Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sierra Nevada Endurance Run Race Report 2011

I wanted this so bad, but it was a battle right from the start………

I was sitting at the table in the little gymnasium when I had this feeling that I needed to use the bathroom. I headed to the bathroom and as I was there my stomach was torn up. I dry heaved and gagged a bit trying really hard not to lose my breakfast. I came out and I felt a bit pale and clammy. I headed to the start with everyone else and told myself it was just my race nerves really taking over and that things would settle down.
I headed out and slowly and easily found my rhythm on the fire road. I knew that I had a long day ahead of me and that I didn’t need to fight for position. I hit the climb up Mooney ridge and power walked it and took the descent pretty conservatively. It seemed that things were settling in and I was nice and relaxed. I took in some GU and I was focused on my hydration. I knew that hydrating was going to be a key factor in today’s outcome. As I hit the single track and made my way to the first aid station my stomach started feeling a bit funky. It wasn’t bloated but it didn’t feel settled. I arrived at the aid station and grabbed a PB&J Square ate it and used the bathroom hoping that would help my stomach. Only it didn’t. I knew that I shouldn’t push too hard, I would need to slow things down if I wanted to finish.

My stomach pain would come and go and with it I would run and hike. Run and hike. I arrived at horseshoe and again tried to use the bathroom there hoping that that would help the situation. Nope nothing only a little bit of pee. At least I peed. I grabbed another PB&J square and slowly ate it, hoping that if I ate it slowly it would settle better. I made my way down the trail with a really upset stomach on my way to Rattlesnake and the first time I would see my crew, Dustin. I kept feeling like I “needed to reset my stomach” but nothing. My stomach was really upset and wasn’t settling down. I took in some GU knowing I needed the fuel, but that only upset my stomach further. I kept thinking that this was going to be a long day and if I was even going to finish with the way I was feeling.
I arrived at Rattlesnake, told Dustin I needed some water and ice in my pack and he switched out my sort of empty flask for a full one of GU. I also slowly sipped down 2 ginger ales hoping that would help settle my stomach. I told him my situation and he calmly told me to keep eating, during this next stretch try and snack on a waffle anything solid but to keep eating as I needed the calories. It was great to see him and he helped lift my spirits and he even managed to calm me with his words. Sometimes it is just the simple words from a friend that helped encourage me. He told me it was 3 miles to the next aid and to eat during this stretch, the next aid only had water and was self service. All very valuable information and information I retained. He would be at the top of the overlook for me. And with that I was off. I was maybe a few minutes there, but not much.

I left rattlesnake, I don’t think I ate anything but managed to get the 2 ginger ales in me. I ran and hiked when my stomach became too upset. I was focused on hydrating and took a salt every hour. It seemed that I arrived at Avery’s pond really fast and was a bit surprised to see it. Avery’s pond means much more to me. It brought a smile to my face and a brief memory of my friend Pam asking Anthony one day “so how will I know when I reach Avery’s Pond?” I chuckled a bit and ran around it. The trail wasn’t marked so I took the right because that is the way I usually go. This was the only area I noticed during the race that wasn’t marked, but whichever way you go you will get there.
During this stretch I slowly ate a honey stinger waffle because the last time I felt nausea it helped. It took a good 10 minutes for me to get it down. But I ate the entire thing, and a few minutes later I felt like I was going to get sick. Nothing was working, my usual fuel wasn’t working and I knew that I needed to keep eating. I was thinking that I would need to switch to liquid calories and that I would be picking up my hand held and drinking coke. But I had to get their intake first.

I breezed through the water aid station and made my way to Cardiac. I was hiking faster than some runners were running and I just kept my forward movement hiking when needed and running when things felt settled. It was working as I was slowly making my way to cardiac. I passed a few runners which really lifted my spirits and once at cardiac I downed some coke and started the grueling climb up cardiac.

