Yesterday we were up by 4 a.m, to drive, hike and be at our assigned Aid Station (“Difficult Run”) by 6 a.m. The front-runners showed up around 2 hours after the start, and our day was non-stop from there. The Northface Endurance Challenge 50-milers and 50K-ers somehow survived a hot and humid June morning to complete something amazing – an UltraMarathon.
It was beyond rewarding to be a small part of this day for every competitor. The 50-mile runners visited our station three times (the course looped) – at miles 18, 24 and 31. With only 250 of them, we quickly recognized most of the returners. Our priorities were to make sure they were fed, hydrated, had full water bottles and satisfied stomachs, and were somewhat conscious of lay ahead! Our station offered Potato Chips, Pretzels, Baked Potatoes, Skittles, M&Ms, Salt (yes, just pure salt – you’d be surprised how many people flocked to it!), Famous Amos Cookies, Peanut-butter crackers, GU Roctanes, bananas, apricots, nectarines, water, Gu Brew & Nuun mixes.
Whew, that’s a lot of fuel.
Just to give you a glimpse of what the runners endured, these were our surroundings:
Great Falls, Virginia
Ivan and I headed out for a short trail run to see what led up to our site; we lasted about 15 minutes. Our feet hurt from hopping on and over a bunch of rocks (i.e. Get trail shoes!), and there was a serious incline less than half a mile away (meaning, they ran this THREE times, up and down). Words cannot explain the respect I have for those of you who completed this race, and looked great doing it! Absolutely Amazing.
On another note, if you ever get a chance to volunteer for a race, please don’t hesitate. It felt great to be on the other side of things; volunteers make races possible, and it was about time I gave back to that aspect of a race!
This morning, we woke up at 4 a.m. again to get all the gear together, drive to Annapolis, and get me to a different starting line by 7 a.m. If watching people run a 50-mile/50K trail race for hours on end is not inspiring, I don’t know what is! I was so amped to get out and run this morning, and nothing has ever put 13.1 miles into perspective the way my Saturday did. Running becomes so mental: maybe I didn’t train for this run/race, but that does Not mean my legs didn’t have it in them.
Stay tuned for yet another hot, humid summer morning full of that thing we love so much – running. 13.1 miles later, I’m still alive and ready for the next!