Monday, June 2, 2014

#100MileClub: Nanny Goat Race Recap - Part 2

On the morning of race day I woke up to the sounds of excited chatter and cars pulling into the parking lot as runners arrived at the race venue.  Surprisingly, I felt pretty good for not having gotten much sleep and I bounced out of bed, got dressed and headed out the door for check-in...all while my amazing race crew still lay mumbling half-asleep in their beds.  Hooray for motorhome "camping"!  As soon as my feet hit the barn I was surrounded by an indescribable, palpable energy and I stood there for a moment soaking it all in.  In that moment all of the negativity and doubts that were pervading my thoughts for the past week dissipated and I was filled with excitement.  This was really happening!

The Bay Area stall.  This is happening!

I walked up to the check-in table, grabbed my race bib and swag (insulated travel mug and Patagonia shirt for the win!), deposited everything in my group's stall and proceeded to engage in the pre-race organized chaos around me.  I had the time of my life seeing runner friends and meeting new ones including Tony from Endorphin Dude, Leigh Anne from Get Fit with LA, Kat from Smushtush Running and Fitness, Michael from Run Nerds Rock and his wife Melissa, Kristina from Live Laugh Love Run and many, many others.  I felt like I was surrounded by running royalty!  As I munched on Belvita (which seemed to be the only thing my stomach wanted) I chatted, laughed and took what seemed like a million pictures with some of the most incredible people that I have ever met.  They helped me feel at ease, comfortable and like I belonged amongst them, even though most of them I had just met that morning and everyone had running resumes that put me to shame.  

So much awesomeness! I'm not worthy!

Legs!

Before long the RD announced that it was 10 minutes to the race start and for all runners to head to the goat pen.  Nanny Goat has an unconventional, and probably my all-time favorite, start.  All runners were corralled into the "goat pen" for the national anthem and one of the most entertaining pep talks from the RD before the gate was opened and we were released to start the race.  We were off!

All of the badass runners in the goat pen. 
Photo credit: Jason Buckner

The first mile went by quickly and it wasn't long before I was laughing at my naivete.  The course that I walked the night before was no where near the course we were running.  We ran on dirt trail, then an out and back section on paved road, back onto a different dirt trail that turned into soft grass with divets then mud before getting back onto the original dirt trail/road.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be running on so many different surfaces within the span of one mile!  

That cone was mocking me towards the end of the race.

The first two miles I spent running solo for the most part, chatting on occasion with whoever happened to be running next to me.  At mile 3 I met up with my friend James and his friend Leo who were doing a 3/1 run/walk.  Since I was a newbie (and didn't have my Garmin to tell me my pace) and they were the more experienced runners, I decided to hang out with them and pretty much follow their lead.  Leo was awesome at keeping us at a 14-15 min/mile pace average and he had no qualms about telling us to slow down which was exactly what I needed.  Having company also made the miles go by faster and we hit double digit miles in no time.  At some point James and then Leo stopped in the barn to grab food/electrolytes while I continued running.  Thankfully, I ran into Sofie and she was kind enough to be my pacer until the sun set.

During the miles I shared with Sofie we talked about all things running and life.  She provided great pointers including staying on top of eating and hydration, keeping the pace nice and easy during the day when it was hot and walking the uphills and grassy area to save our ankles from rolling.  I explained how I got to Nanny Goat and why this race was so special to me.  You see, in addition to wanting to prove to myself and all those naysayers that I could do it, I also wanted to finish this race for two very special people in my life.  The first is my I Run 4 buddy, Jason.  Jason and I were matched at the end of January of this year and I have been blessed to be able to run for him and get to know him and his family.  This little fighter was turning one on Memorial Day so I wanted to give him the best birthday present I could by finishing what I set out to do.  The second person, and the one I most wanted to do this for, is my dad.  My dad is a proud U.S. Army vet and for the majority of his life he was an avid runner.  Unfortunately, due to gout and arthritis my dad is no longer able to run.  I wanted to run this race and finish it strong for him and represent him in this sport that he loves but is no longer able to participate in.

