A 100-mile run is not a one-person enterprise, at least not for me. I know there are some runners out there who run the full one hundred without the assistance of pacers or a crew, but I am not one of those runners.
Maybe one day I will have enough experience to go without, but even then, I would still choose to take them along for the adventure because my crew and pacers add so much to the race regardless of if my race is going well or is difficult.
The Buffalo Run had medallions available for pacers this year, which I thought was awesome. I would love to see other races pick up that trend and expand it for crews.
My poor crew really was tested this race. I was demanding, grouchy, exhausted, sun burned, nauseous, blistered, and aching early on in the race. Temperatures were high (75 degrees Fahrenheit), for the time of year, and then dropped low at night (34 degrees Fahrenheit) yet my crew stood waiting for hours for me to come into the aid station.
Regardless of how I was feeling at the time, they were smiling and laughing which always made things a little easier for me. They had everything I needed ready before I came in and tried to anticipate any extras based on conditions.
At mile 82, I was near ready to drop from the race. My pacer, J$, seeing I was having a difficult time suggested I get out of the sun for a while and eat some real food. We reached the aid station and my crew was unexpectedly there waiting for me. I hadn’t arranged for them to be there because I didn’t expect to come through that aid station so late in the race, but there they were smiling and joking around. I sat in the shade and ate some real food for twenty minutes and then set back out for six miles until the next aid station.
When I rolled into the aid station at mile 88, I was ready to call it quits. I laid in the van and whined about how crappy I felt and how much longer it was going to take at my current pace. I didn’t think I would make it before the finish line cut off. Swiss Miss, after running her own race of 17 miles, listened to me whine and convinced me to go back out with her and J$ pacing. It was slow going, but we made it another six miles. I was six miles from the finish line. I still wasn’t sure that I could make the finish line cut off, but I was going to try.
The next aid station was two miles away with a small climb and descent. I was hurting on the descents. We made okay time over the next two miles and met my crew at the final aid station, four miles from the finish line. I sat in the shade, ate some potato chips, and then had to get moving again. Swiss Miss stayed with the crew. J$ and I headed out.
We had 70 minutes to get to the finish line. I was doing an 18-minute mile due to the blisters on my feet, nausea, and aching quads. The last section is rocky with some bigger rolling hills. It would take 72 minutes to get there at my current pace. We had to pick up the pace.
My Garmin beeped. One mile down, three to go. J$ asked what our pace was. My Garmin read 19 minute pace. He cranked up the power walk to 14:30 and I had no choice but to keep up. He was about ten steps ahead of me. “Focus on the arm swing and use your butt.”
I put my head down and kept going.
“There is no way you’re not finishing this. It’s knocked you down about eight times. It’s hit you with every possibility and you keep getting back up. You’re the comeback queen!” J$ called.
All I could hear in my head was, “Comeback queen.”
J$ raised his hand and pointed. “There’s the white tent. The finish line. One more mile.”
And there was my crew ringing cow bells and hollering, “Go DVP! You’ve got this.”
We crossed the finish line with eight minutes to spare.