I didn’t push too hard, I just kept it nice and steady, one foot in front of the other, remembering to breath and to just keep moving. Cardiac is called cardiac for a reason. I could feel my heart beat beating against my chest, I could feel my legs burning with each step up I went, but I never stopped I kept going until I reached the top. Once at the top I slowly transitioned to a run. I took in some GU knowing I had used precious reserve energy and that I was already behind on my calories. I was almost to the overlook and another chance to see Dustin plus my Fleet Feet friends. I just kept thinking about that and pushed out any negative thoughts and how uncomfortable my stomach was making things. I passed a few runners during this stretch and just kept on moving.

I hit the pavement and my steps became lighter and quicker. I was close. I was moving know. I was thinking of what I needed once I arrived. I rounded the corner and I waved to Dustin. He came running along with Anthony. Then out of nowhere Pam is by my side. A huge smile comes over my face and I hug her. I am so happy to have seen her as my time at this point was way off what I originally predicted. I quickly started telling everyone what I needed. I needed to use the bathroom; I need water and ice in my pack and both of my flask switched and water downed some more as it was still too thick. I also wanted coke in my hand held and my stomach was still upset. I handed everything off and made my way to the port a potty, only it was being occupied. I did the unthinkable and quickly squatted behind the horse trailer and Anthony and Pam were my look outs. After that Anthony gave me 2 Tums for my stomach and I ate them both and then I had to spit them out as it became too chalky.

 Anthony soaked me and that really woke me. Dustin and Pam worked on my pack. I was ready to move. Anthony walked me down he reassured me that I had plenty of time as I was beginning to worry about the cut offs. I vaguely remember him telling me take it easy I knew how long this should take and to not push it too hard.

I was off with that. My entire crew did a fantastic job with this stop. I knew what I needed and what wasn’t working which made the transition easier. I was making my way down to no hands bridge. I was bombing the descent. I had a new found energy from the aid station. I didn’t eat anything there so I was running on everyone else’s energy.  It felt really good flying down and passing other runners. It was like a new life had come upon me. I hiked the small hills and drank my coke. I knew I needed to finish my bottle so that I could refill it at the bridge. Calories in, calories in was my mantra and my calories right now was coke. I knew coke would quickly burn off but it was better than nothing.

I was now running down Robbie on my way to the single track when all of a sudden I had to stop; I had just gotten sick in my mouth. It was little bit, but just enough to completely stop me in my tracks as I feared more was to follow. Luckily nothing else did and I washed my mouth out and continued on my way. I hit the single track and found myself all alone but moving at a nice clip. I suddenly heard what sounded like a very loud drunk person crashing through the woods above me. I stopped and looked really hard, and then I remembered what Jenny told me. This is what a bear sounds like. I quickly took off running harder knowing that I didn’t want to get stopped by a bear, one I didn’t know what to do and two, I was alone. I hit the fire road and as runners passed me I forgot to warn them about the bear, why I am not sure it had actually left my mind.
I hit no hands bridge and the volunteers there filled my bottle with coke, I ate 1 square of PB&J and was ready for my return. It took me 6 hours to hit the turn around.

I headed back and as I was hitting the single track some runners told me they had just scared a bear off the trail and to be careful. I told them “ohh that was what that noise was.” I am not sure what they thought of me. But they said it held them up for about 10-15 minutes. I started to make my climb when another came around the bend and told me she just saw the bear cub. I asked her where the momma bear was because I was sure that mamma bear wasn’t too far behind. And then I heard the bear right above me. The runner heading down took off and left me. I stood there for a second and then started hiking up hoping that when I rounded the corner I wouldn’t see the bear. The bear made so much noise but I could never see it. I never saw it, but trust me it was very near.
A runner passed me looking really fresh and I tried to tag along, but her pace was just too fast. I settled back in and continued hiking knowing how grueling this climb really was. As I was nearing the top I heard my best friend Anthony. He had come down to check on me. His booming laughter and voice are not hard to notice. That really lifted my spirits. I told him about my bear encounter and was really excited to see him. He asked me how I was feeling and I told him I was feeling pretty good, just tired. I had no cramping. He was pretty excited with my answers. He said that tired was doable and he could work on that. Cramping and having no quads would have been a totally different story.

