We left off last time with me heading out for the final two laps of my first 100 mile event. I am reluctant to use the term ” race” as the only thing I was racing against was the clock to make it in by the 30 hour cut off. I now had two laps with my BFF, turned pacer, turned first time 50 miler, Brandi. In addition to Brandi lap 6 brought about my other pacer/crew/personal medic Dr. Laura, who had run the half marathon earlier in day. Although the sun of the new day had invigorated me, I could definitely feel my energy levels tanking. Through out laps 5 and 6 Brandi and Laura tag teamed with Brandi ” pulling ” and Laura ” pushing” from behind. The music method I found to be very helpful. Brandi turned on my Pandora Lady Gaga station and kept just within ear shot so I would have to keep up with her to hear it. The music allowed my brain to shut off some more and focus on the beat instead of the intense pain and exhaustion I was experiencing. At many points during these last two 16 + mile laps I would stop in the middle of the trail and just cry ( for those that know me crying is sort of my M. O. see the Jungle Marathon Video on ABC) . The Team Wag Strong ladies would let me cry then entice me with a phone call to a friend, or a yummy coke, if I made it to the next aid station. Onward I went. This crying and bribing action went on for the better part of the final stages of this race. I am sure my pacers/crew had about had enough by the end, but they never once showed it. Their positive attitudes and energy were infectious and keep me in a constant forward motion to get to the finish and that buckle I so desired.
During the final lap, I noticed that about every 10 minutes I had to urinate. Normally I am not one to discuss bodily functions, but this would be a significant point later on that weekend. My urine was clear, and I thought that was a positive sign that I was well hydrated especially when my body needed it the most. I never felt thirsty during the race and had my Ultraspire pack filled each lap and add 2 salt caps to it for extra electrolytes. The final lap would prove to have more surprises. As we left the half way point at Richey’s Haven, I started to experience severe sharp pains and cramping in right calf. In all the years running I have never experienced pain like this . Basically it felt like my calf was about to snap in half and I couldn’t get a complete range of motion. At this point, I was more than grateful to have my own MD/pacer who quickly calculated the amount of potassium in a banana and the approximate amount that I needed. Although I almost threw them all up from the nausea, I got them down and with in a few miles noticed the pain was subsiding. Laura also gave me a make -shift walking pole out of a stick, that allowed me to move much easier as my body and brain were fighting the exhaustion.
During the final few miles, it still had not sunk in what I was about to accomplish. My brain was shut off and I just was focused on moving. It was dark again and the trails were quiet. As we approached the mile mark my remaining crew had hiked in to join me for what would be my proudest running accomplishment to date. Together we made it to my final climb and exit out of the trail to the beloved finish line! I could now call myself a 100 mile finisher!
The first thing out of mouth was where is the buckle??? And here is was, the smile on my face says it all.
I could not have done this without my amazing crew. They had not slept, and half of them had run a great distance in addition to focusing on my needs and keeping my mind and body straight through this adventure. I was surprised how good I felt at the finish and how hungry I was! But what I was most looking forward to was a shower, clean clothes and taking off my shoes ( not in that order). But before tha,t we had to document the moment with some post finish pics.
Once the photos were done it was off the camp site to remove my shoes and hit the showers. I was walking surprisingly well and was on cloud 100! ( pun intended). I headed to the ladies showers and rinsed away the dirt, sweat, and just relaxed in my first hot shower in 2 days. It felt awesome…. until I noticed I was a bit dizzy and probably needed to get out of the shower, put on my Pj’s and get some food and rest. As I was getting dressed I noticed that my head became foggy but I heard Dr. Laura in the main bathroom and grabbed my towel and went to her. I looked at her and said ,” I don’t feel very good”… the next thing I remember I was outside on the ground, covered in ice and Brandi was frantically calling my name with many other people standing around looking at me. I was a bit confused and wondered why they were waking me from my glorious nap? Turns out taking a hot shower shortly after running 100 miles what not the brightest idea I had in the last few days. I became overheated, had a severe blood pressure drop and passed out, nearly missing the floor thanks to Laura and Brandi. The medics arrived and were concerned that my blood pressure was not coming up and opted to take me to the Michigan State Hospital for fluids and evaluation.
In this case I was extremely lucky. I had friends that where there when I went down, and knew my medical allergies as well. However, I had on my ICEDOT band the entire time and was so grateful! At the hospital the blood work showed that my CK was over 3000, which is pretty common for ultrarunners. The main concern was still my blood pressure, so over 4 liters of fluids was into my body and I swear it ended up in my feet! The joke was I just wanted a real bed to sleep in, and I have to say that hospital bed was cozy, but I would much rather have been in my tent with my crew celebrating the finish. Eight hours later I was released. I learned a TON from this experience and can’t wait to do it again!! Well, without the hospital visit…
So thank you all for reading my journey to 100 miles. It was an amazing, exhilarating, and brutal experience that I will never forget. I could NOT have done it with out my support team! Until Next time!
Wag Strong and Always Always wear your ICEDOT Band or Snap!
The ICEdot Crash Sensor attaches to a helmet and notifies emergency contacts of a crash and your location. Be the first to own one. Sign up for our Crash Sensor newsletter and we'll email you when it's ready to purchase.