Ecuder and his new buddies
Rapid City is known as the city of the Presidents. So Ecuder found himself some friends to go "President spotting" at Mt Rushmore and in Rapid City itself.
Next stop was to look for the American Bison and other animals in a national park
Alas not much was seen and so the group headed back to Rapid City to sit down and play with the presidents where Ecuder learned about the history of the US presidents.
First person who sends the right answer to the US presidents found in the pictures will win......a used car tyre!
Type of Race: Road with signs; CPs @ every 2 miles.
Course: A couple of short uphills but mostly downhill through a canyon at the side of a road. There was traffic control for the first 3-4 hours for the part of the course where there is not much of a hard shoulder.
Organisation and volunteers: Very good
CPs: Fruit, Pretzels, M&Ms, gatorade & water
Weather: Surprisingly very good. In the 60s warming up to the 80s
Start Time: 06:00
Start Location: At the top of the black mountains. There is transportation by school bus from the Holiday Inn that leaves at 04:00
Views: Canyon and countryside
Post Runner Recovery: Margheritas
Pasta Dinner: Speakers (Tales from a Power Barbie and then TG) + a fashion show
Tyres can sulk. It wasn't deliberate, but TG's alter ego has to work to pay the bills, mortgage, repairs.....stuff! Tyres just don't understand that kind of stuff.
5 days before the event, TG took Ecuder out for a short 5km run. Ecuder was quietly not impressed and less so when TG's running buddy took over to try a pull. As TG continued to work long hours, Ecuder became even more subdued and deflated.
Lady Suzette - Spearfish's Pledge Tyre
The day before the event, we arrived at Spearfish to meet Elaine Doll and Lady Suzette. TG thought a cute l'il tyre would cheer up Ecuder but he refused to acknowledge her......"too girly".
As TG delivered her talk, Ecuder wished TG had brought Reu (soon to be introduced) instead. "It's a girl's race! Reu would have been more appropriate" Ecuder gumpily sat in the shadows as Lady Suzette lapped up the attention of ladies flocking round to sign her. She is the Spearfish pledge to reduce trash and to do something active for at least 30 minutes a day.
Note: Lady Suzette is living in Spearfish. Anyone who would like to sign their pledge, please contact someone from the Leading Ladies organisation. She is currently living with Elaine Doll (RD).
Start point: Notice anything missing?
4am rendezvous at the lobby of the Conference Centre. School buses had been organised to take all participants to the start point. The ride itself seemed long and arduous as the bus seemed to creep way up the mountain, sometimes struggling up steeper parts. But it was alive with chatter, women from all walks of life getting to know each other, empathising and sympathising.
On the pasta day, the temperature was in the 90s. TG had told Elaine (RD) that she had prayed for rain. Elaine said it was unlikely to happen as it's normally dry and hot during this time of the year and temperatures had been predicted to be in the 90s for race day.
Some missing fellas at the first check point
For about the first 12 miles there was no real hard shoulder. There was sometimes a grassy verge but also poison ivy waiting to scratch some unsuspecting runner.
A glimmer of sun threatened to bathe the canyon in sunlight, though thankfully it stayed quite cloudy so this really didn't happen for long.
Having worked long hours, TG found she was mentally tired. Ecuder sympathised and tried to glide over the rough edges of the tarmac. By 3-4 miles, TG wanted to sleep by the roadside but Ecuder pushed TG on and he sang a song.
Sunset over Spearfish and the black mountains
With no rain jacket protection, TG looked up to the sky: "Lord, thank you for the rain. Please can it stay as a light sprinkle". And coincidentally, the rain eased off.
The day slowly warmed up and the last 2 miles was nearly hot. The last 1/4 of a mile went onto a concrete path under the trees and TG kicked off her sandals to run barefoot.
Final time = 7:31. TG was happy to have completed and had enjoyed the event. Ecuder was upset and again completely ignored the waiting Lady Suzette. Instead he went to the back of the car, whilst TG went into social mode, talking to everyone and anyone including Lady Suzette!
Special thanks to Kathryn and Best Sullivan who whilst doing their first 1/2 marathon collected trash with black bags that their mother had given to them to keep them warm in the morning. They picked up some runners' trash (gels and clothing items) but mainly roadside public trash that had been tossed to the side during their descent. You are both awesome and look forward to seeing you on more runs :-)
Next TG takes Ecuder sight seeing!
....the 100 mile story continues to remind me about how good or bad the physical/mental punishment was.....
50-60 miles: CP6: 2 Miles Too Far
Being the last participants thru at CP5 and perhaps due to me having already waited some time, Rory (RD) was in a hurry to get Oscar moving. But Oscar needed time to sort out his feet and legs, so we were left with some provisions, with Oscar relaxing on the grass verge for another 15 minutes to cool down his feet and legs with an icy leg spray.
Our earlier conversations had been polite and minimal, but knowing we would be spending time together, we talked like best buddies and righted the world and the UK's current political and economic situation. However, a couple of miles in, it was apparent that there was something wrong, first with me, then with Oscar.
