As I sit here with ice on my right leg I’m trying to recall all the events that happened over the weekend. We left home with more items than we needed to take with us. Our drive was pretty much uneventful until we got to almost Wisconsin where I had a melt down. I jumped up took my seat belt off and started rummaging through my bag. Brian asked what I was doing. I was looking for my running clothes. Whew! I thought I forgot them, there they were along with my shoes. We arrived at the motel, Gary and Dave were already there. Gary was at packet pickup and Dave was swimming. Matt was about an hour behind us. Gary called asking if we wanted him to pick up Matt, Jimmy and my packets. Cool, one less thing to do. We all met for dinner at 5:30, after dinner we took Matt and Jimmy to show them where the start line was. Brian also drove them around to show them certain points along the course. We returned to the room where I laid everything out and then it was lights out.
Race morning we were up and about by 4:30! We woke up to hearing the wind just howling! It was cold and raining too. I thought, great another wonderful weather race! I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal, a half of bagel and Gatorade. I like milk in my oatmeal and noticed I forgot to pack it so I had to use coffee creamer (okay it got me by, carmel,chocolate). As we drove to the start line I could see flags standing straight out. Luckily I knew for a majority of the race we would be somewhat protected from the wind by the woods. We sat in the car right up until race time, just to stay warm. Unfortunately none of us packed cold weather stuff! 5 minutes before the race started we walked out to the start line. As I waited with everyone else to start we stood in the pouring down rain, the national anthem was sang while we all stood there and shivered! Soon after the gun went off and we were on our way!!! Finally!!!
The first part was a 9 mile loop on a Nordic ski trail. This is a fast and somewhat flat loop. It’s a nice warmup but, you really have to hold yourself back to not take off! As I started I hit my watch to start the time and I also had a timer starter to remind myself to take a Gu pack every 30 mins. I feel good and just trying to get myself in a groove, I know I have a long day ahead! After a few miles I look down to see how much more time I have until I need to begin eating my Gu and notice that my watch is blank! Great, my watch decided to take a crap at the beginning of this race. It’s cold, it’s raining, my watch has died and I’m wondering how my day is going to end up! This 9 mile loop comes back to the start line where there is an aid station. Brian is there waiting for me to come in. I come in a little faster than I wanted but I took it easy and felt okay. I handed him my watch and told him to give me my Garmin at the next aid station he will be at (13.1 miles). We exchange camelbaks and I also alert him that I want my Gatorade mixture to be watered down because full strength is just too sweet. I also tell him I’m going to wing it on my gu’s until I get there. I grab a pbj and I’m excited!! They must have known I like strawberry jelly! Bonus! I thank them and I’m out of the aid station. Headed towards the first out and back trail.
I am off to Rice Lake! I’m still running a bit faster than I wanted but feel fine. I’m making small talk with people but, also concentrating on what I need to do to get thru the day. Finally on the real trail and I’m moving along pretty much alone. Suddenly I come to an intersection and I’m not sure which way to go. I look for markers and see none. So I pick which way looks right and I see other runners up ahead. Okay I’m good, but suddenly I’m told to stop. Myself and about 10 others are off the trail. I’m getting frustrated and turn back. I make a comment about wasting a good 5 mins. Another guy near me says it’s a couple of minutes it’s no big deal but it is to me. I don’t say anything more only because I’m frustrated with myself! We finally catch up with everyone else on the trail. I look up and see my friend Dave! I tell him and he says what did you take the scenic route? I guess so. We run together for a few short minutes and talk briefly. We make it to the next aid station together. Brian hands me my Garmin and a new camelbak. I grab a pbj and continue down the trail. Dave tells Brian about how I took a detour before he leaves the aid station. I’m still running well and feeling strong. I’m sticking to the gu plan and also drinking as I go along! I make it out to Rice Lake grab food and head back to Confusion Corner. This is cool because you get to see people that are ahead of you and you are able to check on your friends! As I come into the 26.2 aid station Brian is waiting for me once again. This is awesome I just do my exchanges with him, which saves me time in the aid stations. I can just grab pbj and fly out of there. Brian tells me that my friend Jimmy is only 2 mins in front of me. Okay, my radar is up and I’m on the hunt!!! As I go down the trail I come into an open meadow like area. There are 2 others running near me. The guy sprints ahead with his arms in the air and he’s screaming like crazy! I look up and he’s chasing a family of geese! Goslings are running between his legs and the dad is not too happy! As the other girl and I run by the geese are hissing like crazy but they are on the side of the trail. Ahh.. back into the woods! I see Jimmy is right up ahead. I continue running quietly and catch him. As I get next to him I elbow him and ask how he’s doing. He says his legs hurt but he’s okay. I ask if he needs anything and he says no. I say okay and continue running ahead.
