I was feeling okay about the Across the Years race. That should have been my first clue that things wouldn't be the greatest. We had a pleasant trip down to Phoenix, stopping off at the Hoover Dam to snap some pictures of some Seraphs.
|Totally worth the detour and crowds.|
I did like the set up that they had there, though. The aid station appeared to be well stocked, and the warming tent was fairly large. The course even looked pleasant enough, from what I could tell in the dark, anyway. So I was slightly comforted, and maybe even a little excited for what was coming in the morning.
|Silly girl, doesn't know what's coming. Photo credit: Scott M. Stringham.|
|Rocking his guest bib like a pro pacer. Scott took this picture, too. But I think y'all can tell...|
|The course had some lovely sections.|
|But I did take a picture of my favorite sign. Note: these things were not an issue. That would have added an extra element of excitement, though.|
|Artsy sunset silhouette shot. Photo credit: Scott M. Stringham.|
Okay, so it was a little chilly. As long as I keep moving, I'll be fine. I was fine when the sun went down during Javelina, right? This is the same area! Scott paced me through 15 more laps, then we hung out at the aid station for the New Years countdown. After our New Year's kiss (Eeeeewwwww gross! Just kidding, it was super great, you guys.) Scott headed back to the hotel for another round of rest before coming back in the early morning hours to get me through to the end.
|Frigid. Cold. Horribleness.|
Scott did find me, and I was still alive at 5 a.m. He could tell I was in bad shape. Probably because I couldn't even raise my head to look at him, and I only used single word sentences in our communication. He ran to the car and grabbed a giant blanket. After wrapping me up, he went and got me something warm to eat. Unfortunately, the something he found was vegan French toast. I didn't know this at the time. Even in my weakened and hypothermic state, I knew what I was eating was disgusting. I choked down 6 bites before handing the plate back. I'm fairly certain that vegan French toast is made with a heaping helping of sadness.
Then he came back with a steaming bowl of oatmeal. That was infinitely better. Once I had eaten most of the oatmeal, I finally felt like I could stand up and make it to the porta-potty. Once I was out of the warming tent, though, the violent shivering returned, but now it was accompanied by an even more violent cough. Whee.
I returned to the warming tent, and Scott was determined to get me moving again. So he warmed the blanket with the heater in the tent, and wrapped me up like a burrito. We headed out into the frigid early morning hours, his arms wrapped tightly around me to help keep the blanket on, and to keep me upright. He guided me around the course 5 more times that morning, with another stop in the warming tent after 3 laps so I could eat some more warm food. As Scott was walking his frozen burrito girlfriend around the course, a fellow runner commented that we were the perfect picture of love and support. Awwwwwwww!
|No, it was just sadness.Vegan French toast sadness.|
Anywho, I called it quits at 23:37. I didn't want to try for another lap in the condition I was in. Even though the sun had come up and things were starting to feel slightly warmer. I ended up with 57.04 miles. I wanted to get 70. I guess I could have, if I hadn't spent hours slipping into hypothermic coma. Live and learn, cats and kittens, live and learn. I was surprised to see that I actually finished pretty well in the standings. I was 32nd out of the 70 women, and 64th out of 172 overall in the 23 hour race. I honestly couldn't believe it. Maybe I should actually try properly preparing for one of these things. Who knows how high I could go in the ranks!
|I love the bib belt. I've been wanting one for ages. And the stein is huge!|
|AMERICA. Or something.|
I had saved my caffeinated gel for mile 9 and was feeling quite rejuvenated by mile 10. Right around this point is also where I could see a lot of the course out in front of me, because the path is on the side of a hill. I could see the man who had leap frogged me through the first four miles and then kept me behind him. I could tell he wanted to beat me. But there he was, slowing down at mile 10. Something kicked in, and I went into full-on hunt mode. By mile 11, I had overtaken him. I stayed in hunt mode for the last few miles and managed to pass about 20 people before crossing the finish line. I guess my body knows how to run half marathons, and stuff, since that was number 76...
|Some nice swag this year.|
The sickness is still lingering in my lungs a bit, but I think I'm going to be fine in a few more days. Then I really need to get serious about training again. My 48 hour race is 4 weeks away. Eep. I know I can't get where I need to be before it happens, but I can at least do my best to prep for survival.
Stay tuned for more fun and frivolity. Until then, happy running!