these bags with different things that we think we might need at different points of the race i.e. extra shorts, special treats that I want, towels, extra shoes and sox and more… Once the drop bags were filled we took them to be distributed by the race officials. Then it was off to bed to TRY and get some sleep. We agreed that 4 a.m. was the time to set the alarm. I didn’t sleep well…..
Off, goes the alarm! It’s race day!!!! I’m not nervous, not uptight, I feel relaxed and ready to get ready for a long day. I pinned my number to my shorts and ate a breakfast of oatmeal and a bagel. Before leaving Matt woke his pacer up Jimmy to go to the start line with us and take pictures. We all walk to the start and have to sign in to be accounted for. I give Jimmy a last hug and he wishes me well. We line up at the start and everyone is chatty. Matt decides that he is going to run the first 10 miles with me. Woo Hoo! With last minute instructions and a final horn we are off and I’m starting my first 100!! The very beginning is very easy and dark! We start by running on some gravel roads in order to get to the trails. This is good because it gets me warmed up. Within the first 2 miles we have a big hill climb; it is common practice to walk up the hills. As were are walking Matt points out the beautiful valley and light fog that we are overlooking as the sun starts to come up. The first check point is crowded and we sail through it. Matt, is constantly trying to hold me back! I keep surging forward but, he reins me in to keep things under control! We talk to many people while we are running, saying good morning and just talking about the day ahead. We make it to the next check point and it’s still crowded. This is where I change out shoes from road running shoes to trail shoes because we were going to begin running trails and I needed that extra grip. I go to get my drop bag, Matt easily finds his and I can’t find mine!! Grrr.. Where is it!! I’m starting to panic! But, I settle down and finally find it. I change out grab a few things, fill my water bottle and see Matt. He tells me that he is going to start running on his own. He gives me a hug and off he goes! I am soon to follow. Not, far down the trail is our first water crossing. Okay time to get my feet wet! As I cross I see two guys taking their shoes and sox off! Everyone else does the same as me and plows through the water. Onto the next checkpoint! This check point is at the bottom of a steep downhill. As I refill my water bottle I here people yelling whoa!! I look up and see some guy down and skidding down the hill. Phew, glad it wasn’t me!!! There are lots of huge hills and this is a tough course! I was having the time of my life. I chatted with different people to pass the time. I buddied up with people. I enjoyed meeting others and sharing stories about work, family and kids. It was getting fairly warm out but, before I knew it I had a river crossing!! Ahh… that felt oh so good!!! I could have stayed there all day long. But, came out and decided it was time to get my foot looked at since I was starting to have problems. They had podiatrists there and they took a look and fixed me up. They sent me on my way. At this checkpoint crew was not allowed to be there. I knew Brian would have plan up his sleeve. I started the next section. Yep, Brian was waiting for me down the trail! This section was the coolest!!! It was like an enchanted area. We had a lot of hand over hand climbing. I was having so much fun through here. I had caught up with 4 guys from Michigan and hung with them for a while. This enchanted part also had a waterfall that was so cool! We rounded a corner and the guy in front of me freaked out!! I asked him what was the deal? He immediately told me that he was afraid of heights. So I ended up coaching him down. The four of us hung together for about 10 miles. That got me to the next checkpoint and low and behold Brian was there!!! He warned me about the thunderstorm warning that was coming and he told me to be prepared. They shipped me on my way, while they went to look for Matt. As I was going along the skies grew darker and darker. I almost panicked thinking I might need a flashlight. The wind kicked up and the trees were creaking and moaning. I kept an eye on the trees because branches, limbs and chunks of wood were falling around me. I knew I had to keep moving, standing or taking cover was not going to make anything better. I kept plodding along and thinking of ikabod Crane as I went by a very old cemetery! Most of the headstones were form the 1800’s. It started pouring rain but, the trees were protecting me from the worst of it for a little while. Now, that I’m getting wet and the temp is dropping I’m starting to get cold. I’m really starting to want the next checkpoint to get here. Finally! I make it there and see a few of my Michigan friends. The one says he’s dropping out. I try to con him into walking to the next checkpoint with me and he says he just can’t do it. We are at the 52 mile mark. I grab a short sleeve shirt out of my drop bag and also grab my garbage bag to put over it to keep me dry and warm. I leave the check point shivering and thinking if I get moving I will warm up. By the time I reach the next check point it has stopped raining and I give the workers my garbage bag. This was when I had a mental low and came in crying. They asked what I needed and I said I didn’t know. They filled my water bottle. I had an upset tummy and they gave me some 7 up to settle it. They also handed me some food and told me that I couldn’t drop there. And they sent me on my way. I turned the Ipod on and that helped get me back to being somewhat happy. My feet are really starting to hurt and every step is becoming painful. Having Brian at a lot of checkpoints really helped! I knew the next checkpoint he would be there along with my pacer. All I could think about on the way there was a McDonalds cheeseburger and fries with tons of salt!! And I thought about my nice soft cozy bed and how good it will feel when I finish. I make it there and Brian is right there to take care of me. He asks where my water bottle is and I reach back to grab it and it’s gone! My mind is mushy at this point and then I remember a young kid took it and filled it for me (this was common at every checkpoint). Brian asks what I’d like to eat and I say all I have thought about is a McDonald’s cheeseburger and salty fries. He says he can’t do that but they do have hamburgers there. I say I’ll take that . He brings me that while I take a few minutes to relax. I get my headlamp on because soon it will be dark. I leave with my new pacer Linda. I tell Brian not to worry about me and I want him to get some sleep. He says he needs to get something for dinner and check on Matt again. I say okay and see you at Rock Point (the 90 mile mark). Brian