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The Itch…

A friend posted a FB post #tbt yesterday of her first 100M two years ago. You’ll see a post on here about the Keys 100 from 2014…the one that I didn’t finish. Fast forward to one year later. My husband and I came back and finished the same race.

Here’s the race report :

Runner #134 – Race Report Keys 100- 100 mile 2015

As I write this, my blisters are still leaking out and I’m still riding high on the wave of FINALLY completing my first 100 mile race with the buckle by my side. American Express says to never leave home without their card…well, I don’t leave home without my buckle. I had felt a similar pride when I received my buckle from the Iron Horse 100k last February, but let’s get back to the real story.
This has been an ambition of mine since 2006. I would go into heavier detail, but what fun would it be if I laid out my entire story now. Another story another time.
You all want to hear about this past weekend’s race. As many of you know, Oscar and I had ran The Keys 100- 100 mile race last year (2014) to fall short after pounding the pavement for 96 miles. We had gone unsupported, but out of the kindness of Christian Stewart and Susan Anger, they had persisted that we keep on keeping on, but we decided to call it quits a mere 4 miles from the finish. We missed cut-off time and another couple of hours in the heat was just not worth it. The next day, we felt like we didn’t give it our all. I wasn’t sure at that point if I was ultramarathon material. My spark had left me.

Fast forward to January of this year, we decided to try again with new tools in our tool belt. We ran Croom just about every weekend, pounded Suncoast Trail and the Withlacoochee Trail. We tried out different hydration belts, clothing and supplements. We listened to Mark Divine’s “Unbeatable Mind” and I listened to Joyce Meyer’s “Change Your World, Change Your Thoughts”. I watched what words came out of my mouth. I’m a firm believer of what you put out in the universe is what you will get. If you want to see some amazing things happen, just give it a try. I dare you 🙂.

I knew we needed a crew for this event, so I posted it on Facebook. I went to F.U.R. and my own wall. I received one response from a lady I had met at Wild Sebastian and then another from a random ultrarunner, but no follow up. It wasn’t until a week before the race, when things began to come together. Lani Scozzari, was the lady I had met at Wild Sebastian this past November. She was all in from the start, but we both knew a one person crew could not help two runners on the course effectively. A miracle happened a week before race day, Bernadette DePerty DuBois heard that we were in need of a crew/pacer. I had met her briefly during that same Wild Sebastian and then again at Whispering Pines. She said she would gladly help us. She had completed four 100 mile races for crying out loud. I was brimming with joy that someone with that much experience would be joining us on this journey. The following day random ultrarunner, Kevin Kevin Flaherty, said he would meet us down in Key Largo at the pre-race meeting and ready to crew/pace. He had nearly gotten lost at a race out by Vegas, I believe it’s called “Ride the Wind” and had just recovered from golf ball sized blisters, but was ready to help us out. Three crew/pacers!!! It was a dream come true. All we needed to do now was complete the race and bring home that blasted buckle!

Our wave started at 6:40am with 6:35 check-in. Weather reports prior to race day were saying 85 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, but it proved to be about 10 degrees hotter on the actual race days.

I spoke to a few runners around me gave Oscar a kiss and wished him luck. I stayed in the back of the pack. I knew how I was going to play this game and I was going to win. I started out slow. It usually takes a good 6-8 miles for my legs to warm up. My crew met me every 3 or so miles to check on my hydration and keeping me cool. I constantly had a Chica band filled with ice. It was a total lifesaver. Ice became my new best friend and constant companion.

I embraced the miles and the scenery. When the heat would get to me I would say out loud, “I AM STRONG. Through God I can do ANYTHING!” You know what? The strength in me would ALWAYS come back.

30 miles came and went. I had some minor heel blisters, but nothing to whine about. The next 20 miles to Marathon was brutal. The sun was beating down and the shoulder was at a slant. I forget the technical name for it.

By the time I had hit The Tunnel of Hell, we were in full shade, so I now refer to it as The Tunnel of Heaven, because it was such a pleasant stroll 😉. Bernadette and I had some pretty lively conversation for a time. We made it to 50 mile check in with no issues.

3 miles to the 7-mile bridge and shady characters were popping out all over the place. I made it through there as quickly as possible. I had no idea what time it was but I needed some pizza. My crew had it waiting for me right before the 7-mile bridge. I grabbed a couple of pieces and told them I would see them on the other side. A crew for another runner asked how I could do that. I said, “It works for me.”

I could see a blinking red light cresting the bridge. I knew it was Oscar. He was 4 miles ahead of me and I was going to catch him. Throughout most of the day and night, when my crew told me to hold on and wait for them to fill a bottle or my ice pack I would keep going saying out loud, “I need to catch that Chilean!” Then a crew member had to chase me down to hand me my goods, because I was NOT going to stop. We are a competitive couple, so I knew he was gloating in the fact that I was that far behind him.

