Standing on the start line of your first 100 miler is quite a feeling. A mixture of excitement and panic tumbled around in my head as I stood there like a deer in the headlights. My mind was full of doubts, how can you do this when your ankle is only 85 percent? Think about how much you hurt after Blackfoot, can you really run 60km farther than that? Can someone actually run for over 20 hours? I worked hard to push those thoughts away and focus on running one leg at a time. I knew going into the race that it would go out fast, and wanting to avoid a blowup like Blackfoot, I had decided to take a very conservative start. I also find that I don't do well in the heat, and with forecasts predicting temperatures between 25 and 30, I knew if I survived the heat and my ankle was feeling alright, I could pick up the pace and make up some ground after it got dark.
|Organized chaos at the start line -Raven Eye Photography|
|Looking like I might throw up -Photo: Joan Brown|
|Tiptoeing through the tulips on Leg 1 -Raven Eye Photography|
|Looks are deceiving, I'm not having fun here -Raven Eye Photography|
|Getting revived after leg 3 -Photo: Brydon Hnatiuk|
|Stoked for Slurpees -Raven Eye Photography|
I bumped up the pace a bit, and ended up running the next few km with a relay runner. Chatting with her helped take my mind off things and made me run a few sections I wouldn't have otherwise. About halfway through, I slowed yet again, and was caught by Mike Fitzpatrick, who I'd seen on the previous leg. He had decided to keep going, was feeling way better, and urged me to run with him. Again the distraction of companionship helped me to tick of the miles and we ran the rest of that leg together.
|Trying to pretend I'm not dying. Success? -Raven Eye Photography|
I gradually picked up the pace feeling better and better with each passing km all the way to the summit. When the trail turned downhill, I turned it up again, and blasted the descent passing relay runner after relay runner. I got into a groove where I would see a headlamp ahead, then work to catch up to it as fast as possible. On the descent, I was surprised to pull up beside Philippe Lagace, a very strong runner coming of a 2nd place at Blackfoot, who I had done some running with in the past few weeks. He had blown his quads on the descent and was having a tough time putting one foot in front of the other. I walked with him briefly while offering some encouragement, then before I lost my groove, took off into the night. When I passed Philippe, I had successfully moved myself into the top 10, now to hold on to the finish line! In my brief stop at the last aid station before T6, the volunteers told me there were a couple of solo runners between 30 and 45 minutes ahead of me. I wasn't sure if I could make up that kind of ground, but I figured I'd give it a go since I was still feeling pretty good.
|Finally feeling good! -Raven Eye Photography|
|2.2 seconds over 100 miles - most epic finish ever? -Raven Eye Photography|
Now to work on that heat adaptation so I can run fast in the middle next year. Watch out Sinister 7, I'll be back.
Thanks to my Mom for coming down and crewing for me, thanks to Brydon, and the Hnatiuks for letting me camp at their place before and after the race, thanks to the inventor of the slurpee (couldn't have done it without you), and finally a huge thank you to everyone who I ran with during the race you guys are awesome!