A year of deciding, preparation and stress done in a day. Kind of like all the great moments in life. However, unlike your birthday party, bachelorette party or wedding that you never want to end, this one I had hoped would have taken a lot less time then it did.
I did my first 100 miler, Oil Creek on October 11-12, 2014 in Titusville, Pennsylvania. http://www.oilcreek100.org/Home/registration
Since crossing the finish line I have been struggling with how long it took me. I feel like I was prepared physically and mentally for this race. However, I finished well over the time I hoped to.
So I ask myself, “Time. Is it everything?”
My answer after a week of reflection is, “No.” For those that know me, know I am not “yet” saying this with complete conviction, but I will get there and here is why…
…Because I finished. I finished something many would never attempt. I finished something many did attempt and didn’t finish.
…Because I did it on my own. I had help getting here; running advice, running partners, friends to drive me to & from the race start, even friends crewing others that also helped me at the earlier aid stations. But race day was just me. No pacer. Just me and the occasional racers along the way. I wanted the extra challenge.
…Because when I needed to, I stepped it up. I had been slowly trudging along all night, frozen and mostly alone, but once the sun came up and I realized just how close to the cut-off I was I started to pick up the pace and the 2nd half of my last loop was almost as fast as the first loop after 130+km. That a time I can be happy about.
…Because it is the joy of being out there and pushing yourself. I forgot that when I was beating myself up for being so slow. A common occurrence for me in the darkness of night.
…Because “Time” may not be everything, but “Timing” is. As I ran towards aid station 3 on my second loop (3 x 50k loops) I ducked behind a tree to pee (for the 100th time) loosing the 3 runners ahead of me, but gaining one behind me. He ran up saying that he had been struggling to catch up as his light went out. So I used my strong ayups (http://www.ayup-lights.com/) to run us both into aid station 3. I had suspicions that he was a strong runner which got stronger when we hit the road and before I could finish saying, “I hope I wasn’t too slow for you.” he took off towards the aid station. Once at the aid station he was lucky to get a more suitable light and move on to win the race.
So maybe for this race I have to forgo “Time” for “Timing”. The right place, at the right time. Although, I have no doubt that first place racer would have carried on with or with out bumping into me, there is something karmically satisfying in that the last female (3 males we still behind me) helped the first place winner.
Time wasn’t on my side for this race. But timing was and the great friends to help me a long the way and paying it forward is sometimes all you can do.
Beautiful course and extremely well organized. Well supplied aid stations and the bonus of there being great tarp coverage at each aid station as well as the school to go inside at the start/finish/aid station 4. Weather was in the most part good. No rain, thankfully. But the temperature dropped significantly during the night, making it very difficult. Once the sun went down I froze and just didn’t have the speed to keep me warm or enough clothes. So didn’t warm up again until the sun came up to cheer me on.