Outrun-ing a Birthday is Only Way to Celebrate

Around 6am Sunday, May 3, I looked up to see this view from inside my tent.

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I’d like to say I woke up to see this but after I threw in the towel around 3 am on this 24-hour epic trail tale I did more groaning and unsuccessfully trying to find a comfortable resting position than anything else.
I felt like my hip might explode, my stomach was bloated and Swaggy J was freezing. I am sure I was too but there were too many other sensations screaming louder. I couldn’t believe people were still running, I was just impressed that my body was still operating while I laid on the cold, hard ground. At this point breathing, metabolizing seemed like super human feats.

How did I get to this place? Let’s go back to the beginning.

6 am Saturday, May 2, the alarm goes off and I’ve slept approximately 3-4 very interrupted hours. I am pondering the fact that I’ve set not one, but two, lofty goals before myself: a 100K distance and, if I can keep moving after that, to earn an award for continuing on for 24 hours whether that included running, walking, or crawling. I was tired, daunted and excited. In two hours, the event will begin and in 24 hours anything and just about everything can happen.

It was a beautiful day with great weather, the sun was shining and I was even wished a happy birthday by 100-plus participants and spectators (thanks to Swaggy J). And we were off…

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The first several hours came and went relatively uneventfully and then things started to get interesting as they do when a race starts to span into the double-digit hours.

I soon realized early in the evening that vegan miso soup with noodles is awesome. Nausea is often a constant companion during these long distances for me but this soup really quieted it down and let me get in the calories I needed. There were also many helpings of PB&J, Pop-Tarts, potato chips, pretzels, and watermelon. After a while I hated all of them except that soup.

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I got to 35-ish miles with relative ease and then it was time to call in reinforcements. Swaggy hit the trail with me for the rest of my 62 miles. And those were the hardest. At about 50 miles, I stopped to do some foot repair as I was developing some interesting blisters and other foot ailments that only ultra runners understand and the rest of you don’t really want to hear or read about.
At this point the day was wearing and 12 more miles felt so far, farther than I ever dreamed it would feel.

But Swaggy encouraged me to get up and push on otherwise I would regret it. And I knew, of course, that he was right but it’s tough when all you want to do is lay down (I didn’t know yet that lying down would become my nemesis as well).

But we continued on and I am here to tell you that I witnessed tenacity, fortitude and just straight-up bad-assery unlike any I have ever seen. Women were out there charging that course at ungodly hours and speed and it was awe-inspiring. While I was sipping my little Styrofoam cup of noodles just trying not to puke on my shoes there were ladies getting it done like a boss.
To be sure many men were as well. In fact, John at one point wanted to perform an HGH test on one of the participants cause he was sure he must be on the juice to run like that well after midnight.

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I hit 62 miles and while I wish I could say I was strong enough to keep going another 5 hours I just didn’t have it physically or mentally. And in order to keep moving you need one of those. So I made it to the tent, in all my filth, and laid down. I was lulled into a state of surrender and quiet by listening to the sound of much stronger legs and feet than mine run by our tent for hour upon hour and every so often you’d hear the sweet sound of “100” being shouted as yet another tough MoFo hit 100 miles and then kept going.

Thanks for a happy birthday Outrun.

All Sunshine (and some soreness),

G

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