02 October 2014

Because Dreams.

Lake of Dreams from roy two thousand on Vimeo.

This Doesn't Belong Here

This isn't now. No, it's not. It's a very different world. It's a world of the now, it's a world where we are cold, tired, talking, waiting, dancing, looking, and being.

I took a break from a busy day and decided to watch a video a friend had posted a while back. It was this.

It might not be the best video of Burning Man, but I really did love it. It made me think, Oh Cherie, that is so different. That is another place from where you are now.

How can I get to that place of just being in the now? I guess it's a journey we work on every day...on playa, it's so easy to just be that and there.

01 October 2014

Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race Report (2014): It Was Awful, But an Awful Lot of Fun

                Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race has a special spot in my heart: it was my first 24 hour race (which I won the first time) and really turned me on to 24 hour races. No matter your finishing results, you get to run with and meet and chat with a ton of different awesome people at all sorts of paces. SO MUCH FUN!
                I knew going into this race that I wouldn’t run my best, as I had run 105 miles the week before at The North Coast 24 Hour National Championships, but hoped since I hadn’t PR’d, maybe my legs would be decent, good enough for 100+ miles? Not exactly. My legs were tired, and a stressful week of work, plus not enough sleep, plus lots of other things going on in my head did not leave me well-rested. I took a nap the day before and literally had to pull over 20 minutes from the start of Hinson to stretch because I was too exhausted to keep driving. Not a good sign, but remember, I don’t often pay attention to bad signs. Sigh.       

                Hinson Lake is an awesome 24 hour race – the fee is $24 and you get a tshirt, bumper sticker, pint glass (Good because Wayne and I are always breaking the ones we have!), and food, and 24 hours of running fun! The company is great – I love all of the runners and end up chatting with tons of great people. The course is a 1.56 mile loop around the lake – it’s pretty, there are some small rolling hills, but it’s mainly flat on dirt, sand, and boardwalk. There are tons of tents along the course and fun signs.
                At the start, I took off, chattering and laughing, enjoying and remembering the course. What a beautiful day. Soon enough, my pace slowed to 9:20s, which is definitely not terrible, but I usually go out a bit faster, with less effort. These 9:20s felt tough. Oh no.
                “My legs feel so tired,” I told Shannon. We ran together for a while, and she seemed strong at times, but she ended up not having a good day either and dropped. I was very sad to see her go. My legs were feeling tired before 2 hours.
                I ran with Jonathan Savage, who told me about his brown recluse spider bite and his recovery. He promised his wife to only run 50 miles, and only that much if he felt okay. He ended up quitting at 50 miles, feeling good. We talked about stress and how it impacts running. Talking always helps, and talking while running is the best. If only I could find a therapist who wanted to go on long runs with me…I would have no problems, I’m convinced.
                I reached the marathon in under 5 hours and the 50k in under 6 hours. Compare this to last weekend’s 24 hour (with the marathon in 4:10, 50k in 5:05). I knew it would be a bad day.
                I talked to Ray. He was weary, still. Running for 52 days straight from 6a.m. to midnight on concrete will do that to you.
                I hung out with Kelley, I hung out with Joe, I chilled with lots of amazing people. It was fun.
                I had my set up of various bags next to Brett. Brett’s dad was 100% awesome and his name was Wayne. He called me “babe” and was sweet, hilarious, helpful, and nice. Brett ended up taking a 3 hour nap.
                After it got dark, I just crashed. I curled up on the air mattress Wayne had set up with Wayne’s sleeping bag and passed out. I got up, and slowly began running. My blistered feet felt better, and my legs were still tired, but I could do this. I knew 100 miles would be almost impossible.
                I took a 5 hour energy shot. I ran with music. I danced while I ran. I chatted. I walked Mount Hinson, that giant mountain they put on the course. I napped in a chair. I got up and ran more.
                About two and a half hours from the finish, Rich and I began running together.
                He gave me a red bull and we talked each other’s ears off. We mostly ran, but we’d walk Mount Hinson.  I don’t remember what we talked about – dissolving marriages and cupcakes and blisters and this race and that race and oh this race and yeah that race. I ate a lot of pink cupcakes.
                Oh, the food. This year I ate homemade cookies and pizza that I took the cheese off of and animal crackers and cheese its and lots and lots of pink frosted cupcakes. Oh, how delicious it all tasted. At least my stomach was awesome! Yay!
                I ended up with 94.6 miles, or 93.6, something like that. Ugh. Depressing. So close, yet so far. And I still know that’s a pretty awesome effort – esp since I ran a 24 hour last weekend.
                My legs felt tired and my body was exhausted. Stress has been seeping in everywhere lately – it sucks. My blisters were out of control – I stopped to cut moleskin and cover them, but they were a horrendous mess and I think I scared my little sister when she saw me popping them afterwards. Yum.
                So Hinson? Not my best race. Nope. Not this year. But fun –yes. Lots and lots and lots of fun.

