Sunday, May 4, 2014

Do. Or do not. There is no try.





April 26, 2014.  I wake up....4:30 AM.  Groan, why am I up so early on a Saturday?  Because I am a runner.  It's that simple, and today?  Today is race day.

I had previously completed a 45.2 mile run at the Pickled Feet 12 Hour Ultra challenge.  That was to date the furthest I had ever ran (my previous record being a marathon).  I could now claim membership into the proud group of "Ultra-Runners".  However, it wasn't truly an Ultra race.  I was laid back, no rush, do what ever I could do.  I still needed to complete an 'actual' Ultra-Race.  

As I tiptoed out of my room in the dark, desperately trying not to stub a toe, I thought of what today had in store for me.  I realized I had no idea.  This would be my first official race 50K.  31 miles pushing myself.  Goals?  I had been bouncing back and forth on a goal all week.  As I ate my peanut butter bagel I considered the question of a goal once more.  I had run 31 miles at the Pickled Feet race in 7.5 hours.  Goal #1 then was to beat that time.  Now, what else? I honestly could not decide on anything else.  This was unknown territory.  Goal #2 finish with the satisfaction that I did my best.

Headed out the door I double and triple checked that I had everything I needed. Jacket, change of clothes, two pairs of trail shoes, watch, charger, music, food, water, hydration vest, it looked like I was all set.  Ready to go. Coolest bib number ever....123!!!



I met my sister and her husband at the gas station near the freeway exit.  Steve was our support for the day.  He had mapped out all of the places he would stop and have everything we needed on hand.  There would also be small aid stations on the course.  I climbed in the car and we headed to the race start and hour and a half away in Council, Idaho.  








My sister and I were running the SOLO version of this race.  I was along the old railroad ran along the Weiser River.  We were nervous yet exited to start.  At the start it was great to see so many other runners that we knew.  I even got a last minute calf rub from Mike Shuman!  We originally thought maybe we would walk the first two minutes of the race to prevent ourselves from going too fast.  This was some advice we had received from an ultra marathon who races 100 milers.  Once we lined up we realized there was no way we wanted to walk at the start.  We would just be careful to keep our pace comfortable.


video



The first part of the run was a short mile out and back along the trail.  THis was to guarantee that the race was 31 miles and not 29!  We had a lot of fun.





We really enjoyed the first 6 miles of the run.  The scenery was breathtaking.  Everything was so green.  The best part was we were running on a dirt trail and the only people around were other runners.  As we ran we even actually passed a couple of people.  Then we saw a head of us a runner in all black.  I nicknamed him "the Ninja".  And just like that  a plan was hatched.....  "I will pass the Ninja on this race today!"  I could feel the force as if Yoda was there himself telling me "Do. Or do not.  There is no try."
There in the distance is the NINJA!!
As we ran I decided to come up with a game that would keep our minds fresh since normally we get really dub as we long in the miles. The idea came to me as we crossed our second bridge. "Let's remember the names of all the bridges that we cross."  We did try. We remembered the first four and then it took too much mental energy.  In fact a week later I can still remember them; Cool, Lester, Farmland and Cottonwood!

At 6.3 miles we hit the first relay exchange and happily we saw our Crew Pit Boss ready with food and drinks.  He even had a chair set up if we needed it!  We ate some and chatted briefly with him.  We both felt so good!  We waved and headed off for the next 7 miles before we would see him again.  

As we ran on Michele realized that she had forgotten to Bio-Freeze her calf.  She has been nursing a sore leg for a few weeks and really wanted to stay on top of it.  My job was to make sure she did it at the next stop!

After a quick potty break in some of nature's porta potties we felt like a million bucks!  And.... the Ninja was in our sights!  We passed a sign that said "No Hunting".  Michele pointed it out but I was didnt care.  I would hunt the Ninja down and pass him!!!

Around mile 10 I could feel Michele pulling back.  This is the point in the race when we seem to run different paces.  We kept within 100 feet of each other though.  THen I saw him!  I waited for Michle and then whispered for her to take a photo of me as I passed him.  This was an epic moment - I expected a "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner to drop from the sky as I politely passed my prey.  (It did not).  Michele jokingly suggested that I take a selfie as I passed, but we agreed that was unkind.

Moments later, Michele also passed the Ninja!!

It's those little victories that make running run!

At just over 13.5 miles we met with Steve again.  I quickly ate some food and he asked what I wanted at the next stop.  "My bag and bacon!" I declared.  This was a relay exchange point and there were a lot of relay runners standing around waiting for their teammate.  I got some mighty strange looks from a lot of people when I made my declaration.  But hey, that's what I wanted.  "My bag and Bacon." I repeated as I ran off.  Michele and I were now split up and I was on my own.  Only 17.5 miles to go.

At mile 15.5 I did a cheer for "YAY HALF_WAY".  I yelled it aloud and then quickly looked behind me to see if anyone had heard.  Nope, haha I was alone!

