When I picked up Sara for the third loop, I started to melt. I think I held everything together for the first 25 miles because I knew I had no choice - I was out there alone, and there wasn't anyone to whine/cry/complain to. About 2 miles into that third loop, I had my only real "low" moment of the day. I was tired, we had already covered 28 miles, yet I still had 22 miles to go. I started to cry, and Sara just let me be. She talked to distract me, I read the note Caitlyn wrote for me, and I slowly came out of it. I reminded myself of why I was doing this, and that I had come way too far to mess this up now.
We shuffled our way past the 32.5 aid station, and I knew I only had 5 miles until what became known as the "victory lap". I got a little too confident, and took my eyes off the leaf covered "rooty" trails for a hot second. And then it happened THUD. I felt HARD on my left hip, and knocked the wind out of myself. I did the 10 point check to make sure I wasn't injured, and although I was fine, I was rattled. Sara encouraged me to get up and start walking, so I didn't seize up. She gave me the motivation I needed to immediately take a deep breath, and just move past it. I was now running to see my "crew" again, and head out for that final victory lap!!
Jess and Jo re-filled my Camelbak, I grabbed more Healthy Bites, and Jess also threw some gummy bears at me. In all the commotion, I forgot to grab my last pack of Clif-Bloks.
I was giddy heading back into the woods - incredibly tired, but so damn happy. Once I was back on that trail, I KNEW I would finish. Realizing I was out of Clif-Bloks at mile 40, I was going to have to switch to gummy bears and coke to carry me through. It worked like a charm; thanks Haribou! It was SO MUCH FUN to say "this is the last time I'll run up this hill", "this is the last time I'll trip over this damn root!", etc. We had so much fun these last miles. I got a silly smile on my face about 28 different times when I thought "oh my God, I'm ACTUALLY doing this!". All of that hard work, so many miles, so much sacrifice, and I was DOING it!! My hips were tight, left shin angry from all of my tripping, and hand throbbing from the fall, but I was so ecstatic. Watching the miles count up through the 40's was simply surreal; something that's just so hard to put into words. With 5 miles to go, we ran into Scott and Lisa, and all worked together for those last miles. It honestly couldn't have been more perfect.
10 hours, and 38 minutes after the dark start of a GO GO GO, I crossed the finish line of my first 50 mile race. I smiled, I cried, and I wanted to just collapse. I was exhausted and sore, but it is a moment that I will not soon forget.
|Nothing beats finishing with good friends...|
|my new finisher shirt!|
Somehow I never got a picture with Sara, but I don't think the role she played on Saturday needs any explanation. Without her, I know I wouldn't have had as strong of a race. It takes a damn special person to go out and run 25 miles, at almost 7 months pregnant, just to help a first time ultra-runner cross that finish line. Thank you Sara, for everything. I'm so lucky.
|The night before the LA Marathon - those are Census headbands that came in our race packets.|
So there it is, my tale of 50 miles. It was hard. It was amazing. It was so much more than I thought it would be. As I sit here 4 days later, I'm still deliriously happy. I'm so proud of myself for committing to this race, especially when everyone said "you just had surgery, there's no way you can do that!".
The take home message is this: If you put in hard work, and a whole lot of heart, the sky is the limit. If I can run 50 miles, I promise that each of you reading this can achieve anything you want. Dream big my friends.
And finally, I couldn't write this report without including the reason for everything I do, and by far my biggest fan!
Now onto the next adventure - Sara and I are tackling the Philadelphia Marathon next weekend, as her final hurrah before the baby comes! 10 days to go!