What a wild day this was! We arrived 45 minutes before Start time, having stayed at a nearby hotel. Tents were set up all around the Start, with people finishing up their morning coffee, stretching and getting over to the scorer who kept track of your laps, to sign in. I found my friends and we schmoozed a bit and then Haight set up the area where I would stop at each lap to refill my Succeed powder, grab a GU and do anything else I needed. My own personal aid station. Everyone had one, it was great after each 3.29 loop, even though they had a "Margueritaville" aid station halfway. Always nice to have your own personal stuff available.
It was going to be a hot day. Temps were expected to hit the lower 90's. I planned on drinking my water bottle with each lap, along with having a GU and a salt tablet. I had never eaten anything else on a long run, so I wasn't sure about the aid station food. I was going to try the food available and see how my stomach handled it--good test for my 50-miler.
300 people started out - runners and walkers alike. The walkers had numbers on their backs so you could "report" them if you saw them running, which would lead to disqualification. We all took off--very casual start, which is the great part about Ultras.
As I was around the 2 mile mark, I saw a group of people on the side, some kneeling over someone. A man was down---and they were doing CPR on him! I got closer to see if they needed a nurse and found out an EMT was doing compressions, and Juli A, an oncology RN, (that's her in the pic with me) was doing the respirations.....an ambulance had already been called and the RD was being notified. I didn't think it would help if the crowd got larger around him, so I took off with a heavy heart. I said a little prayer for him. Unfortunately, we found out later he didn't make it-- two others would need to go to the hospital before the day was out, but they were okay.
I continued to follow the 3:2 run:walk then 10 minute walk that Coach Lisa prescribed for me. I walked a bit more, feeling that my longest run of 13 miles wasn't really enough and the heat was certainly a cause for concern.
I found Todd along the trail and stayed with him for quite a few laps. At the Margueritaville aid station, I dosed my head and body with the cold water they provided from a hose. I screamed each time, but asked for more. After about the fourth lap, I decided to try the food. I went for the cooked potatoes in salt. mmmmmm---perfect! The next lap, I tried it again along with the cookies. My stomach held up real well. I never felt lightheaded, so I knew I was taking in enough water and electrolytes.
The last lap I pulled Haight to join me for a walk. It was the only lap I fully walked. My feet were hurting so much. They felt like they were boiling in my socks and shoes. I wished I had brought my Keen sandles as they would have been perfect for the last few laps.
I did 8 laps--just a smidge over a marathon. I never expected I could do that. I was actually hoping I could last 20 miles, so this was a great accomplishment. I never "hit the wall". I realized how strong I've become and how well my training has been going.
The best part was taking my shoes and socks off!! Oh heaven!! Though I discovered I had a blister on each foot. I popped them, applied neosporin and covered them up. My first blisters!!
Afterwards, we all went to the 4-person outdoor shower to wash off the salt. We were all a saltlick of our own! The line for the shower was long, as we shared stories and watched those ahead of us soap up.
Most people were staying the extra night in their tents. Haight and I had no idea this was a weekend party, so next year we'll be more prepared.
A wonderful experience--with great jobs by all the volunteers and an awesome RD. My thoughts go out to the family and loved ones of the runner we lost. He was in his early 50's -- way too young, though the RD said he was a lover of the trails and if he had his choice of how to go, it would be this way. Still.........