Archive for July 2010

Door County Race Report

July 26th, 2010 — 12:30pm

60051-093-003fI jumped out of bed on race morning and set to work changing into my Orange Shoe tri uniform and preparing my ritual pre-race breakfast—French press coffee, a bagel with peanut butter, and a banana. I could hear light rain falling outside, but remained optimistic that the skies would clear in time for the race start…and if not, I figured at least I had raced in the rain before. As soon as we were ready, Brodie, Lauren, and I loaded the car with our bikes and headed to the race site, which was conveniently located only a few minutes from our condo in Egg Harbor.

Once we arrived to the transition area, I racked my bike and set out my transition items on a small towel. After picking up my timing chip and getting body marked, Lauren and I headed on a short jog to warm up our legs. Halfway through, we heard an announcement that the race was going to be delayed by 30 minutes due to possible thunderstorms moving in across the lake. Lauren and I promptly ended our “warm-up” and headed back to the transition area to catch up with friends. 38317_1459879730563_1040512940_1323748_6650498_n1

Luckily, the weather cleared up and there were no further race delays. I joined a group of women who were staging themselves on the beach for the second wave. Once the first was off, we waded into the water and lined ourselves behind the start banner. As soon as I heard the start horn, I dove into the water and began swimming furiously. The first few minutes were extremely chaotic with everyone in such close quarters fighting to get ahead. As we rounded the first buoy, the herd began to thin and we also started reeling in stragglers from the first wave. The rectangular course was dotted with continual buoys, which made it very easy to sight and stay on course. Eventually, I turned the final corner and swam toward shore. The water became very shallow as we neared the beach, but I swam as long as I could before standing and running out of the water. I swam the course in 29:33.

After volunteers helped me strip out of my wetsuit, I ran to the transition area. There, I threw down my wetsuit and fumbled to put on my helmet and bike shoes. I was out of transition in just over a minute. I felt tired and stiff for the first few minutes, but was able to tuck into aero position and gradually find a rhythm. The first 15 miles were extremely flat and fast as we headed along Lake Michigan on our way to Sturgeon Bay. Although I didn’t have a bike computer to gage my speed, I felt strong.60051-068-020f

I caught two women within the first few miles, and we played leap frog for several miles. At one point, another female sped by all us like we were standing still. I didn’t like all of the back-and-forth. I was irritated by one man in particular who immediately passed me back each time I passed him (USAT rules require that you drop back out of the draft zone as soon as you are “overtaken” by another cyclist). As we rode through downtown Sturgeon Bay, I was able to break away from the other riders around me. At that point, the course became more difficult—rolling hills, a strong head wind, and poor road surfaces. I put my head down and gutted it out. I also continued monitoring my nutrition, which consisted of Power Bar gels, Gatorade, and electrolyte pills.

During those last several miles on the bike, it occurred to me, that for the first time ever, I was not being passed left and right by other cyclists. I was holding my own. I told myself that no matter what else happened during the race, I was so proud of the progress I had made on the bike this season. I had always felt like I had the potential to be a good cyclist, but had never been able to put it all together. It was clear that my new bike and race wheels (not to mention countless training hours in the saddle) were giving me the confidence I needed to break out from my “weakest link.”60051-067-013f

As I neared the transition area, I carefully slipped my feet out of my bike shoes. At the dismout line, I jumped off my bike and ran through transition. I had biked the course in 2:37:30 (21.4 mph). I re-racked my bike and helmet, then quickly pulled on my socks, running shoes, race bib, and a visor. Again, I was out of transition in just over a minute. I grabbed cups of Gatorade and water on my way out. I was able to find my running legs relatively quickly and tried to maintain a pace I could hold for a half-marathon. I had hydrated quite a bit during the bike and felt like I needed to use the bathroom early on. But when I got to the first aid station, the Porta Potty was occupied. I decided to hold off. And as I suspected, eventually I didn’t have to go anymore.