I ended up staying with Sofie until mile 60 or so.  At around that time the weather cooled down considerably and twilight hit.  I know most runners say the night is the hardest part of any ultra but for me running at night was where I felt the best.  The cooler temps lifted my spirits and there weren't any of the mind games that I usually play on myself when I can see where I'm going.  I just ran...and it felt great!  I felt so good that I was even running through the grass and mud despite the fact that one misstep would have been disastrous.

The miles and the night flew by quickly and soon the sun had risen and the temps were rising.  I was so hot!  I hate running in heat more than anything but I powered through and made it to 86 miles before the 24 hour cut-off.  Once I got through mile 86, my crew member Kandace jumped in and started pacing me for the remaining 14 miles.  At around mile 88 I started to feel nauseous.  I had never been nauseous at a race before so I had no clue what was causing it!  I tried eating and drinking but nothing worked.  Kandace ended up grabbing some table salt for me to ingest and I immediately felt better.  Who knew?!  Apparently I wasn't watching my salt/electrolyte intake very well towards the last several miles.  Thank goodness it was an easy fix!

At around mile 90 my right shin started hurting.  I've never been prone to shin splints so I was really frustrated and couldn't understand where the pain was coming from or why it was starting so late in the race.  I suddenly developed the mouth of a sailor with curse words flying all over the place and had a full-on sobbing meltdown on the course because I was so pissed off.  Poor Kandace!  She really does deserve a medal of her own for putting up with me. It turns out that my right shoe was tied just a little too tight and was putting pressure on the top of my foot near my ankle which in turn affected my shin.  So strange!  The only reason I figured it out is once I took my shoe off at the end of the race, the pain went away and the top of my foot was tender.  Lesson learned!

Regardless of the pain I kept trucking along and tried to run when I could although I was mostly hobble walking at that point.  I kept asking Kandace what time it was and what our pace was and if I had enough time to make it before the 28 hour cut-off.  I'm sure she wanted to choke me since I literally kept repeating the same questions over and over again.  Once I got to that last mile I was determined to run as much of it as I could despite the pain.  As soon as I was within sight of the barn I started sprinting (well, in my head I was sprinting anyway) and I crossed that finish line with the biggest smile on my face.  I did it!  I ran 100 miles!

RD Steve "Old Goat" Harvey presenting me with my buckle

Just a little happy to see "100" by my name

My Team Superhero family, Terri and Ray.  
Ray actually ran the 12 hour event but drove back with 
his family just to cheer me on to the finish.  They seriously rock!

This was by far the hardest and most fulfilling race that I've ever ran thus far.  It challenged me in every way possible and I got to really see what I was made of.  This one is dedicated to my Dad who is my biggest inspiration and loudest supporter.  Daddy, I know you said you wished you could still run so that we could do a race together but please know that I carried you in my heart for every step of these 100 miles and in my mind you were running with me every second of the way.  I hope I made you proud.

#100mileclub. Finish time: 27:42:49

So many people made this entire journey possible and I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to Steve Harvey for putting on such a phenomenal race and my rockstar crew, Kandace and Brian Jones, for shuttling me to and from the race and taking care of me the entire time.  A huge thanks to Terri Perez for making sure I was fed and hydrated.  Thanks to Leo and Sofie for being such amazing pacers and lastly thanks to Anne Sturz for 24 hours of non-stop clapping and cheering.  You were the reason I looked forward to running in the barn at every mile!  And f course thanks to each and every runner and spectator at Nanny Goat for making this the experience of a lifetime.  YOU are what made this the incredible event that it is and it is you that makes me want to come back and do it all over again next year.  THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you!

4 comments:

  1. That is so awesome! Thanks for sharing the recap, 100 miles is intense and you have bragging rights for years! Way to go!

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    1. Oh man am I bad at checking comments. Thank you so much, Michelle! I really appreciate it. :)

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  2. There is no need to apologize or anything - the cursing like a sailor just brings you to my dailyr level - LOL! I was so proud to be by your side and watch you accomplish this milestone!
    Remember, you're the one that got me to sign up for my first race - this was the least I could do for you! You made us proud, sister!
    You are now a 100 miler - NOW? BQ qualify! I will wait to cheer you on for that, too!
    xoxo

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    1. 5 years! I'm giving myself 5 years to BQ. We'll see if it happens.

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