So much of my journey to the Hawk100 was in “build up” posts…so why wouldn’t the final recap be the same?! A couple weeks ago, I covered my why before the HAWK 100 was even a speck of a thought in my mind…and now we can go though the ACTUAL events.
So cuddle up with a warm brew – I prefer some coffee – and enjoy my HAWK 100 experience!
**picture (from friends and Mile90) and word heavy…duh**
As a family, we (the hubs, kiddo, pup, and I) packed up and headed to KC Friday morning. After a long day starting with a dramatic truck ride (a blood geiser coming from little man’s nose) and then spending the day with my dad (#fuckcancer), the hubs and I headed to Lawrence for the pre-race dinner and event briefing.
Packet Pickup, Dinner, Final Prep
Once we arrived at Clinton Lake, we parked and headed to Shelter 1. There were many people milling around and my packet with meal tickets were found fairly quickly (unlike the one that they were searching all of the stacks for). For dinner, they catered the meal this year and between Matt and I we had one “meat” meal ticket and one vegetarian meal ticket. There was one large line that Matt and I got into until I realized there was a second grouping of food on the opposite side that didn’t include meat – hello vegetarian meal! Besides the absence of meat, everything else was the same between the two meals so I skirted to the side and got my food rather than waiting in the longer line.
Around this time, I also spotted Mel and Michelle. We found a section of table that we could all sit at and we started chatting a little about what the course choice may be (since it rained all day) and our evening plans.
Before too long, we were done eating and the pre-race briefing started. First things first, we were told that we would be allowed to run on the trails the following morning, WIN! With a few sticky spots, most of the trail was ready for runners – and if the trail was damaged, the trail steward was sure that the Trail Hawks would make good work of cleaning them up. The rest of the meeting was information that I recognized from last year and I let Matt and my crew gals listen to all the instructions.
Once the meeting was over, we headed into town for a beer before heading home for the night. For whatever reason, I never felt anxious about the feat of the following day. What will be will be…and there isn’t much I can do about it now. The hay is in the barn and it’s time to see how well I trained (mentally and physically) for this monster event.
Once we got back to my in-laws, we (Mel, Michelle, and I) started taking stock of all the STUFF I have in my drop boxes and they started organizing everything to suit my/their needs. While I didn’t get to bed QUITE as early as I would have liked to…I slept well and was up with my first alarm.
End of story.
Not really…but that is the only thing I am thinking about as we prepped to leave for Lawrence on that EARLY Saturday morning.
Nothing more (please!!), nothing less.
Thinking of the feat of 100 miles is too big, even the number of aid stations is a little daunting – 20. Twenty is a big number, too much…
Four is the perfect number to keep me on track throughout… I am prepared to run all day, all night, and part of the next day. Each loop holds different runners, different lighting, different experiences.
I ate a cliff bar and sipped on some water on the 40 minute drive back to Lawrence. I wasn’t really thinking about anything specific – just relaxed and ready for the day to start.
The morning started off cool and humid and it seemed like everything had a dew film on it – which meant that the trail might be damp as well. As I wandered around the starting area, I was not feeling the nervous, eagerness I feel at MOST running events. I am not sure why, but I was calm and collected. I filled up my bottles (2 water, 2 Tailwind), talked to some friends I missed the night before, and got my mug shots head shots taken. I hit up the bathroom one last time and then settled into the starting line with only a minute to spare. While it was chilly at the start I knew that I wouldn’t need the jacket I was wearing once we got running – and glancing around, no one else really had jackets on either…
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5…
I quickly start taking off my loaded pack and took off my raincoat, put my pack back on and wadded up the jacket to quickly toss if I could find anyone in my crew as I ran through the starting area. Once the starting horn sounded, we were off! I quickly scanned the crowd and spotted Michelle and Mel to the left and tossed them my jacket for safe keeping. I felt warmer just moving those few feet and was immediately glad that I didn’t keep it on.
My goal is to only run the section I am in – aid station to aid station. I also told my crew to not tell me anything about the miles I had run or had to go…as that would probably get into my head.
Four loops, end of story.
Once we got started, it was easy to get caught up in the movement of the group. Yeah, I could have started a little farther back, but I knew there would be a conga-line once we hit the trail, so it didn’t matter so much.
