Friday, August 15, 2008

Meghan's Crooked Trip to the Butthole of the Midwest: Part III

Just blogging about this 100 mile race is an endurance event, I swear! But I will not be deterred! I will make it to the end come hell or high water, come writer's block or 500 other running events that have come since and that I have yet to blog about.

Last post, we saw our heroine Meghan and her trusty sidekick Chelle depart Boston Store. After I said goodbye it was time to eat! So, I found a job requiring a lot of sitting around, grabbed half a baguette and some hummus and made my way over to the 60 mile runner check in depot. I took a seat in one of my mom's trusty old school lawn chairs and ate trying not to get crumbs on the clip board. (There is a lovely photo of me sitting in this chair with loaf in hand floating around out there, but this post is not about my warped pregnant body image. I just might be getting over that, by the way!)

My job was to announce to the aid station around the corner that runners were coming (cue cowbell) and then document the time. After I had a few runners logged I made a call to the super secret BR100 voicemail and left a very cryptic message involving a lot of numbers and this was what ended up being loaded on the website. This was done the old fashioned way. Chip timing is for wusses! But if you go to the website, check out the times logged for the J2 checkpoint. That was all me!(Well, three hours worth of them anyway). Ok, well I phoned the runners in myself--that part was easy--but the aid station was run like an assembly line. I was fortunate to have Iron Woman Jen C as the next link of our chain over and she kept me company in between runners. I have read her blog occasionally for probably over a year now so it was nice to finally talk to the real live person and of course to make a new running buddy!

Somewhere in those three hours E came running up to me to let me know that Chelle had called her. Apparently Meghan and several other runners were lost around the 72 mile mark. I was very worried because I know Meghan was forced to drop out of her last 100 miler at 73 miles. I was so hoping there wasn't some 72-73 mile bermuda triangle to Meghan's 100 miler attempts. However, after a few frantic calls to people very familiar with the course Meghan and the other runners made it back on course and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Around 8:45 or so I handed over the checker-inner duties to someone else and joined E for the more general aid station tasks. This was partially because I needed a change of scenery but more so because E and I had estimated that Meghan could call us any time after 9:00 PM. 9:00 PM came and no call. 9:30 PM came and no call. Around 10:00 we got our first call from Chelle. Chelle felt good and wanted to go one more aid station. This bought E at least another hour. So E and I helped the last runners into the aid station. I took care of a couple of them that had to quit. One was a German guy. I tried to reason with him not to quit because he seemed totally fine. But he put it to me this way, "I have run 100 miles several times before. I cannot run faster than 3 miles per hour right now. I know myself and I will not make it today. This is a hard course." Who am I to argue with that? So I sat and chatted with him for a while. Turns out he does marathons and ultras for kicks on the weekend. He was about 3 hours away in PA for a business meeting the week before and signed up for the race on the fly. Wow.

We only had one runner not make out 10:58 PM cut-off. We were pretty sad about it while we were waiting for him. He had rallied to make the cut-off for 56 miles so we had high hopes. He came through about 15 minutes too late and was limping. He quit without a fight to nurse a twisted ankle. Once he was in we started to pack up. It was 11:15 and still no call from Chelle. We were very quick, yet thorough cleaning up after ourselves (we love our National Parks!)

Right before we finished E finally got a call from Chelle. She was still ok and wanted one more aid station. However, E and I decided to go to the next one just to make sure. Plus I wanted to see Meghan one last time before I took my tired peanut home. We cracked open those little cans of coke and headed on up to O'Neill woods.

We arrived at the mile 89 aid station a little shy of midnight. We pulled into a pitch-black entrance way and meandered up until we saw a beacon of light. We parked and headed over to the disco-tent. Not sure how else to describe it. This was a very small aid station, seemingly run mostly by high school students. I passed out my cowbells to much fanfare and in exchange E and I were offered up some grilled cheese sandwiches. We waited in the dark and cheered when we saw the bobbing headlamps in the distance. About a half hour after we arrived, I recognized the bob. It was Meghan and Chelle!

We ran over to greet them. Instantly both E and I knew Meghan was hurting. She was still smiling though! We walked her into the aid station and got her some potato soup and sat down together. Meghan explained the state of her quads to me. Ouch. I asked her how she liked the course and she said it was beautiful. "I always heard Cleveland was the butthole of the midwest, so I was surprised," she said. (I have never quite heard it that way. I think people are just jealous of how awesome it is here personally. See Chelle's description of our stripmalls and grocery stores. You're totally jealous! All of you!!) It was one of those moments I will never forget. Girl with headlamp on her head, with feet stretched out reclining in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night after running 89 consecutive miles giving my fair city such a compliment. Glorious!

After another cup of soup Meghan decided she was ready to go. Chelle decided she was ready to hand over pacing duties. But then the real leader of the aid station emerged to kabosh that plan. Apparently under the official rules written by God, Himself, pacers could only switch at official crew/pacer aid stations. Now mind you that these rules are to prevent mobs of people from descending on poor little parking lots like this one and at 1/2 past midnight this really wasn't an issue. We looked at the two cars in the parking lot and each other and then at him and then Chelle said she could handle one more afterall and with that our heroine and her trusty side-kick trotted off into the woods as we watched the bobbing headlamps slowly disappear.

E and I were all too happy to hightail it out of there lest we say something and get ourselves, or worse Meghan in trouble so we left pronto. We headed for the next aid station which was in a much more urban part of town. We pulled into the parking lot and found the crew, or what was left of it. Poor Meghan's mom had conked out. But Meghan's aunt and uncle (who Meghan says looks just like her dad, but I have to say when I first saw him I thought Meghan looked just like him so I can only conclude that Meghan is the spitting image of her dad!) were out and about and ready to do crew duties. I left my favorite giant polyester warm-ups and my sister's high school xc long-sleeve with E to keep her warm while she waited and then I left them all in favor of beginning my long drive home. And the whole way, peanut kept me awake with his high-fructose corn syrup and caffeine fueled kicks.

I made it home by 2:30 AM. I crawled into bed next to comatose mrp and didn't wake up until about 11:00 AM the next day. As soon as I woke up I checked the results and was so happy to see she made it. I knew those miles after I last saw her had to be her worst as it took her about 4.5 hours to go 11 miles! Poor thing. But after all of that, she did it. She came in 26th out of 89 people overall. She traveled by foot along 101.2 miles of this butthole of the midwest and she even has a medal to prove it.

To read a first hand account and to see more pictures of Meghan's crazy Cleveland adventure go here, here, here, here, and here!

3 comments:

JenC said...

So glad we finally got to meet in person. Fabulous run today! You inspired me to run 6 more miles before heading out for an hour on the bike. I even ran all the way up the hill behind the castle in your honor. Kept thinking that Salty wouldn't walk and neither would I!

TrainingtoTri said...

Wow, great recap. Sounds like quite the adventure.

Meghan said...

Um, I can't believe I said that Cleveland was the butthole of the Midwest. Oh man, am I ever embarrassed.

To all Cleveland peeps: I'm so sorry! Please don't judge me by what I said in the middle of the night whilst under the duress of destroyed quads and caloric deficit. Sooooooo sorry! Please forgive me? ;)

Salty, thanks for being the bestest pregnant crew lady!

Love,
Meghan