It was fun to run through Egg Harbor because there were crowds of spectators at and around Shipwrecked Brewery. Over the course of the run, about ten people (both racers and spectators) yelled to me, “Go, Lauren!” Lauren is one of my closest friends, and although we were wearing the same orange uniform during the race, we don’t look all that much a like (she’s like two feet taller than me.) It was kind of funny—even our good friend Julie mistook me for Lauren. But Lauren is really fast, so I took it as a big compliment.

The run course was relatively flat, but we hit very steep hills at miles five and nine. I was able to run up the first hill, but was reduced to a walk for the second (I guess that’s why the race’s tag line is “Can’t bluff the bluff”). Just before the second hill, another racer (an acquaintance from Madison) yelled to me, “Go, Kristin! The second place female is about two minutes ahead of you.” As I walked the hill at mile nine, I could see the 2nd place female just ahead of me. I wasn’t sure if I could catch her, but figured I would give it a shot. I ended up catching her at mile 11. As soon as I passed her, though, I could feel my legs begin to cramp and tighten. Just my luck I’d blow up right before the finish line. I quickly popped two electrolyte pills and eased into a more conservative pace. Please let me finish, I pleaded. 435a3e243154534dc61b2205877c6aa1

Luckily, I was able to keep the cramps in check. I began to get excited during the last two miles as I realized I might finish well and set a personal record. I ran the last two miles with a very nice guy from Appleton, who encouraged me to push through my fatigue and finish strong. As we ran through the final aid station, I downed a cup of Gatorade as a final precaution against cramping. Finally, we descended a long hill into the finish line. I ran the course in 1:38:58 (7:33/mile), with an overall time of 4:48:25, a personal record by more than 26 minutes. I was ecstatic.

I found my friend Brodie across the finish line in the midst of an ice bath. He, too, had raced strong and finished with a big PR. I was super proud of him. We cheered for several of our friends as they crossed the finish line. Then I waited for a turn to hop in the bucket of ice water. I was intrigued since I’d never taken an ice bath before. It was awesome—my legs felt numb and wonderful. I could have stayed in there all day.37687_587021377493_20206171_34176537_1198616_n1

After our ice baths, we made our way through the post-race buffett and filled up on BBQ sandwiches and roasted corn. We sat and enjoyed a decent cover band while catching up with friends and waiting for the awards ceremony to begin. At the awards ceremony, I was called up for 2nd place in my age group and the 2nd overall female, for which I was given a crystal lighthouse trophy. I have no idea what I’ll do with the thing (likely stuff it under my bed), but it sure makes me proud.

3 comments » | Racing and Training

Snapshots from Door County

July 20th, 2010 — 5:12pm

I headed to Door County this past weekend to compete in my first triathlon of the season—the Door County Half-Ironman. It’s one of my favorite races, primarily because of its great location along Lake Michigan (there’s few places in the world I’d rather spend a summer weekend), but also because it’s an extremely well-run race. And luckily, I was able to share the weekend with two of my closest friends, Lauren and Brodie.

Since we arrived to Door County early on Friday, we had plenty of time to take in the sights before our big race on Sunday. On Friday, we enjoyed a Viking Inn fish boil, ice cream at Wilsons, and a leisurely drive along the penninsula. On Saturday morning, we woke up early and cheered for friends who were competing in the sprint triathlon. Later in the day, we picked up our race packets and enjoyed a pool-side potluck dinner with Brodie’s team, Madison Multisport. I’ll share a full race report in my next post—but for now, here are a few of my favorite pictures from the weekend.

Lots of bikes piled into our condo!

Lots of bikes piled into our condo!

Enjoying ice cream from Wilson's after a fish boil at Viking Inn.

Enjoying ice cream from Wilson's after a fish boil at Viking Inn.

Lauren and Kristin serving as Dailymile spokesmodels during Saturday's sprint triathlon.