With the rain and dew, the first rocky section was slick and there were many runners joking about getting injured in the first quarter mile… We made our way up to Saunders Mound in one piece, but the grass and fresh mud was still a little slippery. As we hiked up the hill, most of the people behind me held back and had a similar game plan as me for the first miles. There were a few passers who charged up and I thought “I will probably see you again” as they went ahead. Out and Back – and once we were back to the main trail, we all settled into our paces and started to get to know the people around us – our “2-night-stand-friends” as one runner called us.
I felt cool and collected on the rugged trail – thank you Night Hawk for helping me get to know the trails at night! I don’t recall anything super noteworthy that happened in those first miles – but I was able to run with a couple of the gals that came down from Nebraska. I got some info on the trails to run in the Omaha area if we make that trip (eyes on you Derek!) and we talked about the rain and flooding that happened in both NE and my town of Manhattan, KS the previous week.
Before too long, we made our way to the first aid station – Land’s End. “37 In!” is what I shouted each time I came into aid and it was confirmed by the radio operators. I grabbed a waffle or two and jumped back on the slick-as-shit trail down to the red trail. I nearly bumped down the trail on my butt (like my kiddo when he was learning stairs) so I would be assured not to slip and fall…but a VERY ginger pace kept me upright.
The Red Trail is the slowest section of trail for me. There are a couple of small runnable sections, but I was keeping pretty good pace behind a couple of gentleman – and they were telling some pretty awesome stories. Lots of miles under their belts – something to aspire to for sure! Along the way, I spotted the familiar flash of a photographer ahead. Sure enough, there was Rick from Mile90 taking some great pictures along the trail!
Once we finally got through the Red Trail, I was able to keep moving well. Hiking most of the hills and running the straights and downhills. I knew that I was moving well but my heart rate was showing that I was working harder than I wanted to at this point in the day. I don’t strictly train by heart rate, but I am aware of my effort based on how my heart rate responds. I planned on keeping my heartrate in the “green” as much of the race as I could, but it kept creeping up. Even though the day was cool, I think the hanging humidity in the air was a major contributor to this…but I just kept moving along. I took some sections a little slower and hiked a little more, but my ticker just kept plugging on. The problem was that I didn’t feel like I was pushing hard, just going with the flow, a conversation pace between 15-17mm pace. My heartrate had other plans…
We followed the trail along through Cactus Ridge and to the next aid station, West Park Road. “37 In!”
I quickly found my crew and was out of the aid station quickly with water, Tailwind, snacks, and my phone in hand. My pacer cautioned me to slow down and to save some energy for him later in the day…so I hiked a good portion of this section.
In Mile90 fashion, there was Kristi off the side of the trail when we come off the first climb of Bunker Hill. I was not surprised since this is where she sat last year as well, and it was good to see her!
I kept moving well through the disc golf course, power hiking quite a bit of it to “slow down” my pace, used the trail facilities for the first time, and just made significant forward progress. Bunker Hill is no small feat, so hiking it would be a must to keep my legs in any decent for the rest of the day.
Once I made it back to the aid station, my crew was waiting to “pack me up” and get me back on the trail.
The back section of the White Trail has some runnable sections mixed in with rockier, hiking sections. I caught up with another woman and we paced back and forth the rest of the loop. Her name is Faith and we both were moving well. It was funny because she could tell when I would chew on a piece of Run Gum because I would have a burst of energy (and probably run more than I needed to at the time) – ha!
We got to Land’s End as the mist started to become a little more like rain…so Faith ran on through the aid station and I stopped to grab a piece of watermelon, pickle, and ginger chews. We met back on the trail shortly after and enjoyed each other’s company the remainder of the loop. We talked about sticking together the remainder of the race, or as much as we could, since we were running so well together. In the final section of the first loop, we had an aid station game plan and would meet back up on the trail. Once we came out of the trees, we noticed the rain a little more.
And I got lucky at the aid station…
From the story I was told, once my crew arrived and set up in the shelter, my pacer told the crew that I would probably be coming through in around 30 minutes. He then said that if I came in much sooner than that he was going to give me an ear-full because I was already told to slow down. Well…in true Lindsey fashion, I came into the aid station a few minutes later. Whoops! I got lucky that my crew was still hanging around the aid station, not quite ready but prepped on the fly, and settled in for my quick transition :
- clean up feet, lube up feet, change into fresh socks
- change into fresh shirt, switch bib to new shirt
- refill pack with fluids/food
- roll legs with rollers
- drink coconut water
- eat real food
Faith’s crew was right next to mine at the aid station, so we were close enough to know when we were getting close to leaving. She was ready a minute or two before me, so she went on ahead and I planned to catch up when I could.
