There are big things to remember – like finishing alive in less than 12 hours, the pain in my quads the following day the wonderful people you meet who encourage you and help you on your way, the fantastic volunteers, and the terrific organization of the whole event.
There are also little things, and I have no idea why this stands out, but there was a piece of dog crap at on the trail at about 5 miles. First time I saw it, I thought “that dog’s owner needs to visit the vet”, – let’s just say it was a little soft. For some strange reason, I saw that little pile every lap, and despite coming close each time, I managed to avoid it. I was also surprised that everybody else had also managed to step over it. Why did I write that? Why does this stick out in my memory? I have absolutely no idea. Perhaps it is a symbol of the kind of trivia that fills my mind to keep from thinking about the pain or the number of miles still to be travelled. So, a big thank you to the dog pile, you kept my mind occupied for at least 30 seconds per lap.
Before I get stuck into the race itself, I am going to mention the wonderful people. Just about everyone I met, from the elite front runners to those closer to the back, to those fantastic volunteers and organizers took a moment to pass the time of day, encourage you or just smile at you. It was all quite humbling really. When you are being lapped by the eventual winner of the 100 miler, and he says as he passes, “Good running, keep it up”, it is quite amazing how much of a boost it gives you.
I also need to give a shout out to Tammy, whose blog and Umstead race report from last year formed a big part of my research. Although the list of stuff she takes to the race made me panic, because I didn’t have half of it. It was very nice to meet her, and even though I have not seen any results, I am certain that she did very well in her 100 mile race.
Finally, while we are talking about people, a very special thank you to my new friend Frankie, who kept me company for the best part of laps two and three. Her conversation, encouragement, humor and enthusiasm really kept me going. I also found that I cut my pace back to match her pace, there is no doubt in my mind that easing back a bit in the mid stages of the race left me with enough energy to tackle the last few miles. As I was slowing down in the last lap, Frankie surged ahead, (she has an amazingly fast walk). The miles flew by – I know that she will have got through her first 100 with plenty of time to spare.
Watch this space; I’m working on a race report with pictures, and should get it done by the end of the week.