Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chapter 5 - Week 5 all the way to sunrise

All through the night, I'll be awake and I'll be with you.
All through the night, this precious time, when time is new....

Morning coffe with a view

Post-running fun

Post Shadow of the Giants, I got to do enjoy 3 chillaxing days at the Norhtern California coast with friends and a tension releasing run in the middle. I actually had a swollen right foot, probably caused by excessive pressure from my shoe. The pain and swelling did shake up my little security system and for a moment, I did have the term "stress fracture" in my head but successfully got rid of it as it didn't hurt at all running on pavement. I guess it was just another thing trying to upset me or to get me off balance and keep me working on my mental strength. I have been extremely happy and confident about Western States for quite a while now. The only old habit I still haven't been able to overcome yet is my issue with lack of patience. I am really working on living day by day but the not-knowing how and where my professional path is leading me is taking its toll on me every now and then. I am in a good place as it is with a dream job offer in a perfect setting but somehow can't just enjoy the ride without knowing exactly where I stand. The control freek still shines through. Hmm.

Thursday morning with the Coyotes (my running group) I was voted Coyote of the week for  my extra miles and finishing the Shadow of the Giants race with Amber. I am sharing this title with her as she was as much involved as I was. 

The same day, I became part of Katelyn's crew for the San Dieo 100miles Endurance Run. It was actually not in San Diego but about an hour inland, by the Pacific Crest Trail, a very beautiful area. Please read Katelyn's awsome race recap to get a better picture of the weekend.

Katelyn's and our long day started early in the moring as the start was at 7am. Crewing all day was a new but fun experience and when night time came around, I started my pacing part just before 1am. It was my first time running through the night and I really enjoyed it. It was a new moon night and very dark. The stars were breathtaking when we stopped for a moment and turned our headlamps off. Sometime on the first 8 miles, I unknowingly gave a very hairy caterpillar a ride on my fleece jacket I had tied around my waist. It thanked me by stinging me in the back of my leg and really scaring me (aka having me make funny noises) when I discovered the uninvited passenger. The first aid station welcome could have been a bit better than "you have to get going, you got 9 min before final cutoff". Maybe a "good job" or a simple hello would have been nicer but I do understand the motive of it. We picked up the pace and made up enough time to be back on track comfortably, passing frogs, other runners and moving up on the never ending winding trail.
This second leg of 8 miles turned out to be a huge learning experience for me. Not only did I get to feel what it is like to run in the dark but also see what can happen to a runner during such a long race. Pacing between Mile 64 and 80 for the first time was like being thrown into really cold and deep water. All you can do is swim. And I swam. I had no idea what to say or do and sort of put myself in autopilot mode. It seems that I managed to do and say things right by instinct. All the way to the aidstation ironically called "sunrise" that we reached just after the actual sunrise and where the next pacer took over. I was very tired at that point and do not know how I'll manage to get through a day, a night and another half day of running myself.

Kate and I already celebrating Katelyn's finish with champagne

Seeing Katelyn finish so strong and with a PR a couple of hours later was one of the best experiences in this whole training tale. She showed me just how bad it can get running 100 miles and also, how you can pull yourself out of a dark moment with a little help of your friends. Friends, pacers and a good crew are here for you but you have to do the actual work within yourself. Katelyn taught me more during that night than she probably remembers. I now am more excited than ever to run my first 100 miles and also convinced that I will get to cross the finish line in Auburn unless something is physically stopping me from moving forward. My mental tenacity and my crew/pacers along with some fun will make it happen!
I sort of feel like I did before I ran my first ultra when I was 19. It was also a fun experience with a couple of unexpected moments but mostly filled with smiles.


Mile 26

100yrds to the finish line

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