Loop 1 goal : 6-7 hours
Loop 1 actual : 6:23:23
Total Time : 6:23:23
As I was leaving the aid station, my wonderful pacer Wael questioned if I had eaten anything “real” – when I said “not really”, he offered to fetch me a burger. I agreed and then stopped him from adding all the fixings. I left the aid station with a plain burger in hand, and it took me nearly a mile to get it all down…and it almost didn’t happen! My tummy wasn’t too happy with my food choice, but I kept moving, slowed down a bit so I wouldn’t barf. I met Faith towards the top of Saunder’s Mound as she was heading down. I picked up a black snake at the trinket bucket, since we talked about not seeing any s.n.a.k.e.s. on the first loop, and I caught back up to her father down on the descent. She also pulled a black snake, ha!
We made our way along the trail talking about life, running, work, running, and just stuff…Before we knew it, we were back at the Land’s End aid station. We were welcomed with whoops and hollers, I grabbed a couple snacks, and we were back on Red. A couple runners filled in between us and I had some new people to get to know along this slow section. The mile ticked by and we were on our way! Around this time, the sun started to come out and warm up. This was a welcome change from the sunless sky of the first loop – but I was also glad we didn’t get the heat all day…
This loop, I tried to be a little more conservative on the hills. I knew that I needed to slow down (thank you Wael for urging me to slow down), so I opted to walk/hike quite a bit more.
When we made out way to the West Park aid station, I was still told to slow down and that I had banked an hour. I made quick haste to get in and out of the aid and my pacer followed me out to take an assessment of how I was feeling. I was moving well and I was happy with my effort. I knew that I was going to be hiking the Bunker section again, so I wasn’t too worried about being told I was moving too fast there, ha.
Faith make it out of the aid station a bit before I did (she has a seasoned, quick crew!) and while I wanted to catch up to her fast, I just gradually made my way back to her and we worked through this section together. We moved well through the hills and disc golf course and made a plan for a quick turn at the aid station.
Well…again, she was quicker than me and I didn’t end up seeing her the rest of the event. I was able to run with new people while keeping watch ahead in case we were able to catch up to her.
Overall, I was able to keep moving well and hiked quite a bit of the back 10. I made friends with a couple of gentleman and their stories kept me moving. Between them were many, many lifetime miles – one with more 100 miler finishes than I could think about – like 1-2+ 100 milers a month! C-r-a-z-y.
I am still feeling good and saving some energy where I can, but the one thing I am now “racing” is the sunset. While I have a headlamp in my pack, I didn’t want to have to take it out. Before I got out of the trail, I whooped my signature holler so my crew knew I was almost there!
As I approached the finish, I found a little tag along – my little guy!! He ran me in last year and was excited to run with me again today!
As I started my transition routine (socks, roller, etc.), little man wanted me to run more with him ❤️ He wasn’t taking no for an answer so I promised that if he came back after his “big sleep” he could run with me again, hopefully my finish line. As I looked around, I took in all the love!! Little man came out with my in laws, my dad came out (long story there too!), and there was a lot of positivity flowing! My pacer was ready to run and I was quickly back out to the trail.
Loop 2 goal : 7-8 hours
Loop 2 actual : 7:32:31
Total Time : 13:55:54
The WORST feeling I had throughout the day was the tightness in my legs/hips after sitting for a few minutes at the start/finish during my loop transitions. It took me a bit to get moving well again…and moving well up a hill isn’t the best feeling either.
The third loop was the night loop (for me). I looked forward to this loop all day – I am not sure why. I really enjoyed the Night Hawk 50K several weeks before and I knew that each loop for the HAWK would have its own story. As my pacer and I set out in the dark, we started to chat about how I was feeling, how the day was going, my timing and effort for the day, and I told some stories about the runners I had run with. I felt like I was still moving well considering I had 50 miles on my legs. We started hiking quite a bit but kept a pretty good pace. This is also when we started talking more about ourselves, our families, our running background, and upcoming running plans. The time passed easily and we were at Lands End before we knew it! I quickly grabbed a couple snacks (probably watermelon, pickle, ginger ale, honey stinger, and ginger chews) and moved on.
