It took me a few days to post this since I’ve been navigating my stairs grunting like a zombie after running this one. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done so far and that includes birthing two kids (one without the courtesy of an epidural).
It started it was freezing rain and everything was glazed. I started with a fellow MRTT (Moms Run This Town) mama. The first mile took 26 minutes because we were inching over a bridge that is doom in the daytime but covered in ice it becomes death bridge. Going fast wasn’t an option because I lack nordic cross country skiing capabilities in my trail shoes, also I suck at gravity. At the first manned station, our drop bags weren’t there because ice and roads = no vroom vroom and so we continued on UP and down icy fun filled hills. Literally crawling across the road because there was no way to get across the street without falling on our butts. After yet another icy bridge, we had gone up and down a way on these horrible icy hills and the runners in front called out if we had seen a marker…never a good sign. Sigh, we were off course.
I trucked ahead a little way to find the ribbons (and to find a tree) and we realized we were anywhere between 3 and 4 miles off course (we later found out a ribbon had been moved to block that section).The extra mileage in general just sucked the motivation out of me and when coupled by a cartoon worthy fall when I landed on a tree trunk and slid down a hill and had to grab a tree to stop, I was fully committed to calling it at loop 1.
We trudged forward and I called my pacer for loop 3 to let her know that it was NOT looking good (bonus points for falling mid conversation). After that we fell about 5 more times each, we crossed yet another icy bridge and a race volunteer asked if we were last. Cue ugly cry number 1 for the day.
After the 2nd manned station it was starting to thaw and I tried to make a game out of it to make up time. We ran into another MRTTer who was working on the 100 miler and hung out a bit before hitting the end of the first loop (Remi). We went into Remi on the wrong side (we went in the out apparently so had to cross back to hit the mats) and I called my pacer again and told her I would attempt to pull it through on loop 2 but to not plan on it because I had very little time to pull 19.5 miles out of my butt. My friend and I grabbed a few things, hit the bathroom and started off. At some point I lost her and I wasn’t sure what to do so I remembered that my pacer really wanted blackmail of me being a jackass in the woods at midnight so I put on some music and started hauling as much ass as I could haul.
Cue uplifting movie montage of me booking it through 19 miles and mentally trying to do math to figure if I would make cutoffs. At the last manned station they told me I had 6.5 miles and like 2 hours to make it. I have now reached the lifetime achievement of running in the woods, in the dark, listening to Rob Zombie, and shoving Cheese balls in my face as fast as I can.
The splits weren’t super awesome but I was doing 8:40-9:10 on the flats to make up for the technical bits which was just enough to gain time. I made the cutoff by 15 minutes and was so excited to see my pacer waiting for me, but the joy was short lived as we apparently had to be OUT of the aid station at 7pm. I left with my feet partially patched up and in brand new shoes (and the wrong socks) and we started race walking out.
First cutoff we made with 15 min to spare and I had enough time to get duct tape on the blister that may or may not have been from new shoes (they were the men’s versions of my usual shoes but again I hadn’t tested them yet).
At the 2 manned aid station, I broke down. I had 62 on my watch and I just wanted to go home. My pacer saved my race here because all I wanted to do was go home and cuddle with my kids. She dragged my ass through the station, let me have a phone call home and then fed me grapes. I have awesome friends. 5 miles out I decided I was done and started hauling as much ass as I could with everything hurting. I started seeing Christmas decorations in the woods too. Is hallucinating snowmen possible?
When we got closer all I wanted to do was cross doom bridge and there was finally a sign that pointed to the 100K last loop finish, which then sent another sign back, but the markers were ahead….it was confusing. We went the way we came realized we were again on the wrong side of the field… we ran past the cabins again and up the hill and across the mat. I finished with like 40 min to spare and ended up logging 68.23 total miles. My feet are a disaster but apparently many people’s were since someone left their freaking toenail next to my drop bin. Thanks for the souvenir? I couldn’t have done it without my amazing support people. This was a mileage PR for me by oooh 18 miles. There was a high DNF rate so I managed to be 11th woman and 55th overall (but not many were in the race still I was really just like 6th from last).
I took no photos during this race, but my friend took a few. It was a HARD race but totally worth it. I think my time would have been much better had the weather been cooperative and we didn’t add on mileage, but with a high DNF rate, I’m just happy to have finished.