Umstead is geared for first timers. The race officials really want to do all they can to ensure everyone finishes. At the pre-race meeting they talked at length on how to get through this and offered key advice to runners. At the end they asked everyone who was running their first 100M to stand. Whoa! I was blown away by the number of first time 100 milers. It brought chills to my skin and I got goose bumps. With a lump in my throat I said, wow. This was super inspiring! You could feel the excitement. There were 107 runners going for their first 100M finish. I think the total field was around 240. I am sure this happens in other 100's like Leadville and such but the attention brought to it here was special.
Loop courses are hard but fun. They're hard because you have to keep yourself motivated. They're fun because you share the race with more people. You're never alone and it gives the opportunity to meet people. I was overwhelmed by the amount of encouragement shared on the course. I don't think I have been in a race where the other runners were this enthusiastic and friendly. I got to meet some of Sophie's friends, Jenny and Rick. I got to share a few miles with them. I got see Allison and Owen kick some PNW butt! I got to see Mike Morton set a course record. And...since he's my ultra running idle I was awe struck by how friendly and encouraging he was to all of us! Even though he was setting a blazing pace he had demonstrated the true ultra spirit of camaraderie. I want to become one of the Virginia Ultra running group members because those folks take care of their friends like no others! Very special.
By lap 3 the rain had stopped and the temperature was rising. It was crazy fast too. It popped 20 degrees in a blink of an eye. The humidity was so noticeable now. Lots of folks didn't seem to be bothered by it. I however felt like a slimy slug, literally. My skin was wet and sticky. My clothes would not dry! I couldn't take it anymore and lifted my tank top up so my belly and back could get some relief. That felt so good however my skin remained very wet. Now running in shorts and bra is no big deal. Girls do it all the time. NOT ME! This just goes to show my level of desperation. My plan was to lift up my tank and get some relief while on the back side of the course. Then when I got back in public I would pull it back down. That plan went out the window when I just couldn't bring myself to blanket the wet, warm, slimy body. Then on top of it I got tired of carrying my empty handhelds so I stuffed them in my shorts. Ahh, freedom. I came in from my 3rd loop in this new fashion statement and Micheal looked at me and said, "What the?????". I told him this was my new look and I didn't really care. Ok, we'll go with that I guess. I was using mass amounts of Vaseline in areas I won't mention. I was covered in it! Under my arms, under my bra, down my legs and a couple of other places. Nice......
By the time I had finished up lap 4 (50M) in exactly 9 hours I knew sub 20 was a possibility. Besides the chaffing in areas I won't mention I felt good. Still hotter than hell but managing it okay. I was feeling a bit sluggish and tired. Micheal picked me up for lap 5. We spent the better part of this lap getting me back in the running game. I was walking more and feeling tight and off. I popped a Succeed tab and drank some broth at the midpoint aid station. We were thinking I might be low on salt since I looked like a salt lick! I was covered from my neck to my ankles in crystals. I generally don't take much salt. I am not a big sweater and even for a race like WS100M I might only take 1 Enduralyte every 1.5 hours. I have been popping them about every hour here but Micheal suggested we pull out the big guns and use Succeed. After about 20 minutes all systems began to fire again. Lap 5 was one of my slowest! I was 12 minutes faster on number 6.
Laps 6 and 7 were sweet! I ran 6 pretty fast and 7 was no sloucher either. I was feeling good. My feet were the most sore. Strange, not generally a place I feel sore but this hard surface was beating them up good. My legs were fine. Sure, I could feel the hamstrings and calves but nothing worth discussing. Leaving for a final lap it was pretty clear I was going to break sub 20 baring anything crazy. Then crazy came. The storm from hell! The sky was quickly filled with a crazy amount of lightening. I have been in some lightening storms in the Wasatch and Leadville that I thought were amazing. This was a different kind of lightening. It covered the sky. Then the downpour. I am still basically naked so I grab my tank top and put it on. Thankfully Micheal didn't listen to me and ditch our rain jackets. I had to pull mine out because I was getting chilled and at this state I knew I would quickly be frozen. We were both wearing glasses and within a mile couldn't see shit! Now leave it to Micheal to have a dry bandanna stashed in his pack. I pulled it out and we both used it. We plugged on moving very well. I chose to barely break step at the midpoint aid station to avoid getting chilled. The rain kept on for another 2 miles then it began to let up and I could remove my coat. Though I felt like I was slowing I ran my final lap faster than the previous by 20 whole seconds!
Upon finishing I was immediately off to shower. I had to get the sticky slime off my body. I wasn't excited to get in the shower and determine just how much chaffing I had. I pre-lubed before the shower to keep the screaming to a minimum. I was also not anxious to see my feet! I don't generally blister much but I wasn't sure what I was going to find. My feet were sore so it was hard to tell if I had any bad boys lucking under the socks. I peeled them off to find my big toe with a blister under the nail. Weird, I don't remember banging my toes but that's what it look like. Other than that the feet looked good. My hair though, whew! I braided my ponytail but the moisture blew it up into one giant dread lock! No way was this coming out so I washed the dread lock and rinsed with a ton of conditioner. Still it was stuck. Oh well, I will deal with it later. Off I went to the race headquarters building for some food and rest while we waited for Susan to finish. Post race recovery has been amazing! No swelling and besides this toe I feel good. Biked once and ran once just to get things moving. Overall I can't believe how well it went and am still on a post race high!