i must say, i wasn't as freaked out going into this, which was nice! maybe the stoopid yoga and meditation helped?! and the fact that i actually felt ready for a change!
first amusing thing was getting my rental car in sacramento and not knowing how to use the keyless, push button start thingy! for fuck sakes, just give me a fucking key! luckily some nice guy showed me how it worked and i was on my way! argh! why didn't somebody tell me it was frantic chaos trying to get out of the airport and on the freeway! stoopid volume on stoopid gps was turned off. i had the sense to pullover and turn it on! yaya! i'm finally on my way!
i got to the hotel and was exhausted, i just wanted to go to bed. but i went for dinner, came back and promptly fell asleep watching tv - a novelty cuz i don't have one at home!! i woke up around 8:30 and went for my streak run - stoopid streak! then back to bed!
next morning i met Richard and his wife and daughter from California. they dragged me along to the grocery store and then later to dinner at applebees. really super nice people! the race briefing was in the park and when race director George asked who was a first timer at trt100, i put up my hand. a guy beside me asked, did you not have any friends to talk you out of this?? hahaha!
i was pretty calm the whole time leading up to the race! yay! saturday I had the alarm set for 2:15 (groan) to catch a bus at 3:15 to take us to the start (groan). at 5:00 we were off. i made the mistake of thinking at the 1 mile mark that i still had 99 miles to go! doh! that was pretty overwhelming. i hooked up with this guy harris almost right away. we were a good match. he was faster on the downhills and i was better on the climbs. we were trying to stay together. at the 30 mile mark we had this wicked climb up a ski hill - about 1.5 miles and all sand. took an hour! i just put my head down and powered up it, passing a bunch of people on my way! yay!
at about 15 hours, we were getting closer to the halfway mark and i started experiencing the demons - the ones telling me to stop. my feet hurt and i was sure i couldn't run another 20 hours. i kept telling harris i was gonna stop, but he said no, and to come with him and his pacer. so, at the aid station, i took off my shoes - my toes had poked thru my sox - shook out the dirt, drank a smoothie and some broth, and miraculously felt better. okay, i'll keep going. his pacer was this short, blond, super strong looking Norwegian chick who seemed kinda worried that we weren't moving fast enough. i could tell she was a little anxious about me tagging along and slowing them down. then harris came back and tried very nicely to say they were going ahead, which i totally understood. i tried to make him feel better and said i'd prolly stop soon anyway. he said i'd better not, blah blah blah. funny though, once they left, i felt way better. i think her nervous energy was fucking me up! so i wandered along the trail through the night, picking up people along the way, and randomly running with others. i especially remember these two awesome chicks dressed in rainbow colored tutus with amazing energy! at one point i was by myself, and my tummy started gurgling. uh oh! i gotta shit NOW! i darted behind a big rock and let loose something that would shame a cow! hahaha! and i had to sacrifice a bandana! but man did my tummy feel better! it was hilarious!
i kept hitting the cutoffs and asking if i had time and they just laughed at me. you have two hours! i was shocked cuz usually i'm sprinting (ok, running faster than my usual shuffle) into the aid stations with minutes to spare!!. i was with this guy gilbert for awhile - nice guy, knows francesco and aaryn - but eventually got ahead of him. i believe this was right after having had another cow patty episode - this time using a piece of bark to wipe - owwww!! i pulled into the 80 mile aid station and was ecstatic to see pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon AND starbucks coffee! heaven! just as i was getting ready to throw my pack back on, harris and his pacer came out of the chalet! i was stunned i'd caught them! i put my hands on my hips and exclaimed, WTF!!
