I struggled to the finish line in 27:35 thanks to my wonderful crew Jorje who wouldn't let me stop and took great care of my blistered feet and patient positive "been there know how you feel" pacer Rick who never got angry at my blistering pace of 3 miles per hour on the second 33 mile loop.
Now I need a rest from these kind of things, mentally and physically. I had a good time overall though. I had a nice easy run from start to No Hand bridge at mile 26, good climb to K2 and Cool fire station, "mean walk" (Catra's term who saw me keeping up with runners while walking) while soothing my stomach problem between miles 30-36 and ran well and happy with dancing to my tunes between miles 40-60 with energy (secretly hoping I might break 24 hrs and passing a lot of people), then stumbled over rocky section stubbing my toes as the night fell (and lost 3 toenails) and twicked my poor hamstring, as well as completely ruined my feet with same problem I had at WS100 this year.
The rest was a "one foot in front of another", and "I love to run but don't like to crawl", and " there is no question I will finish, but does it change who I am?". My boys (Jorje and Rick) were great and I did my best to be happy untill the last 5 miles when I broke into tears from mental and physical struggle over not been able to put my feet down, quivering muscles and shin pain from altered steps and simply not enough training. But then again, I am a cry baby.
The race is wonderfully organized, Norm Klein is a character, people are the greatest, volunteers are perfect with butternut squash soup at mile 83 (where I took 15 min nap), lots of friends (old and new), funky huge awards (don't laugh, I was the only one in my age group, you figure the rest). The course is easier than WS yet not as easy as I expected (for some reason). It had 2 mean climbs and lots of smaller ones, but mostly it was dust eating up your feet and rocks finishing it up. Temps were mid-90s during the day and it was pretty cold at night - at least at the rate I was going and because I stopped fueling (lost 7 lbs at night after staying on top of it the whole day). My IBS plaqued me for a bit too, but I didn't pay much attention to it (a few visits to bushes and a couple of Immodium took care of it eventually).
Sick fun, what can I say. Preparation for this kind of things is important. I am happy with final result as I promised. Thanks to all.
I am done for the year. Need to take care of multiple injuries and be back to been "only a mom and a wife" by family request. May be they are onto something.
p.s. I didn't mean to be so short, I wrote an email from work to some of my friends and simply copied and pasted it to the blog. What I really want to stress is that people surrounding me in my life are simply THE BEST! George Velasco, who I had only met for the first time this June at SP50 where he crewed Lisa Smith-Batchen, jumped into offering to crew for me at wherever I choose to in 2 minute flat - as he does with all his friends, and what a crew he is! George finished his own Grand Teton 100 3 weeks ago after a long streak of DNFs (yay, Jorje!) and just came back from crewing/pacing another friend at AC100. Since he had been struggling with a hamstring injury since January, his questions always felt touching and knowingly embracing. George made it to EVERY SINGLE aid station, no miss, with a whole "spread-out" of foods and drinks and first aid kit and ice, and what saved me this time (at least for as long as it was possible to save anything) were his Compeed bandages and his own 2 new pair of socks. He cleaned my feet and patched them every time I saw him. And he always had a chair ready, a blanket at night, never got any sleep and the hug I got at mile 97 was priceless.
Rick Gaston, who also is "newly developed friendship" kind of guy, is no less impressive. He is a friend of a friend Jason Arth (another heart-touching story, by the way, a story of my life - met once in 2004, emailed to crew and pace me at Miwok-2005, and here we go, a relationship for life) - and I've met him for the first time this April at AR50, where he came with Jason to crew and pace me, never saw me live before. It only took us a quater of a mile to feel like we grew up together. Rick had finished his first WS100 and 3rd 100 mile race this summer, after a great season, yet plauqed by blisters for half of the day there and turning into a survivor mode (as you see, he is intimately familiar with what I was going through). Rick fed me gels while crawling those 33 miles at night with me (time on your feet is worse than just miles, trust me on that), told me stroies, listened to mine, shone light when my headlamp was half-dead, praised my ridiculous efforts of walking faster, agreed of "asphalt better than trails" concept (at that particular point of my life) and waited patiently for my pee-stops every 15 minutes.
They did all of that without any age-group awards, medals, self-worth stuff or recognition in an Ultrarunning magazine. They are heroes, not me. I am just selfishly enjoying my friends:)
Hobbling around today as my feet, ankles, knees and shins are all swollen in. But hey, as they say, it will last for a couple of days, while memories will last forever!