Lauren and Kristin serving as Dailymile spokesmodels during Saturday's sprint triathlon.

Attacking Brodie with the sharp point of my aero helmet.

Attacking Brodie with the sharp point of my aero helmet.

UW tri team alums make a strong showing at Sunday's half-ironman.

UW tri team alums make a strong showing at Sunday's half-ironman.

Lauren and Kristin enjoying post-race festivities on Sunday afternoon.

Lauren and Kristin enjoying post-race festivities on Sunday afternoon.

Comment » | Racing and Training, Vacation and Travel

Bachelorette Weekend Extravganza

July 15th, 2010 — 10:41am

erins-bachelorette-1One thing I’ve realized as I’ve grown older is that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep in touch with friends from high school and college. Of my five closest friends from high school, two friends live in Chicago, one in Arizona, one in California, and one Seattle. And everyone’s really busy. Therefore, it’s very difficult to get everyone together in one place at the same time. Lately, the only opportunity we’ve had to fully reunite is for weddings. Our first friend to marry off was Beth, in November 2007. And we’ve had a bit of a dry spell since then.erins-bachelorette-005

So it’s a good thing my friend Erin is getting married this September. We’re well over due for a reunion. And Erin found a keeper—his name is Tim, he’s a runner, and an all-around great guy. Needless to say, he quickly received the requisite friend approval.  So Erin and Tim now live in Scottsdale, and are planning a September wedding there, with the reception at the trendy (and mid-century modern!) Valley Ho resort. I’m very excited to celebrate Erin and Tim’s special day, to see their home in Scottsdale, and to catch up with my closest friends from high school. Erin and Tim’s wedding also happens to fall on the weekend after Ironman, so I’ll definitely be ready to cut loose and have some fun. I’ll be on the dance floor for sure. erins-bachelorette-5

So last month Erin came back to the Midwest for a bachelorette party/bridal shower extravaganza weekend. We were literally celebrating all over the place for 48 hours straight. All of my closest friends from high school were able to make the trip, except for our friend Katy, who lives in California. We started in Chicago on Friday afternoon with drinks in Wrigleyville, followed by dinner at Socca. From there, we enjoyed a night out on the town.36914_1461300569028_1128853030_1371520_4209143_n

After a leisurely morning the following day, we drove to Milwaukee to continue the festivities. We met some of Erin and Tim’s family for dinner downtown at Luisa’s. Then we hit an Irish bar for drinks and more good times. I rarely go out one night a week, let alone two in a row, so I was definitely loosing steam by Saturday night. But we all rose to the occasion and had a great time.

After crashing at my parents’ house in Brookfield for the night, the next morning we headed to the lake home of Erin’s aunt and uncle (on Pine Lake), for a bridal shower hosted by her aunts. It was a very classy affair. The lake home itself was stunning—marble floors, beautifully wood-paneled walls, a mind-blowing kitchen, and lake views to die for. The food was equally impressive. I actually felt like I was in a Williams Sonoma catalog, or a movie…it was all just so unreal. I’ve never been to a bridal shower quite like that—it was really impressive. After lunch, Erin opened a seemingly never-ending pile of gifts before we said our sappy goodbyes and headed back to our respective homes.

It was weekend full of festivities and fun. I’m so glad I was able to celebrate Erin and spend time with some of my closest friends. And I can’t wait for our full reunion in September!

2 comments » | Madtown Lovin', Uncategorized

Kim’s Sweet and Salty Cake

July 15th, 2010 — 5:48am

Early last month, a few friends a I celebrated my friend Kim’s birthday with a festive dinner party. It’s become somewhat of an annual tradition…my best friend and I cook dinner for Kim and I bake an elaborate cake. Last year, I made a Malt Ball Cake. This year, I chose a recipe from the same cookbook (Baked: New Frontiers in Baking), the Sweet and Salty Cake. According to cookbook authors Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the cake is their “signature creation, most loved cake, and most requested recipe.” They describe the cake as “an indulgent but sophisticated adult cake: The perfectly salted caramel contrasts beautifully with the rich chocolate layers, giving the cake balance and character.” Definitely sounded like a dessert I needed to try. And what better occasion than Kim’s birthday?