hahaha!!! so up the ski hill for the second time (or whatever the fuck that thing was) not as easy, but still totally doable! now it was when i reached the aid station at the top that i started to get fucked up. for some reason i thought i was going to the snow valley peak station next, expecting to find it at the top of the mountain. but it wasn't looking at all familiar. there were a ton of switchbacks and i kept yelling at them! ha! and then i started seeing things. i'd see a person in the distance sitting on a rock, but when i got there they were gone. then i started seeing turning markers and signs, but when i got closer, they weren't there. i kept thinking i'd missed a turn and would yell, where the fuck is a ribbon! the trees were taking shape and so were the rocks! i was hearing people behind me that weren't there! a guy caught up to me and i asked if he was seeing stuff and he said for sure! that was somewhat reassuring. it got to where i was afraid to look up, so i just stared at the trail! we started coming down and harris actually caught me just before we reached the aid station. i was a sight, my eyes were blood red from my contacts and i know i smelled really bad. i came into the station and asked them if they'd moved it from the day before. they looked at me kinda funny. then i asked about the signs and flamingos they'd had the day before. at this point harris said we were at the Hobart aid station, not snow valley. and then the volunteers were REALLY looking at me funny. so i thought, fuck, shut up, they're going to make you stop. i laughed and said, oh shit ya, i just got confused and got my sorry arse out of there before they pulled me off the course!! i hit the next aid station after another wicked climb, definitely snow valley this time, and was treated to peach sorbet - mmmmmm! 7 miles to go! i kinda figured i was gonna make it at this point, but as the captain says, you don't high five till you reach the car. i was getting pretty tired but still passing the odd person, and still running the flats and downhills for the most part. luckily it was mostly downhill!
i got to the last aid station with 1.7 miles to go. i was so excited! now the shitter was that you could see the finish, but you had to go all the way around the fucking lake! argh! so i was, run run run, fuck i'm tired, walk walk, fuck i'm almost done, run run run, fuck i'm tired, walk walk, how much further, fuck, run run run, fuck, walk walk, oh wait, there it is!! i came across the finish and plopped down in a chair. i had no idea my time so was super happy when i heard it - just under 33 and a half hours. then i yelled at George for making us go all the way around the lake! he said he'd had a lot of that already! haha! i was also super shocked to find out that i had placed third in the female 50-59 age group! WTF!?!? i was just happy to finish!!
i had left my phone at the start/finish the day before so i went to get it for a finishing shot. this nice volunteer took a few but when i looked at them, i noticed some guy photobombing me! WTF? i showed it to her and was looking around for the guy. she looked at me strange and said that there was nobody in the pic, that it was the tent in the background. i wasn't convinced so i had her take another pic. same thing, except this time there was a big moon face and a dragon made of leaves! yikes. hay wait, somebody hacked my phone! ya! that's it! they took it out of my drop bag and put these images on the screen!
when we got to the buckle ceremony i showed my phone to Harris's kids. i asked if it was possible to hack someone's phone and put images on it, and how could i remove them! they looked at me really strangely and said that there were no images. fuck! so i said, oh ya, no worries, i'll google it later! VERY VERY KOOL BUCKLE by the way ...
then i started noticing these cartoon images on my legs! they kept changing shapes. it was wild! when we were getting shuttled back to the hotel i was seeing them on one of the other runner's legs, and mentioned it to him. he rubbed at his legs, said there was nothing there, and moved further away from me! haaa! i was excited to get back to the hotel so i could post a pic with my results. imagine my surprise when i went on facebook and saw 28 notifications! WTF? i hadn't told anyone about being able to follow along live so was super shocked to see how many people were watching my progress. thank gawd i didn't shit the bed on this one! i guess the combination of cosmic energy helped me finish! that and my cuz karen praying her little heart out! i read every comment and was overwhelmed! i sat in the lobby (cuz i couldn't get the internet in my room) with my dirty legs, smelly feet, red eyes and ongoing hallucinations for an hour reading everything. i can't even describe how that felt. i finally showered and ate the medium pizza i had ordered before falling into a fitful sleep!
i guess the best part is that i finished. and i remained strong the whole way. and that i sucked it up. my feet were sore, but nothing i couldn't deal with. i KNOW the training was bang on. as i was nearing the top of the highest climbs it actually felt like i was dragging alice! brilliant! and i kept thinking about all the encouragement and support people had given me before i left. i hope you all realize how much you helped me get through this! it still hasn't sunk in but i'm super happy.
and finally, to my coach, my alice, i thank you. i thank you for making me strong and making me believe i could do this! you are the bestest!