I wrote this post so many times in my head. Not sure what to really say about this race. So here goes.
Amy and I arrived in Government Camp at 3pm on Friday. We quickly unpacked and began relaxing. Dinner was had and I was in bed before 9:30 because my alarm was set for 3:49am. Woke up feeling completely freaked out but tried not to dwell on anything.
Credit: Michelle R.
Early start started at 5:30am. I was quite pleased with my pace for the first mile. It was spot on. Then my pace started to drop. I was getting very panicky because over the next 5 miles my pace went from 13 minute miles to 18 minute miles. My heart was beating too fast and I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to execute my plan. I arrived at the Animal Athletics aid station (mile 6) and my Garmin read 5.3. I smiled and realized that my Garmin was just freaking out.
I relaxed a bit watching my pace fluctuate from 9 minute miles to 23 minute miles. I was still freaked out but trying to maintain some sense of control. From mile 9 to 14, I had an amazing time. People doing the normal start started passing me. I recognized a ton of people and was so excited. I tried running with a smile on my face and that helped improve my mood.
After the turn around at Frog Lake, the temperature started climbing. I talked to a few other runners all of whom tried not to mention the impending heat but it was impossible as it was on all of our minds. By the time I got to mile 18, it was hot and muggy. But I soldiered on.
At mile 22 I hit the Animal Athletics aid station again briefly stopping to grab a gel and nod at Yassine who let me know I was getting close to cut off but could make it. Sarah Duncan ran with me for a bit asking my strategy and giving me encouragement. In my heart, I knew I was going to be in trouble really soon if I didn’t pick up the pace.
I started jamming along at a faster pace but then hit a party of people riding horses on the trail. I patiently hopped off the trail but the people stopped and wanted to talk about the race. Then more horses. Then people on mountain bikes! And then (no joke) a large party of Boy Scouts who didn’t want to share the trail.
According to my watch I hit the start/finish at 12:30. I heard someone tell Amy Sproston that I was ‘3 minutes past the cut off.’ I didn’t say anything but pulled on my fresh pack. Amy asked how I was feeling and I lied saying I felt great. I was a tiny bit starstruck as I admired Amy but wasn’t going to stop at 28 miles.
Amy and team let me go and I slowly took off for the 22 mile portion of the run. I started off walking as there were more mountain bikers on the trail along with an older couple who was hiking. I started slowly running but started to feel very hot and very dizzy. I attempted to choke down a gel but it wouldn’t go down.
The next 6 miles were the longest 6 miles of my life. I couldn’t eat anything, felt really dizzy and hot. Then I was cold which I knew wasn’t right. I was sweating really really badly and felt horrible. I prayed that something would happen that would make me feel just a little bit better. But it never came. Drake, the sweeper ended up behind me. He let me know there was no way I was going to make the Warm Springs cut off. I wanted to sit down and cry but I kept moving towards the Red Wolf Aid station.
Once I got to Red Wolf, I saw another runner there taking off his number saying ‘I’m done.’ If I hadn’t been so dehydrated I would have cried but I sat down saying “I’m done too.” The volunteers at the aid station were the nicest people. They didn’t make me feel bad but instead were sympathetic. Still I felt sad and depressed and sick. I wanted to throw up and ended up with a horrible backache and headache. I wanted to lay down in a cold river until the water swept away all of the horribleness of the day.
We finally got a ride back to the start/finish. The worst part was when I saw Andy a while later. He gave me a ‘hey why aren’t you on the course running look’ and I had to give him a thumbs down. I felt like I had totally let him down. Let everyone down.
I put on a brave face for everyone at the start/finish but cried for several hours the next day.
I feel much better now. I’ve communicated with a lot of runners who didn’t finish the race who either go pulled or dropped. I know I made the right decision however hard that decision was. I haven’t decided whether or not I am going to run this race again. But I probably will.