We ran together for a bit and hiked the bigger hills. I told him what I think I needed when I arrived back at the overlook. I wanted more coke, I needed my GU even more diluted than what it was as it was still way too thick and very hard to get down my sensitive stomach. I was drinking my water and I had just taken a salt not too long ago. Things were on point. He ran ahead of me to get things ready. Before he left he told me he thought I was doing the smart thing and taking it smart on the return to the overlook. Most runners that came back looked like they had cracked and I wasn’t one of them. All good things to hear especially since I had still had a long ways to go.
Back at the overlook there was again a huge abundance of energy; the Fleet Feet Team was there. Kirk and Jenny came down to walk me back up, Dustin was by my side and taking my pack. I used the bathroom, but I was having a problem. It felt like I had to pee but nothing happened. Anthony told me not to worry, it was better to have the urge than no urge at all.

 I sat down and emptied the tiny pebbles out of my shoe, Jenny helped me with that, I than ran over to the canal and soaked myself and washed all the salt off of my face. That was very refreshing. It was almost like I was rinsing away everything that happened earlier and starting fresh. After my “cleansing” I needed more body glide.

My rear end was chaffing. It was a pretty quick stop everyone was helping and I was ready to go in no time. Anthony and I were ready and off we went.

Anthony’s main concern was calories. I needed calories as I was really behind since I hadn’t been able to eat much all day. He became my voice in my head, “drink coke, ok now some water, how about my spizz” Calories in was our mantra, coke, water salt, coke, water, salt and repeat. At one point on top of the canal I had to stop as my stomach really was upset and I had just gotten sick a bit and we walked for a bit until my stomach calmed down. We hit cardiac and I ran down it remembering not to blow up my quads. Running down is so much easier than coming up. We hit the aid station at the base, filled our bottles, soaked and were off to the sweet runnable single track.
The section of trail is very runnable and it will pull you if you let. Well, I did just that. It pulled me with ease and I even ran a few of the shorter hills without any extra effort. Anthony kept telling me how good I looked, keep it easy don’t push. We even were catching up to all those runners that had passed me earlier in the day. We would run on by and keep going and never see them again. What a huge lift to be running so well at this stage of the race. I stayed in front of Anthony and ever so often I would hear “ok keep drinking, are your legs ok?” and then I would drink more coke and take some more salt. He even had me taking 2 salts an hour and wow what a difference that made.

The single track pulled us all the way to the outpost where we refilled our packs with ice and enjoyed some more coke. My stomach was pretty upset and I grabbed 4 saltines and Anthony grabbed some as well. It was really tough to get the saltines down, but I did. We even gave my extra saltines to a runner who was getting sick on the side of the trail.
We hit the water pump and then not to long Avery’s Pond, which this time was marked. I had to walk a bit here because my stomach did not like the saltines and I was ready to get sick all over the trail. I was bent over and Anthony told me to keep moving, it was better to move while being sick than stand there as that surely would cause me to lose everything. I listened and kept moving.

We were quickly approaching Rattlesnake and were discussing what I needed. I wanted more coke, no ice as it was getting watered down too much and I needed more ice and water in my pack. I was drinking up my water like it was going out of style. As we neared Anthony took the lead and increased the pace as this section was completely runnable. I just focused on his feet and when his feet moved mine did as well. We ran the short little hills ran over the bridge and then hiked the big hill but we transitioned back to a run very quickly. It felt like I was doing 9 minute miles but I am not sure, I was just focused on Anthony’s feet and that was all.
Anthony pulled ahead of me to the aid station and I followed a few minutes later. He had my bottles filled and Dustin worked on filling my pack and the Ultra Runner Podcast team cooled me off. Anthony applied some Vaseline to my neck as it was chaffing from my pack and then we were ready to run. Only 10 miles to go. But first I had to get through the grinder.

