I finished. Without Peter Thorne (bib#5040) I don’t know if I would have, though.
Yet again due to snow the course was altered. The first 10k of the course went beautifully. I felt good, I was running well (and was actually running). The sun was partially out and while it was chilly it was great running weather . As I came down into the 1st aid station I saw the girls! Oh that made my heart light. I dumped a wet shirt with my amazing friends and started humping it back up the mountain.
Somewhere around mile 13 I just burst into tears. I was nauseous, I was having a hard time breathing, but most importantly I was getting cold. I was scared. TeamCaboose grabbed my hand and walked with me for a bit. I felt awful for holding her back so I pushed her on. I pretty much cried all the way to the first entrance into the 5-Way aid station. I didn’t want to drop, but my last experience in the cold was roaring in my brain. I walked into 5-Way extremely nauseous. After almost throwing up, some amazing person gave me some ginger chews. The volunteers gave me some amazing hot broth. They offered up a heater, but I knew that if I sat in front of that it was only going to be worse when I left. They asked if I wanted to drop. Absolutely not. The next few miles were downhill and I was able to get warm again. I was still nauseous, but getting warmed helped. Even better I stopped crying.
The Marsac aid station (#5) at mile 19.6 was out in the open. Just the couple of minutes we were there filling up bladders was enough to make me cold again. As we took off from the aid station I saw that the guy (I called him Zombie Runner in my head because that’s what was on his pack) that we had been following most of the course had a jacket tied around his waist and wasn’t using it. “Hey! Can I borrow you jacket?” I was a cold and desperate runner and was not above asking strangers for clothes. He graciously let me borrow it. The nice thing was that because he was a big guy it fit over top of my layers and my hydration pack. After a few minutes I started to get warm again. I gave it back to him before we even hit the next aid station and profusely thanked him.
The folks at the King’s Road Aid Station told us that it was 3 miles back to 5-Way. It was over 3 miles. More importantly it was also all straight up hill. There was a small human at the aid station so the string of profanities that I wanted to come out of my mouth were tempered by his presence. TeamCaboose was long in front of me. ZombieRunner and I were slogging our way up the hill stringing together profanities. At this point it had also started snowing. Super, just (bleep) super. When we rolled into 5-Way for a second time they were all enthusiastic that it was “only 4.7 miles to the finish and all downhill!!!” I glared at them. I wasn’t in the best place.
“I don’t believe a (bleep) thing you all say any more they told it was 3 miles to here.”
The guys laughed. “It’s not 3 miles!”
“Duh, I know that NOW!”
I thanked them for being there, I mean, they were out in the cold all day too. However, I was cold again. The broth wasn’t warm, and I knew that I was less than 5 miles to the finish. While I wasn’t nauseous any more but I knew that I was rapidly approaching a point where I was going to have to make a hard decision. That’s when Zombie Runner came to my rescue. Without me asking, he took his coat off of his pack and handed it to me.
“Here, I’ll get it from you at the finish.” He took off running down the mountain.
I pulled it on and started down the mountain. As the elevation dropped the precipitation increased and switched to rain. By the time I could see the finish line it was pouring. I was wet, but warm. I got to the fencing on the finish and out pops MountainGoat. She and Randi and Kara had sat there all day in the rain and the snow. They were there to see me finish.
She smacked me on the ass and said, “RUN!”
“I don’t know if I can.”
She smacked me on the ass again. “RUN!” She commanded as she grabbed my hand and pulled me along, my legs begrudgingly following her. She let go of my hand and I crossed the finish line and promptly burst into tears. I hugged TeamCaboose who was standing there. I looked up and saw the girls huddled under the tent. I cried some more. These amazing, wonderful, strong women who I met and ran with this summer stood there all day in the craptastic weather. I started to tell them that I needed to find the nice guy who let me us he coat. He was looking right at me. I laughed. “I only know you from behind! Thank you so much for letting me use this I wouldn’t have finished otherwise.”
Officially I was 150/155, 52/54 females, 7/7 for my age group, and finished in 10:05:30 with a pace of 18:59. Not a stellar showing, but for an asthmatic runner from sea level I’ll take it. I am a finisher.