As I said in my last post, the start of the Burning River 100 starts 1.5 miles up the road. In fact, it starts at the park where I used to run almost every day and now am lucky to get to a couple of times a week. I was there just yesterday and as I descended down the big hill to the locally famous castle that marked the start of the race, I couldn't help but think of sweet Meghan anxiously awaiting the start of her grand adventure just one week and one day prior.
I knew my duties required me to stay up late. By that, I mean to at least midnight. Under normal circumstances that is pretty late for me, but being with-peanut it is ungodly late for me! When I'm tired I can't just plow through. I crash. So, I knew better than to start my day at 4:30 AM to catch the 5:00 AM start. But my dreamland mind was there! I swear! I did actually wake up before the sun came up. I patted my hand on mrp's side of the bed and realized he was not there. I went out to the living room to see if he slept on the couch for fear of waking me, but he wasn't there. I called him and he was still at the hospital with his dad, waiting with him until he had a room of his own. Isn't he the best? After I hung up, I thought about heading out the the start, but I looked at the clock and it was already 5:45! I missed it anyway. So, back to bed I went!
I slept late. Woke up and made a sleepy mrp and myself some eggs and toast. The one thing I crave is a breakfast with sunny side up eggs, crispy bacon, and buttery wheat toast. I always have liked sunny side up eggs, but the bacon thing is new for this recently recovered vegetarian. I wouldn't dream of eating bacon before. Sorry pigs.
I packed all my stuff: bug spray, sun screen, cow bells, blanket, sweat shirt, etc. I headed out to my mom's to borrow some folding chairs (she gave the old school basket weave lawn chairs! Sweet!) and a cooler. I picked those up and as I was leaving I got a call. E-speed called and handed me off immediately to someone else who started to describe the camp stove fuel I had to buy for the antique camp stove the aid station had. I like camping, but can't say I'm experienced at it at all. The gear is beyond my low-maintenance understanding. I offered to pick up a new camp stove. I only had 90 minutes to finish my errands, pick up Chelle and drive the 45 minutes to the aid station. My camping-gear-ignorant self MIGHT be able to find a camp stove in that time, but not some obscure camp fuel! I managed just fine. I stopped at the big box sporting goods store, made a quick stop at the grocery store where I bought hummus and baguettes, carrots, grapes, cantaloupe, bottles of water and gatorade and the tiniest little coke cans I have ever seen. I then swung by Meghan's hotel hq and got Chelle and we were off!
While Chelle dealt with an interesting housemate potential debacle, I tried to remember how to get to the aid station. Although I've run by it many many times I almost never drive to this particular spot. I was so stoked when I got there in the first try! Chelle and I approached the station and when E-speed gave us the most wonderful greeting in between running around doing everything for everybody and then we found Meghan's mom and the rest of her crew and unloaded and got settled.
While Chelle got ready for her loooooooong trip ahead I think I more or less just ran around trying to look busy! I handed off the cowbells to the runner checker inners and then I helped with the camp stove (which turned out to be perfect for what we needed. Phew!) I "helped" my friend Monica fill one runner's water bottle but I ended up spilling some powder instead!
And within about an hour and a half of our arrival, we heard the cowbell indicating Meghan was on her way! I bolted down the road and saw her coming in to mile 56 with a smile beaming from her face! This was a great sight after hearing from her crew that she wasn't in the best spirits just one stop ago. I jogged with her to the food and drink tent. That's the picture. (I look like I could eat her! Sure, maybe it's just a slightly unflattering photo, but seriously, all my tiny running friends are not helping me feel less of a lard these days. Yes, it's for a good cause. Peanut is and will be eating very well!)
It felt so good to be able to run with her even for just a minute. I took some photos of her with her crew as she shoved some food in her mouth and replaced some fluids and went back out on her way. After she left I spent some more time with the crew and Chelle rehashing the scene, speculating how she was feeling and how we thought the rest of the day would go. She looked great. She was ahead of pace, but that seemed just fine because the weather was much nicer than she had planned. And then the head volunteer coordinator showed up and suddenly I was in the military! She barked commands as I moved coolers and boxes and garbage and grass skirts and chairs to streamline our aid station and make it more inviting for the runners. I actually enjoyed that part. It made me feel like I was contributing!
And soon it was getting close to the time Meghan should arrive back at the aid station at the 60 mile point of the course. I jogged up the road a ways with my camera to wait. Within just a few minutes I saw her way up on the ridge within the tall grass trotting along and getting closer and closer to another runner in front of her. I gave her a "Woohoo! Lookin' Great!" and she responded with a "Hey girl!" More smiling. Meghan's a freak!! She made her way meandering along the trail until she came out near the road where I was waiting. The first thing she said to me was, "Are you having fun?" I couldn't help but laugh. Here's this woman who has just run 60 miles in the heat of the day asking if I'm having fun! I jogged along side her again, but then told her I was going to run up ahead to let her crew know she was coming. She says makes it seem like I was out there racing her! She's just trying to make me feel better for being a big slow pregnant lady, I know. (I'm on to you, Meghan!!!)
Once Meghan made it to her crew, there was some interesting stuff that took place. The foot bag came out. And then the needles came out of that and Meghan proceeded to pop the blisters under her toenails. Now, I have found sweet relief from this age old trick myself, but never mid-run! Maybe the night after or something! Then the ice bags came out for her quads which were just starting to feel the miles of pavement interspersed with the mercifully soft trails.
Meghan stuffed more food in her mouth, changed shoes, and reloaded for her next few miles. Meanwhile, Chelle body-glided herself up and got herself ready for the miles ahead. And then the pair were off, not to be seen by me for 29 miles.