A race that has been on my mind for the past year. The day to prove to myself that I had learned from last year's implosion at Western States. I had three main goals for the day. Goal #1-Finish smiling. Goal #2-Improve upon 20:07 from last year. Goal #3-Finish in the top 10. I can happily say all of the goals can be checked off.
Once again like last year, 3:44am the alarm goes off and I am up like a shot out of a gun. My stomach was already in knots and my mind was racing through all the last minute details to prep for my day long journey. Waiting at the start line I felt a rush of emotions come over me. I remember turning to Miguel and saying, "I feel like I could cry". My pain and agony from last year was staring me right in the face. To say I was scared was an understatement...I was petrified. However, I was ready to prove to myself that I can finish this race stronger than before.
I said a prayer before the gun went off and I set foot on my journey. Ascending up Escarpment with Stephanie and Aliza was exactly what I needed to start my day off right. My nerves settled and I was enjoying the present moment I was in, not worried about how my day might unfold. At the top of Escarpment we paused to see the sun rise, and with that moment my breath was taken away and I knew no matter what it was going to be a great day. I was doing what I love.
Traversing down the back of Escarpment I found myself alone and just running in my own world. I kept it relaxed and comfortable, not even caring what place I was in. I was going to make sure I ran my own race and didn't get caught up in what was going on ahead or behind me. I was feeling sleepy and tired, however my body felt fine. I hadn't had my normal caffeine in the morning, so I attribute my sleepiness to that. I soon found myself sandwiched between two Seattle guys! How on earth does that happen?! It was great chatting with Matt and Ian and it woke me up. The miles and time ticked by. Matt and I had the same game-plan, to be able to run the last 30 miles. So steady patience was the name of the game.
|Photo Credit: Gary Wang|
Finally, I reached Michigan Bluff! I came into that AS looking worked. I yelled out to my coach, Jason Koop, what do I do for a bad stomach? He advised me to get ginger chews and to cool off. I grabbed the chews and before I could get them down I was finding the nearest trash can. The stomach said, "Heck NO!!". I walked over to my crew, Chris Hall and his nieces, coach, and Ann Trason! They took me under their wings and got me in the right mindset. Ann told me her story about her stomach turning and when she just wanted to sit on an ice chest and rest, but someone told her that her legs still worked and she wasn't going anywhere by just sitting so she continued on. And that is exactly what they did to me! Coach had made me an OSMO slushy to take on my way, which I nursed as I made my way to Bath Road. Within that section I was brought back to life. I felt better and my legs started running again. Bam! The smile on my face returned!!
|Photo Credit: Kevin Willett|
|Photo Credit: Stephen Ingalls|
I decided that it was time to turn and burn. I told Miguel that I felt great and wanted to start ripping off some miles in the sweet single track, that I had to walk last year. I was ready to enjoy this section of runnable trial. Cruising along in 3rd was beyond my imagination. I had been 5-6 most of the day and to be up to 3rd was unreal. I had no idea where the women were behind me, only that I wanted to try and race to the end. I was running scared thinking at any moment they would catch me.
I found myself passing by Stephanie and her pacer/husband Zach, and it broke my heart that she didn't have the race she was hoping for. I tried to give her some encouragement as I went by and some motivation telling her there were a couple women close behind. I was in disbelief that I was in 2nd place, holy smokes! Now, I was ready to do what I had to, in order to keep that position. That meant running harder than I ever had at the end of an ultra. Miguel was all for it and he knew I was on a mission. We got to No Hands Bridge AS, where Miguel quickly got water and I was told by coach to bring it home and to keep racing! That is what we did, I told Miguel that we had to dig deep and push our limits. A moment I will never forget was when Miguel started hacking up Robie Point and I asked him, "how are your legs?" and he said "they are fine" and I said "good, since they are working you are going to have to keep moving even if your stomach doesn't want you to". He was a great sport and did just that. We got to the top of Robie Point and cruised up the road. We listened for any cheers behind, but heard none. We knew we could make it now...we can run a mile. Hitting the track knowing I was going to be in second place I couldn't be more than grateful for God granting me the race I set out for. I was elated beyond words. Running under the WS sign hearing John Medinger say my name and 2nd place female made me raise my hands to God and grant him the glory. Praise be to God. Then we stopped and I looked at Miguel who looked frantic and the next thing I saw was him puking. I couldn't help but say, "Eww go over there or find a trash can!! Not on the track!!". He and I are still laughing about that. I couldn't have done it without him.
|Photo Credit: Allen Lucas|
|Photo Credit: Chris Jones|
Kaci ~Pixie Ninja
Trail shoes: Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3's
Tank top/shorts: Nike Trail Racing top/Nike 3" Modern Embossed Tempo
Bandana: Howard Nippert's Ice Bandana (super awesome!)
Handheld: Nathan's 18 ounce
Hydration: CarboPro Hydra C5 (watermelon flavor)/OSMO slushy from Jason Koop
Nutrition: Honey Stinger waffles, Gels, AS food.
Salt: CarboPro MetaSalt tabs (I had no cramping issues)