I put him in the bathtub to see if he could swim
He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap
He tried to eat the bathtub but it woudn't go down his throat
Bubble Bubble Bubble
Bubble Bubble Bubble
Bubble Bubble Bubble
Bubble Bubble POP!
I sang this song for my friend Marci at some point during our training for OKC, or maybe during her training for Chicago '11, when we were talking about how slow we felt sometimes, and how for back-of-the-pack runners, long SLOW distance can be pretty slow, sometimes 12-minute miles or more. So slow, in fact, that some "elite" runners dismiss us as "not even running." But we always came back to the idea that it doesn't matter how slow we are, as long as we DON'T STOP. Marci had a charm made of a turtle and wore it around her neck during Chicago, in which she busted wide open her marathon PR by 37 minutes. She says she called on that turtle, and on my words, during her successful push for her goal of a sub-5-hour marathon.
|Separated at Birth, Sisters We Choose|
Libby, Fiona and Alicia have all had amazing training and racing times recently, while I struggled with consistency and lost "speed" and recovery after my hysterectomy & other things this summer. But I've been on the 50k road before though, and they felt like they could learn something from me. I only hoped to rein them in as much as I could on the first 15.5 mile loop, so they'd have enough energy and push left for the second loop. I knew I'd have my work cut out for me to keep these raging racehorses tempered, but I also knew that when push came to shove, if they were feeling stronger than I was out there, that they were free to go on ahead and leave me to pull up the rear. We had come up with a race strategy on the way down there of sticking together as much as made sense in the first loop, and then making the call on breaking out on the second. And I have to say that it seemed to have worked really well for all of us - we had times of running together in various combinations and we all had times of running alone. I think we were able to really draw on each other when we needed it, and yet each of these women is strong enough and well-trained enough to have done this on their own, although we were lucky enough to not have to do that. And we were also fortunate that we had Fawn, Kerry, Tony and a surprise support team member waiting for us at base camp.
|The crew at packet pick-up. So happy to share in their first ultras!|
|These two really helped me crystallize my motivation. Thanks!!|
|Pre-race. Chilly cool weather that was PERFECT all day!|
|It was dark. Really dark|
|My view for most of first loop!! This is what happens when you're faster than I am!|
|Beautiful scenery off one of the footbridges.|
|Alicia & I hung together for most of back half of first loop.|
|Ultra Ninja G & the girls!|
Right when I came through the chute to mark my loop time, the 50k winner came in behind me. Wow. Yeah, I'm slow. I get it. Whatevs, I'll still finish this damn thing.
So, I changed shoes and that was pretty much all I had to do. I started out in the NB 10s, and they worked pretty well at PDC but with the roots, I was feeling the bumps a little more than I was comfortable with. I switched into my North Face shoes that are just as minimalist but have a sturdier rock plate. They are a little longer, though, so I tend to trip if I don't lift my feet enough, and I needed to be aware of that, but I felt the trade-off was worth it so my soles didn't get beat up so much. I did grab a couple of acetaminophen from Alicia because my knee was starting to ache a bit, not much, but I wanted to get ahead of it. By the time I headed out, Fiona had already taken off, and Libby and Alicia were ready to roll. As we headed out, we saw a ton of 25kers finishing their loops and shaking their heads at us, giving us "way to go"s as we went out as they were done for the day. At this point, Libby and Alicia surged in front just a bit, and I could see them on the long jeep road (which did seem WAY longer in the daylight!) just ahead of me. We got to see our friend Ali Wheat on her way out of the first aid station and the about a mile in front of us we saw Fiona, looking strong and fresh. Go Fiona!!
|Fiona rocked the hell outta this course! woot woot!|
|Requisite shoe shot. Little stretches of sand popped up.|
I didn't walk one step between that aid station and the next. I could see Alicia & Fiona in front of me, and I closed the gap significantly, even though I wasn't running fast, I was running. The painkillers had kicked in and I wasn't feeling any pain. And I knew that I would finish. I knew it would be slow, and I knew they'd be tearing down the aid stations behind me, but I also knew that by the time I got to the next station, I'd have less than NINE MILES to go, and I was going to do this. I caught up to them at the aid station, and we took a pic together. Then they surged ahead again, and I was ok to go the rest of the way alone. Except that I saw them at the top of a rise just in front of me, about a half mile out. And I yelled, "WAIT FOR ME!" For some reason, I needed just one more little bit of hanging with them. I wanted to see them just a little bit more. They waited for me at the top of the rill and we took one more picture, and then just like that, I was suddenly okay to drop back. I told them I'd see them at the end.
|Libby & Alicia were just ahead of me on first 2 aid stations.|
|Thanks to hikers for my new profile pic!|
When I pulled in, I was so excited to see them. And the first thing the volunteer did was tell me that the Longhorns were whooping on Tech. Then he told me I wasn't 3 miles from the finish, I was 2.8 miles from the end. Oh mah guah! That's less than my park loop. I pulled into that station at 7:55 on my watch. I knew I could crawl 3 miles in an hour. I was going to have a PR!! That got me going really quickly. I thanked them profusely and went on my way. I had this!!
|We don't have these trees in NTX!|
About half a mile away, I see this person coming toward me wearing the brightest shirt ever!! It was Tony, from Twitter, who had run his first 50k earlier, with Fawn. He was either appointed or chose to come out and find me, since I was the last of our crew to come in. He told me he had run with Fawn the whole way (JEALOUS!) and had been hanging out with our group since. What fun! I was so glad to see him, and more glad that I was so close. He was walking, and I was running, and his pace was about the same as mine!! But, hey, I was RUNNING!! About 200 yards from the last clearing into the finish, I asked him if he would please take my pack and camera and go on ahead and tell them I was coming.
As I turned into view, I saw a desolate finish line, but for this small group of frunners, waving and cheering and calling my name!! I can't tell you what an awesome feeling that is!!! I started to tear up, but I fought it off (NO CRYING ON THE COURSE!!) and just ran in as strong as I could. WOOT WOOT!!
|Frunner Finishers. CONGRATS & Thank you ALL!|
Wild Hare is coming up in two weeks. I get to do it again. I can't wait!!