Monday, March 17, 2008

Pac Rim 24 Hour

I've been sitting here a few minutes trying to find the right words. I'm happy, I'm amazed, but most of all I'm deeply satisfied. Two years ago I was struggling to make six miles, so sick I could barely eat. I had this wild idea that having gall bladder surgery would solve all my problems and I'd be able to run at least a half marathon and maybe even a full. It was kind of a joke among my friends and I - that taking out my gall bladder would fix my heart. I think we were all surprised when it actually did help - taking that extra stress off my system made all the difference. Enough of that though, let's get on to the weekend report!

Eric left Friday afternoon for Bellingham. He planned a quiet evening with his Dad, who lives about two blocks from the start of the Chuckanut 50K.

Riley went out to pick up dinner for us (brown rice and tofu for me). He and Heather settled in to watching movies, I started packing for Pac Rim. Rob and Steve said to bring everything. I packed both running skirts, a pair of shorts, a pair of tights, four long sleeve and three short sleeve shirts, two pairs of gloves, four pairs of socks, ear warmers, two hats, arm warmers, a lightweight shell, a rain coat, and my vest. Oh, and two pairs of shoes. Then I started on food. Two PB & Js, pretzels, red licorice, chocolate chips, three cokes, two chocolate soy milks, ritz peanut butter crackers, sliced apple, an orange, banana, and a tofurky and cheese sandwich. Then I started on Sunday afternoon. Eric and I were invited to an event on a friends 90 foot boat and we'd be heading straight from Kelso to the boat. I knew I'd need options on Sunday morning about what to wear, options that would revolve around the condition of my feet. That meant a couple sets of clothing...Whew!

Jenny, Jamal and Cat met at my house and then we drove to Steve's. Steve was towing his trailer down for us to use as command central. Rob was already there, so we moved everything to the trailer and headed for the road. I rode with Cat in her fancy sports car (heated seats - I love them!). We followed the rest of the crew down. Cat had plans to run a marathon, then head home. Rob, Jamal and Steve planned to run for 24 hours, Jenny and I, for 50 miles.


Pac Rim garbage bags. Can you imagine what delerious runners might think of?



Once we arrived, we saw Sarah at check-in. She was our lap-counter for the most of the day. Her husband, the running cowboy, was planning to run too. We also saw tc, Tom, the other Steve, Tim and several other runners we knew. It's so much fun to see lots of friends at races! We started at 9:00 am. By lap two, we were getting lapped. That was to happen all day long, but Jenny and I were determined to hold our pace, run a 5/1 and stay steady. Every time Rob and Steve passed us, Rob would ask what lap we were on, and respond with something like "only 47 more miles to go!" I told him that wasn't helping and he laughed.

It felt like it took forever to get to the half marathon mark, and forever times two to make the marathon. The most amazing thing about the entire run was this: the first 26.2 miles were the hardest. I actually felt much better during the second half of the run than the first! We were able to maintain our 5/1 pacing all the way till the end. We took extra walk breaks a few times, but then would go back to 5/1. I'm very pleased at that.

I followed Meghan's advice about thinking on a small scale rather than large - thinking one or two laps ahead rather than all the miles to go. I followed Steve's advice as well - I ate something small - a quarter of a sandwich or a few pretzels or even two grapes, and a couple swallows of fluid every single time I went through the aid station - every lap. I also took an scap every hour and a half. About mile 38 I started to feel queasy, and I tried to keep fueling for a few more miles. Once we hit 35 miles, I started counting down miles. When we were down to the single digits I gave up on fueling - it was only making my tummy worse. Once I did that, my stomach settled right down. Eric brought me a soy chai (heaven!) I set it on my cooler and sipped from it every time we went by for the last four miles.

Wendy and Jessica came to pace us during the evening. They were ready to run from mile 37 on. Wendy ran seven miles with us, and Jessica the final 13. It was great having them - they took care of everything. Need help fishing out those S-caps? Wendy handled it. Trouble bending to the cooler, Jessica got it. They were great! Eric ran the final four with us as well - so important to me. I wanted him with me for these final miles because he was such a huge part of me getting there. He's been my coach and my cheerleader all along.


On our 50th mile

I will admit that I danced my way out of the aid station as we began mile 50. I was so dang excited! Jenny and I were giggling like little girls. That last lap felt fast and crossing the line, arm-in-arm, whoopin' and hollerin' was the best ever, the very best! Rob, Jamal, Wendy, Jessica and Eric were all there and Steve came through just seconds after. Hugs from everyone there, including Steve, before he headed back out. Eric went out to run a lap with Steve and we went to the trailer to sit down. I was a little amazed when I discovered it was 11:00 at night. I knew we had run for 14 hours, but it really seemed as though it should be only 9ish.

