This first picture here are of the WR girls in Central New York, who started running the same time I did in NC! Wow, what energy across the states! You girls ROCK! OK....and back to Umstead, NC......
I wore my Montrail Streak, Montrail race shirt - my drymax socks....no blisters! Montrail Streak are very smiliar to Rockridge...both are light, flexible and a good shoe to wear on nontechnical trails. I wasn't sure which ones to wear so I stuck with the Montrail Streak which I had worn for the year before. Never changed my shoes once, didn't need to. Truly amazing shoes.
I met up with my friends Ryan O'Dell, Jim Lampman, Ed Edington, Mack Duett, John Enholt, Paula Carrigan, who are all from a local club called Ultramatters that supports a wonderful and warm group of ultra runners filled with many experiences and lots of knowledge. And the star for this group that was the glue to hold us all together...Beth Bidstrup. What an amazing woman! Not only did she crew for me, but she crewed for Ryan, Jim, Ed, and Mack! And not only did she crew, but also entertained with her costumes that changed every lap. I know she made a difference for all of us. So...continuing on.....
There is a mystery in all races, but the longer the distance, the more you are entering a mystery, a challenge, a will to go beyond what your body and mind might be telling you. I think to myself "OK Jill, lets hang on for this wild ride today, bring it on whatever this day may bring. And I'll be damned if its not with a smile". I suppose some people mock me for smiling at races, but as most of us agree that this distance is mental...I would prefer to be mentally happy!
And with any and all of these long races is another question "Who will be my friend for the day?" And as you look at this first picture, Thomas, who ran at least 1 lap with me (I know it was a little more than that) became the first friend! Thomas has diabetes and I am so amazed at the power and determination to not let that overtake him. Truly a strong man and I am sure this will not be his first 100. So, we ran the first maybe second lap together and talked about life, silly and serious. But, I was always aware of my pace to not go out too fast...racing with clock, not people.
So, somehow Thomas and I lost track and I was wandering on my own, enjoying the lovely weather, being regiment with my fueling, aware of my pace. What I didn't let on is I did have a bit of a stomach bug from my kids being sick the past week so I made many many stops at pretty much every port a potty! But, being regiment about my fueling is what kept the motor going...I didn't stray from that. Nor did I stray from my pace.
I looked forward to seeing Beth, my amazing crew, at every lap. I looked forward to seeing what wig, tutu, outfit she was going to wear on the next lap! I had to laugh because I had "blond wig, big glasses" in my mind, only to be surprised by "black wig" on the next loop! She was awesome! I was in and out of every aid station without a pause and just kept moving forward.
As the day went on, I could see people that went out too fast struggling and slowing down drastically. So I definitely made headway. I met up with Sabrina Moran who was ahead of me for awhile. She is a young athlete and so talented! I look forward to keeping in touch with her. We exchanged some nice words and I moved on. I moved on to another runner named Jay...and became quite silly singing School House Rock songs. We stuck together for I believe a lap. He is quite the strong runner, and and very consistent with his pace.
Throughout the race, I would see glimpses of my fellow Central New York runners, Ryan, Ed, Jim, Mack as well as other runners I knew, Paula (love that smile Paula! You are a tough, strong woman!), Anthony Portera (the Italian with his surrounding mafia at all times!), Shannon (another super happy girl out there!!), Tammy, Hugo, Rosie (who I always said from Virginia but was corrected that she is from Kentucky!), Dane R who we are now face to face friends and not just facebook friends, and many, many, many more....the ultra world is a wonderful close knit world! One of the many reasons I love it.
What was getting me very excited was that my Montrail Teammate, Annette Bednosky was coming down to pace me the last two laps. So as I was coming in off my 5th lap, I look over to Beth and I see this long blond haired chic and come to find out, its Annette with a wig on! She arrived early! Annette and Beth hung out and talked and shared stories during my 6th lap (and I'm sure they were busy crewing for the other men too) When lap 6 was over, Annette jumped in!
Annette and I ran the 7th lap, talked, took pictures, acted silly, talked about farting (yes, we did!), and other ridiculous things! Not sure if you know this, but Annette is a flying fairy and I'm the rock rolling elf.... Lap 7 was a very talkative lap. But not Lap 8......
Lap 8 was a quite lap. No talking. All about breathing and focusing. My quads were tight. I have a certain way of going down hills which I did not do during this race...and I paid for it on lap 8. So, Annette, being the intuitive chic that she is, sensed my need to go within. And so we both went within. Annette and I both had the same foot rhythm, in synced with our breathing...it was cool. I know she was doing this on purpose to help me relax, without saying a word. She truly is knowledgeable and an amazing pacer and friend in many ways. We both went stealth, no headlights, in the dark and loved it. The moon was full and strong casting amazing shadows, the stars were bright...as Annette commented, it was magical. I knew that I was ahead of the other women by quite an amount so I just became relaxed in my pace and enjoyed the moment and didn't overly push myself...guess I should have focused on one of the men ahead...but all in all, lap 8 - was tough, but magical.
Annette and I ran in just under 16 hours - 15:58 and change - Wow. For such a long day it sure seem to fly by.
I finished, went into the lodge and met up with all of the other runners...mostly taking a break between laps. I think I sat down too quickly....I do not want to elaborate too much on the after race ordeal - I was overwhelmed by all the people, the man who was videoing me, etc etc...I did get sick and had a hard time drinking. I agreed to an IV (which can be miracle worker) thinking it was on the premises..but, no. And such goes the ridiculous other story of "those who do not understand that running a 100 miles does throw off your levels of everything". Another lesson learned.....and that will be in its own post.
But as I sit here with my many little munchkins, piles of laundry and body feeling great a few days later....I am thankful for what my body was able to do "in that other magical world". Now its a tiny bit a rest...and another BRING IT ON..very soon...and I know I will.....I'm ready.
This is a selfish sport supported by completely selfless people... I am very excited to be on that "selfless" side for both Beth and Annette and all the others that I can be. Its truly what makes me balanced. It is a give and take.....and its what makes my running strong.
BETH - YOU ARE AN AMAZING WOMAN WITH ALL YOU DID FOR ME AND THE OTHER GUYS!
ANNETTE - FOR TRAVELING 4 HOURS TO RUN WITH ME AND PACE ME.
BOTH OF YOU, ABOVE AND BEYOND IN MANY WAYS.
And to ALL the volunteer that came out there to help, who may have not known anyone there but just for the sake of the love of the sport and the give to others...thank you. You all truly made this wonderful for many and changed lives, attitudes, and help others achieve there goals.