My legs were still feeling really good, I would occasionally shake them out and when I did that Anthony would suggest another salt and more coke. I made really good time through the grinder, even running some of it and some of the hills. I was on auto pilot just keep moving, just keep moving, keep drinking and taking salt, keep moving. I hiked when the hill became too steep or the terrain became too rocky. But I was running just as soon as I could. I made it through the grinder in one piece and even managed to pass a couple of runners who I never saw again.

It was 5:30 now with only maybe 5ish miles to go. I told Anthony I really wanted to be in by 6:30, that would be a 6 hour second half. He said it would be close and I pushed the pace even faster. I picked the pace up knowing how close I was, but I also knew that could crack myself if I went to hard and then really struggle the few miles. I was running, pushing myself and the entire time my voice in my head keeps me on track with fuel and water and salt.

As I neared twin rocks the spot where I had to drop last year I became very chocked up as I said to Anthony “That is where I dropped last year.” I ran by it in seconds. I was running further than I have previously gone in this race. I was running from my heart I was doing whatever I could to keep the pain barrier at bay for a bit longer. In my mind I knew I only had a little over 3 miles to go. 3 miles that is all, and earlier today I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I thought it was going to be a slug fest just to finish. And then just like that excruciating pain ripped from my foot.

The pain was overwhelming the fiery burning sensation as the blister on the bottom of my pinky toe exploded. It was all that I could do just to keep moving. It was so painful, I hadn’t been in this much pain all day and then slowly the pain started to work its way up my toes to my ankles to my legs and into my groin. Ohh no the pain was slowly making its way up my body. The fire pain ripping through my toe caused me to walk. I was hobbling, with less than 3 miles to go. I hobbled into the Granit Bay aid station downed some coke and continued hobbling. I had about 2.8 miles to go.

Anthony calmly asked me to push past the pain barrier for a bit longer. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was hobbling so slowly and then a runner came blazing past me. I tried to run and slowly I began running. Calmness had come over my entire body and I told myself I was going to push hard the last bit no matter what. The pain went away within a step, it was like nothing had happened and I was out for a 2 mile run. I had managed to block out the pain, I was going to finish strong.

I was running and I was slowly catching up to the runner who had passed me. As I was rounded the corner getting ready to climb Mooney ridge the one last big hill of the day I heard Dustin. That brought forth another gear. Anthony quickly stopped to get me some coke and I just kept on motoring. I was 1.5 miles from the finish. I ran half way up Mooney Ridge and overtook the runner who had passed me. I heard Anthony yell up to me “don’t crack” I quickly transitioned into a power hike and continued to gain ground on the runner. Anthony quickly caught back up to me and I took a few swigs of coke. We hit the top and continued running. I wasn’t going to slow down I was so close to the finish. We hit the descent and I just kept on moving.
Now we were on Cavitt road only a few more rollers to go. I was running 10 minute miles and it felt like I was only getting faster. I ran up the hills, Anthony being the calm steady voice in my head like he had been all day, “now run to that ribbon” I would do just that and keep going. He blocked the wind for me as there was pretty decent breeze coming off the lake. Anthony calmly told only two more rollers and then it is all downhill. I ran those rollers and as I crested the second roller I spotted off in the distance Dustin. He had come out; I ran faster, my legs pumping.

Then I saw Julie Fingar; no that couldn’t be her? But it was. She had come out to run me in. She knew that this race was about redemption for me. That brought another gear I didn’t know I had. I heard Anthony say I was running 6:30 pace. Julie called out to me “Great job Melisa, this is all for you!” and with that another gear was found, I quickly sprinted past her and she had to work to keep up. She pushed ahead of me and said “We can race to the finish?” and with that another gear was found. I was moving, my breathing was really labored and I was just focused on the finish. I heard Julie say “relax Melisa, relax” I rounded the corner and heard the cheers from the spectators at the finish.