It really was a fun day. Jenny and I stayed positive, never got grumpy. There were quiet spells where we didn't talk much, and there were moments of but-gusting laughter (this always happens when I run with Jenny). The weather changed frequently -we were cold, we were wet, we were hot. Our shoes filled with grit (forgot my gators). We had aches and pains (mine mostly went away for the second half). We rested in the trailer for about 10 minutes three different times - changing shoes and socks, putting on dry shirts, just laying back for a few minutes. We ran with everybody at one time or another through out the day. I'm very thankful that Jenny's husband's event was cancelled, letting her join me for this. It would have been much harder without her companionship. I'm very thankful for an aid station every mile so I didn't have to carry my food and drink. I'm very thankful for real bathrooms with running water. I'm very thankful for a warm, dry trailer to change in. I'm most thankful for wonderful friends to run with.


Steve finishing.
I have to report this too - Steve ran 105 miles! He finished just shy of 24 hours, at about 8:40. Wow!

Recovery report: I'm a little stiff in the hips, but not bad. I have two small blisters and two numb toes. That's it! I was able to have a sub in Pilates this morning, allowing me to sleep in. I thought my week would go a lot better if I could have a couple of good nights sleep - important, because this week is my last big event at work. Really, I've felt worse after marathons than I do now. My heart did not give me one bit of trouble the entire race. I didn't wear my monitor - I didn't think I could take the chafing that would result. I knew we'd be slow enough, with no huge hills, to keep it down. On the way to breakfast yesterday it started skipping beats, and has been off and on since. That comes with a bit of dehydration and fatigue. It will pass soon.


Finished!

We ended our weekend on a lovely three hour cruise. I found I could easily go up and down the stairs, and I stood chatting for a long time. Today my ankles and feet are puffy, which I attribute to a long car ride, then standing a lot. That'll go away in a day or two.

Now, it's on to the marathons. Yakima is next - three weeks away. Oh, and the last thing. Pac Rim was my 20th race of marathon distance or beyond. Even better, my first one was just a year and a half ago. Like I said at the beginning, I'm feeling very satisfied with my accomplishment. It's hard to capture in words the feel of the race, or the feelings I have now. I don't mean to be boastful about my numbers or distances, instead I'm still struggling for those words to tell you what it means to me. I can only say that I am amazed at what I've done, that when I dreamed my dreams of marathons, I never thought I'd be where I am today. I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am.

38 comments:

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Well done! The garbage can photos just don't show the falic nature they truly portrayed! I am so glad I was able to share the day with you and our accomplishment of 50 miles ! Congratulations!

olga said...

Ladies, you rock:) What great smiles!

Wes said...

Hey now! Slow down will ya? I haven't even done a 50K yet and here you go doing a 50 miler? I'm not getting any younger!!

Mother of Martineau Tribe said...

Wow! I'm really impressed and I can't stop laughing about those trash cans!

Someday, I hope to join in on the fun!

Jon said...

*LOL to the trash cans* I've got to do PacRim!

Congrats on the 50 that you and Jenny did! And the amazing 105 and 107 miles that Steve and tc pulled off!

Sarah said...

Oh how I wish I could have been there to see you finish! You're amazing. : ) Now bask in the glow of your first 50 miler. You deserve it! : )

Lisa B said...

Congratulations!! It was a delight to see you guys out there on the road to 50 miles. What a nicely planned run with strategies that obviously worked very well. You were inspirational...

50 miles! Whoo Hooo!!!

See you again soon, Michelle.

scott keeps running said...

You are incredible, Michelle! Congratulations. What a great story. I'm so happy for you.

Juls said...

Looking good. Hurray Michelle.

mtnrunR said...

both you and jenny looked great all day. the run walk thing was good planning to get you the 50 and to enjoy the day. congratulations!!!

now eat that extra bowl of ice cream.

Dori said...

Holy Moly, Michelle! You are absolutely amazing. Congratulations!

Thomas said...

Michelle, that's beyond amazing! You should be so proud of your achievement!

I have to admit I was really worried about you when you announced you were going to run a 50 miler, but now I'm glad you did it. You rule!

Irene said...

I love that you danced at the end! I am so very much in amazement. A big congratulations to you!

Rebecca said...

Congratulations! I've been reading your blog for a few months for inspiration - I'm running Yakima Canyon next month, my first marathon. I love how much you enjoy the races, and I hope I can find the same enthusiasm. Some times I wonder what I've gotten myself into. Keep up the good work!

Joe said...

Great report, Michelle, I'm so happy for you!!