The Red Trail is tough in the daylight…and more temperamental in the overnight hours…so we took it slow. Even with the false exits on this trail (like 3 of them!), I felt like it went by fairly quickly. Nothing truly remarkable happened on this section of the trail – but it was fun to see headlamps randomly around us, ahead us, and on the trail next to us.
One thing that started bugging me was my bunion on my right foot. Frankly, I was astonished it took this long to start bothering me… This ailment was something we were going to address quickly so it didn’t become a big issue later. Once we skirted into the West Park aid station, I switched out my pack for my handheld and told the crew I needed my foot taped up when I came back from the Bunker loop (so they were ready to fix me up quick).
On our Bunker Hill approach, I started feeling a little more sore and tired, so my pacer had me slow down and take in the night’s sky… And at the top of Bunker Hill, the stars were amazing!! We hiked. We ran…and hiked. Throughout most of this loop Wael would question, “Let’s run?” And I would always answer with “nahh” whether or not I wanted to or could. But with a little nudge, I would cave and run for a bit. This happened probably hundreds of times in the roughly 18 hours we ran together…and I was very okay with his efforts to keep me moving. My legs were starting to hurt but I was very prepared for this to happen and to push through it. We observed the stars again on our way to the backside of Bunker Hill…and even in the time since we came across the first time, the sky had changed and the clouds were clearing out. We kept seeing birds/bats flying around us – and then scared up a dove sleeping peacefully in the middle of the trail! That was funny…
Once back at West Park road, my crew was ready for foot surgery – so to speak. I also had a few minutes to sip on some chicken soup and coffee…and thanked my crew with love-farts, haha!! While this was the longest West Park Road pit stop, it helped my foot feel better on my 12 mile trek back to the start/finish.
The one thing my crew was told was to NOT ever tell me how far I had gone…I only wanted to know the time/distance between the aid stations. The total distance would just freak me out…
My pacer got excited about my progress and started to tell me how far I had gone. I stopped him and said “I don’t want to know how many miles I have gone!” So what does he do? He tells me, “Well, you just ran 100K!” Shit…we’ll, at least he didn’t tell me the MILES I had gone!!
It was easy to feel like I had accomplished something big with that knowledge, which I had! My rebuttal? “I still have one more loop! Let’s do this!”
I don’t have any other outstanding thoughts about what happened through this section of the trail. I randomly would tell Wael to text the crew about things to have ready for me…like to look up how to tape my quads with KT Tape (starting to REALLY bother me), re-tape my foot, etc. There was some major power hiking in the rough sections, changing my headlamp once mine went BLACK, stretches of descend running, and briefly stopping in Land’s End to top off my bottles and grab a snack.
The only frustrating part was thinking we were closer to the last few miles than we actually were… We could hear cars on the road and people (probably in the campgrounds) which got me excited temporarily…until we would get more 90 degree turns back into the woods. I just wanted that last mile section along the road SO BAD! Yes, we finally got to that section and proceeded to hike quite a bit of the last mile due to the rocky areas. Once we were clear of the rough sections, I ran in the last bit – dim headlamp and all (good thing we brought TONS of batteries!).
The tiki torches lit our way to the finish and my crew was happily waiting to patch me up at like 4:something in the morning. We added a piece of moleskin to my bunion, KT Tape strips to my quads (hopefully to provide a little support), rubbed my calves with pain ointment (like every aid stop), changed my shirt, grabbed my lightweight jacket (which Michelle ran to the truck to grab when we couldn’t find it in the box), Wael grabbed me a quesadilla and we made our way back to the trail for the LAST TIME. This was my longest aid stop but much needed and the last time I’d see it before it became my FINISH LINE (in 8-9 hours or so).
Loop 3 goal : 8-9 hours
Loop 3 actual : 8:37:18
Total Time : 22:33:12
Leaving the aid station for this last loop was both the best and worst feeling.
The best – LAST LOOP!
The worst – I sat too long and it took forever for my legs to feel normal again!
We headed up to Saunder’s Mound for the last time – limited trinket options, so I grabbed my third snake for the day. On our way back down, we questioned if one of the runners that came through the start/finish when I was leaving was going to start the last loop (since they didn’t approach us on the out-and-back)…but then let it go.
Along the next couple miles, my stomach started acting screwy. I decided to pull off and use the side of the trail…and cleaned everything out (1 & 2). Starting back out, I still didn’t feel great – damn mild nausea. After another mile or so, I tried to “get rid of the feeling” but it just wasn’t working… I started searching my pockets and found a handful of ginger candy and chews. Saving grace!