Just a bit longer, keep pushing, I was running as fast I could, I hit the pavement with Julie right by my side, only a bit longer and the announcer called out “Melisa Mahon #41, redemption is complete!” I crossed the finish line and took a few steps before my legs buckled; I almost went down from the effort I had put in. I quickly zeroed in on Michaela and then Lily was by my side. I heard Anthony call out “Don’t lie down, whatever you do don’t lie down” I was pale and having trouble catching my breath but it was all worth it as Redemption was mine today!

Redemption never felt better. I did it, I overcame stomach issues that lasted all day and I ran the last 25 miles or so on coke and 3 GU’s. My last real food was at No Hands Bridge a small PB&J square, besides the 4 saltines at the outpost. No other runners passed me from the overlook until Granit bay, but I passed that runner on Mooney Ridge. I still to this day have a huge smile on my face and when I think about the race and the effort it took to get the finish I am just amazed. What a way to end this season.

Thank you to Dustin for crewing me and being there when I needed you. Seeing you on the course throughout the day was awesome. Thank you to the Fleet Feet Team at the overlook. Knowing they were there made me push on and keep going. Thank you to my pacer Anthony, the voice in my head. You kept me moving and helped me that a thank you is not enough for what you did. Thank you to all my friends at the finish who were there when I came in. Thank you Lily for taking care of me while my body shut down and for believing in me when I called you that Thursday in tears and in a panic. Thank you to race director Julie Fingar for coming out and running the last ½ mile with me to the finish. That really made my day and allowed me to find another gear that I didn’t know I had. What a day!!!

Turnaround: 6hours
Finish: 6:20:19
Total Time: 12:20:19

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Thing of Beauty

Tahoe, a thing of beauty. I spend time up here because it calms me. Tahoe brings me back to my center. I usually come here with no schedule, no to do list, nothing that I have to do. I think that is what vacation is all about, just being and enjoying the surrounding beauty. What better place to "do nothing" but in Tahoe. I can sit on the beach for hours and do nothing, maybe read a book, listen to the rhythm of the lake or the wind rushing through the trees.

The other morning I was up bright and early and headed down to the beach. It was peaceful the water was glass like and the only thing on the water was this stand up paddle boarder. I watched him as he effortless made his way across the lake never missing a stroke never faulting. His movements were fluid and easy. He was just being in the moment and I was too. I took a walk on the beach and enjoyed the cool sand between my toes, I enjoyed listening to the light breeze blow through the trees the calmness of the water, but soon I knew I would have to head back down to pick up my friend from the airport who was flying in from South Carolina. With a heavy heart I made the trip, but knowing I would be returning very shortly.

Once we returned to South Lake Tahoe, I showed her the incredible sights and at each stop we took in the beauty and stillness of it all. In all of my time coming to Tahoe I have never eaten at the Beacon Bar and Grill. That all changed yesterday. We enjoyed a nice lunch on the deck overlooking the look. I enjoyed one of their famous Rum Runners which was totally different then what I was expecting. It was slushy like but tasted really good, I could smell the rum and then I could taste the rum followed by the pineapple. I would most definitely eat here again as the location couldn't be even better and being able to see the Lake while enjoying our lunch was just amazing.

Fallen Leaf Lake

Next up on our adventure was Fallen Leaf Lake. This lake is about 1 mile South of the larger Lake Tahoe. A interesting fact was it was created by two glaciers which traveled down the Glen Alpine Valley. The beauty of this lake is indescribable. Standing on the beach and looking up at Mt. Tallac is breath taking and unbelievable how much beauty is surrounding me. Fallen Leaf Lake has a nice general store and a marina along with a ton of hiking trails and a water fall up the road past the fire station on the right hand side, Lower Glen Alpine Falls.