                I WILL BE BACK FOR SURE NEXT YEAR. I hope there will be pink frosted cupcakes!

24 September 2014

24 Hours North Coast: “This is BS,” “Cleveland Isn’t Detroit,” “We had some ‘weather,’” “Today’s just not my day”

Going into the North Coast 24 Hour National Championships, I was not feeling 100%, but feeling very hopefully – because confidence is much more fun and positive than self-doubt. I didn’t have my best race, or my worst race, but I did have a whole lot of fun. How is it possible that so many things could happen in just 24 hours?

We went to the pre-race where, where the amazing Dr. Andy Lovett gave me some ointment cream that he swore would protect me from blisters. (It didn’t. My feet suffered. Sigh.) Then Jackie and I headed to the hotel, where we fell asleep at 9pm. Success. Turns out, Cleveland is kind of like those YouTube videos you know you’ve seen and loved online. Ha!
me and andy!!!!

Chris and Dave arrived at 2am but I barely woke up. I slept pretty good, had pre-race bowel success, and ate, feeling okay. The day before I flew, I was so nervous I could barely eat lunch before my flight. We checked in at the start, set up our stuff inside the pavilion in case we had the rain they predicted (No matter; the entire where we placed our stuff flooded, but luckily, most of our stuff were in plastic bags.), and said hello to friends. Let’s get ready! Wheeeeee!
HUGE ultrarunning hero - John Geesler. Swoon!

The course is a .9 mile loop through this park (essentially around a parking lot, but it’s actually nicer than that sounds) with the Lake on one side. There were tons of people in the park, so that added an interesting people-watching element; one vegan weightlifter was working out at 10 a.m. until the first rain came well after dark. There were kites, multiple wedding photo shoots, families picnicking, seagulls, that sort of thing. The course is a paved loop, with some slight ups and downs, but nothing too bad. (In the middle of the night, you will find yourself walking “the big hill.”)
ready to run at lakeside

Because the lake is alongside the course, you get wind. Lots of it. This course is known for being windy. At times, the wind was so tough you found yourself using tons of energy just to propel yourself ahead. Some people confessed to me that they gave up running and just walked.


The race started a few minutes early, and we were off. I took off too fast, as usual, yelling at myself for running sub-9 minute pace. I got a cramp early in and was forced to slow down, which was a good thing. I chatted with everyone, ate gels, laughed.

The day was hot. It was supposed to be a high of 80, but it was much hotter than that – mid to upper 80s. I felt parched, and needed to make sure I was quite hydrated, but not drinking too much to cause the dreaded sloshing stomach.

Marathon in 4:10. Okay, a little faster than my best 24s, but not too terrible. 50k in 5:05. Okay. Okay.

Then in the mid 30s, my hamstring tightness grew worse. I went to the medical tent  to have my hamstrings stretched. And again a little while later. And again.

And then my period showed up two days early. I spent much of the race begging for tampons. Thank you, ladies of North Coast 24!

It took forever to get to mile 50, or so it felt. 9:40. Ugh. 50 to 60 felt really awful. It took forever.

In the 70s, Chris warned me, "Cherie, it's going to rain." I had read an article about thunderstorms in Outside Magazine the day before. "I am going to stop if it's thunderstorming." I really wanted to go to medical and get them to stretch out my super tight hamstrings, but I figured I'd wait until the thunder and rain arrived.