Going through Lands End helped reset my mind (for a minute), I grabbed more ginger candy, Wael grabbed some food, and we hit the Red Trail for the LAST TIME! I felt like my pace was crawling (because it was) and I started getting into my own head.
I knew I would.
…but I hurrrrrt.
So I embraced it as much as I could but I started thinking too much about the possibility of not making the first time cutoff.
And the Red Trail was relentless…I had to watch every step, calculate my ascents/descents on the boulders, my quads were just a painful mess. Along this section, the sun started to rise and Wael make me stop, turn around, and take it all in (I wish I would have taken a picture). We had made it through the night, all my efforts thus far, and we would be running everything for the last time – A VICTORY LAP! With a partially renewed spirit (and still broken-down legs), we pushed ahead.
“Fast hiking” (or at least walking a little faster than a stroll) was something I was able to do, running was nearly excruciating. But Wael kept pushing me to do whatever I could to keep moving as quickly as I could. I had him run behind me quite a bit of the 3rd loop, but he was in front the 4th. He would run a bit (starting a gap), when I felt like I could run I would try to close the gap, he would slow to a hike, I would get temporarily excited that I was catching up…only for him to start running again and start another gap. We called this “rabbiting” earlier on in the day when I was feeling good. At this point it was just plain pissing me off (which was his goal – success). It was upsetting me enough that I started getting emotional about it all… I just wanted to make the cutoff. That’s all I wanted. He pulled back and let me lead for a little bit and let me take back some control of the pace. He could tell I was upset and wanted me to let it out, let it go, and then focus on the goal – make that cutoff. He kept telling me that we were making good time, we just needed to keep moving…but I couldn’t do the math and I didn’t know if I had the time.
Once we meandered through our last Cactus Ridge, the sun was high and the day was warming up fast. I used my AfterShokz to call my husband and request my black shorts be ready for a quick change with the Orange Mud transition wrap. He said “black shorts, transition?” to Mel and I heard her say “Done!” and I knew I’d have fresh shorts soon. I could smell myself pretty badly (sorry to EVERYONE, especially Wael, for my stench), my thighs were raw from my “trail breaks”, and I knew a change would be good for both my mind and body.
Once we came in to West Park Road, I was whisked away to change my shorts while my handheld was brought to me. Yes, my legs felt much better instantly – even though the hubs nearly let me flash the crowd to the side, ha!
I wanted my girls to run the final Bunker Hill loop with me – they had been my right and left arm all day and I really wanted to share a couple miles with them.
What I didn’t know until later was the paces Wael passed along to keep me moving. No wonder Michelle was running around “pulling my leash” the whole way, ha! If I ever felt like a puppy learning to walk/run with my master, this was it. I did stop for a “trail break” and Mel confirmed I was still “in the yellow”.
As we went along, I felt like I was giving some good effort when I would run, but my HR wasn’t getting out of the “easy” zone…Z1-Z2. I began to worry that my watch was messing up or my ticker wasn’t quite right. Mel tried to check my pulse and did t see any issues…but I just didn’t like the info my watch was giving me. We decided to get checked out by the medic at the finish to be sure I was good. We made our way back up the backside Bunker Hill, hiked/ran a little along the top, and suffered down the front side.
As we descended, the girls noticed Matt and Wael approaching the trail…oh no, I’m in trouble for being too slow… Once we all met up, Wael broke down our timing with the cutoffs.
Wael- “What time is it?” (showing me his watch)
Wael- “What time is the cutoff?”
Wael- “Can you make it through that aid station in the next 20 minutes?” (pointing ahead less than a quarter mile where the aid station stands)
Me- “Yes. Of course.” (positive I could)
Wael- “Okay, let’s do it! Time to run!”
Around this time, I dodged off the road onto the grass and Matt came with me. Mind you, my husband is not a runner. His RoadID says “I HATE RUNNING” for a reason…but he was out there running me into the aid station. My pacers all ran ahead to ready my pack for a QUICK transfer. I started getting real emotional running with Matt – I hurt so bad and wanted to get these last miles done! I started to cry a little and he was so supportive!
We just needed to get it done!
