Since Ray K has started giving me coaching advice, I've either won or placed in every single race I've run. I've been having a good season, and it's kind of unreal. Very exciting too.
I ran Cajun Coyote 100 miler last year and had a rough race, but a good time. The RDs were SO much fun, the volunteers lively, the atmopshere party-like...
|Like a real triathlete, our numbers were on our legs!|
|Me and Batman, I mean, a race volunteer|
|The RD looking very official as he gave his remarks|
So of course I'd want to go back!
|I am so nervous|
Unfortunately, a week before the race, while straightening up my house, I felt an intense pain in my left hamstring - someplace I had never hurt before. I didn't do anything weird, it just started hurting. So I spent the rest of the week taking it easy, going in the hot tub once I got to my B&B, and worrying.
I started out the race, excited. This is why I flew down to Louisiana - to run 100 miles on beautiful trails. I chatted, hyper, flew up and down the hills. Perhaps I hammered them a bit too hard. Five miles in, I felt it. Tears pricked the corners of my eyes. Really? Would I have to drop? Instead, I slowed down my pace, letting others I was chatting and running with pass me. After a few more miles, things felt okay.
The course is mainly single trail, small rocks, lots of roots, lots of leaves, ups and downs of the rolling hill variety (that never really seems to end), with some nice boardwalks across swamps (I guess that's the bayou...damn Yankees never know the terms!). It's pretty, autumnal with lots of leaves. You do two loops in one direction, one in the opposite, and two in the original direction for the 100mile, while the 100kers do three loops in the original direction (and they start with us). There's a 20 miler too.
|The course was really pretty|
|I'm running so fast, I make these trees look like they are standing still.|
Aid stations were quite good. Chicken soup and chicken burritos for the meat eaters, grilled cheese, pretzels, chips, cookies, lip balm, all sorts of goodies...at the end, I sucked down ginger ale at every aid station.
I ran the first loop in 3:14. I quickly made my changes at the aid station, sucked down some coconut water, refilled my bottle, and was out.
Somewhere along the way, I must've dropped some gels or I didn't put enough in my pockets. Regardless, I ran out of food and at the third aid station, sucked down the dreaded Hammergel Huckleberry flavour which Wayne loves so - and you know what, it was really good, particularly if you crammed potato chips in your mouth at the same time.
I finished this loop 10 or 20 minutes slower.
Third loop. I still felt mostly okay, you know, not incredible, but this would be the last loop alone. I was running in the opposite direction so got to see lots of other rad people, including a few listers who had introduced themselves ahead of time on the list. My waistbelt started hurting my back - the water itself was smashing and my lower back was just killing me. I stopped to stretch it quite a few times (which continued the rest of the race). It got dark about 3 miles from the finish, my headlamp batteries were so dim it was hard to run so fast, esp as we were in the toughest part. I was tripping up hills, eager to get there. And then I ran into a guy sans flashlight - running with a glowstick. He was so happy to see me, a headlamp-wearer. We ran together into the start/finish.
I met my pacer - yes, for the first time ever, actually. We got connected through the ultra community. He knew a lot of people so he was hanging around, talking to people. I changed my outfit as I was soaked in sweat and wanted something dryer. I tied a long sleeved shirt around my race which I only briefly put on - the entire race I ran in a running skirt and tank top. It was really warm, which was actually quite wonderful.
I changed to a handheld, shoved gels in random places, and stumbled out of there. Lane was eager to run, and it was nice in a way that I barely knew him - we were able to you know, spend 11 hours getting to know each other. We talked about our loves, running, and armadillos. Beforehand, Lane was made aware that I'm petrified of them, so he soothed my worries (and also told me how they destroyed his lawn). Not a single armadillo tried to make friends (while I saw a lot more last year) but it could be Lane scaring them away or me informing them that Lane and I had plenty of friends and didn't need anymore and that they should go away.
I'm sure Lane thought me loopy then!
I did hallucinate, but having learned that you only freak out a pacer (ahem, Wayne at Croatan), I didn't tell Lane. Instead, I observed them (a white cat's claw - no cat attached), cat face in the bushes, bears, voices, all sorts of things. I wonder why people do things like acid when running long distances IS SO MUCH FUN! Okay, yeah, it's painful but...
Last loop! I scarfed down a grilled cheese sandwich, more ginger ale, and Lane and I split. I was so glad it was my last loop. We ran, tripped, stumbled through the first section. The aid station was SUCH a relief. More ginger ale. Running more. And then, YES, up the ditch and here I am at the second aid station. I was ecstatic. This one volunteer came up, asking for our order ("Grilled cheese! Ginger ale! Chicken soup!") and we ran with her up the hill.
The next section was lonely and Lane and I talked - he told me about raising a 12 year old girl and about the races he ran and how his dog adores table food and all sorts of random things. He could have told me he alphabetized his sock drawer by sock designer and I probably would've intently listened and murmured, "Wow, what a great concept." But he was really entertaining and helped me go. He ran behind me with an awesome flashlight and headlamp.
My hamstring started bothering me miles 95-100, but really, it was better if I ran. So I ran.
I didn't realize we were almost at the road and when he said we were, I didn't believe him. I had tears in my eyes. As I ran into the finish with a time of 23:01, I was absolutely ecstatic! First woman, tough race, and with a tight hamstring.
I cleaned up, ate a little food, and then, drove three hours back to New Orleans straight to the airport. I hopped on the plane, crashed out, woke up in pain somewhere not too far from home. When Wayne picked me up, he had pretzels in the car and despite my unkempt appearance, suggested stopping by at Calexico for dinner on the way home - nachos, salad, quesadillas, plantains, cocktails? YES!
And then, you know, three hours later, we ate our second dinner.
Hamstring is still sore but you know what? No races for a while so I think I'll take things easy. The only problem is, I'm not sure how to do that!