Back at confusion corner! Now the real work begins!!!
I remember this next out and back last year as long and painful!!! I’m still feeling good and Brian is amazed at my progress. I have a lot of ups and downs coming up. As I get about halfway thru this part I see Matt again and he is on his way to the finish. I tell him he’s doing great and he tells me I’m doing awesome! That was a mental booster! But, I’m starting to get a pain on the front of my shin. I am starting to hear dogs which means I’m close to getting to horsemen’s park. I wind down there and there’s Brian! We switch out camelbaks and I’m on my way. I have a 4 mile out and back . I did slow down through this section. My shin was really bothering me. For some reason this small section seems really long! But, I make it to the aid station with someone attempting to say my name and where I’m from. I smile at her when she just says my first name. I grab pbj take my camelback off because I wanted to take some Ibuprophin to see if that would help my shin out. I also grab some salt tabs since I had some light headedness. I throw the camelback on and set out to get back to the horsemen’s park with a pbj in hand. As I head back into the woods a guy that I had talked to earlier in the day is still on his way out. We pass each other and he punches me in the shoulder saying go get ‘em kid you look awesome! I smile and within a few mins I begin to feel much better and I’m able to pick up the pace. I also see Dave, he tells me I look awesome! I yell back to him to keep going. I see another Michigan runner who gives me more positive words but he calls me blonde. I’m smiling at his words! Soon after I hear dogs barking again, knowing that this means horsemen’s park is close. Brian greets me just before I come off the trail. Now, he’s starting to add some pressure to me. He says I have slowed down and I need to pick up the pace if I want to break 11 hours. This is lighting a fire under me! As I head for the next trail I hear a donkey braying loudly! I look up and see him! I laugh! Brian leaves me at the beginning of the trail to head for confusion corner! I decide that I’m going to show this section a thing or two. I’m running along and I can hear Brian drive off down the road. Bye Honey, see you at the next check point! I attack this section and I’m running it well. I just put the shin pain out of my head. My focus is getting to the finish. I make it to Bald’s Bluff wanting to yell out loud! But, I don’t waste time and run down the hill knowing Brian is waiting at the check point. As I come off the trail he tells me I’m running like I did earlier in the day!
Onto the finish!!
I high tail it out of there because the finish is only 2.2 miles away!!! I tell Brian “I’ll see you at the finish line!” One more aid station! I make it there and sail through without even stopping, knowing the finish isn’t far. As I get to the last ½ mile I can hear voices behind me. I keep picking up the pace. I see someone walking towards me down the trail and he says I look great. I smile and say thanks! But, I keep hearing these voices behind me. I am all alone and I don’t want anyone stealing my thunder at the finish so I’m giving it all I got. I keep looking for that finish line! FINALLY!!!! I turn the corner and Matt is sitting there along with Brian. Then I look at the clock and see my time 10:47!!! I put my fist in the air and yell YES! I cross the finish line. I finally did it, I broke 11 hours! I’m handed my belt buckle and a guy starts to take my chip off my shoe. As I sit down I wonder where the people are that were behind me. Brian and the guy wonder what I’m talking about. Those voices I heard were 5 mins behind me.
We head to the truck to get me some warm clothes and then I head right over to the beer tent. I never ever drink beer but I really wanted one. We also go in to get our food, they always have a really good BBQ after the race. We sit down and Matt comes over to congratulate me. I give him a big hug and he tells me I ran awesome. While Brian is chowing on his food I’m just sitting there staring at mine. I just have no desire to eat. But, the beer was awesome! We watched Dave come in about 30 mins behind me and then Jimmy came in an hour after I finished just making the cutoff. It was a great day! Of course I was beaming from ear to ear the rest of the day.
Okay, two down, one to go!
The Big one I have been waiting for MOHICAN 100!!!!