My emotions were such a mixed bag of physical pain, mentally being exhausted, and just plain tiredness from being up and running for the last 28+ hours. We had roughly 2.5 hours to go 5.5 miles to meet the next cutoff. So we hit the trail quickly – the climbs were okay for my legs, the downhills were miserable, but I kept moving as well as I could.
Wael wasn’t playing rabbit as before, but just staying consistently ahead of me. This kept me moving as well as I could with 88+ miles on my legs. Again, I started getting into my head and had more breakdowns about making the next cutoff. Most of this was in my own space which allowed me to let go of the tears a little more easily and then boost myself back up with “let’s just get this done!” and “we got this!”
Once I saw the 7 mile marker, I knew we were 1/2 a mile from the LAST AID STATION. Wael pulled back and he took my empty bottles ahead to the aid station for the volunteers to start filling up. I decided to take a “trail break” before the aid station…
Are you serious…
I start hiking quickly to the aid station…I am panicked.
I am nervous.
This has never happened to me before.
My thoughts started swirling about my friend who went to the ER after a race where she was peeing red…is my day over?!
Once I got in, the aid crew started putting my bottles back in my pack. I looked up and Wael was starting towards the trail and I had to stop him. He was like “come on, let’s go!” and I was like “no! come here!” He let a big puff of stressed air out and came over to me…I whispered (but not so quietly) “my pee is red.”
“Water. WATER! No more Tailwind!”
My whisper wasn’t as quiet as I thought and the volunteers were quick to respond. All of the gals at the aid station made haste to take back all of my bottles and switch me out for water. Cindy told me to chug a bottle of water while I was standing there and then promptly filled it back up. The aid station volunteers were amazing to try and calm my nerves.
Aid- “How long has this been happening?”
Me- “Just now, first time.”
Aid- “You caught it early. Drink as much of your water by the time you finish. Then see the medic to follow up. You got this!”
While I didn’t feel like “I got this” with tears in my eyes, I was promptly told I banked an hour since my last check in. At the last aid station, I “banked” 20 minutes on the cutoff, and now I had an hour…so I was moving well and now had 3 hours to get to the finish line – 6.5 miles away.
I left that aid station with some gusto to get going and was quickly halted by my trashed quads. I resorted to power hiking the remaining miles and with 4 miles to go, Wael stopped me on the trail. He wanted to thank me for allowing him to pace my first 100 miler and to be the first to congratulate me on my first 100 mile finish. What?! “We still have 4 miles to go, we need to keep moving!” We has a little over 2 hours to go 4 miles…completely doable.
As the miles SLOWLY ticked away, the stress of not making the final 32 hour cutoff began to lift off my shoulders. I would love to say those last miles were amazing, but I was chugging water, taking the rocky sections like a toddler learning to walk, and somehow found a way to literally float to the last mile.
At that last damn road section, Michelle and Mel were standing there waiting for me! I could feel my tears coming back – I was just so glad they came back to run my last mile with me!
Running is a gross overstatement of what was happening. I pointed out where I killed the trail in the beginning on the 4th loop, we talked about other finishers, and they pumped me up for my last mile. Whenever they would ask if I wanted to run…I would laugh. I conceded that I would run once the rocky sections were over…which isn’t until the last quarter mile of trail.
One final whoop and holler…cheers from my crew!
There is the hubs with camera in hand.
Don’t trip on the gravel!
Then the grass…
Around the playground.
Past the sand volleyball court.
There’s little man running AT me…Mel was able to corral him (before taking out my legs) to run next to me, he fell down but got up quickly.
We all ran in together!
My crew (minus hubs) and pacers and little man ❤️❤️
Loop 4 goal : 8-9 hours
Loop 4 actual : 9:03:06
Total Time : 31:36:18
Once I finished, I felt like I could still move…
I was awarded my buckle and sticker from Sheri (one of the RDs) and hobbled to my family. Lots of hugs, tears and congratulations! Once the finishers I fire area was open, we all went in for our finishers picture – by myself and with my crew (picture below).
Since my “stocking-like” KT Tape has been falling off for hours, I thought it would come off easily…not so much. I was able to walk over to my crew aid area we had set up for each loop, but after sitting down, my body was done.
We changed my shoes to my OOFOS recovery sandals, removed my moleskin patches (and blisters/skin under a few of them, ouch!), and refreshed my shirt. While I am only slightly cleaner, the fresh top and footwear makes a big difference.
