Some adventures in road and trail running.
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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Working Hard and Having Fun

This morning at 3:14 AM my friend Ronda S finished the Western States 100 mile race. She had started at 5am the previous morning. With finishing under 24 hours, she is the proud owner of a Western States silver buckle! Awesome and inspirational!

Yesterday was full of fun and hard work.

My intention had been to take hundreds of pictures of the race at the aid stations. I ended up taking less than 20. The excitement of the race and the duties of a crew member make the 24-27 hours go by soooo fast. First you running around driving, hiking and running to get to one of the crew aid stations. Then you are attempting to find out how your runner and other friends are doing. Then you are checking out each and every runner passing through the aid station. Do they look strong or do they look like they are done for the day? Amazing how almost every runner transitions in and out of so many different states. Most everyone has to come back from the dead at some point!

This was particularly true for the runners that I tracked the closest yesterday: Ronda had stomach issues and achieved her first race "hurl". Michael had eye and feet issues. Jim's feet came into play. Bushwhacker looked done at Rucky Chucky. All persevered on the strength of their training to come in sub-24. Awesome!

Stacey paced Ronda from Forest Hill to Green Gate and did a great job of helping Ronda deal with digestion issues.
I had the honor of running with her from Green Gate to the Placer High School track finish. This section is about 22 miles. We got lost, we had some laughs, we passed LOTS of people and Ronda even attempted to puke one last time. I also had the misfortune to slam my foot down in to a hole on the trail. I believe it happened about 1 mile after leaving the first aid station of my pacing duties, Auburn Lake Trails. So 6.4 miles into my part of helping out I am broken. After a bit of screaming with pain and frustration, my ankle has swollen up enough that I can continue on and do my job of helping Ronda. With a little help from my pain killing friends Aspirin, Advil and Tylenol I was able to shuffle along and hopefully do my part to help keep Ronda moving just that little bit faster. My goal was to always urge her on to drop me on the downhill sections. She did great and I think we must have passed about 20 people over the nearly 5 hours we were running together.

I am still not sure if I want to sign up for this bad boy. 100 miles is never easy and I have new respect for the course. Running 16 of 22 miles on a sprained ankle (wahoooo nothing broken!) still does not even come close to approximating the strain and anguish of running the full 100 miles. I guess the real question is why all the finishers have such a huge smile on their faces even with all the pain. I think I might want to find out :-)

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