I trained for this. I was so excited. I did the whole spreadsheet. I was race bib number 1. I got a good juju pre-race pedicure. I didn’t put on my race shirt or even open my swag bag when I picked up my number. I was beside myself excited when I got to the pre race meeting. Then we were told that we were running the rain course. This meant pavement, lots of pavement. My heart sank. This was my first 100 and I was ready for things to go wrong, to be flexible throughout. This though, caught me so off guard.
There was another trail 100 the next weekend. It was a real option to not start this, to wait a week for dirt. The only problem with that was, no one could make that decision for me, and I didn’t want to make it myself. Believe me, I tried to get people to tell me what to do. I also didn’t want to be a huge bummer to my friends that were there and excited. I called my coach and husband repeatedly, cried a little, and went out to watch the lightning storm.
No one wants to move a trail race to the roads. I thought about why I had chosen this race and what I wanted out of it. I wanted my first 100 to be a Trail Hawks race. I wanted to see my friends at the aid stations. I wanted to run a race that was put on with love. Watching Sherrie the RD talk about how hard the decision to move the trails was amazing. They had marked an entire trail course, then the day before marked a road course that had a nice off road section in the middle of each loop, with sections they cleared just for this to get us some extra off road miles. They were going to reassess the trails at 2pm the next day, and if possible move the 100 milers to the trail for part of the race. This would mean moving and/or remarking to provide access to aid. This is a lot of extra work and love from an RD. I read a comment from Elden, saying “I run this race for the challenge, I keep coming back foe the people I’ve met here volunteers, runners, friends, and the RD. The course could be 100 loops around the parking lot and I would still love it.” This was why I picked this race. I was not going to by my last hundred miler, just my first. I decided to run.
The race was exactly what I wanted, an experience. So rather than try to compose a narrative, I’m just going to highlight the things that I want to take away from this.
*Feeling sad about the rain course and having people to listen and process with me.
*Terri telling me I can be sad all I need the night before, but to be ready to run in the morning.
*Ashley, also running her first 100, not giving a crap about the alternate course and still bounding all over with ridiculous excitement.
*Carol going back to Kansas City and getting my road shoes for me.
*Coleen surprising me at the start to wish my good luck and providing me with a “don’t go out like an asshole” wristband.
*Running the fist section with Ashley and watching the sunrise over the lake. It was an incredible still silver.
*Seeing Carol at the West aid station when I was coming inbound on the first loop apologizing for missing me on the outbound stretch (which this early was totally fine), but it was seriously because they were putting on glitter. It was the best reason!
*Running up bunker hills with Ashley and Gary for the first time off road. Feeling the grass and seeing the sun continuing to go up over the hill. Gary who had helped with the rain course the day before was now out running the 100, with the most joy of any runner there. Smiling, laughing, and pretending to be an airplane.
*Heading into the off road pine section and finding a happy place on each rain loop. Running down a freshly cut powerline section that smelled like fresh cedar.
*Finding out that my last loop would be on the trail, making mile 75 more exciting than I ever thought possible.
*Shawn doing high knees every time that I entered lands end aid station giddy to see me, making me feel like a superstar.
*Janee coming out after running a marathon to continue to support and wave pom poms.
*While on the road, ocassionally being passed by Carol yelling out the window of her car, offering puppies and candy.
*Heather working an aid station, and switching out my bandana for the unicorn one that I’d tourniqueted her leg with when she fell at the Night Hawk. Smiling and cheering.
*Coleen in a unicorn headband all night, Carol, Jacinda, Janee, and Terri in so much glitter
*Carol putting glitter on my face during the race.
*Nick pacing me, helping me keep my stride short on those last road miles, and entertaining me with stories.
*Gazunta math with Nick- trust me it’s the best math.
*My feet hitting the single track for the first time, feeling so good.
*Danny kicking my butt on the last loop so I could finish stronger than I thought possible. Eating lemonheads and talking about poop.
*Carol making me tell her what I’d eat between aid stations so I stayed strong.
*All of the out and backs on the road course allowing me to see Steve, Meg, Yvonne, Janee’, and so many other people run.
*Jacinda being so into the whole experience of the race.
*The humbling experience of Coleen and Carol literally drying me feet so that I could get into dry shoes and socks, and Danny tying my shoes on the trail because “no one should have to tie their own shoes after mile 60.”
*My husband running me in at mile 98. He’d never run trails at night, and just giggled behind me and tried not to fall.
*Holding my son at the finish line.
*CONFETTI CANONS!!!!!! Are you kidding me. Coleen showing up with those while Carol and Danny shot them at me. Greatest moment ever.
*Talking with Ashley’s mom about how amazing Ashley is.
*Listening to Yana talk about how strong Ashley was on her third loop. Hearing Ashley making jokes at Land’s end aid right before her last six miles.
*Seeing Ashley cross that finish line, Terri crying because she loves us all so much, and ending with a champagne toast.
*Watching Allyson finish her first 100, run past the finish line to run a 1/4 mile loop around the parking lot that she missed on the rain course by accident before coming through to finish. Unbelievable to see.
*Steve, finishing his first 50 miler, then staying at the finish line until every single 100 miler came through because “everyone deserves a cowbell at the end.”
*Finishing ready to go through this process again.
There are so many other little things I could list.
I’m glad I ran this race. I loved every step of it. I would do it again.
Photo credit Mile 90 Photography. The best.