Picture: My family and friends: My husband: Tristan, Me, Imelda and my sister: Cindy.
This past weekend I ran the Umstead 100 mile endurance run. This is my second time at this event and my basic goal was to not finish in last place as I did in 2007. I succeeded with 58 minutes to spare and 13 places!
My time is currently listed as 28 hours 52 minutes and 17 seconds. And I was in 91rst place out of 104 runners who completed the 100 mile distance. I am still on cloud nine with resepect to how well I think I did.
Currently my race recovery issues include a bunch of blisters. I have named a few (the biggest meanest one is called "Stumpy" after a mean cat that I was related to by marriage alone-thus she was my step cat). I have a few other blisters and one that is quite puzzling to me; a blister about 3 inches above my heel on one leg. It might be related to my ankle gaiters but it sure seems like an odd spot. I have one toenail that was never really a team player on my body that I suspect will be falling off in the near future. And of course I have the usual stiffness and soreness, but it is getting better each day.
I am working on my running report of this event, but have a few highlights to share. My first highlight started a few months ago. I try to volunteer for races frequently and really wanted to give back a little to Umstead 100 which had treated me so well last year. I sent in my volunteer form to Blake and a few days later expressing an interest in registration, he dropped me an e-mail asking if I would be willing to work the merchandise area. Of course I was happy to do this task but requested that he assure me the position would not entail much standing as I wanted to be as fresh as possible for the race. He replied that it would be pretty much a sitting position particularly since there has never been a racer who has come in last two years in a row, earning the Norwoodie. I assured him I did not want to be the first to do this and was not interested in creating a matching pair or "set". Happily I did not come in last, but for a few laps I was a bit concerned. It is really hard to tell where you are ranked particularly since the runners do not know who has dropped.
The second highlight of my race was right before the race started running into Jamie Donaldson, the first place female from 2007 in the ladies bathroom. She was really nice and friendly and perhaps a bit puzzled how someone knew of her (I know of most of the elites because I read ultrarunning magazine every month and sometimes read articles over and over....to be able to run these events faster then I could run a mile or even run from a bear frothing at the mouth is really impressive). Jamie wished me luck in my race and each time we ran into each other, she has positive words of encouragement. She is a really classy and gracious runner and such an inspiration.
The next highlight of my race was running about 5-10 minutes with the overall winner: Serge Arbona. Last year he finished his final lap right as I was finishing my 5th lap. But even before this slight interaction we had met briefly at an aid station and he had wished me luck. This sport really impresses me with how kind the leaders and elites are to regular (or even really bad) runners. His positive words in 2007 really left a positive impression on me. Well as he caught up to me about 7 in the evening on my 4th-5th lap and his 75+ mile we exchanged the usual greetings and pleasantries. Just being in his presence gave me a bit of energy, so I picked up my pace and started chatting. He asked about his status on the field and I suggested that he was solidly in first place and unless someone slipped by me while I was in the bathroom (which was a possibility), he was pretty much alone. But then I realized maybe I was supposed to give him some motivation to go quick, so I quickly said, "but do you want me to lie to you, and tell you someone is sneaking up on you?" He had an amusing story about being told someone was within 2 minutes of him at mile 90 in a 100 miler race several years ago and ending up with a painfully stiff neck for weeks. However, when he read the race report he learned that he was well ahead of everyone. Just so any of you reading this know, I will not lie to you about where you are, your physical status or the weather unless you tell me it's okay. But if you do, I really will go to town. I do find it a bit distressing to be misled. I figure that for the most part it is better just to know reality and that things may not be looking good.
My final story for the time being has to do with my state of dress. I wore my lucky outfit which consists of a pink runner girl skirt, pink singlet with my name on it (I kind of get tired getting called a number and anyway if I need CPR I want the medics to be yelling, "Tammy run away from the light!". Because if they say "ma'am, excuse me ma'am, are you okay", that will only incite me to run to the light faster! In addition to this I had a yellow poncho from Niagara Falls I had gotten on the Maid of the Mist when my Trisan and I were up to run the Niagara on the Lake 50 km Ultra (which I highly recommend). I kept in in my fanny pack when it was not raining but when the rain or strong mist occured, I would put it on. The race director Blake Norwood saw me in it and mentioned it looked like I was part of a kite. Others would say things like: "Nice Cape". Someone suggested I looked like big bird and finally the most amusing comment was when another runner suggested that I looked like a superhero. I wish I was a superhero! And I wish my superpower was to be able to stop and start rain on command. But alas I am just a slow runner trying to run with passion (since I can't run with speed).
I will try to write a summary of my race in the next few days and perhaps will try to include some more pictures.