Lower Glen Alpine Falls

We hiked around the water fall and just took in all the elements from the smell of trees to the water rushing down the rocks. Usually this time of the year the falls aren't this heavy, but with all the snow last year it was still roaring.

We continued up the windy single lane road to the parking lot on top and took in another lake and the mountain. The water was calm and I could feel the warmth of the sunshine. The calmness and warmth was recharging me and I could feel the calmness go through me.

Tahoe is a special place, a place I will always come to. It reminds me to just be and slow down. I don't always have to be going full force. It really is a thing of beauty!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple Hill Adventure and Taper News

I have been on vacation since Thursday. I usually do not take a vacation before a race but rather after the race because usually after a 50 miler I am a bit sore. Just ask Coach Nikon. He always gets a kick when I am on the couch and struggle to get up. So I decided to change things up and actually be able to do something. What am I doing??? I will be heading to South Lake Tahoe today and return on Friday. I also have a college friend coming out from South Carolina. She came out a few years ago and I showed her Tahoe and she fell in love with the place. But who wouldn't, it is a very calming beautiful place.

I plan on relaxing on the beach which is a short walk from the condo and also checking out the local sights I haven't seen in awhile. Today I have to pack for the trip, and also get a good walk in for Traildog. He wont be coming with me, but will be in good hands with Lil Man. Lil Man loves taking care of Traildog while I am out even if it is for an hour while I run. He gets very excited and tells me "I am taking care of Traildog." He even passed up a trip to Target one day because he wanted to take care of Traildog. He is really going to miss Traildog in a few months.

This past weekend we (my sister and Lil Man) made our annual trip to Apple Hill. I remember going to Apple Hill when I was a kid and doing the exact same thing we did on Friday. That place never changes (besides the prices.)

Having some fun at Abel's Farm. We also enjoyed lunch on their back deck which had a great view. The food was pretty good, I know I enjoyed my pulled pork sandwich while the Hamburger was a bit on the dry side for my sister. But with the views we had there was no complaining.

After Ables we headed to Boa Vista. This spot we always buy fruit because they have the biggest selection and it is right in between Abel's and High Hill Ranch. Lil Man was great, he had a "job" he helped hold the plastic bag for the fruit and he also ever so gently placed some pears in the bag. At Boa Vista they also have the old fashioned apple peeler. He could have stayed there all day watching it in action. It is actually pretty cool to see. I remember watching that machine when I was a kid.

Next up was the very famous High Hill Ranch. This place is always crazy busy during peak weeks. My memories of the place was fishing at the little pond. We would catch fish, but of course I did not want to touch them. We didn't let Lil Man fish as it was really pricey, but he enjoyed watching all the fish and walking around and enjoying some fresh apples.

While at High Hill we also visited the Fudge Factory. While I enjoyed a piece of homemade chocolate Lil Man played on the train and airplane. We stayed at High Hill the longest, but next on the agenda was Rainbow Orchards. This is where we buy our fresh apple donuts. They literally make them in front of you with the old fashioned donut maker and when you get them they are steaming hot. As soon as you get out of your car you can smell the fresh apple donuts. They are the best and if you haven't tried them you need to. I am a huge fan and my little secret is I could eat them all, but I didn't I only had two over two days. 

The last stop of the day was Larsen's. We always get our apple pies here and this time we bought our apples here as well. If you head up on the weekend make sure to stop by on Saturday as they are closed on Sunday. This place has the huge water wheel pictured above and Lil Man was mesmerized by it. He wanted to stay and watch it forever. But I told him we needed to get moving because if we don't they will run out of pie. Once I said that he jumped down from the bench grabbed my hand and we headed over to buy our apple pie.

We visited 5 ranches. These are the five ranches we always visit. There are a ton more one being the Jack Russel Brewery. That place makes some good brews. No matter where you go in Apple Hill you will have a great time. I know I always do and I can't wait to go back again, I might just have to stop on my way to Tahoe for some fresh Apple donuts.