This run was gorgeous!  Running along the river was so green and mesmerizing.  Steve had told me that he would see me again in 3.5 miles.  Okay, I thought  can easily run that with out starting any walk breaks.  I figured I should see him at around mile 17 or so.  I remembered Michele saying something about him being by where the balls were on the powerlines.  So my decision was made, no breaks yet, run til I see Steve.



I was doing pretty well, I even started to pass a few runners.  Then the relay runners started to pass me.  They looked so fresh and happy!  They were all super friendly too.  I just REALLY hate being passed.  This was a good thing for me to overcome and allow people to pass me and just ignore it.

In the distance I saw the balls.  I was getting tired but knew I could make it to the balls before a walk break.  Then before you knew it I WAS THERE.  That was easy.  Steve was not.  I kept running wondering where he was.  I was doing ok food and water wise but now I was unsure when I would see him again.  I was at almost 18 miles.  Ok mental game time....go until 19 before a walk break.  If you don't see him it's time to take a break.  When my watch beeped 19, I just kept the mind game going, now go to 19.5.  Just when I was about to hit the 20 mile mark and take a walk break I rounded a corner and THERE HE WAS!  Time to re-fuel!!

At mile 22 I pulled out one of my Stinger Waffles to eat.  This would be the point in the race wham I choked!  I somehow swallowed wrong.  I coughed, gagged, gasped, tried to breathe, and kept coughing.  But in true Jodi fashion I kept running.  It never occurred to me to STOP and make sure I was ok.  But, it turned out fine.

I was feeling so great still I decided to not start any walk breaks yet.  I wanted to just keep pushing.  My feet were feeling ok although my big toe was numb and I could tell one toenail had met it's doom.

When I hit 26.2 I realized, "Oh I just ran a marathon....and I'm still not done!"  Michele said she celebrated out loud and then enjoyed a tasty GU.  She too looked around to see if anyone heard her.

It began to get pretty warm, the weather was very nice, but getting a tad warm.  I saw evidence that hydration was SUPER important.

I really started to focus on drinking enough after passing this sight!

Each time I would pass Steve he would give me food, water, Gatorade and updates on Michele.  He leg was really starting to bother her and she was biofreezing it at every stop.  I was hoping for her she would finish strong.

I passed a runner in the last 8 miles of the race.  When I told him he was looking good he said with a twinlkle in his eyes, "You are a terrible liar.  I look terrible!"  And then we shared a laugh!

A relay runner passing me asked what team I was on.  I replied, "Me...I am the team of just me."  The she told me great job for running it solo.

I mention these two interactions because it is moments like these that really help you to keep moving when you have to run long distances.  Knowing I would see my brother in law every so many miles also helped immensely.  If I started to tire I would tell myself, you can make it to Steve.  It really broke the run up to into manageable pieces.

Although we separated at the 13.5 mile mark we did have some very similar experiences.  The funniest was the text messages from Kris that kept coming through.



I began to read them while running and they really helped.  We just had so much support out there it was incredible!!  Michele was receiving similar messages throughout the last half of the race.

Another thing that we both experienced which was bizarre was nausea.  We both felt it towards the end of the race.  To the point that I didn't want to eat anything but new I had too.  We were both so mad that we had forgotten that we had chicken broth in the car.  That would have worked perfectly!  In fact I wasn't even hungry for several hours after the race was over.

We both saw some animals, although Michele's were more exciting than mine.  I saw one beaver.  That was it and I did NOT get a picture.  Michele saw a snake (which she jumped over), a deer, a bunny and a black bear across the river.
Bear is across the river (too small too see)




When I hit 30 miles the reality of what I was about to accomplish started to sink.  I was about to cross the finish line for my first official Ultra Marathon.  And to my surprise I was also going to finish in under 6 hours, something I did not consider.

I could see the finish.  As I headed closer I was so thrilled to see Steve's tan jacket waiting at the finish line.  It meant so much to me to see that man at so many stops along the course.  He supported us both so much and our successful run was due in large part to him!





I finished in 5:48!!  WOWZA!!  I was one happy (and tired girl). Steve said Michele's leg was bugging her and slowing her down quite a bit.  We waited in heavy anticipation for her to finish.



She finished in an impressive 6:29!  What a rock star!! The race director was so impressed with her running through so much pain and bio-freezing the entire way that she won the "Hard-luck" award. That means free entry into next years race!  Lucky Lucky!!



What a great day!  We both made a HUGE accomplishment.  We DID IT!!
 Yes, you are looking at the world's two newest 
Ultra Runners





2 comments:

  1. Well done!! Congratulations!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very impressive!

    (from Laura at dailyimprovisations.com, I seem to have a hard time getting my comments accepted. I have probably commented 10 times and been rejected and finally give up trying on previous posts!)

    ReplyDelete