Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Umstead 100 mile 2009: Lap 3 Pictures and Report

At the turn around point at mile ~26. One marathon down, 3 marathons to go! I was feeling pretty good and thrilled that the weather was just delighful. From about mile 12 until mile 50, I was able to just wear my "Tammy" singlet and my marathongirl skirt. This made me happy because I like my pink outfit and by having less clothing on, I have less chaf points. Oh yes, I also like my name on my shirt because I hate just being a number (and if I pass out and become unconscious I want to ensure EMTs/Paramedics are using my name, not "ma'am", because if I was "Ma'amed" on my death bed, I totally am going to run to the light!!!

Tristan and Gilligan popped out of the woods again to cheer me on. They were doing some hill work to train for Mt Rainier (well Tristan was doing hillwork and Gilligan was stuck either with hillwork or else running 100 miles...evidently hillwork won)

Running along with my friend Pete in the background. Pete and I ran a bit of many laps together. Like many other runners I hung out with, ultimately our pace and run/walk strategy separated us. But he was good company and finished the race soon after I did, congratulations Pete!

Getting ready to complete my 37.5 mile. I continued to be very happy, feel strong and was just having a great day. I guess having a comparator of last year (with 24 out of 28 hours in the rain, most anything was an improvement), but overall the entire 2009 event was perfect for being outside.

Approaching headquarters by the Red Cross Shelter. The ladies in this building were very nice but funny because they would encourage you but then would say that they did not want to see you in their building (since that was the acute care building if something catastrophic occured). I told them, I did not want to their building either...but not because of the fine company I would have.

As I head out for lap 3, I see my friends coming out of headquarters (because of my bathroom break as I completed lap 2 and my Aid Station break prior to starting lap 3 I have no idea where I am with respect to my various friends). I mention to my buddies that I saved some popsicles for them and recommend the “blue” flavored one. Along the course I get all sorts of comments from the runners coming in to the aid station. I am able to tell the runners they are almost at the popsicle stand. I get close to suggesting it is $5 per popsicle and a cash only business but decide people might not see the humor in this.

After the T-intersection I head out into the airport spur. I see my friend Frankie (from Rocky Raccoon 50) during the out and back section. She is looking really strong and is so cheerful and upbeat. Frankie is such an outgoing and friendly runner. She has such a large personality and is so sweet! It is nice to know there is the chance I could catch up to her at some point. Along this section I also see Kris coming at me, continuing her impressive run. I am inspired by Kris. She is so nice, encouraging, smart and clearly doing really well in the race. I remember fondly having dinner with her and her husband Randy during VT100. Our dinner was one of the highlights of VT100. She and Randy (her husband) are such a cute and romantic couple, I know they have been married longer than Tristan and I but they act like newlyweds which is so sweet. I excited for her because clearly she current is one of the top 5 woman and looking really strong.

Continuing on I pass the “T” intersection and get a view of my friends who are behind me. This includes Rob A. and Susan D. as well as Leo Lightener. It is so nice to see so many role models, friends and heroes along the course! Rob was really instrumental in helping me at the VT100 mile race when I completely freaked out during the lightening storm. And Leo was one of the first people I ran with for a significant amount of time during my first 50 miler, JFK50 in 2005. We ran the vast majority of the AT (Appalachian Trail) together and he really provided a lot of good advice during this (for example in an ultra/trail event do not look at people, just look at the ground…sadly I did not follow this advice until the next year and fell several times for not listening) Leo just turned 80 years old and he is an amazing athlete.

An issue that continues to plague me relates to my feet. I have a chronic problem (in training and in racing) of not being able to tie my shoes optimally. Frequently, my shoes are too tight which make my feet hurt or too lose which makes my knees and ankles hurt. I retie my shoes several (many) times throughout the race but realistically my feet are never happy. At some point I stop retying my shoes in futility in this lap. The next time I retie my shoes is about mile 47 and this gets me to my planned shoe change at mile 62.5.

In the out and back, I also see my friend Jenny C from Rocky Raccoon finishing her 3rd lap as well as my friend Turtle from Kickrunners finishing her 2nd lap. It is like a huge reunion which makes me happy. I then get into the loop section and I am pretty well alone. There are runners in the distance ahead of me and a few well behind me. But I am content to just run and enjoy my morning (or is it afternoon) running along the course. How lucky am I to be doing something I love with so many friends scattered along the course. Approaching the bridge below the lake, I see Blake taking pictures. I take his picture as well and chat briefly. I express how much I appreciate him organizing this wonderful race. I also tell him I am really feeling good and am expecting success at the race. I promise I will not be last this year, thus will not add to my Norwoodie or perseverance rock collection. He is really nice and suggests I am looking really good.