The recipe is more than a little daunting with 24 separate ingredients and a long list of directions that kept me busy for several hours over the course of two days. The directions include steps for making the three layers of classic chocolate cake, the salted caramel filling, the whipped caramel ganache frosting, as well as directors for assembling the cake. Instead of including the full text within this post, you can check out the recipe here.

Our birthday dinner was another great success and I think Kim very much appreciated and enjoyed the cake. I really thought I would love it, too—normally I’m a big fan of the combination of sweet and salty. But I have to admit, the cake was almost a little too salty to me. I did love the chocolate cake and the chocolate ganache, though. Luckily Kim and her husband Matt agreed to take the rest of the cake home—maybe they were just trying to be nice, but they sure made me feel like it was the greatest cake ever. If I make this cake again, I’d definitely ease off the salt just a bit.

Comment » | Kristin's Kitchen, Recipes from the Cookbook "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking"

Aquathon Series Kick-Off

July 14th, 2010 — 1:27pm

june-2010-0042I apologize to those of you who are most interested in reading the next installment of my adventures from WS 100…but I need a break. And I also need a chance to catch up on a few other posts before they become completely irrelevant. So I promise to resume coverage and finally wrap up the WS 100 posts early next week.

For the last several summers, I’ve participated in the Aquathon Series, a monthly local race series that consists of a 1,000 meter swim followed by a 5,o00 meter run. The events are low-key and fun, extremely well-organized, and provide the perfect opportunity to catch up with other local athletes while getting in a nice mid-week race effort.phpxkmrnopm

Last year my friend Beth, who I’ve known since I was 8 years old (we were on the same swim team growing up), came to Madison from Naperville to try one of the Aquathon events. Despite a sprained ankle which prevented her from participating in the run portion, she loved the event and was instantly hooked. This year, she registered for the entire five-event series (I think she may win the award for longest commute to the race). But as a teacher with summers off, Beth’s schedule allows her much greater flexibility to make the trip. Which is awesome—I get frequent visits from Beth and we get to race together all summer long! php62vwbbpm

Beth and I actually skipped the first event of the year, which was scheduled for May 20th. The lake water was pretty much still freezing at that point. And even I have my limits. So instead, we began our series run with the second race on June 17. Beth drove up that afternoon and we completely lucked out with beautiful weather and super pleasant lake temperatures. We arrived at Warner Park beach plenty early to check in, get body marked, warm up, and set up our transition areas.

The race went really well—I felt great in the water and relatively strong during the run, too. Usually the fast girls are able to reel me in during the run, but this time I was finally able to hold them off! I finished as the first female in 35:05 (swim 12:24, transition 0:32, run 22:10). It was my fastest Aquathon ever, and maybe my first win, too! Beth did awesome, too—she looked really strong and had a great smile on her face the entire time. Afterward, I ate a lot of the post-race pretzels and animal crackers, and took pictures with Beth, Brodie, and my great co-workers from Endurance House. Then Beth and I caught up over burgers at the Weary Traveler. It was a perfect night. phpmevv8ipm

Tomorrow (Thursday, 7/15) is the next aquathon. Interestingly, it will feature the “Quaker Steak and Lube Wing Eating Bonus.” Which means that for every wing you eat, you earn a 30 second deduction from your finish time (up to five wings may be eaten). Many of you know I am just as competitive about eating as I am about triathlons…so you know I’m going to stuffing as many wings down my throat as possible. Should be interesting…

Comment » | Racing and Training

WS 100 (Mile 62 to 78)