I kept running, feeling kinda crappy. The miles dragged on. Where was this rain? I wasn't eating a ton - nothing looked appetizing (Well, mac and cheese did but I knew where that would land me!) and I ended up eating some vegan pizza. I do love cheese, but not when running.

I dragged on. I ran. I took a 5 hour energy shot. I changed my shoes. I ran some more. I ran some more. I put music on - it pushed me ahead. I flew. It felt great for a few laps. Then, I slowed down. Ran. Ran.

I came in. "You should stop now. The rain is going to come," Chris told me.

"Well, can't I just do one more?" I asked. It was only drizzling.

"No. Stop now."

"Really? I can't just do one loop - only .9 miles?"

"No. You can't."

So I went to medical and as they began working on my legs, the skies opened. Good timing. I thanked Chris profusely. I had medical pop some blisters and then I relaxed for a while.

Then, as I was pulling on my shoes, it let up. I head out and put in some more miles.

I ran on. Sunlight was coming, I knew it. I said hi to everyone I passed, and smiled. Only a few more hours of this hell/love.

Around mile 92, I connected with Isiah, who later won the men's race with 154 miles - in his first ultra! We ended up running together until I hit 100, at which point I drank water and ate a little extra food, and then spent the last hour running, walking a bit, laughing, smiling, so glad it was almost over.
Hitting 100 miles
I hit 104 miles. And then nearly 105. But it was over.

Far from what I wanted, but still, a pretty decent race. 5th USATF woman, lots of blisters, lots of soreness, lots of fun with friends, lots of hallucinations (Why do people do drugs when they can just run 24 hour races????), and some fantastic tater tots after. Yep, that's a good race!
NY/NJ crew post race (Where's Zandy?)
Tired runners, yay

16 September 2014

Because Time Isn't Real at Burning Man

So many months of working your butt off for a week? Does it even make sense? And then you get there and it's work work work and then it's playplayplayworkplayplay and blink it's all over and you are packing up your camp with tears in your eyes. This video gets that time is imaginary.

Time Shifts at Burning Man 2014 from Michael Tosner on Vimeo.

07 September 2014

Re-entry and Decompression

Re-entry has been really weird this year. I feel like it is going to take me longer to decompress as my burn was full of so much this year, almost too much. 

On playa, I felt stressed, a first for Black Rock City: the race was overwhelming and way bigger than ever, which was totally exciting and amazing and wonderful but a lot for me. Next year, I might not be able to run it as things needed to be managed while running. The stress prob contributed to stomach issues which led to 15 min in the port-a-potty, 30 min sitting around waiting for my tummy to feel better, and the poop shuffle - you know, when you have to poop SO BAD while running that you run to get to the toilet fast, then have to stop and hold your stomach, then you walk, then you run, then you clutch your stomach. AWFUL. The volunteers offered to have me poop into a black garbage bag, but HELLO I HAVE SOME CLASS. Not really, I'm just poop shy!

We also had some camp issues: people who didn't pick up their fair share of helping out, and striking camp left me in tears when not everyone helped out. I take things personally too much. So I felt stressed and upset and frustrated and it definitely showed. We grew a lot very quickly, and some people had different ideas about camp responsibilities. I think some will find a better home at a plug-and-play camp next year.

To be honest, all of it broke my heart a little bit. I know I wasn't able to fully be present at all times on the playa because of the stress, even showing that stress, being cranky to those who loved me (and everyone, I AM SORRY, I do love you!) and was hurt a lot. People are really their true selves on the playa, whatever that may be - so you get to see some truth to people. But mostly, it was a beautiful wonderful week, and everyone had their bright happy spots!