In running, I have been really enjoying my taper. I did head out this past week for a few short runs to help keep my legs fresh. A few of those runs I threw in some pick ups so that I wouldn't have the dead leg feeling. Overall my body is responding well to the taper, I am feeling stronger and energized and also mentally ready for Saturday. I have a few things I have to get together Friday when I return for my crew, but overall I am ready for Redemption. I have a awesome crew (Dustin) and a awesome pacer.

Coach Nikon will be pacing me from the Overlook to the finish. He just ran Rio Del Lago

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Q

This post is long overdue and I mean long overdue. It was my nephews 3rd birthday party a few weeks ago. I can't believe how fast time goes and how big he is getting. I was off the weekend of his birthday party and was able to make it to the swim party. There were a ton of kids there of all different ages, and there were also a lot of adults. It was swim party BBQ theme and the weather was just great. I even managed to get a run in before the party.

Here is the birthday all ready for a dip in the pool!

Lil Man showing me how to play golf

I don't think they are having fun! They could have spent the entire day in the pool

I think they are racing and Nephew Q is winning.

Time for the talent portion of the party. Canyon Ball!

Enjoying the boat and time with his dad.

Happy Birthday Q. I hope you enjoy the fire truck! He also received a book and before he would move onto the next present he had to "read" the book. Now he doesn't know how to read, but it sure did seem like he did.

He did enjoy the fire truck, it even moves on it's own and makes lots of noise!

Time for cake!! His mom made a train cake for the little ones.

Happy Birthday Q. It was  a great party and you are growing up so quickly.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rio Del Lago 100K Pacer Report

I had the privilege to crew and pace my friend and team mate Anthony at Rio Del Lago 100k. He was originally signed up for the 100 miler but due to a sprained ankle which he did a few weeks before the race he opted for the 100k.
My day started early as I had to go to work for a few hours as my time off request was denied. I arrived at Lily’s house around 8:15 enjoyed some pancakes help load the car and we were off to Beal’s point so that I could check in. Once at Beal’s the volunteered told me that the Bibs were handed out to the aid stations and to just head to aid station and I could get my bib there and if there wasn’t a bib I was good to pace as I had also turned in my waiver form. I did let this volunteer know that I was pacing a 100k and she said I was good to go.
After checking in we headed to Cool to wait for Anthony and help him with whatever he needed. We saw the front 100 milers come through and then we heard that Anthony was in first place. Lily stayed at the car making sure everything was ready as we really didn’t know what he would want or need, so she was ready for anything. I headed out to meet him so that I could get an update from him on how he was doing and what he would need so when he checked in at the aid station we would have everything ready.
100 miler runner coming into Cool

Jimmy Dean Freeman coming into Cool

Fleet Feet Ultra Team

I saw him coming down the fire road and he rounded the corner. He looked good he was smiling and was focused. I got the information I needed, he wanted his spiz and water and ice in his pack. He also did a quick shoe and sock change. He told me he took his time from the overlook which was probably a really good idea as the day was getting rather warm out. He was downing salt like it was candy. His fueling was on track and he was drinking plenty of water.
Anthony coming in looking strong!

As he checked in, Lily and I went to work filling his pack, filling his bottle, and making sure he had everything before leaving. It was a quick stop and he was off and running within minutes. He told me he was going to take his time heading back as this part of the course was hot and fully exposed.
Quick Stop

After getting Anthony everything he needed we loaded the car back up and made our way to the Overlook. The plan was for me to pace him from here to finish.
Heading out

Once at the Overlook I checked in right away, which turned out to be very smart on my part. The volunteer there told me that there were no pacers allowed in the 100k and that I couldn’t run with him. Now, I had done my homework and read the entire wed page. On the pacers web page it did not specify which distance and there was also no disclaimer stated only the 100 milers were allowed a pacer. Before I told him any of this he had called the race director and she said no I could not pace him. After hearing this I told him about the web page and Lily pulled it up on her I phone, I also told him that I tried checking in at Beals like the web site said too and the volunteer down there told me I was good to go. He read it and then called the Race Director back and left a message. He was very helpful and did everything that he could; now we were just waiting.

