Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Onto the Superior Sawtooth 100 (102.5) Mile Trail Run

Well, ready or not, She's here. The big one. The one that I have been training for since I gave it up 30 hours and 77 miles in last year. The one that I have thought about every single day for a year. The one that I made a conscious decision to say I'm done. As I stood on that hill, somewhere between Sugarloaf aid station and Cramer Road, I knew it was over. I could NOT muster up the mental tenacity to continue. I skooched down the hill on my butt, I couldn't bend my knees, and I cried. I told myself I am not the strong woman they think I am. I am weak. I am not trained for this. I suck. Now they'll know I'm human too, I'll show them. I'm done.

I had hoped that I would forget my thoughts as I stood on that hill. I hoped that I would forget that I looked at my pace chart and saw that I was right on pace for a finish. I had hoped that I would forget that I just. didn't. feel. like. finishing. that. fucker.

It was too hard. And I was too easy.

I remember it all. Vividly. Move vivid than I care to remember. I am still not ready to put into words what all happened inside of my mind at that moment. Someday I'll be able to talk about it, to write about it, but tonight, I still can not.

Tonight I've packed my drop bags. I've packed a bag for each of the stations. The first station with drop bag access is 4 hours in. I'll carry gels, blocks, beans and gummies. The first aid station is 10 miles out, I can refuel on 'real' food there.

I have 4 big REI waterproof drawstring bags for clothing, shoes, lights, etc. For the other stations I've packed a huge Ziploc baggie with gels, gummies, blocks, beans, socks, foot potion, Advil and Ecaps. I packed a bag with a clean top and bra for the morning, I've never changed clothing during an ultra. I don't know why I always think I may want a change of clothing for the morning.

I've found rides for the boys to football and baseball, run off maps for Steve to get to their games, laid out football and baseball uniforms for practice and games, made meals in advance, bought birthday presents and cards for parties, filled up paint ball tanks and ammo for the tournament. I think we are all set. I can't imagine just being able to leave for a race with the only preparation being getting myself packed!

Tomorrow after bringing the boys to school I have a telephone conference, then I'll head out to beautiful Lutsen and Lake Superior. I'm going to have a blast! Really, all of my friends will be around. I'm rooming with Maria, Bonnie, Les; all of which are running the 100. Also Alicia, who will pace me from mile 77 where I dropped last year, will be staying with me, as well as Lynette who will pace Maria, and Doug, who will shuttle us all to the start and to the pre race activities tomorrow evening.

John and Jason are running the 100, Wynn and Duke are running their first 100's and man, I think one of these dudes is going to win this beast. They are young, strong and FAST. I just hope they don't end up racing each other and pushing too quickly. John, Scott, Nancy and Tom will be volunteering; Pierre, Don, Rick, Maynard will be marking and tearing down. It'll be a crazy, fun reunion of sorts. Oh, and Larry and Colleen will be masters of the event. Now I'm thinking I shouldn't have listed so many friends because of course I'm missing someone.

I'm excited.I'm scared. I have feelings much like two years ago after I decided to run 50 miles instead of trying 100 at FANS. I was filled with anxiety as I prepared for FANS that next year. But I did get retribution. I will here at Superior too.

Then I wonder, why does it matter? Why does a DNF bother me so? Why do I have to go back and finish this?

I don't know. It's just me. I will finish. 37:59:59 and I am happy :)

Run On!


Anonymous said...

I too have one DNF whose memories invoke regret and a sense of my own weakness. But sometimes in weakness we respond and find out in an even deeper way who we really are - it's all part of the journey, as you know so well! And what a journey it is! I wish you the BEST at this race and am praying for you - and also your mom. I know you WILL do your best. I can't wait to read your report.

judi ~ said...

Julie, your training and mental preparedness will shine through! Best wishes for a wonderful FINISH!


Anonymous said...

A friend told me "There are two kinds of ultrarunners. Those who have DNF'd and those who will DNF." (Actually, I think this is a slight variation on a quote by another Portland ultrarunner, substituting in "DNF" for "had a bad day"...but that works too.) We DNF for all kinds of reasons...and each and every one of them is valid for us in that time and place. We pour so much of ourselves into these races, completely committing to them emotionally and physically, that DNFing feels like a shattering blow. But we are bigger than the race. We are more than the race. We pick ourselves up, learn from the experience, and move on....and that is emotionally harder than finishing, in my opinion. You are super strong and super prepared. Have a great race, embracing each challenge as it presents itself, one at a time, and celebrating the beauty of the trail and the amazing ultra community. Have a blast!!
Caroline from Portland

Olga said...

Caroline said it all. Now get your mind clear and your butt moving'!
Good luck, Jul!

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,

I read your blog quite a bit and am wondering about this new "Elite" adventure you are embarking on? What does that entail?
Thanks for being an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

You will do it this year. Relentless forward progress! Have a great day on trail!

Anonymous said...

Dear God,
Thank you in advance for Julie's success in this challenging run! Thank you for the power you will give her when she feels weak. Thank you for the support of her friends and family. Thank you for the wonderful, exstatic feeling she will have when she meets her goal this time around! In Jesus name, AMEN!!!


Rebecca said...

Looking forward to hearing about your run.

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking of you on and off all day. Hope you are doing well and running strong, I am sure you are. Can't wait to hear from you and no matter the outcome, MANY of us think you are a HUGE winner and hero.