Moving on...the playa was good for me, as always. I had some big epiphanies about life, work, writing, love, living. People always say, couples, friendships, they either break up or get stronger. Wayne and I got stronger. Rachelle and I had some wonderful time together. I met some incredible new folks. I saw neat art, made some important internal decisions, danced my butt off, ran, meditated, talked to strangers, met lots of amazing runners, missed my kitties, kissed Wayne, drank mojitos with all my friends at Dementha (except Ben - you were missed!), had some great talks with Yosvany, watched the sunrise a few times, saw the amazing Embrace Burn (prob my fave Burn of this year), saw the other burns, danced a ton, met some great people, connected with so many of the amazing runners, ate lots of guac, drank tons of delicious pina coladas (even with the "WHO THREW AWAY THE PINA COLADA" drama), had a brilliant time.
i love this boy. this was a good year for bonding for us.

oh how he makes me smile. sunset time! howl!

ride this. no.

embrace. the best piece of art this year, IMHO

matching patterns

what i wrote in the library of dreams

that's my boy up there

holding things up

mud and cats

good friends

oh caretaker, how i heart you

some of my camp

dome and us

all smiles

embrace burns

good times at dementha

our annual wedding

dancing at my fave camp on the playa

burning man indeed.

goodbye temple of dreams. take those messages to my grandfathers and uncle and take care of all of them.

let it burn, burn, burn

And for now, we are resting our hearts, our minds, our bodies. I am at home, reading and writing and practicing yoga and running and cooking and baking and seeing those who matter most (Wayne, Mom, Dad), making plans to see others who really matter (Rachelle, Lissy & fam), and figuring out what is next for me.

The Burn always inspires me to do a lot, to be more of myself, yes, to see more fun art, to connect with friends who matter, to figure out what matters, to reach deep inside myself, to meditate, to think, to breathe, to be in the present moment, to push harder, to relax more, and to figure everything out in due time. 

Funny how fake fur and shiny things and burning art and amazing people can inspire all of that.

15 August 2014

Next up....!

Burning Man Ultramarathon! I've been swamped in organizing logistics....making presents for all of the volunteers....answering emails....organizing. I can't wait to run with over 200 amazing burners!

Pajama Run

Thus called the Pajama Run because it is run from 5pm-11pm, I've always wanted to wear pajamas to this six hour run put on by the awesome Broadway Ultra Society. But I end up not, to avoid harassment, because it's in a very popular public park, Astoria Park. On the way, with lovely views, the Triboro Bridge above us, some mini-hills, Christian karaoke, a pool, people playing tug-o-war, wedding parties taking photos...it's an interesting place for a six hour race.
go triboro

menachem now has running clothes

feeling good, early on

run w a view

It was Menachem's first ever race, and he was asking questions about the bibs, including my fave, "What do I do with this bib now that I'm done running? Do I get to keep it?" He ended up completing just over a marathon - not bad, considering his longest run was 15 miles.

I went out okay, and realized chatting with certain people was not going to be an option - they were going out too fast for me. I slowed down, feeling Vermont 100 in my legs. Yes, I'm an idiot who runs 100 miles the week before she does a six hour. Ow. Ow. 

I had been dealing with a foot numbness issue, that luckily wasn't so much of a problem, but I was tired. My legs felt like they had run 100 miles the week prior.

I ended up with over 33 miles. Was happy, scarfed down two slices of pizza, and then Mary and I slogged on the bike ride home.

02 August 2014

Vermont 100 Race Report: Hills, Greenness, and Gorgeousness. And Kind of a Crappy Race Running-wise, but you can't win them all!

This report is super late because, well, life. But the experience was so huge that I've also needed some time to just sit down and write about  how amazing it was. And how painful. And how much it taught me. And how I can't wait to go back next year.

Vermont 100 is a really special 100 miler. Really. And I'm not just saying it because it was my first many moons ago, and the 2014 Vermont was my fifth Vermont (thus earning me a 500 mile buckle, wheeee!). There is a lot of love and thought and kindness put into this race. I've run 100s and 50s where it's clear the RDs could barely care. Vermont 100 is many months of planning and time of volunteers and 100% awesome. I love it.

The aid stations have themes and decorations. The volunteers are cheerful. People sit outside their houses to cheer people on. There are horses. It is just GORGEOUS - rolling hills and meadows and barns and silos and cows. I got to moo at a bunch of those cows. That was quite wonderful.

It's tough but good at many points. Everyone comes back every year, so you make new friends. And it's awesome. I don't have 5 consecutive runs because I skipped a year. I spent that entire year feeling sick in NYC, checking online to see how everyone was doing. Yeah. It's like that.
getting weighed in. my weight was pretty consistent the entire race. photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

I started out excited to run - but my legs felt kind of sluggish. You know sometimes you just try to run a speed workout and your legs tell you, "No, this is NOT happening"? Yeah, that was happening. So I decided to experiment. "I'll see if going out slow helps me. My legs will feel fresh later on."