July 12th, 2010 — 9:46am

2658335390095553768naeuow_phA pace runner is defined as a ‘trail companion’ who may accompany a runner along designated sections of the trail. Pacers are allowed solely as a safety consideration for fatigued runners in the remote and rugged territory of the Western States Trail. Pacers should be experienced trail runners in excellent physical shape and conditioned to adequately run 40 miles over rough terrain. Most pacing will be done during the night time hours and early morning; so pacers should be warmly dressed, used to running with flashlights, and familiar with the trail. —from the Western States Participant’s Guide

I knew I had a big job on my hands once I signed on to pace my brother during the Western States 100 Endurance Run. My brother had ambitious goals—obviously to finish, but he also hoped to finish under 24 hours and earn a coveted silver belt buckle. Kelly had been well ahead of goal pace all day, but by mile 62, it looked like the terrain and heat were beginning to take their toll. I could see it in his eyes and in his stride.screen-shot-2010-07-09-at-110309-am

Yet it was amazing to me how well he had held up so far. As a result of injuries and work commitments, he hadn’t exactly trained to his full potential. In fact, a 30 mile run had been his longest effort leading up to the race—which I’d venture to guess made Kelly the most under-trained runner there. And so while Kelly’s experience and heart would need to pick up where his training left off, it was my job as his pacer to make sure he was safe, moving forward, taking in enough calories, and making good race decisions.

Kelly and I walked through the Foresthill aid station and eased into a slow jog. We were on roads for the next mile or two before hitting the trail. Running on the trails was absolutely exhilarating to me—the rugged terrain required intense concentration, but every time I glanced up, I was amazed by the incredible views. Within the first few miles, we passed a waterfall, crossed a small stream, and peered over the edge of a mountain to the depths of the great valley and river below. I was so happy to be out there—with my brother, in the the mountains, at one of the most prestigious ultras in the world.

The single track trail required us to run single file, so Kelly and I switched off leading. Despite my excitement and well-rested legs, I tried to be mindful of the fact that Kelly had already run more than 60 miles. I also tried to do a lot of talking to take my brother’s mind off his tired legs and the heat that seemed to linger in the valley well into the evening. I filled him in on some of our crewing adventures throughout the day, and also gave him the big sister approval on his girlfriend of eight months whom I had just met on the first day of my trip. Definitely lots of great brother-sister bonding time out there.36727_982781176567_8605627_56983423_4603738_n

We came to the first aid station relatively quickly. It was literally perched upon a mountain. I helped Kelly fill his water bottles and asked what he wanted to eat. His stomach was still unsettled, so all he could muster was a few sips of diet coke and chicken broth. I had no problems taking full advantage of the aid station offerings, which included a wide variety of cookies, pretzels, and other snack foods. It was probably one of the first times during a race that aid station food seemed appealing to me.

After a long, arduous climb accompanied by a steep decent, we arrived at the next aid station, which was brilliantly lit by white Christmas lights strung through the trees. Kelly promptly plopped down in a chair, while I helped the volunteers fill his water bottles and grab cups of chicken broth and coke. Kelly still couldn’t stomach solids. That made me worried, but Kelly assured me that he was still getting the calories he needed through liquids. We took our time at the aid station—Kelly sat back, slowly sipped the chicken broth, and made friends with one of the volunteers. After a while, the volunteers strongly encouraged Kelly to get up and keep moving. They told us it was only four miles until the next aid station. With that, we were up and moving again.

At that point, the sun began to set and we took in the last few moments of daylight before turning on our headlamps. It was eerie and strangely exciting to run through the mountains at night, with only the light of our headlamps to guide the way. The nighttime sounds made me jumpy—I kept looking behind me and assumed that a bear would jump out and attack me at any moment. With the added challenge of navigating in the dark, our pace slowed considerably. I could tell Kelly was struggling. Our walk breaks increased in length and frequency. In an effort to keep him on pace, I’d let Kelly walk for a few minutes and then gently suggest we try running again. Four miles seemed like an eternity. Kelly became increasingly frustrated when every turn revealed more barren darkness. We became convinced that the volunteers at the previous aid station had provided us with an incorrect mileage estimate to the next aid station. Luckily, we knew we were on course because of the frequent trail markers (yellow plastic tape and glow sticks draped from tree branches), but for Kelly’s sake, I hoped we’d get to the next aid station soon.