Soon after, Melanie brought the medic over to check my lungs, heart, and BP – everything was great, especially for the fact I just ran 100 miles. I told her about my red pee and what the aid station volunteers told me to do. She didn’t seem too concerned since I had kept up with hydration all day and she gave me the rundown of what to expect the rest of the day, next day, and possible side effects.
I was surely tired…
I didn’t feel like eating too much and I noticed that the guy with the Normatec boots started putting them away. I asked Mel to see if he would wait for me and he was very willing to keep them set up for me.
When I stood up, my legs just didn’t want to work – they knew the drill that I would sit for a little bit and then start running again but they weren’t going to allow it – they were toast. My left quad was so trashed that I could have sworn that I tore it…tender to the touch and I couldn’t bear my weight on it. My hubs helped me across the shelter and into the chair.
While the boots felt good on my legs, it hurt pretty bad when the material would push on the raw spots on my feet. I was brought food to eat and many people came by to congratulate me on finishing the race.
After the 20 minute cycle, we took the boots off, and my body started freaking out. I immediately got so cold and started shaking. I was very happy that my family brought out my finishers jacket – it kept me warm while Matt and Melanie packed up all of our things before we left.
The whole “getting to the car” situation was intimidating but once I figured out how to walk like a pirate (straight leg, no muscle use), I was in significantly less pain. Once we got to the car…our next task, getting in. If we would have brought my car to town, I would have probably been fine…but we brought my husband’s truck. Somehow, I was able to pull myself in like halfway and Matt said “hurry, close the door so she doesn’t fall back out!” Ha! So true…that wouldn’t have been good (I’ll spare you the pictures that SOMEONE took of my butt hanging out of the truck…). While I needed to go to the bathroom, I didn’t want to get in and out of the vehicle again…so I just held it until we got home.
I was told that the Tuesday after the race would be my worst day (DOMS)…but really, Sunday afternoon/evening was the worst by far. I was able to use my father-in-law’s walker Sunday evening to get around the house without help and didn’t need it on Monday. As long as I massaged my legs, feet, and butt after spending time laying/sitting around (used my Stick and arnicare gel), I was moving pretty well. Moving around helped me recover the best…and I was walking like a normal person by Tuesday!
Now that I am few weeks out, I have thought and talked about the race to many, many friends and family. With complete honesty, I wouldn’t change a thing about my race!
My crew, my pacers, my fitness, my fueling, and hydration – if any of these areas lacked, my day would have been very different. My crew understood my needs and goals – they made their plan on how to deal with me, keep me fueled, and made aid station stops happen quickly (or as quickly as we could). My pacer Wael kept me moving well throughout the night and day – without his story telling and different pacing techniques, I’m not sure how motivated I would have been to keep moving through the tough times! The last couple weeks of training didn’t have all of the “scheduled miles” run…but a little extra rest was welcomed and really helped me in the end. Everything happens for a reason, and I had my ideal day!
The group of supportive individuals I chose to spend the day/night/day with could not be beat! I would not have changed a thing when it comes to the team I chose to be with me every step (or at least 1/2 of the aid stations) of my 100 miler!
My husband Matt has been my biggest cheerleader! This training cycle hasn’t been the easiest on the both of us, but as the race drew closer, we both were eager to get it started! He not only supported the crew in any way he could, he was my personal paparazzi!
Next is Michelle and Melanie! In my life, there isn’t one without the other. From what I hear, Melanie took the reigns and everyone was given their tasks – Mel on medic/foot (fart gagging – my bad) duty and Michelle took care of my nutrition and pack. Between the two of them, I was in and out of aid stations with all the fuel I needed and a fresh step on the trail!
Lastly, my stellar pacer Wael! I don’t know where to begin. Last year when the 100 miler was just a far-reaching future goal, he jumped in an said that he wanted to pace me for my first 100 miler, whenever it is. With his positive spirit and supportive nature, he checked in with me through my training cycle, checked in more often those final taper weeks, and pushed me to challenge myself whenever possible while on the run. Even though he scolded me for going too fast on my first loop, he seemed proud of my effort throughout the day. Without his pushing when the times were tough, I may not have had the extra time I needed to stagger through the last 4 miles. I will pass along the favor someday and hopefully make you proud! #payitforward
My crew/pacers truly got me to my first 100 mile finish line in mostly one piece. Without them, I would probably still be sore, blistered, hungry, and lost on the trails at Clinton Lake! Thank you team for believing in me and spending 32 hours in the woods with me!