It is truly amazing that Portland '06 was only 18 mos ago. It was an honor to have dinner across from you the night before, as you contemplated the first marathon.

Now a 50 miler...two marathons, back to back...wow!!

Great friend, Jenny is. Cool photo of you two at the end.

Enjoy your week and get "un-puffy" soon!

robtherunner said...

Again, a huge congratulations! You executed your race plan perfectly.

Jennifer S. said...

Wow, how excellent! Such wonderful inspiration... I'm a newbie runner and I just ran my longest distance of 6 miles last week... I can't wait to see where I am a year and a half from now. Thanks!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

woo hoo!!!!!

Meghan said...

Michelle,

Those photos show us perfectly just how phallic the garbage cans were. OMG, I was laughing out loud!

I'm so happy for you! Just so, so happy! I'm happy that your plan worked. I'm happy that you were able to run the whole thing. I'm happy you had such great support and company. I'm just really happy for you!

14 hours on your feet and almost no blistering? Can I say jealous?! And, since we've traded heart stories, I'll mention that my heart skips here and there after these big events, also. I used to worry, but nothing has come of it.

Take care of yourself and bask in a glowing recovery. What I mean is make Eric wait on you hand and foot! :)

Meghan

craig said...

You've pretty much convinced me you are capable of about anything you set your mind to do. It isn't boasting if you can do it. And you can.

Steve S said...

You have come a long way, baby. We have both set new limits the last two years. I hope my lectures on eating and drinking helped you stay strong through the second half. Take a look at Lorri's blog for my report.

Congrats and hugs

Sunshine said...

Oh yes! You deserved to dance the last mile. Hurrah for you.
Thanks for writing it all....
Enjoyed the pictures.
50 million Congratulations.

Anne said...

I remember your first race after gall bladder surgery. That's when I came out of lurkdom and left a comment. And now look at you! That must be one sturdy set of muscles to have the will and the way to do Pilates at the height of your recovery.

shawn said...

Michelle - amazing! I mean, we all knew you would do 50, but still it is quite something, and you sound like you never really hit a wall or got down. I'm so glad Eric was there to see you accomplish this.

Next goal? 100k? chicking your husband? chicking Hester? (oops, already met that goal!!) :)

YOU are an inspiration to me!

Trevor said...

Congratulations on your 50 miler! You definitely are an inspiration to many people, many you know, many you don't. And what support and encouragement this community has. I'm amazed that you've transformed yourself from a "struggling to make six miles" runner two years ago into a 20+ marathon/ultramarathon veteran and still counting! Way to go! Keep going! Hopefully I'll see you and your posse of trail folks out there on the trails again in the future.

Jack said...

Well done, that's just fantastic! Great report too, enjoy your moment of glory, we're sure proud of you!!

Donald said...

Kind of shocking to hear the trash bag joke from you.

Outstanding job with the run, Michelle. It's pretty amazing how far you've come in the past year or so - I remember reading about your fear of the marathon distance way back when. Congratulations.

Sunshine said...

When you first described that race I thought.. how can you keep going around in the same circle?? But oh, reading this post, it sounds like such fun to have mutual support of other runners of different paces.
Eight hours is as long as I have been on a race course.. So I salute you. Congratulations.

And as for the wonderful flowers of the Pacific NW.. On 2 consecutive Palm Sundays back in the 90s, I escaped the dreary liturgy and weather to visit our son who was then living in Seattle.. And oh!! how my spirit was cheered. Happy Spring, Michelle.

Addy said...

Congratulations!!!! I am so happy for you :)It sounds like it was just a wonderful and perfect eperience and I'm go glad it went so well.

And being the amazing person you are, you're already moving onto the next challenge :D

Hope you're basking in the post race glow still!

Robb said...

Congratulations! Life is full of wonderful surprises! Good for you Michelle. Not sure if you knew my blog disappeared. I'm now at www.makingthetime@blogspot.com See ya.

Robb said...

whoops (I get to make comment 31 too) thats: www.makingthetime.blogspot.com Bye, again.

runliarun said...

Oh my God! I cannot say anything else.

Sunshine Girl said...

Superstar!

Makita said...

You started only a year and a half ago?! I'm amazed - You ARE a SUPERSTAR! :)

JustRun said...

I'm sorry I'm chiming in so late here, but WOOO HOOO! Congratulations!

Oh, and your comment on the trash bags had me cracking up!

Sarah Elaine said...

Congratulations! What I love most about this post is its light-hearted, gleeful tone. You deserve to celebrate!

E-Speed said...

Big hugs for you! You did great and it sounds like you were consistent and didn't feel all that bad, that is wonderful!

Hope the recovery is going well!

Darrell said...

How very, very cool. A huge congrats to you!