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Across the Years 2022-2023

December 28, 2022 - January 3, 2023

Two races, two hundreds for a total of 12 for my 60th birthday year
72 hour race, 152 miles
48 hour race, 123 miles
Total of 275 miles, yay, only 20 miles to get my 2000 mile coat
Socializing on the loop, the best
Walking over the grassy hill to get back to my car, priceless, never did this in ten years at ATY, love the shortcut (did it to avoid the mud)

I woke up the day of my flight and my back was off, it felt like I strained a muscle in my lower back.  I could hardly get dressed.  How was I going to run two hundreds let alone sit on a plane to get there.  Could I even lift my suitcase?  Kinda scary and concerning way to start my adventure. I checked in with my peeps, Van and Jess and  they gave me good advice as usual. Walking might loosen it up and problem solving is my thang. Thank you Jess and Van for you advice and support and congrats on your successful events.

I began the race running and my back tightened up.  Fortunately there was Andre the massage therapist at the race.  He worked on me twice and my back felt much better.  After day one my hip flexor, WOW ouchy ouch. I guess I have been fortunate not to have a lot of running injuries.  I have not hurt like that on every step. The hip flexor is evil.  I asked Van what to do.  She said stretch it and once it starts there is not much you can do. So I kept walking and asked my friend Theresa if she had poles as I thought I might have to walk the rest of the way.  She didn’t have poles but knew a friend who did and secured them for me. Thank you again Theresa.

I mostly walked day two and grimaced. I decided that in order for me to run a hundred after a day off I needed to shut down the 72 hour race early.  Day three offered little miles as I rested in my car and the heated tent with cots.  I got miles because I had to go to bathroom  and I might as well do a loop while going out to BR.

I tried out the poles for two loops, they helped but didn’t really want to use them.  Rest seemed to help more.

72 hour race, day one 81 miles, day two 47, day three, 24
8th woman, won my age group
Hundred in 30:38

72 hour race complete, Jess and I leave for a night at the hotel. We splurged and ordered food to be delivered to our room.  Another Thai food night as the night before the race I shared Thai food with Van.

After getting a good night sleep in a bed I felt like I was as ready as I could be to start the second race, the 48 hour.  I had to get my head around maybe walking the 100 which would take forever, like 40 hours or more. The mental game is as important or more important to ultra running success.  When I was going to start my watch I considered putting it in walk mode as I truly believed all I could do was walk with this icky hip flexor (probably related to original back strain).

So off we go and I start jogging easy.  I take walk breaks and the hip flexor feels so much better running easy than walking so I continue to run easy for most of the day and night. In fact I get 72 miles in 24 hours. On the first day of the 72 hour race, when my legs were fresh I got 81 miles.  So day one of the 48 hour race was a surprise.   Who was this gal running?  I took breaks and the hip flexor pain seemed to go away.  Van also showed me how to stretch my hip flexor and I did that a few times so that helped as well.  I guess running and walking huge distances makes my issues go away, dang. Huge learning for me.

This second hundred still takes a while to get.  I think I get to a hundred miles at 6 or 7 pm.  I take a well deserved break and got a nap in my car.  Now I get to walk and chat with whoever. So fun to take er easy and enjoy the action on the loop.

Two friends, Deb and Angie showed up at different times to run a few laps with a Jess and I.  Not sure which nights they were, the days and nights are kind of blurred as I didn’t take any notes during the 5 days.  So grateful to have friends who show up at night and motivate us to run, fun.  Thank you Angie and Deb.

48 hour race, 72 miles day one, 51 day two
5th woman, won my age group
Hundred in 34:16

Even though I brought five pairs of shoes I could have used more
Light weight coat would have been helpful, the temps at ATY this year were warm
Umbrella is a must, thankfully I brought one
More plastic bags for stinky clothes
You really have to prepare the mind and the heart to run these long distances during a multi day event.  I was focused and this helped me to not throw in the towel when experiencing an injury.  I also had to rely on steely determination and infinite patience to get the job done.

Aravaipa is one of the best race companies out there. Everything is done professionally. But the best part of the organization is Mamma Curry and Jen in the kitchen. As a plant based whole food person , I was so happy to eat all the good food they provided.  I was especially touched when I asked what was for dinner on the last night and they said burgers. I said aw shucks I was hoping for lentil sloppy joes.  About a hour later when the burgers were ready there was vegan lentil sloppy joes for me, ah shucks, so sweet and so appreciated.

Other than that I packed well and had all the things I needed.  I set up the rental car well with a mud room in the passenger seat. This is where I would change socks and shoes.
The console was the charging station and important items like cookies.
The dash hosted the rain poncho and umbrella when not in use.
The backseat was my bedroom where I could change clothes and sleep.
The pockets on the back of seats were my dresser of clothes.
The trunk held more gear kind of like a garage.
So the car worked well as it kept me out on the loop, not too comfortable as an RV, which means I was out on the course more often.

The goal of two hundreds back to back and 12 for the year. Accomplished.  Not sure I would do it again as 12 in a year is a bit much.  I think 6-8 is more my speed. I also think if I do this kind of thing again, two events during a six day, I will try the 48 hour first and then the 72 hour.  I did like the day off and definitely feel like my brain worked well.  During a six day I am not good at sleep and it is a bit scary afterwards to do all that it takes to get home.  So for now I will save six days for later.

I do like running and walking on a loop.  It is a special experience and the people you meet are a family.  You get to see the race unfold and chat it up with many many people all encouraging each other to do their best.  After ten years at ATY I was hoping to do other races around January and December but I would miss these people.  So I will be back, after all I gotta get that 20 miles for my 2000 mile coat. It’s weird what motivates you to do silly loops for days. It’s the people.


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