Eventually, we saw lights through the trees and heard voices and the sounds of a roaring river. We knew then that we were finally approaching Rucky Chuck, the aid station at mile 78, and also the point at which we’d need to cross the American River. There were aid stations on both sides of the river. Kelly checked in at the first aid station, which required a weigh-in so volunteers could determine if Kelly was maintaining a healthy weight (almost every other aid station required a similar weigh-in). Kelly sat down and took in more liquids. After a few minutes of rest, we headed to the river’s edge to begin our journey across. I was super excited.

Normally, runners are required to ford the river—literally wade through the river while holding onto a rope strung across. Since the water was notably high this year, the race organizers changed the course so that runners would cross the river by raft. Volunteers helped us strap on life vests, and we hopped into a raft with a guy who quickly paddled us across. Our paddler was very friendly—I told him he must be tired after padding runners across all night. He said, you must be tired! I’m a professional rafting guide—this is nothing! The river crossing, although very short, was one of my favorite parts of the race. It was so strange to experience it in the middle of the night—it felt like we were on a ride at Disney World, like the Pirates of the Last Caribbean. Once we hit the other side of the river, volunteers helped us exit the raft, and we were excitedly greeted by our crew members, Ben and Kathy.

To be continued. The third and final installment of this post will cover mile 78 through the finish.

Comment » | Family Fun, Racing and Training

WS 100 (Pre-Race to Mile 62)

July 2nd, 2010 — 11:59am

Crewing for my brother during this past weekend’s Western States 100 Endurance Run is an experience I’ll never forget. It was a long day, but one filled with inspiring athletes, great adventures, and memorable bonding time with my brother and his closest friends. I have so much to share from the experience that I’ve decided to split my post into two installments—the first will cover pre-race through mile 62 and the second will cover the rest of the race. So here’s the first installment…

We woke up at 3:30 on race morning to the sound of three different alarms ringing in our ears (you never can be too cautious). I think it was the earliest I’ve ever woken for a race, which was even harder to swallow knowing that I’d need to be awake for at least the next 25 hours. We drove 20 minutes from our hotel in Truckee  to Squaw Valley (the site of the the 1960 Winter Olympic Games), where we gathered in a ski lodge with 450 runners and their loved ones. Ten minutes before 5am, everyone slowly made their way outside to the start line. It was chilly and dark. Ben, Kathy, and I wished Kelly good luck before he made his way into the crowd of racers. A shotgun signaled the start and runners began their long trek into the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Ben, Kathy, and I went back to the hotel to check out, before hitting the road to Duncan Canyon aid station at mile 24—the first aid station accessible to crews. Amazingly, it took us nearly three hours to get there. The distance wasn’t great, but it took us a long time to wind through the mountains. The scenery was incredible, but the drive and constant switchbacks made me feel nauseous. Finally, we arrived and race volunteers directed us to park on the side of the road. We removed our big cooler from the trunk, which was filled with various drinks and loads of ice. We couldn’t decide what to take, so we opted to haul the whole thing  to the aid station. What we didn’t realize then was that it was a quarter mile hike up a very steep hill. And the cooler was extremely heavy. It quickly became apparent that we should have purchased a smaller cooler (in addition to the larger one) to transport select items to each aid station. Obviously we were rookies in this ultra marathon pacing business.

After arriving to the aid station, we barely set our things down before Kelly came running through. We were totally caught off guard and unprepared for his arrival since he was ahead of goal pace. He seemed happy to see us and only a little frustrated that we were so unprepared. Little did he know we had almost missed him completely! We helped Kelly re-fill his water bottles and exchanged a few words before he set off again. He seemed to be in good spirits and was moving fast.

