This recap may just be all over the place. I don't feel like I can even describe the emotions and feelings I've had about this whole experience but I will try to put it into words. But just trust me that talking about it and experiencing it are two completely different things, as is with anything experienced in life. You've got to experience it to understand it: the joy, pain, excitement, nervousness, love of the outdoors, etc. I will try to expound.
Race day came and I was up early at 4:15 am to take care of all the pre-race things a runner does. The night before I had set everything out and had them in drop bags for Mark to bring to the aid stations he would be visiting at mile 19.6, mile 22.8, and mile 24.8. Mark is so supportive and patient with me and my crazy running endeavors. He will go to my races and hang out for any amount of time to see me run in. Or he will sit at aid stations for hours on end waiting for me to get there. He also doesn't mind the out of town trips because then we get a little vacation together.
I really over-packed and actually ended up not needing a single thing. I even unloaded a bunch of stuff that I was carrying and left it with him. That just shows how great of a race this was. It was so well supported and stocked at all the aid stations. Without having run an ultra before I didn't know what to expect and I was just super impressed with the volunteers, the food, the drinks, the ice, who knew that ice could feel like manna from heaven? and the great enthusiasm that everyone had. But, I'm jumping ahead a little bit.
I got myself out the door a little before 5:00 am and got to the starting line to check in and get my packet. Oh boy! Did I ever have pre-race jitters!! I got my bib on and made a pit stop and then just walked around the parking lot trying to take nice, slow, steady breaths. Cory was here and talking to other runners. He seemed as cool and relaxed as an early morning Summer breeze. I didn't feel like I could visit the small crowd gathered and so I just continued to try to calm my nerves and relax by walking and walking. A few minutes before time to start they had us gather to share information about the course and to talk about Johnny Runner. He was the reason we were all here to run. He has cancer and this race was put on by his trail running buddies to benefit his family. There were some tears shed as he spoke to us but yet a strength in his voice that he was going to fight this and win! I sure hope he does! What an incredibly genuine, nice man.
The race started right on time at 6:00 am and we were off, with it still being a little bit dark, all 26 of us for the 50K. There would be 60 people running the 25K which started an hour later.
|I think Cory was on a little runner's high as well.|
After visiting with a number of people hanging out at the finish line I thanked Cory for his help today. I just kept wondering how I would have handled doing this all alone? It would have been boring, lonely and even a little scary. Even though we didn't do a ton of talking out there on the course it was just nice to know there was somebody there in case anything did happen. For that I will be forever grateful.