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Across The Years 72 Hours

December 29, 2013

Getting loopy in many different ways

Where to begin....why I signed up for this thing was to get a 200 mile buckle and remembering last year how i thought it might be fun to challenge myself beyond 48 hours.  No buckle but that doesn't mean I didn't get my money's worth.

Day one
Well it begins before day one with friends Reed, Sue and Marilou taking good care of me just to get me to the start.  What great friends, thank you.

December 29th, 9 AM, we are off.  Lots of excited runners with fresh legs join the six day people already in progress.  I hook up with a young gal named Marylou with a y.  She and I run a few hours together and share our life stories.  Little did I know she was going to win the event with 265 miles, a new personal best by 10 miles and winner of the entire 72 hour race with a new women's course record....WoW
The first day goes well, I stick with gu until I cannot stand them anymore, the salted Carmel flavor still tasted good even late in the day.   The heat on the first day slows most of us including me in the afternoon.  Once the sun goes down I get a second wind and start counting up the laps.  50 miles in 10:40 and then 100k in 13:40, these are very good times for me and not too fast, just how i like it.  Everytime Marylou and i cross paths, (mostly when she passes me,) she stops briefly to check in and offers me a friendly touch on the arm, such a sweetie.
About 75 miles in i decide to switch to my bigger shoes and get some tape on some toes that are becoming bothersome, this is a good choice.   I also lay down for an hour, no sleep but good to get off my feet.  The night is not too cold as I am still moving well.  I have slowed and will not get 100 in 24 hours, but that is okay.  
The wind on the first night was warm and we didn't have wind again which is good because the dirt and dust was awful.  I didn't remember the dust being such a problem in the last couple of years.  It seems like I was breathing in a lot and eating a lot. (For days afterward I sneezed up a lot of crud. No sunburn for me even without sunscreen.  I must have been so dirty from the coat of dust that I was protected from the sun.)

Day two 
In the morning when the sun comes up, I get another wind, second or third or whatever, feeling good and just want to get the first 100 miles done.  It seems to be taking forever.  At 12:30 PM one hundred miles in the bank.  I decide that running a lot in the sunny afternoon is not good and because I did not sleep yet, I try to take a nap.  The van is too hot so i take my sleeping bag and go to the grassy area and find a shady spot behind a tent.  I am almost asleep when a couple of runners decide to flirt with each other, just not what I wanted to hear.  So no sleep, just resting.  Because I can't sleep I get back up and out on the course.  Gettin loopy. It is hot now and I take some slow laps.  Of course we are always interacting with other runners and that lifts the spirits.  
This is a harder report to write than others, I am not sure why, but the specifics of things escape me.  Probably too many loops.  All I know is that my husband told me to have fun and I am having fun.  Kind of just in motion without a care in the world.  I am sure there are things to process and think about (job stuff) but I am too busy enjoying the run, which is mostly walking at this point.  However, I am walking well and once in awhile doing a shuffle run to keep using different muscles.

I think sometime during this day my left shin begins to hurt when I walk so i take more run breaks.  In the night i figure that I have been up for a while and should be able to sleep.  I go to the van and bring with me some hand warmers.  When I put those inside my sleeping bag it is rather comfortable.  I begin to fall asleep and then there is this loud voice outside the van sharing every story he knows about jumper cables.  Apparently the car right next to the van has a dead battery. It had to be the car right next to mine.  I listen to this helpful guy for many minutes and finally open the van and tell him to please lower his voice as people are sleeping, it is the middle of the night.  He tells me this woman's car battery is dead.   I ask again for him to please lower his voice.  He doesn't.  They are unsuccessful in getting her car started and after another 20 minutes they give up.  Of course by now I am too angry to sleep. So back on the course i go.
This year I am not nearly as cold as I was last year during the night time hours. I attribute that to my new down coat.  Even with syrup on the front from a French toast piece while walking, the coat works great.

Day three
90 miles on day one, 50 miles on day two, now I need 60 miles on day three to get my 200 mile buckle.  That is a lot of loops.  It is possible but highly improbable.  I want to do it but my toes are on the edge of disaster.  If I start moving fast then my toes may not allow for it as they would need to be retaped often.  Right now 7 toes are taped and two will need a new tape job in a short while.  So for most of the morning i go through phases of 200 being possible and then not possible.  My emotions are all over the place and I am a little silly from lack of sleep.  I finally agree with myself that a big number like 160 or 170 will be just fine as I want to stay out here for all 72 hours.  After I commit to this i begin to really enjoy myself.  I watch the unfolding 6 day race and encourage people in the 72 and 48 hour races.  I really am having fun enjoying the experience.  It is now not a race but more of an adventure of discovery of oneself.

This is when the loopiness gets a little crazy.  Cheeseburger....for some reason on one lap I get the idea of how wonderful a cheeseburger would taste and who do I tell but my vegan friend Diana.  Of course her husband would go get some for us.  But then she reminds me that I am vegan and it might make me sick.  She is laughing at me and I am laughing so hard I am crying.  So tired that the littlest things make me laugh or cry or whatever.  No sleep. And I still have one more night to go.....hm what to do.  At this point after about two or three laps, my feet and my shins were ouchy.  So I would give myself a break for about 5-10 minutes with my feet up.  This seemed to help and I would go out for another lap or two.  The breaks began to get longer as the night went along, but that is okay as I was still in this.

Then the toes were really bad.  I had some maceration on the little toes from a previous bad tape job and they called in the expert.  I thought I was done and he would tell me it was time to hang it up.  He retaped the toe and it felt fine but I couldn't get my foot back in the sandal in a way that would allow me to walk.  Then I realized i still have my Crocs.  Wonderful wizard tape guy got my Crocs from my bag under the table and we tried it, I was back in the game.

Ouch another toe bit it.  This was a big toe.  I had a huge blister under a previous tape job.  I was so worried about taking off the tape and ripping the skin I wouldn't let the tape guys touch it.  I kept asking them if this meant I was done and they wouldn't let me be done.  Their job was to get me back out on the course (damn them!).  So finally i let them retape the toe.  He asked how much more was I going to do and I said I only needed five laps to get into the 170s.  He said that is good.  I think he was a little worried about my feet holding up any longer.

So back out i go.  Wow this is when Yannis and Joe (leaders of the six day race) were neck in neck running right with one another, fun to watch the intensity of the race right before your eyes.  I take my last few laps and walk gently so as not to screw up my already screwed up toes.  On my last lap I wait for the sun to come up so I can say goodbye to everything in the daylight.  I finish with about 90 minutes left to go, but wanted to get a shower and then see the end of the 72 hour race.  I know my toes had had enough and so off I went to the showers.  Taking a hot shower after three days and especially brushing your teeth is a wonderful experience.  30 miles for day three, total of 170 for 72 hours.

But more importantly I learned a lot about the ultra experience, the zone you can get into when you are running for yourself with other people who are also trying to discover something about themselves.  I met Rasmivan, a Sri Chinmoy runner who had an incredible pace.  We talked during one of his rare walk breaks.  He told me that his name, Rasmivan, means the bearer of rays, or sun to moon.  I think it means life is running or running is life, all day, all night, from day to day...that is the way i like it and learned about myself while running and walking for three days, beside getting loopy. :)

Afterward....for about six days I still feel like I am wearing my hat.

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