I didn’t want to do anything that would disqualify Anthony and I had to make sure I had the green light on pacing him. The Race Director eventually called back and told us I could pace Anthony. That was really good news, but a bit stressful. I re signed the waiver and had the volunteer put a side note on there that I was given permission to pace Anthony. I wasn’t taking any chances on someone forgetting this conversation and then DQing him.
Re-signing the waiver after getting the green light to pace

I quickly got ready, went to the bathroom ate a gel and filled my pack and than just sat and waited. It was nerve wracking just waiting. So many thoughts running through my head and the knowledge that he was in first place and we had no idea where second place was.

Katy and Eric headed down the hill and would shout when they saw him. Lily had everything ready for him. Then we heard them shout. I ran down and grabbed his pack to refill it and also his bottle. He wanted coke in his bottle and he also needed a refill on his salt. He was pounding the salt like it was going out of style. While we were refilling everything he walked over to the canal and soaked himself. It was a pretty quick stop and soon enough both of us were on our way to Rattlesnake Bar.
Crewing for Anthony at the Overlook

I let him take the lead at this point. He was chit chatting up a storm. I knew that Anthony was talkative but after being alone on the trails for a good portion of the day he was super talkative. We talked about everything. He told me his hip was feeling a bit off so I gave him Tylenol after finding out if he had any, which he did at the start. As we were on the canal I told him it would be a good idea for him to get in before we hit cardiac and the long section that is exposed. He soaked himself once at a very easy access point about half way before cardiac. I think during this 3 mile stretch we were both chit chatting up a storm and you could feel our energy and my excitement. As we neared the descent I had him get in the canal one last time. He was a bit apprehensive at first but I assured him I would be able to get him out and I did just that.

We cruised down cardiac talking up a storm and as we neared the aid station we heard howling. They had heard us coming. We drank some really cold water, filled his bottle with coke he took 1 more salt pill and we were off on the 6 mile stretch to Rattlesnake.

It was very hot out. The sun just baked us and I could feel the heat coming up from the ground and the heat directly above me. I knew that any water we came across we would use to stay wet as this was the only way to battle the heat.

I gave Anthony one more salt right before we hit the single track. As we hit the single track his legs became alive. This section is very runnable and run we did. He took off and I as was sprinting to keep up with him I noticed my Garmin was telling me 8:30 miles on the single track with rollers. He slowed down and hiked a climb and I told him he looked really good and that that was a nice clip he had going there. Secretly I was wondering if he kept this up I wouldn’t be with him much longer.

As he crested the top he transitioned quickly into a run and he was off. I kept him in my sights but he just seemed to be going faster. Slowly he was out of my sight. I couldn’t his pace. I tried for as long as I could.

He arrived into Rattlesnake about 10 minutes ahead of his original time frame. I arrived about 5 minutes later I think. I did my job as a pacer even if it was short. I think he really just needed someone to talk to for a bit, someone to bring a little bit of energy, and someone to keep him on track. I was there for him and it was amazing to see the transition once we hit the single track.
I can't believe how fast I had to run and he still dropped me

Lily cooling me off

It was cold, but felt good

Anthony picked up another pacer another team mate who original runner had dropped and just by change happened to be at Rattlesnake. It is amazing how things turn out and even more amazing at how supportive the ultra community is.
First place in the 100K

Anthony battled through some very tough conditions and preserved. I was very honored to have the chance to crew him and pace him and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Congratulation Anthony on an excellent race and for you first place finish. You are truly inspiring. Thank you for letting me be a part of your day.
Body is slowly shutting down

This is what 100+% Effort Looks like

Totally exhausted

Excellent Job Anthony!