"Its not what you look at, its what you see" Thoreau

"Its not what you look at, its what you see" Thoreau

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pinhoti 100 - Point to Point, with some side trails added on!

"We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough" Helen Keller

The past month I ran two back to back 100 mile races - I do not think I will make a habit of it, but did it for these reasons:

1. I LOVE FALL!!!! I was able to not only enjoy the peak of Fall in where I live in New York, but was able to follow it backwards to the peak in Pennsylvania and then the peak in Alabama. And how lucky to have two races with perfect weather and perfect colors.

2. Testing Udo's Oil and the recovery benefits. I can say, its working. I've been taking it everyday for about 6 weeks now and can see the benefits of recovery (although I am not going to push the limits too much....!).

3. To enjoy being MENTALLY back in the game! It's so good to have the happy chatter in my head that was missing for awhile (relative that is....as you read below, there were moments!)- we all go through the up and down waves in our training, life, so on and so on. Oh, how wonderful it is, when the wave is up and its all "clicking again". Wooohooo, I will savor this!

OK - and now for the Pinhoti race report:

I have alot of respect for the race director Todd Henderson and his wife Jamie Henderson for organizing a point to point. That is hard and that is why they are not as common as loop 100's. All the aid stations, trail markings, transporting of people....lots of work. Pinhoti is predominately on single track trail even harder to manage. The trail was challenging - over rocks (covered with lots of leaves!), over creeks, up mountains but oh... lots of beauty.

I took a few falls due to looking up and around all of the beauty!!!!

The morning of the race, many took a bus from the finish line to the start - it was a cold morning!!!! At about 6:11 the race started and within a few miles, the layers were coming off. I had no crew and put all that I needed in my pack - clothes, food, headlamp(with fresh batteries), etc etc.

Up until the first aid station, I was running in a pack and just talking away! It was nice to take it easy....but I was getting antsy to be alone. After the first aid station I took off and ventured out myself. It was pretty easy to navigate in the day time - majority of the trail was to follow the blue markers.

Wow, was in my head often - the palette of colors on the ground, all around, just heavenly. The sun was rising and a comfortable warmth set in. The temps were perfect. Really, I don't think I was even thinking of running but the wonderland I was running in!

I am so thankful for Todd who mentioned to the aid stations about my celiacs - allergy to gluten/wheat. My lovely food allergy has messed up plenty of races for me. So.... aid station 3, a woman named Mercy called out my name - and WHAT A SURPRISE - she had gluten free brownies, rice krispie treats, pretzels, broth....I just went crazy with the food! I think I shoved about 10 lbs of food in my pack (a bit exaggerated) for the the journey on . Never have I seen a gluten free aid station. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And then, back to solitude. The day time flew by pretty fast. There was another runner named Phil, who I was playing leap frog with from mile 40 0n. That is the only other runner I saw for the rest of the race.

I took some crazy falls, used some crazy words, had alot of crazy thoughts.....was in a pretty happy, crazy mood.....and then...THE NIGHT.

The night, was not easy. Navigating was a bit tough for not only me, but everyone. So I arrive at an aid station just when the sun was disappearing (not sure what number) to hear a volunteer ask me how I got behind Phil (I was a bit ahead of him at this time). I didn't give much thought to it other than they must have been thinking of someone else. Quickly ventured in to the woods as the darkness was setting in. As I was moving along a couple of miles in the dark woods I see this headlight coming at me - now that's a first! Its Phil! We both sat there for what seemed like hours (probably 5 minutes) arguing who is going the right way - I convinced Phil to follow me (he has no idea of my past history of getting lost many of times). So, we run with a bit of anxiety to wondering where we will end up...and then, another headlight comes our way and my heart just sank thinking I totally screwed up - but I DIDN'T! It was a pacer looking for his runner. We popped out of the single track trail to the next aid station and both of us where just a bit mentally out of whack. So we gave up the leap frog game for awhile and decided to run together . Well, well, well...a couple of miles in to the trail we loose all site of any markers. We are literally bushwhacking through the woods looking for a marker. Finally, we find it and Phil is thinking we are running back in the same direction - and I of course, reassure him that we are not. And now, we have run out to the aid station...to the same *&#@ aid station we were just at. I am having a full out temper tantrum at this moment. But deep breathing and self talking to pull it together and both Phil and I dare to venture back in the "twilight zone" which I felt like I was in. So, we get back in the woods with some adrenaline speed to try to make up time back to the "SPOT" or black hole or other such names I called it. We finally find the markers to continue on. Just nuts.

Phil and I separated again and we ran on our own for a bit. The cold sets in, the wind picks up, and I am so thankful for my arm warmers and jacket in my pack. The next few miles were definitely hard to navigate but successfully popped out at the correct aid stations. Until....the aid station roughly in the 80's somewhere caused another mishap, another "moment". Leaving that aid station seemed like an easy trot- but is was the one that just mentally broke me. Could not find a marker for miles. I was told to go 41/2 miles down the path and making a right to getting back on the single track trail - sounds easy right?hmmm. And miles, and miles and miles ...where is this right trail, where are the markers? The words out of my mouth were scary! And to stop with the details...I got lost yet again.....this time, back tracking for awhile to find Phil who was equally upset. So, we stuck together to finally find the trail which was much farther than the 4 1/2! Made our right and did what we could to bring us mentally back. We talked about lots - made up running games (OK, run hard for 10 minutes and take it easy for a few). We talked about how great it will be to be in a hot shower and a warm bed.......I can surely laugh about it now. And all the time we had wasted getting lost (miles and miles of getting lost) it surprised us that no one passed us!

Finally the road which lead to the track and to the FINISH!!!!!!!!! The Pinhoti 107 sounds about right.

All in all...with all the mishaps, I loved the volunteers, the course, my friends for the day.....

You never know what is going to happen, but you can control yourself and your emotions to pull it together and keep moving forward. This was a good test of will to pull it together.

Maybe a compass can be added to my pack next time........

"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did" Newt Gingrich


  1. Way to persevere! And congrats on the well deserved win. Nicely done.

  2. Running Pinhoti next month! Really enjoyed reading this but now you have me scared of getting lost....at least I am running the entire race with a good friend. We can get lost together!! Happy trails :-) Congrats on your win!