Tuesday, September 15, 2009

me against my mind for 100miles

This event is one of my favorites. 100miles of trail running in Lethbridge Alberta. The course is going straight up or straight down. No trees to hide from the sun, it gets up to 37C during the day and you better be ready for the night when it gets to 5c.  It really test what you are made of. I love the fact that it brings me to such a low place. Around the 20 hour mark I hate everything and almost everyone :) I have to fight against my mind non stop to keep running, to keep drinking, not to fall alseep and to not quit. I have done this race for 7 years now, started with the 50km distance and worked my way up and have done the 100miles for the last 3 years. I learn something new about myself on the course every time. 

This year, Mary Betts was going to run the 100 miles as well and Kay Simpson would give the 100km a try. We also brought the best support crew there is out there, Barb,Debbie, Scott and Jayeson. Their job was to cheer us on at the stations and make sure we were drinking, eating putting sunscreen on.... Not an easy job! Jayeson was also going to pace me for the last 53km.

First loop 53km. Happy to be out on the trails with a bunch of old friends!

I was in Lethbridge for 5 years and it is always nice to see friends on the trails. This year, I know I am not feeling 100% from previous injury but I am going to give everything I have. I love the first loop cause I'm fresh, the downhills are fast and the uphills are not too hard! It went really good, did better than I thought even if I was hurt.

Second loop another 53km. Night time. when you know the course, great opportunity to go fast!

Feeling pretty good and I'm really happy to be around 5th place. I am eating really good and drinking lots. At each station I stay for about 2 minutes, enough to get a glass of coke, and put some food in my ziplock bag. It's starting to get dark, I feel great, my ipod is on repeat with the song "Till I collapse" by Eminem and ready for the night loop. I am passing people since I feel comfortable on the course and loving the feeling. This good feeling doesn't last all night, around 12am I start getting very sleepy, Ipod is dead and I have about 7 km to go to finish the second loop and I am starting to think my mind might win this one today!! What gets me through during these tough moments is thinking about great things in my life like my nieces and all the great people I have in my life. I get to the last station 6 km before the end of my loop and texted Jayeson. Told him I was tired but knowing that he couldn't wait to pace me kept me going. I was looking forward to seeing him since he took the time to sleep for the last 6 hours so he could be fresh for the night. I finally get there and so happy to see him. It gave me a bit of energy to start my last loop!!!! so pumped about that.

Third loop... last 53km. Survival mode. don't let your mind convince you to quit. Uphills seem longer, downhills are not fun anymore and everything hurts!

It is 3am and it is really nice to have company. I really enjoy the solitude of the trail but it is a nice change to have him around. Joking around, I make sure he is ready for the crazy pace I am going to set on the last loop!!! I am very slow I feel frustrated but I am still moving forward. I start to fall asleep on the course so it is time for a 15 minutes nap. It takes me a second to fall asleep and ready to go once J wakes me up. We get going and have a good time running together. I was so amazed by him. He has never done anything like this but was ready to help me as much as he could. We had a blast on the trail and after a few caffeine pills had a good pace going :) Again, it does not last all night. Just before the sun comes up, I feel very sleepy. I decide to take a quick 5 minutes nap right on the trail. Jayeson stays awake and keeps my legs warm. Up I go and the sun is starting to come up. New day! We are about 5 hours from the finish line. I realize now that I will win this battle. What a tough night!

Every station, the volunteers are CRAZY nice. They are ready to give you anything you need, they cheer you on at 1pm in the afternoon and just as loud at 3am at night. I ask about Mary and Kay and they seem to be rocking it. I am soooo happy for them and very proud that they took this  HUGE challenge on.

Only 6km to the finish line, We see Barb at one of the last station. She takes great care of us, feeds us and makes sure we're all good to go to push through the finish line.

I keep saying to J, I am so tired of this and will never run this far ever again. We have one more hill to do and that is it! 

33 and 27 minutes we cross the finish line. Slow but very happy to be done.

One questions that comes back all the time is WHY? Why do I put my body through this. Here' a few reasons...

  • I meet great people along the way
  • Race directors for this race are the nicest guys out there and make the race very safe and fun.
  • It takes me to a low and teaches me new ways to fight through them. I truly believe it makes me a much stronger person mentally
  • I love watching people push themselves.
  • Listening to people's story after the race and finding what was the best and worst part of the race.
  • during these 33 hours, it is like you are in the best world ever. When you think about it, If you are in a regular city, cold and hurt, the chance that someone will give you their jacket, feed you and help you for a few hours is rare. In a trail run, Everyone is nice to each other, people say hello and want to know where you are from. They are ready to help you any way they can. I like this fake race world!
I hope people get inspired to go do things that will push them out of their comfort zone. It is something that makes you stronger in your everyday life. It never has to be 100 miles!

Thank you Jayeson for your amazing support. I can't believe you ran 53km for the first time to help me, not even to race for yourself. It says a lot about the kind of person you are.

Thank you Barb for being there. Your support and organization is unreal!! Always fun to have you around.

Congrats to Mary and Kay. They both finished the race and did an amazing job at pushing their limits. It is great to have great ladies like you to enjoy crazy races like this one!! Thank you to the race directors and volunteers, you all really make the race a unique experience

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