Next, I worked on the buttons that I was planning on handing out to all the finishers. The 200 milers got a button with, “Nuff said,” the 150 with, “The middle child,” and the 100 with, “I only did the half.” They got this in addition to their buckle. When the buttons were finished, I started creating the large results boards, which were instrumental in keeping everyone abreast of the runner’s progress as volunteers, pacers, crew, etc took pictures of the lap splits and posted them on Facebook. It really made the event feel bigger!
After my husband and I arrived at the race start, we started unloading and setting up. Gwen had already arrived along with several volunteers. Jerry Thayer had set up his canopies and tables. I tried to do as little as I could with the set up to save myself for the 200, but that was hard since I was the one who loaded the truck and knew where everything was. Fortunately, there were a lot of helpers and we got most things set up except for the food. All the 200 milers checked in. I had a total of 19 sign up. Bill Davenport had to pull out. Colleen Voeks and Tracey Nguyen had injuries that prevented them from adequately training for the 200. Tetsuro Ogata from Japan had to work. That left us with 15 starters for the 200. Wildman Willet arrived late, stating he drove around for hours trying to find the trailhead. He eventually got started after we all had completed our out and back.
I was concerned about running by myself on the trail before Jerry Thayer was supposed to run with me at night, starting at 9pm. When I came back with Renae, I asked if anyone wanted to run with me. Danny Kulhmann was volunteering, but there was plenty of help, so I asked him if he wanted to run. He did not hesitate. I can say this now and not get him in trouble. He was supposed to save himself for crewing and pacing his dad and sister for the 100. But that was over a day away. I was not going to wear him out too much. Danny was great. Just the right amount of conversation. And he ran my pace well. We had such a good time so I asked him to run another with me. It got dark as we were finishing our second loop together but Danny forgot his light. He was able to feel his way. And he went on to do a great job crewing his dad and sister to their 100 mile finishes, both their first and Kim with the women’s win.
Garrett Mulrooney, who I didn’t get to talk to at all and didn’t know all that well, dropped after 13 loops or 124.8 miles. I am not sure what was ailing him.
It was amazing to see the amount of support us runners were getting. We were very spoiled. Everything appeared to be running smoothly at the main aid station thanks to Gwen, Jess, and husband Ken. Ken checked the half way aid station and reloaded us as needed. We had volunteers 24/7. I can’t even remember seeing some of them, but thank you so much for being there. Ken went and got pizza Thursday night, and that tasted awesome! I had pre-ordered the pizza, and apparently we had enough for everyone, including the pacers, since we had to throw some if it away. He also got coffee in the morning and evening to help wake runners up in the morning or keep them awake at night. Friday was kind of a blur for me. After I ran with Stephanie, I ran a loop on my own and found that running at my own pace allowed my plantar fasciitis to relax. It was nice to get a break from that pain. I do remember Jess riding Jane Herzog’s bike out on the trail checking in on runners. It was nice to see her. Unfortunately, she did not get a chance to run a loop with me the entire weekend as she had hoped. She did get to run with others.
Sara Malcom joined me for a loop in the afternoon Friday. It’s always a treat to see her since I only seem to see her at events. I am sad that she will be moving and not have her close by. She was kind enough to bring me fresh spring rolls as I had requested, but I didn’t eat them remembering that the peanut in the sauce would probably give me diarrhea like PNB sandwiches do. Sorry Sara! We took off together but I found immediately again that my effort to not run too slow when I had a pacer aggravated my plantar fasciitis. I kindly asked Sara to go on without me and let me run my own race. She totally understood but joked later that I fired her. Before she left, she asked if there was anything else I wanted at the aid station. She suggested popsicles and I thought that was a fabulous idea since I was getting hot.
I started having florid hallucinations, even when it started getting light. I was seeing figures in the branches and trees. I thought I saw a profile of Richard Nixon. I was seeing gloves on the trail everywhere. At one point, I think I actually was sleep walking because I felt I lost a few seconds somewhere.
Gwen was informed and she drove out to the house and talked to this resident. Ken went along and stayed in the car. Good thing because he probably would not have been so calm. It sounded like the resident was satisfied that we had heard his complaint and that we would do everything we could to make sure runners were quiet in his area. Signs were put up before this section both ways stating this was a quiet zone and if runners were comfortable, to turn their lights off in this section, which was difficult because this is one of the more technical hilly sections.
I then saw Bob Satko hobble in. He had just completed his 19th loop but was hurting. He had been dealing with big blisters on the ball of his big toes for miles. He looked like he was in severe pain. His family and crew brought him into his tent and started analyzing the situation. That was when I found out that there was a woman at the race who was fixing people’s feet. She was the blister queen at Rocky Raccoon and had come with the Texas contingent. Her name was Becky Spaulding and she ended up helping many runner’s feet. Tears came to Bob’s eyes as she removed the mole skin from one blister to further evaluate the problem. She did not remove the other one since it was sticking well. She applied new dressings to them. Cliff Richards, my brother-in-law and physical therapist, massaged his legs and made sure they were clear of injury. He asked me what else could be done. I suggested some hiking poles to unload his feet and knees. Cliff went and got him some poles and apparently they did wonders along with Becky’s help.
He took a ton of pictures! I finally got some restless sleep Sunday night and more restorative sleep Monday night. I found that running and race directing took it out of me and plan on just directing it from now on. I continued to clean up after the race Monday and Tuesday and had to work the rest of the week. By Wednesday, I was itching to run again. I decided at the last minute to sign up for the Rainier to Ruston 50K and finished in 5:44. This was a painful run only because it was mostly pavement. The parts that were trail were very muddy and wore me out. The pavement aggravated my plantar fascia again and I vowed to stay away from asphalt for a while. Two weeks later, I had a good run at a very hot Echo Lake 50 Mile coming in a distant 2nd female in 9:58. But I was back on trails and loved it!