Monday, March 16, 2009

I have to admit - this is one of the Craziest runs I have ever done (so far). Not feeling 100% prepared due to taking 4 wks. off last month from running because of the broken toe, had me praying more than ever the night before. We had to check in our special needs bags by 0400, which is 30 minutes prior race start. It was a small crowd at the line up of the race, and you could feel the nervousness of the runners, as we stood around wearing our required relfector vests and waiting for the "ready set go" signal from the RD. As soon as we started running, there was a hard and heavy downpouring of rain. Argh, coldness. That only lasted a few moments, and it stopped. As we ran in the dark - I noticed that the couple from Vegas were setting a pretty good pace. I didn't want to go too fast, so I did my best to hold back and stay around 9-10min. miles. Around mile 5 I ran up to a girl putting out a lot of effort and breathing hard. She mentioned that she was a relay runner. So I paced off of her to keep the Vegas couple in site. There was a 3rd. female in our little pack, and in the end she was the ultimate winner. The relay runner, took a tumble off the side of the road. We held up to make sure she was okay. The 3rd. girl took a potty stop, and I kept on running, because I did not want to lose sight of the Vegas runners. I caught back up to the couple from Vegas, and I noticed the girl was running stronger than the guy. Around mile 12ish I decided to pass the girl and take the lead. I thought she would let me go to wait for her buddy (which was really her husband), but not a chance, she stayed on my heals and continued to chase me for the next 10 miles up the steep section between miles 13 and 15, and for the next 7 miles up the first section of Crater rd. into a very very fierce head wind. I had a feeling that my pace and my effort was not going to stay strong enough to hold 1st place. I was trying to stay positive, so I kept plugging away - and my legs got heavier and heavier, until there was no zip in the gait. I was toast. We finally come out of the winds into a forested area of the road, which reminded me of Tantalus, because of the trees, and the peacefulness of the surrounding. My pace slowed from all the hard effort I put out tyring to keep a good gap between me and second place. I was approaching an aid station at mile 22, and the runner from Vegas passed me. I also had a feeling that I was not going to see the last of the girl I ran with for a few miles at the beginning. I was right about that, because she passed me on the mountain between mile 27 and 30. I guess I started out a little too fast.

The aid station I was looking so desperately for was AS12. This was the 26.4 mile marker, and I really wanted to put on my gloves, fresh shirt, vest, and headband. Finally, I made it to my special needs bag, and the volunteer ladies there were SO wonderful and helpful in getting me dressed, and cheering me on. I am very grateful to their enthusiasm. Off I went, giving them one last hooray by raising my arms in the air and they cheered.

Now I am thinking - Russ's plane lands at 9am. So that is about now - then he and Holley will start driving up the mountiain, and I will see them soon! I am excited to know that I will see them, and I only have 10 miles left. Surprisingly, these miles went by fairly quickly even though I was not moving quickly. My back was starting to tire, and I even got on the ground to stretch it. I also tripped on a rock in the road, because my feet where barely clearing the ground. Oh man, what did I get myself into? Okay - my friends, Cheryl and Gil said, it's not that bad - just keep going. So that is what I did. Then there was this LONG line of cars coming by me, and the last car was Russ!! He honked the horn, and I was relieved to see his smiling face.
He got out to run with me, and the first thing he said was, "this isn't so bad." I'm like - yeah - right. Actually, I couldn't really speak clearly, and it was not because of the altitude, it was because my lips were SO cold. My body was okay. I was dressed perfectly. I just wished that I had some spring in my step. My right foot was hurting at the ball. Probably just because of the miles.

Russ is enjoying his banana, as I keep on plugging away to the top of Mt. Haleakala.
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