It was well past midnight when I made it across the bridge. Lani joined me for the night time pumpkin hour (my extra loopy time). We had a fantastic time chatting away about everything that had NOTHING to do with running . We affectionately named this time of night SaturSunday. It makes me giggle every time I see or say it. I told Lani how much I loved Oscar and wished I could see his face that very moment. Did you know that’s how we met? I met Oscar at his very first race ever….a half marathon in November of 2013 in Clermont. Now look at him! Talk about amazing!

A few hours later, a car came heading our way and parked. Out came a Race Marshal Caleb Wilson. He is the Race Director for Ft. Clinch 50/100 mile race. Oscar and I had ran his race last year. That’s my background story on him and oh yeah, we are friends on FB.

Now this is where things got interesting. He told me he had to take my timing chip away because I wasn’t going to make cut-off. Instantly, everything that had gotten me to this race came flooding into my memory. The countless hours putting miles in during the week after work and the many Saturdays and sometimes Sundays Oscar and I would log in long runs or just a short 10 mile. I thought of Brody and then of Faith….and out loud I said, “No!” Caleb was scratching his head. I said, “Call Bob!” (Bob is the Race Director for the Keys 100). Caleb said, “He’s probably asleep and he gave me the right to make the call.” I said, “What do I need to do?” and “How much time do I have?” I was walking away from him at this point, if he wanted to get that timing chip from me he’d have to chase me and tackle me because I wasn’t going to give in that easily. He said I had 7 miles to go and I needed to do that in an hour and 50 minutes. I did the math. I could do that. I was a tenth of mile away when I said, “I can do it!!!”

I ran. We met up with Kevin. He had paced me earlier in the day, but this time he was all business telling me that if I wanted a cushion I needed to keep such and such a pace. I did that and exceeded it. I made it to the 70 mile check in, met up with my crew and kept running. I was going to prove to Caleb, I had what it took to remain on that course, and besides I still needed to catch up to that blasted Chilean!

20 miles to go and I saw Oscar in the not too far distance. I could tell the heat was bothering him. I wasn’t too concerned, because I knew the crew would take care of him. He was going to be just fine and besides, me being ahead of him would give him that extra boost to get him to the Finish. He was shocked to see me. I would be as well. After all, I was between 4-5 miles behind him for 24+ hours.

The heat was picking up again, but I continued to chip away. If you have never seen the ultra shuffle, it looks like a cross between the Hunchback of Notre Dame and a zombie. My feet felt like I had walked through puddles of water. In reality, it was all the blisters that had popped along the way. By the time Bernadette and I made it passed the Naval Air Base we had 6.5 miles left to go. I started getting dizzy, thankfully another crew had helped me out with ice and water. Thanks again Robert Rounsavall. Prior to that we saw Christiañ Stewart! What an uplift to see him. This time I knew I was going to get my buckle.

I had one more check-in before the finish. I remembered where we DNF’d like it was yesterday, but this time I was passing that point. Wa-hoo!!!! That’s what occupied my thoughts at that point. By this point, I had passed about 6 or more people. Lani was by my side again. We made our way around the Bell curve Jamie Woyton another Race Marshall said I had 1.7 miles left to the finish. At that instant I felt a rupture on my right pinkie toe. I was sure that my toenail had popped off. We passed Kathleen Wheeler and George Maxwell and Marilyn Schpbach. Kathleen had been done for hours. It was so good to see their smiling faces. I kept on chipping away. Random people were giving me their guesstimations as to how far away I was to the finish. Other people had a strange look on their face, like they hadn’t ever seen such a sight. It’s alright, I give you permission to tell me I’m crazy and move on. I’m okay with that.

I finally saw the turn for the finish and I was about to cross it. There was a crowd. My eyes welled up. I crossed the finish line with a big smile on my face…the BIGGEST smile. My feet were hurting , but I knew all of it would heal. I had done it. I completed my first 100 mile race in 30:57:34. I had my buckle!

****

Last year, “the itch” struck again a month before a Fat Ass event called “Tough Udder” that my friend hosted in her .88 mile driveway (and that was the distance out and back). That was a nice undocumented 100M that I completed because I just wanted to see if I could still do it. I believe I finished in 33 hours. I expected nothing, but was provided with an incredible amount of support from all my friends there…even a buckle ;). By the way, they have since banned that distance ;).

My point to this post, I once again have “the itch,” and have asked my husband, this morning, to upgrade an upcoming race to the 100. More details to come.

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Just Write

I have aspired to become a published writer for some time or rather I have pursued this in my life like a person browsing the aisles of Costco. It seems like an accurate simile. Truth be told, it’s been a deeply rooted fear that no one will read my work. Here’s my conclusion to that “fear.” This is my Day One of “That’s okay, because I’m really writing for me.” Much like running, it gives me an awareness about myself I didn’t know.

I’m currently working on my Master’s in English and Creative Writing. This has been a dream of mine for some time, but the timing has always been off or I have always been off on my timing, depends how I look at it.

In the coming days I’ll be re-posting ramblings I had from a previous blog. My ex-husband had this perceived notion that we were being watched, which in hindsight they were, just not at my running blog (more on that another day). With a new husband and a different outlook on life, I’m once again putting it out there.

Thanks for stopping by.