I continue on by the lake and past mile 4, 5 and 6. There are lots of folks out on the course walking, jogging and taking their critters for a walk. I try to pet all the dogs I pass and some I take pictures of. There is a person on a horse and I consider bartering for a ride. While I feel really good, I know I will be in a lot of pain soon enough and a horse ride for a few miles may delay this.
In this section I run with my friend Kim from Kickrunners and the young lady who was second to last female in 2007. At mile 95 she powered past me with her encouraging pacer (Tristan was failing miserable as a pacer at that time not holding up his end of the conversation and when he did converse they were depressing topics…in his professional life he is one of the statisticians in the FDA that assists in the decision to approve drug products for depression. This is good because man he was a major downer during our lap so I almost needed those drugs he was instrumental in approving!). Her pacer kept a steady conversation, was encouraging and just did the opposite of what Tristan did (seriously I have tried so hard to fire Tristan but it just doesn’t stick…Tristan is like the guy in the movie Office Space who is downsized but just keeps coming to work:-)

Kim was really nice and enthusiastic. We talked about our Umstead experiences in both 2007 which was both our first 100 miler and last year, which was grueling because of the rain. Kim was really good company and I was bummed when we ended up separating. This was because of me and my pathetically small/shrinking bladder, this was the first time I just could not make it to the porta potty thus I scurried off course for a “LaTree”. Since it was still early in the race, I still had standards, so had to find the appropriate ladies room about 50 feet off course (trust me by the end, ladies rooms were to be found essentially on the course).

As I continue along the course I see a fuzzy black creature in the distance. Could it be my critter? It is! Gilligan and Tristan come running at me and I attempt to go running at them. In the race to meet, they win. But alas our little reunion is short. I take a few pictures and chat briefly. They are doing some hill training and appear to be enjoying their day. Tristan decides it is too hard for Gilligan to keep up with me so we go our separate ways pretty quickly. It is nice to see them. They are really close to AS #2, so relatively quickly I am at the aid station. Time for a brief potty break then off to the aid station.

After announcing my number “182 here” and “Thanks for volunteering”, it’s time for a refreshment break. The nice volunteers take my water bottle and refill it and add some ice. They are so nice. While they do this I eat and drink. I drink lots of Gatorade, some ginger ale and a little bit of coke. I also gobble up salty potatoes, cheese nips, some tasty cheddar cheese, pretzels, M&M’s and bananas. After filling up, I head out of the aid station to continue my journey.

In the "Sawtooths" section I sporadically run/jog/walk with a variety of runners. At this point the 3rd lappers (like myself) are blending in and getting passed by the 4th lappers. Everyone continues to be happy and upbeat. While it is sunny and warm out, there is a nice breeze for runners who do not like heat. I am happy because I seem to be generating enough heat to be comfortable in my tank and marathon girl skirt (and of course seamless bra, underpants and drymax socks!). One of my issues in 2008 was a lot of chaffing at seams, so having fewer layers during the majority of the race prevents at least this issue.

I powerwalk the uphills and run down the hills and the flats. This is the first time I start really hating the downhills. Because of a fairly significant injury when I was hit by a car in 1995, I always struggle with downhills. But I tough it out and remind myself this is just a really bad sneak peak of things to come. I meet Pete and Frank in this section. Pete comments that I am a superpowerwalker. I comment that when I was a kid I was the youngest in my family. Sadly this meant for a long time I had the smallest legs. To keep up on long hikes which we did frequently I had to walk quickly (sadly I have no doubt my family would have abandoned me). Apparently unbeknownst to me, my family was training me to be an ultra-runner. I also pointed out that recently I have been pretty much leaving my family in the dust in hiking. In Arizona, I totally outhiked my dad and I definitely can hike my mom into the groundJ So as a reminder to those of you with kids I have several comments as you raise your kids: 1) "Whispering Pines" (that is the nursing home your kids will put you in, so you better treat them well (Mom/Dad I'm not threatening you here...just pointing out a fact...there's still some time to buy my love, teehee:-) and 2) if you hike your kids into the ground going way too fast, they’ll remember and pay you back! (yeah, Mom/Dad, trust me if you ever are using a walker you better be prepared to make it go super fast cause Tammy don't wait for no-one!)

As I power up Mt Everest, I am able to take a small break at the aid station. I load up with some Gatorade and pretzels then continue on with my journey. As I continue running the hills I approaching mile 37.5 and am excited. I am feeling great, the weather is delightful and I am having a wonderful time. As usual the crowds at the main aid station are awesome. They go wild for each runner, cheering, clapping and making lots of noise. I feel like a rockstar!
At the main aid station I do not need to jettison anything nor pick up anything. It is mid-afternoon, the weather is predicted to be perfect and will not cool off for another few hours. Helpful and enthusiastic volunteers attend to my water bottle filling it up with ice and water. I fill myself up with pretzels, cheese nips, eggs, potatoes, soup, M&M’s and banana’s. I drink several cups of Gatorade, a bit of coke and then ask for a popsicle for the road. I decide on purple (which I know is grape) and head back onto the course to continue my journey.

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