Owen was running his 5th consecutive CCC and was on track to get the silver belt buckle. Also, he was running this one in memory of his dad who passed away 4/29/2012. Owen's dad had been at every other CCC and so he dedicated this one to him. He wore his dad's pin on his hat for the entire 100 miles!
|Owen just before the start|
|photo by Yitka Winn|
I got into Hyak and it was about 9:30PM, 11:30 hours of running so far and just 47 more miles to go, and with Eric pacing me and Michelle and Steve crewing, I knew I was in good hands. Eric and I left Hyak at the same time Missy and her husband left. So I was still in the running for a good place. My stomach was a but wonky, but I figured that is usual. I was drinking a ton of water and eating gels every 30 mins with extra food at the aid stations. About 3 miles later I looked at my watch, it was time for another gel. I opened up the package and tried to suck it down but my stomach wanted nothing to do with that. I ate about half of it and turned to Eric and said, I don't think I can eat this, I feel sick. So, I just drank so water and continued to walk uphill. I started feeling worse and worse and I could feel my pace slowing. But every time I tried to exert myself, I thought I would throw up. And soon I did. I threw up a few times and figured that was it and I was good, I got it out. Then a few miles later, I threw up a few more times. When I got to the aid station at mile 63, I was still close to Missy and the 3rd place woman was just ahead of us. So I was still in the mix and knew I would feel better but just told myself to be patient. As we headed on the downhill to Lake Kachess, mile 68, I was feeling more and more sick. I really could not eat anything. I tried, but I couldn't get anything down. At the aid station, I tried to eat. Michelle and Steve were there and were giving me good advise on what to try to eat and to take it easy to recover and try to get in some calories. So I ate some animal crackers, soup, potato, etc. Eric and I left there and within 200 yards, I was throwing all of that up. Now I was getting a bit worried. Without calories, how could I do this? Eric reassured me that I just needed to recover and eat for the 5 miles of Trail from Hell. Ok,,,,I'll try that. Well, I must have pulled over 4,5 or 6 times to puke puke puke and puke again. I was having a hard time getting up the climbs due to lack of energy/calories. All that became important to me at the point was feeling better. I knew my shot at a PR or top 3 was gone. However, at this point, I felt so sick that all that mattered was getting through it and feeling better. Eric was so kind. He just sat with me as I puked with patience and kindness. he kept reassuring me that I would feel better. Whenever my breathing got out of control, he would stop and tell me to catch my breath. I was moving so slow, a snails pace. People we passing me left and right. I was so out of it and then Eric suggested I lay down on the side on the trail in a space blanket to rest for 10-20 minutes. At first I thought, no, let's keep going, but the more I got sick, the more I thought it was a good idea. So I layed down in the dirt and feel asleep immediately. Eric woke me up and said...let's try to make it to Mineral Creek aid station, mile 73. He wold me we were about 2 miles away. UGH, 2 miles! I thought I could not do it, it was too far. I stood up and within 1 minute was puking again. I sat there and said to Eric, "Am I going to have to DNF here?" He said, "That is your choice, but let's just try to make it to Mineral Creek". Ok...I am going to try. I knew I DID NOT WANT A DNF. But seriously, running 2 miles felt like an eternity. I sat there and had some words with Eric, he was just so supportive. At this point Owen and his pacer passed us. Poor Owen! He was having respiratory problems and was suffering big time himself. But I know him, he would continue as far as he could until and if he was pulled from the race. They left. Then some time later, Eric and I stood up and we moved forward. And you know what, we made it. Eric got me there with encouragement, patience and kindness. We got there and Michelle and Steve were there. I cannot express how lucky I was to have them there. They nursed me back to life. I had coke and broth and fell asleep again, for about 15 more minutes. By now the sun was up. So I said, ok, let's head out. I was scared because I didn't think I would be able to exert myself and I would just continue to get sick. But I had to see if I could do it.
We said goodbye to Michelle and Steve and headed up the hill. I drank Dr. Pepper and tried to nibble on this or that and the next thing I know, we are at mile 80, No Name Ridge. I was feeling optimistic that I was going to finish now. We hit the cardiac needles and it was a **struggle** to say the least, I had very little calories in me and exertion up the hills was tough. We came up to Owen and his pacer. Owen had his hands on his knees and was catching his breath. I knew he was going to have a tough 20 miles. I rubbed his back and he told me to move on so we did.
Eric and I made it to through the needles and Thorp Mt. It was so freaking hard. I counted down the big climbs one at a time. 5-4-3-2-1.
|Getting the yellow ticket at the top of Thorp Mt.|
We made it to the last aid station, mile 96. NO WAY! I could not believe it. Michelle and Steve were there. They handed me a bottle, took my pack and said get going! I looked at my watch and it said 28 hours and 4 minutes. I turned to Eric and said,,,,let's try to get in under 29 hours. So we ran, shuffled, walked, repeat until we hit the railroad tracks. I cannot express the relief I felt that I had made it there. It was by far the hardest thing I have done physically, mentally and emotionally, or at least that I can remember in a very long time. I could not believe that #1) I was going to do it and #2) that it was almost over.
|Eric, always smiling and always positive, I couldn't ask for anyone better.|
|Just a few more steps and I am DONE|
And what do you know, we crossed the finish line in 28 hours and 50 minutes. All that suffering was over and all I could do was smile and be so tremendously grateful for Eric, Michelle and Steve, and all the other support I had along the way.
|Could not be more thrilled|
|Poor Eric, sore feet and a sore leg.|
Owen finished in just under 31 hours and received the silver belt buckle. He also had to pleasure and satisfaction of dedicating his race to his dad.
When I say that victories come in unexpected packages, I mean to say that I gained a great deal from participating and completing in CCC. The first part of the race I was focused on a PR and a place in the top women. But when that fell through the cracks, my race became about something else and I wanted to finish it. Without the kindness and support of Eric, Michelle and Steve, I would have never been able to complete it. I deepened friendships, deepened my sense of self and learned a new level of what it means to really dig deep. I didn't know I had that in me and I am so grateful that I know now. I hope some day I can reciprocate to Eric, Michelle and Steve.
There were also a number of incredibly helpful and supportive people on the course. Popping blisters, staying up all night, taking trash from runners, etc. It's amazing that so many people come together to help others in accomplishing a goal. Thank You Thank You Thank You....