News flash: going out slow does NOT make your legs feel fresh. They still feel like utter crap. I'm going to never go out slow again.

I was chatting with lots of friends, enjoying the day. My crew missed the first two checkpoints, and I was honestly a little worried about them, but fine. I pushed, but did my own pace. It was often slow. I ran a bit with Elena whose legs were trashed after Western - but it didn't work out. She was running UP the hills and walking down, and I was doing the opposite. Oh, ultras....

I hate that technical section in the 30s. Just kicked my ass, but I was prepared for it and it didn't seem that bad as it had in the past. I was sweating, feeling overheated, but it actually wasn't that hot. Low 80s maybe.

The Sound of Music meadow literally made me sing, and that other meadow in the 40s - still gorg. Never gets old. I love Vermont. I should move there - except not in the winter.
running friends rock. photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

Mile 50, I ate a cookie at an aid station and it clearly didn't agree with me. It sent me on my hands in knees, dry wretching and heaving like I never have before. Misery. Ugh. I was forced to a walk for a while, letting my tummy calm down. My tummy was never 100% the rest of the race. Misery.

At Vermont, you run from aid station to aid station. Running through that covered bridge. Heading to amazing Margaritaville. So much fun. You just love the volunteers.

Margaritavilla had the cookies back, and I was happy. I wished my stomach was feeling better, but I slowly chewed a few ginger cookies as I walked out of the aid station before running.
Camp 10 Bear Rocks. Photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

Mile 70 and pacer #1, Christophe, and then I fell apart. My blisters. OMG my blisters. My blisters. My feet. Ow. Ow. Ow.
Changing before being paced. Photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

Basically he got to see me at my worst. Thanks, Christophe. Oh wait, no, the worst would come later. I ended up walking a lot more than I wanted to because my feet were in agony. When we got to Spirit of 76, my absolute favourite aid station of the course, I ate grilled cheese and had someone wrap moleskin around my blisters. I really need to run with moleskin. It's pretty wonderful.

best aid station ever. photo (c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

I left the aid station with Kim, who was super positive and a really great pacer. We chatted about everything random, Burning Man and running and whatever, and the time actually went by pretty fast. I ran most of the time with her, which is saying a lot. 
me and kim at bill's bar.(c) Samuel-Christophe Tedjasukmana 2014

When we got to Bill's Barn, Pacer #3, Stephanie was ready. She was so patient as I was a hot mess. I was not great until Polly's, but after Polly's, those last few miles before the mile 98 aid station, I was a wreck. I was peeing every 10 meters, falling asleep on the trail, my feet hurt, everything sucked.

It sounds horrible, right?

But really, it wasn't. It was a lot of pain, yes, but also so much fun. It was hanging out with lots of my amazing friends in the ultra community, and seeing pretty sights. It was eating lots of grilled cheese and cookies. It was joking about Immodium and mooing at the cows. It was being free. It was no email or bullshit or deadlines or washing dishes. It was being in the present moment, it was now, it was awesome.

Thank you, amazing pacers Christophe, Kim, Stephanie. Thank you, volunteers. Thank you, Julia & Amy. And thank you Vermont for being so freaking beautiful.

04 July 2014

The Great NY 100 Miler Race Report (2014)

Photo by Ben Ko of Sarah, Thunder, and me
"You know how the NYC Marathon is a huge gathering event and excitement event for all runners in NYC? That's what TGNY 100 has become for ultrarunners in NYC," one of the runners told me. So true. Pretty much everyone in NYC was out, either running, volunteering, or pacing. It makes for 100 miles of hanging out with your friends in some really cool places. Okay, and under the Bruckner sucked, but everywhere else was pretty cool.
Otto, Thunder, me - photo by Oh Snapper

I have paced twice and volunteered once, so I knew what to expect for the last 50 miles. I was pretty blown away by how amazing the course was, and how cool it was to see New York City in a very different light.You get to run through all of these parks you didn't even know existed, swamplands, run over bridges, run past cool neighborhoods, and enjoy a very different view of New York City. It's pretty amazing.
The start. Photo by Donna S-T

The race itself is put on by American 48-hour record holder Phil McCarthy. One of the nicest guys, it's an honor to run this race.

