|Crying didn't help! Thanks Bonnie for the daily reminder!|
Any how, on to the totally selfish part. The race was awesome. Weather, perfect. Time spent with Shannon, priceless. Making new and wonderful friends, awesome. Seeing the rest of my Ultrafamily, incredible. Laughing and laughing and laughing was the best part of the entire thing. You would think when people are in so much pain, so hot and with such a big goal ahead there would be little laughter. To the contrary, it was a lot of laughing. Shit, I just got to Day 2 and this is already silly long. Sorry.
Vol State is a good reminder of how much good there is in the world and particularly in the state of Tennessee. Everyone was welcoming and so very kind. So many people gave us free water, food and snacks. Scott and I were the recipients of a three course meal and lodging all for free (read on).
This year, I think my training was pretty good and I accomplished a couple of my goals. I hardly cried and Shannon and I made it to Mckenzie (57 miles) the first night. Although going to Mckenzie was an accomplished goal, it was not the right choice if/when I do the race again.
Highlights and pictures
DAY 1:I Spent all of day one with Shannon, we were first place women for the whole day! We met up with Jim Ball (Gym Balls) and Sal Col who protected us through much of the night. The best part of the time the four of us spent together was magic. We were headed to Gleason on a dark, narrow road with the Milky Way visible overhead, bull frogs making their noises, Katydids, Cicadas and SO MANY FIREFLIES. The best part was that none of us felt the need to talk for some of that time, we just listened and looked with the sound of eight feet hitting the pavement. Simply magic. Shannon dropped on day 2 due to some very impressive chafing.
Shannon and I as first place women at mile 20 something
Shannon laughing through the pain
Shannon and Sal
Sal protecting us through the night
DAY 2:On day two, I "raced" Sherry M for a while. We were both competing to be the first woman to call in on day two. She kicked m ass but I think we both really enjoyed the "race". Lori Neal, at Mudslingers Studio in Huntingdon, TN, was SO NICE. She invited me in to her studio, offered me water and a bathroom, talked to me and said a beautiful prayer for me. (those of you who know me know that prayers aren't my thing but this was exceptionally beautiful). Right outside of Huntingdon, after turning left for no reason and doing 3 extra miles, I met up with Brad Compton. We had a wonderful conversation and he protected me from a well meaning handicapped man that was trying to get me into his air conditioned trailer.
Jeff S at sunrise outside of Huntingdon
DAY 3: Sitting at a gas station, pretty tired from all of my racing mistakes, I saw someone walk slowly by. He trotted for about eight steps and backed off to a walk. I was determined to catch up with this VS participant! He was moving my speed! I caught up and reintroduced myself. Scott Krouse became my running/walking/adventure buddy for the next three days. I have very little memory of what transpired after that until we got to Parsons where we bought a four pound box of Epsom salts that I carried four miles to the motel. Our brains were so addled that it seemed to make sense to put off lunch and just walk the four miles to the motel to eat our sandwiches.
Scott finishes his first 100 mile distance ever
This is how he kicked ass and took names
Thrilled to be laying down on a bench a Shoneys or Hardees shoving my face with food
Want free porn? Walk Tennessee roadsides
Stay here! Fantastic hosts
Fantastic host, Bill Roper!
Just the beginning of an amazing meal served to us by Bill.
Resting at a church. I didn't get struck by lightening or swallowed by the earth
The World Famous Hampshire Men's Club
Inside the Hampshire Men's Club
Mile 183, what a ham!
AFTER: The time I spent after the race was as good and much more comfortable than the time during the race. It was wonderful to see the joy of finisher faces (as a back of the packer, I never get to see this), to see what Carl and laz do during the time they wait for finishers to come in, to spend time (while clean) with the other participants. Lots of laughing and guilt free eating. So much kindness and friendship. I will cherish the whole experience forever. Will I try again in 2014, yes. I was so inspired by the speed and strength of the front runners (Joe Fejes, Bruce, John F, Alan Abbs) and the amazing finishes, devotion and extreme strength of the back of the pack (Jan W, Paul H, Diane Taylor, Dallas, David, Brian) as well as everyone else that finished (Johnny A and Charlie T had a SPRINT FINISH) and those that didn't (TJ Nages at age 19 kept trying every day and Jeff S who got to 297 before having to drop due to an ankle injury).
Joel "MY BALLS" Gat finishing Vol State
Race Director Carl trying to keep cool