has different plans that I don’t know about. Linda and I are on our way and it’s not long before the headlamp is turned on. Into the dark we go. I feel good having someone with me. I know I have some tough miles coming up and my feet are starting to scream. I take some Ibuprofen to see if that dulls the pain. The miles seem longer and the checkpoints seem further apart. I make it to the checkpoint that promised to save me a triple espresso brownie!! Oh how I was looking forward to something different. This was the same checkpoint earlier in the day that saved me from boring old pb & j with turkey instead!!! As we left this checkpoint my pace was starting to slow. And every step was painful and when I had a downhill I winced from the pain. I also started to notice I was getting unstable. I look down onto the trail with my headlamp and I’m getting dizzy. So I look up to get the dizziness to go away. I have to stop a couple of times to hug some trees to stabilize myself. This was the longest 5 miles I have ever done. But, I had no choice, I had to continue to the next checkpoint. I start to mention I may drop at the 75 mile mark. My pacer says you’ve already come this far you can’t drop! Also, I still have over an hour before the cutoff. So I kept my thinking to myself. I am asking Brian in my head to be there, please be there! I need you there! I started hallucinating every rock looks like a dead rat and for some reason the trees have eyes!! Lots of eyes are looking at me! And the moon is out but, through the tree it looks like someone up on the trail with a headlamp. I keep thinking not another hill climb!!! I finally make it off the trail and have a mile on a highway to get to the checkpoint. Brian was worried about me and yes, he was there waiting for me to come in. It was getting later and later and he decided it was time to start walking the trail backwards to look for me. He didn’t get too far. I see him and I’m relieved!!! I look at him and run my finger across my throat and say “I’m done” My pacer isn’t happy but sees another runner going back on the trail. She says do you need a pacer? He must have said yes and she was gone. Brian walked the rest of the way to the checkpoint with me and I reported my number and said I was dropping. I pulled my tag off and handed it to them. Brain and I left and went to the car. I was cold and starting to shiver. I change out the shirt from short sleeve to long sleeve. This is not enough so I take Brian’s fleece and put it on and also grab a blanket and wrap up. It’s still not enough and I have the heat cranked on high. We had to go to another check point to drop off the pacers bag for her and Brian wanted to check on Matt. He came back and said Matt has already been through and will be getting to the finish soon. We head to the start finish line. Once we get there we sit in the pavilion to wait for Matt. As I wait I’m still shivering. I begin to feel sick and tell Brian that I’m going outside to take care of business alone. I didn’t make it too far, I passed out and fell into the door. Brian rushed over and dragged me to a picnic table where they laid me down with blankets. I was breathing hard and now I’m sweating! The medics can’t get a pulse on my wrist and they get a faint one on my ankle. I started feeling better but the medics told me they had to call an ambulance. In the meantime Matt crossed the finish line! And he hears an announcement that Matt has crossed the finish line and the people looking for him should come to the finish line. Matt is confused because no one should be there. He then sees Brian but is not surprised because Brian seems to show up everywhere. Matt walks into the pavilion to see a couple of people lying on picnic tables. He takes a second look and sees that one of those people is me. He said my lips were blue!! Matt and Jimmy take the car to get a shower while I lay there. While they are gone the ambulance comes screaming in. Dogs are howling!! One of the medics says wouldn’t you love to hear that on the trail? I said I would have run faster! The paramedics come in and they check me out. They say they have to ask me a series of questions. The first one, how old are you? I think you’ve got to be kidding! But, then I answer 18. The paramedics give me a funny look. I finally say okay I’m 43. They ask a few more silly questions. Another one I remember was who is the president of the U.S? My answer, we’re not sure yet. They accepted that. They put a heart rate monitor on me but, I was feeling better. The paramedic thinks it’s time to see how I’m feeling and tells me I can sit up when I feel up to it. I sit up and feel okay. So a few minutes later they get me standing up. I feel okay but not great. The paramedics hang out for a while to make sure I’m okay. I refused to go to the hospital so I have to sign a wavier. They figure I’m going to be okay and they decide to leave. I don’t think they got 50 feet away and I said to Brian I’m not feeling well and pass out again. The paramedics rush back and one of them scoops me up and puts me back on the picnic table. Here we go again, sweating and breathing as if I just ran a 5k!!! They put oxygen on me and put the heart rate monitor back on. My pressure was falling rapidly. They give me a few minutes and I start to come back around. But, this time it took a little longer. They say they want to try something with me and since I refused to go to the hospital the first time they are going to call and see if they can give me an I.V. without going anywhere. They get approval and the guy in charge asks Brian if he knows anyone that knows how to put an I.V. in. Brian is surprised. But, then this guy puts it in. I’m still shivering uncontrollably so somehow I get more blankets. While I’m laying there my color is getting better and I’m talking. Brian brings me a glass of water and they tell me to down the glass. Not long after the water a glass of O.J. shows up. I drink this and they decide it’s time to try sitting up again. I sit up and I feel fine but the big test is standing. While sitting up Brian brings me another glass of O.J. Now they wanted to give standing a hot again and I was told if I pass out again my butt is going in the ambulance and I get a ride to the hospital. But, I stand and I don’t get lightheaded. After quite a while they believe I’m out of the woods. The four of us get in the car and go back to the R.V. for some much needed rest. I got in the camper and headed straight for the bed!! Ahh… Brian said I was asleep when my head hit the pillow. After a short 4 hour nap Matt and I got up to go to the awards ceremony. I’m really sore and can barely walk but, I’m soo happy to accomplish 75 miles! I will be back next year to give it another shot. Now need to tweak a few things before I try again. I’m not disappointed and I enjoyed the adventure!!!