Monday I realized that the pre-race dinner was at 6pm Friday night which meant I needed to leave by 3pm. This posed a problem since the planned babysitter (sweet and awesome mother-in-law) wouldn't be off work in time to pick the boys up from their respective schools. So, instead of sweet husband coming with me he stayed here to take care of the boys while I went off to have an adventure by myself.
Friday came and I promptly freaked out that I was going to run my longest run ever on the least amount of training ever. I think repeated something to the effect of, "this is going to flipping hurt. I know that and I'm okay with it" over and over again in an effort to make myself okay with it (it didn't work). Add that to sweet husband not coming with me as planned, and the forecast which called for 80% chance of rain and my head was a mess. I packed up way too much gear, dropped S off at pre-school (had a hard time leaving), then realized I forgot my shoes (dude...seriously??). I went back to the house to retrieve the shoes and then headed out for Elk City.
Three hours later I checked in to the hotel and realized how quiet it was without the boys. Silence is something I never paid attention to until I had kids. When the boys aren't around it's like the world stops because the noise level is so low (can you tell my boys are loud?). After finding my room I unpacked, sort of organized stuff and then headed to the dinner to see Melissa, pick up my packet, buy a flatrock hoodie, and eat some tasty spaghetti & salad.
|Sunset on Flatrock Friday Night|
|Ready to go on race morning.|
|Cheryl and I in the first mile or so|
|Mud....So much mud.|
|I actually can't place this section of trail, but|
trust me most of it looked like this.
|The stone arch is one of my favorite features|
of the flatrock trail.
|Totally mentally done and almost out of the trail.|
I did take a small wrong turn in the last 2ish miles...still not sure how I did it...probably the fuzzy headed bit. I backtracked found the blue and very, very slowly made my way down the last extremely slippy hill. When I popped out of the trees and into the grass I nearly cried. I have never been so happy to see a road. I walked the grassy bit through the ditch and up onto the road. There was a lady up there waiting for somebody who said, "You did it. You're almost there". I said something about being uber-happy to see the road, kept walking and starting crying. Me...crying. I am rarely a crier, but I was on this day. I was crying because I was almost done & crying because the people I loved the most weren't there. I don't think I realized how much I wanted sweet husband and the boys to be at the finish line until I was almost there and they weren't.
Anyway...I knew what was coming...as soon as I hit the clearing the airhorn blasted and the cowbells starting dinging. I knew I should run if only so that Eric and crew didn't have to ring the cow bells for so long, but I couldn't do it (sorry guys). I walked up the dirt road smiled as everybody screamed for me to high five "the hand". I was so very happy to be done. Eric ran over and handed me my plaque and a photographer told me take a picture behind a sign. I think I was too out of it to argue.
I saw Rick come in and cheered him on then I rinsed off as much mud as I could, changed into dry clothes and shoes, got some food and pulled up a chair to wait for Melissa, Joell, and Justin to come in from the 50k.
I cheered Justin in and asked him about Melissa. He said she wasn't too far behind. Then I cheered Joell (Justin's wife...yeah they are both badass) in and asked her where Melissa was since I thought they were running together. She thought Melissa was only a quarter mile behind her or so. Not long now. I see Rick standing by the road watching and I'm really starting to worry about time and where Mel is. It's down to 10 minutes to cut off. I ask Eric what happens if she finishes after the cut off. Will it still count for her "hall of pain" finishes? Nope, but she'd still get a buckle. Rick hustles over and tells me that there are 4 people on the road, but he can't tell if she's one of them. I look at Eric and say, "I hope one of them is her". He says, "she'll make it. She has to." One, two, three people make the turn....not her. Cheer them in. The fourth person is MEL!! Eric looks at me and says, "go GET her and tell her to RUN!" There was only a minute left. I ran out, still ringing the cow bell, and started yelling. "Run Mel! You have one minute, RUN!" She made it and got her second FlatRock 50k buckle and her second notch into the "hall of pain". I hugged her and told her how proud I was and watched dozens of people do the same. It was quite impressive to watch.
All in all a satisfying if sad finish for me (5.34 something if you want the time) and an inspiring finish for Mel. A day I doubt I will ever forget. Thank you Eric, the Epic Ultra Brigade, all the volunteers, and the flatrock trail for the amazing memories.
The Stormtroopers Journey:
For my boys, who asked me to take the stormtrooper along and take pictures. For you I would
do nearly anything.