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ATY 72 Hour Race

December 29, 2014

182 Miles

Across the years is a learning experience. Each time I do this race I learn more about strategy and myself.  

First year - during my first year I learned how cold it gets in Arizona.  Even though people fly south for the winter and it is usually sunny, it still gets really cold at night.  After running all day it is difficult to keep warm without the correct clothing. So after the first year I bought a down coat and always bring it to the event.  48 hour race, 107 miles, first hundred mile buckle.

Second year - during the second year I learned that you can really push yourself to do well and when no one big enters the race you might be able to place.  48 hour race, 131 miles, 2nd woman

Third year - this year the wind was swirling dust for most of the race. It was awful and I learned to always bring a scarf or neck doohickey to cover my face when I need to.   I also learned I needed a new strategy for my feet because I already had multiple toes with blisters. I starting quizzing people about what they did.  I got bigger shoes, but not just bigger ones, these shoes have a wider toe box to start with, Altras.  I also found out a guy changed his socks every 25 miles.  He would clean them, re lubricate them and put on new socks.   72 hour, 171 miles, longest I ever went, 7 toes taped, ouch

Fourth year - I am always amazed at the six day people who are running when late in my race all I think I can do is walk.  This year I found out that it doesn't hurt much more to run faster later in the race than to just shuffle or walk.  Susie Ro taught me this as we were flying for the last few hours trying to catch a 25 year old.  The will to go fast sometimes needs some motivation to get it kick started.  Susie was just that kick starter.  She motivated another Susan to go get third place and she got me past 180 miles. The stories we were telling.  It is amazing that we could run when we were laughing so hard.  72 hour, 182 miles, longest I have ever went, fun?!

That is right, for the first time I am leaving this race thinking that I liked it.  Usually it takes a few days or weeks for me to get to that point.  I am there now and I think it is because my toes are not mangled.  I hurt in a lot of places but the excruciating pain of the toes is not there.  It does make for a much more pleasant experience.  I also got to chat with so many people and that makes these races fun.  The two lead runners in the six day are the nicest and sweetest people.  They are always encouraging and smiling while hammering out incredible mileage.  I think they set the tone for the rest of us and so this ATY was a sweet experience.

Now what did I learn about myself.  I am not good at sleeping and so the six day race scares me. I can muddle through three days without much sleep....but six?  Yikes.  Don't want to go there.  I learned that it is unbelievable to realize at the end of day two that you have a whole day and night to go, really? Crap.  Speaking of crap...I had an awful two hours so I will not try that drink mix again as the intestinal issues and the need to hit all the port a potties was yucky.  

I think these types of long distance experiences are cleansing.  The first day I run and enjoy running. I listen to music and smile and chat with people who are at my pace.  The second day I get a bit reflective and I am in the zone, thinking through a lot of stuff, but still chatting with folks and enjoy being on the course getting to know the other runners, Jamella (wake up, don't fall into that sticker bush), Marie (always positive and always analyzing, good with strategy), Martina (historian of ultra running and make sure you make my tea correctly), Karen (very supportive and a hell of a runner), Diana (wild tights, likes to sleep, great strategy),  Cyndie (pony girl), Susan (wild woman, believe).  On the second day I speed up or slow down to run or walk with different folks to hear their story.  Marilou and I got to run and walk more than usual and that was fun.  At one point I realized I was in first place.  I was cussing mad because I didn't want that kind of pressure.  Another runner came up to me and gave me an attitude adjustment.  He reminded me to run my own race.  This helped immensely, Thanks Gary.  On the third day I get a little witchy...meaning I cuss a lot.  I still chat with people but usually I am alone and lose my motivation.  This time Susie was there to harass me into moving more than I wanted.  At one point I was trying to hide from her as she was making me run.  In the end she was the best medicine.

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