In no particular order, these happy times include:
1. Squirting a jet of Mountain Dew right into my eyeball.
2. My amazing pacer, Travis, negotiating with me to get me to eat something.
3. My amazing pacer, Rachel, agreeing with me that I'm bad at peeing.
4. Travis reminding me occasionally that I'd now run farther than I'd ever run before. (And using the term "run" very loosely and generously. At that stage, I was mostly power-hiking.)
5. Seeing Emmett out on the course (and Liza!), and running with Chris, Michelle, Jason, Fumi, and Jean for awhile. It really felt like a Rockhoppers Saturday morning training run at Bandera.
6. Being helped by Ernest, Asma, Rich, and Jeannie throughout the race at the Equestrian aid station. Many thanks!
7. Seeing tarantulas, a scorpion, and a fox out on the course.
|Photo during the race by Nikki Davis|
8. The beautiful sunset. (It was so overcast in the mornings that the sunrises weren't spectacular. But both mornings I was happy to get rid of my headlamp.)
9. Hanging out with friends at the finish line. They took such great care of me (chair! food! warm clothes!), and it was great hearing about their adventures during the race. I'm so thankful to know such amazing people!
10. Going straight to Sunday Mass with Ernest after the race -- with dirty, sotol-scraped legs, sweat-plastered hair, urine-soaked shorts (see #3), and a pronounced hobble. The second reading was from St. Paul's 2nd letter to Timothy: "I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith." Way to make me teary-eyed, God!
Overall, my biggest takeaway from this amazing experience -- the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, for sure -- is my total dependence on God. During that 4th loop, every footstep was ridiculously painful, due to huge blisters all over my feet. Every step I was able to take seemed like a small miracle. As Liza told me once, the pain during an ultra can give us empathy for those who are in constant pain -- and they don't have the option to quit. I'm thankful I was able to keep the faith and finish the race.