My first attempt at running 100 miles at one pop went well I thought. The whole weekend was an amazing experience for me. On the way there on the plane, I wrote in my journal that this weekend would signify the start of a whole new life for me and I have allowed that weekend to do just that. I did not make it to the 100th mile of my run. I chose to DNF at mile 63. But I am ok with this. I went into this race knowing full well that I was not in an optimal place in my life for attempting to run 100 miles. So from the get go I made my main goal to do the best that I could under the circumstances and to make it to the starting line of this run. I chose not to finish the race because at mile 60 I was in extreme pain due to major blistering issues on both feet. At mile 63, I knew that with the blisters I could not make the 30 hour cut-off time and that going one more loop to get to 80 miles would only increase chance of injury while still not improving my odds to finish. So I feel that I made a wise call to DNF for this time. I still accomplished amazing things. I ran further than I have ever run. I made it to the starting line despite major personal and emotional trauma for the last 3 months. I started my life with a clean slate so to speak and opened my heart to people around me there. It was an amazing experience and I will add THAT RUNNING 100 MILES IS NO FREAKING JOKE!!!
The days before my run I was nervously anticipating the start. Once I take that first step so much of the anxiety goes away but prior to that first step I am a very focused and quite person. I am not the funnest person to be around in the days prior to the race. This type of race takes so much planning and months of preparation with how you will get your calories and hydration during the run. How you will ensure your electrolyte balances will be maintained. The scope of preparation and the scope of possible variables goes very deep. But that is part of the challenge of the whole thing. I always organized everything way before the night before but I lay it out to make sure I have all I need. Funny thing is, that once I laid it all out I realized THAT I FORGOT MY SHORTS. Yup, that’s right. I forgot my shorts to my first 100. I had to go buy new ones and that is taboo to do a race with new and un-tested equipment. The new shorts ended up working perfectly though.
Race morning is a precious time. It is a nervous time. And it is a most wonderfully triumphant time. After check in, I sat in the warm car and talked with Dean and my sister for about 30 minutes. The chatter among the runners could be heard as the buzz about running 100 miles increased while the minutes passed by. When it was time to get out of the car I could hear the 100 mile starters chanting and yelling and being excited. It was a great thing to hear. But once it was time to start, everyone started their own watches and began to walk the first steps of the journey. There were 350 people at the start about and the trail is single track so the going was very slow at first. I had to walk about the first two or three miles just to get enough space to run my slow pace. I talked with a lady who was going to walk the whole thing and had lost 70 pounds. That was fun. I always feel so much better about things once I start. I was no longer nervous or scared or full of anxiety. I was not just another ultra-runner who was going to do the best that I could. No Ipod, just the chatter and sound of running clothes and feet hitting the ground. There I was, starting an amazing journey knowing that I would be going further than I ever had before.