The course is a lot of fun, and Phil really thought things out as he designed the course. You start and finish in Times Square, which is pretty neat, and the course goes through a lot of parks, bike paths, and neat streets, so it's actually a lot cooler than it sounds.

The negatives - you have to wait for street lights. There's a hideous section where you run under the Bruckner. Aid stations are water and gatorade, and anything else the volunteers buy out of their own pockets (Most of them really did have stuff.). There are turn-by-turn sheets that can be a tad confusing at signs, although some sections of the course were marked really well. (The first 100k was marked quite well.)

But the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Start of TGNY, photo by Grant McKeown

We started out of Times Square, and ended up running north in Central Park. Although it was 5am, it was still somewhat bright, and it was really exciting and everyone was in high spirits. Yay. Then you emerge from the park, running north, snaking over until you are running alongside the Hudson. You run north, north, north. Everyone was joking, laughing, and walking the hills. Yay.

We crossed over the Henry Hudson Bridge, which I did not like. We tried to yell to a group that we had noticed went off course, but they didn't hear us. After we got off the bridge, we were in the Bronx.

We ran through Van Cortlandt Park, which Phil had marked quite well with flour. We almost went off course once, but one of us noticed the slight turn and we ran through the park, enjoying it. There was a group of us, laughing, talking, finding our way, following our way.
Ray and I, mile 31. Thanks for the grub and photo, Emmy Stocker!

Orchard Beach was awesome. I had never been there before. You ran out 2 miles and when we got there, I felt silly. I had a random woman take our photo, and Ray (a newbie 100miler who finished in 29 hours) tried to explain what we were doing and she just didn't get it. I was excited to be on the beach.
Photo by Grant McKeown, returning from Orchard Beach

We waved as we ran past a bunch of guys in the Bronx smoking weed. We got slightly off course. We ran under the Bruckner, which sucked. The Triboro was a little scary but we survived. On Randall's Island, I began to get excited. Soon I would see Menachem, my first pacer (and my friend). I found a port-a-potty, which was nice to not drip dry. We hit up part two of the Triboro. 
Just after the Triboro - thanks to Kino for the photo. Look at Menachem's "fancy" running attire white undershirt & gym shorts from high school, literally.

A few blocks after we got off was the aid station and Menachem. I probably horrified him as I shoveled as many Girl Scout cookies and chips and Gatorade into my mouth as fast as I could. It was his first time at an ultra and I'm surprised I didn't scare him. He's still signed up to do the Burning Man 50k!

We took off running, and laughing. I began to get hot, really hot, really really hot. Ray and Menachem began discussing physics and my brain felt fried. I poured water on my head as I slogged behind them. We ran near LGA and the planes were close and we ran by a sulfur-smelling swamp. We got to an aid station where I picked up Melissa Woods, next pacer.

I began to feel better. We ran through a sprinkler in a park. We walked. I tried to get my focus back. Melissa took photos of the houses in the neighborhood for her friend. I welcomed the distractions and the conversations.

Ray and I shared Vaseline for our chafed bits. Only at an ultra do these things happen...
Photo by Ben Ko

We entered Alley Pond Park, I was feeling a little more clear headed. Menachem said goodbye as I shoveled down oatmeal cookies. He was a really good friend to see me suffering, and to have his awesome sense of humor. I loved it. Melissa was a bundle of energy and an amazing pacer. Ray ran with us, suffering but really in good spirits.

Mile 60 we met Beth and Cortney. They arrived way too early and had to kill time with beer and the World Cup. We ran to the 100k mark, where Trishul asked me, "Are you going to continue?" Uh, yes. Of course! I took a bite of eggplant parmigiana, Melissa gave me a change of socks, and we took off! I said goodbye to Melissa who was so awesome she was going to work at two aid stations after she left me. THANK YOU!