Back in the car, we made our way to the next aid station (Dusty Corners) at mile 38. Luckily, it was a much shorter drive. It was still a bit of a hike from where we parked our car to the aid station, but this time a nice guy insisted upon taking my place carrying the cooler with Ben. We set up camp in the shade and quickly made friends with several aid station volunteers and spectators.  It was nice to sit back and take in the whole scene. We spotted Jen Shelton, ultra marathon extraordinaire who is featured in the book Born to Run. Of course I was star struck. We also observed the preparations of other crews and were most impressed by that of Kilian Burgada, whose crew had carefully set out a blanket on which drinks, food, and running shoes with various treads were meticulously arranged.

Eventually the race leaders came flying down the hill into the aid station. It was Anton Krupicka and Kilian, neck-in-neck. Interestingly, Kilian took very little from the blanket that was so carefully prepared for his arrival. A few minutes later Geoff Rose came through, trailed by two-time defending champion, Hal Koerner.  The women’s leader was Tracy Garneau, who had already amassed an impressive lead over the other women. Not long after, Kelly came through and this time we were sufficiently prepared for his arrival. He was still doing very well, but appeared to be feeling the heat. By that point, the sun was beating down and temperatures were rising into the 80’s.

Back in the car, we made our way to the Michigan Bluff aid station at mile 56. On the way, we stopped at a gas station to pick up more ice for the cooler and popsicles (a special request of Kelly’s). Kathy thought Kelly might also like a slurpee, so she filled up a large cup and we carefully positioned it in the cooler. Once we arrived at Michigan Bluff, we parked the car and hopped on the free shuttle bus to the aid station. The aid station was extremely crowded—there were spectators everywhere. We found a nice patch of shade and asked a few fellow spectators there if we could share the space with them. They snottily replied no, and explained that they were waiting for their runner. But weren’t we all? Surprised and somewhat disheartened, we found a nearby patch of grass on which to sit and set our cooler. Luckily, there was a small snack bar set up near the aid station, so we were able to enjoy our first decent meal of the day—burgers and chicken sandwiches. I had to keep reminding myself to hydrate and eat in preparation for my upcoming pacing responsibilities.

It was probably an hour or two before Kelly made his way through the aid station. He was still under pace to finish the race in 24 hours, but it was the first time I could tell he was struggling. Just minutes before, we had observed two top runners drop out of the race as they entered the aid station. It was clear the heat and terrain were taking their toll. Kelly sat down on a metal folding chair in the aid station. We dug into the cooler and realized the popsicles had melted. But luckily, the slurpee was still good and Kelly’s eyes lit up at the site of a frozen beverage. He sat back in the chair and slowly sipped the slupee. He complained about how hot it was out on the course. Eventually the aid station volunteers came over to check on him. They asked if he was okay. He replied, yes, and explained that he just wanted to sit there for a bit, cool down, and drink the slurpee. The volunteers continued to hoover and encouraged him to start running again. They were afraid that he would get too comfortable in the chair to continue. After twenty minutes or so, Kelly got up and started running again.

We knew we had to rush  in order to make it to the next aid station in time for Kelly’s arrival (Forest Hill at mile 62). Luckily, we quickly caught the shuttle bus and were back on the road in less than ten minutes. During our drive, I changed into my running clothes. Mile 62 was the first point at which runners could pick up a pacer. Kelly and I had planned that I would begin running with him at that point. I was very nervous to begin pacing—I feared that I wouldn’t be able to keep up  provide Kelly with the help he needed. When we arrived at the aid station, we were lucky to snag a parking spot directly across the street. The aid station was set up in the yard of an elementary school. I pinned on my yellow pacer number and waited anxiously for Kelly. I was so nervous that I kept having to run to use the bathroom. Eventually Kelly came through and he seemed genuinely excited for me to begin pacing.

1 comment » | Family Fun, Racing and Training

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