Beth & Cortney had never paced at a 100 and they were really great - energetic, fun, focused. Cortney was in charge of the directions and she was really great, and I was grateful because my mind was shutting down. Beth on the other hand, was checking out the local scene, noting bars of interest and taking photos. I sucked down an enormous Italian ice and was losing my mind as I lost feeling in my feet.

Broad Channel. Cute houses. Bridges. Cortney navigating. That blister hurt. OMG it hurt. I sucked down gus and my teeth literally ached. Do ultras cause cavities? Ow.

Into the Rockaways. Beth's chatter didn't stop and her and Cortney seemed so sane that I felt like I was probably an alien. We got into mile 71 where I said hello again to Melissa, hugged Wayne, shoveled down food, changed my sneakers to something a half size bigger, and then we took off.
Yes, a large rainbow Italian ice. Oh so refreshing.

Or, we left. My feet were a swollen mess and everything sucked. My mind was a trap and I was stuck in there and I was glad to hear Beth and Cortney dealing with logistics like directions and wasn't that an adorable house and shouldn't we do a summer share down here?

Ray caught up with us as we pulled closer to Riis Beach. At that aid station, they tried to force me to eat. I was hating 100 milers, swearing to never do another one. Seriously, 50 milers are SO much more fun. Why don't I just stick with those? What is wrong with me? Next year I will only do 50s milers...except maybe Umstead and Vermont and Hinson and National 24 Championships and....

I'm an idiot. I'll keep doing 100s.

We crossed the Marine Parkway Bridge. I'm terrified of the bridge and will only either sprint over it and walk clutching someone's hand. We walked uphill and after I was freaked out so much that I couldn't speak, I asked Ray if I could hold his hand. Death grip was more like it. We walked fast. On the top, we began running.

We ran up Flatbush Avenue, which is spooky and feels like forever. And then alongside the Belt, where Wayne goes kitesurfing at Plumb Beach. I saw lots of rabbits and peed in the darkness behind a fence. We kept running.

Then we got into Sheepshead Bay. Beth was like, "WHAT IS THIS? Where are we?" High heels and cologne and fancy cars and clubs and I'm running with a headlamp, looking like a truck ran me over, feeling like it. We got to mile 80 and I said thank you and goodbye to Beth and Cortney and Pete took over.

Poor Pete. I was out of my mind. My pinky toe hated me. I changed into shoes w the toe cut out but I needed to cut out more. We tried to use glass or something to cut it further, but it was pretty bad. I was in agony. We walked fast or ran and I felt horrible. Pete talked abt triathlons, ultras, so many things. He was great.

Along Shore Road, my arch suddenly hurt. I couldn't run. I was almost in tears. I wanted to stop. Was I hurting myself permanently? I hated this. Along the water, there were tons of people fishing, hanging out, smoking weed, drinking beer, running, making out. It was bizarre. NYC is really the city that never sleeps.

Mile 90. "I want to stop. I really hurt my foot." I cried. The awesome volunteers wouldn't take no for an answer. They iced my foot, put moleskin in my shoe, fed me cookies. 

I hobbled out of there. I hated everything. The ten miles were going to feel endless. In Sunset Park, Pete bought me tea. I was falling asleep and tried to drink it. Stay awake, Cherie. Stay awake.

We hobbled. We talked. Wayne drove by the course and said goodnight. I began running. It hurt, but I could do it.

Mile 95. I have never been so happy to see anyone in my life as I was to see the amazing crew at mile 95. A small shot of rum, which was harsher on my belly than I would have thought. Keep going, girl. The Brooklyn Bridge. I hate this bridge now.

And the streets. Run. Run. Run. Run.

And somehow....done.

Me and Pete at the finish; thanks to Annette Vega for photo
I felt like crap, but was overjoyed at the finish. I sat around for a little bit, chatting. And then I was just too tired. I thanked Phil and Pete and everyone else, got my stuff, and fell into a cab. I got home and showered. I was too tired to eat. I just fell into bed with wet hair and woke up 3 hours later, famished. We went out to brunch and I felt surprisingly okay. Really really hungry.

What an amazing race. Thanks to all the volunteers, my awesome pacers, my kickass boyfriend, Phil & Trishul, and everyone else. I love you all.