The make shift knee support I had put on earlier felt too tight: the back of the knee was feeling swollen and throbbing. I dropped the "knee support" round the ankle where it hung round loosely, however the damage had already been done. Perhaps the overtight restriction of an ankle support around a knee caused this "minor" injury (ham and calf strain) that I would need to manage. As long as I kept it gentle and kept moving, I assured myself all would be fine.
As we took off again, Oscar's movement was irratic.
Me: Why are you limping?
Oscar: Oh it's nothing. I'll sort it out at the next CP.
Me: I learned from an Arctic buddy, that we need to deal with problems sooner than later. With 50 miles more, it can quickly get worse, so what is wrong?
Oscar: I've got blisters on my toes from these crappy sports socks I'm wearing, but I'll sort them out at the next CP.
We "pulled over" and gave Oscar some plasters to "sort it out" and hopefully provide some padding for his blisters. Whilst Oscar tended to his feet, I tried to stretch out the back of the leg, but this seemed to make it worse. Imagine stretching an elastic band back and forth. With each stretch, it will cause the elastic band to recoil tighter, thus shortening the band. That's how my leg was feeling.
We jogged a little more, sometimes we talked when we walked, sometimes I sang 'cos that's what I do, but we always ran in silence listening to the rhythms of our steps. On one of our "let's run" time, we were along a main road and missed a turn, continuing down the road for another a mile. With signs not apparent where they usually were, nothing was adding up and we both began to feel displaced. It was about 2am, and we reluctantly made a call back to Rory. We were told to return a mile back up the road and look for a missed left hand road - easy to miss in the dark as it was off a dual lane carriage.
Back on track, we headed into a village and again things did not add up. There was no signage at a main crossroad. I looked at every sign post as Oscar waited patiently. He wasn't looking too good but was keeping his chin up. Having lost confidence, we called back and woke up a sleeping RD (sorry). As we waited to receive instructions from Rory, we both cooled down significantly. Fortunately I had a jacket, but Oscar had nothing further. He went sheet white, his lips quivered and managed to stop him throwing up over his bag. He was shivering, his shin was hurting...Oscar was at a low. My motherly instincts kicked in and I gave him my ankle support in the hope that might help him, and tried to keep him warm until we had made a decision to move based on Oscar's GPS (technology is wonderful).
It took us just over 4 hours to complete this leg of the journey and we made it to CP6 apologetic to the waiting marshal. Our earlier times had averaged out to 2.5 hours.Having been lost in other events, have found the energy can be sucked from your body within minutes of finding oneself repeatedly lost. I did not get that feeling here and was grateful to have had a companion to be lost with! We spent about 20 minutes at this CP. It was important to ensure Oscar had loaded back up with carbs/sugar/salt.
60-70 Miles: CP7: The Magic Wonder of A Rising Sun
As the sky began to lighten, Oscar told me to go on ahead and assured me that as it was lighter he would be okay, but knowing he was fighting injury (shin splints and blisters). Like a loyal dog, I refused and told him we were buddies. We had got through the night portion and I wanted to ensure we both finished. Mentally it is easier for me to be helping someone else rather than just myself. I had a mission to ensure we both completed the event and Oscar, being an upbeat person was easy to be around. Without much further ado, we soldiered on.
It is amazing how a rising sun can invigorate the soul. Our spirits seemed to draw the emerging ball of energy into our own and we began to run. About 5am and 4 miles into this next leg, Oscar's buddy appeared on bike (a really lovely guy) as a roving supporter with supplies. With all things new and alive around us, we blasted down a long downhill section, completing the 10 mile section within 2 hours.
70-80 Miles: CP8: People on the Road
After about 15 minutes at CP7, I needed to get moving as the leg injury was stiffening up as it got cold. Oscar now had a buddy and didn't need me any more, so I left him at the CP, trying to ease my leg into motion.
It is strange that after having felt very comfortable in the pervious 5 miles, my leg no longer wanted to play. Despite getting Oscar to spray my leg with his anti-inflammatory spray at the CP, the back of the knee was having difficulty opening up. I knew that completing this event would mean 4-6 weeks recovery time thus no training time for the next marathon that lay ahead in South Dakota. I was adamant that I would complete this event as there were only 30 miles left. DNFs (Did not Finish) are soul eaters and I didn't need another to kill my confidence for a future ultra even if this meant a 6 week lay off.
The sun was now fully radiating its splendor on farmers fields and I was sure there was someone swinging in a tree in front of me. On closer inspection it turned out to be a moving branch and a bag. Cool! Hallucinations were now becoming a feature of this journey. As mental fatigued settled in and began to sit comfortably in my head, I saw more people at the side of the road. When I had got closer, there were just hedges and I had wandered right into the middle of the road. Somehow I had fallen asleep on my feet!
It was time for a defence weapon. A toothbrush with toothpaste! As I brushed my teeth, I thought I could trick my mind into thinking it was time to wake up. It appeared to work for a couple of hundred metres and then the mind said "nah shut down". A fight was ensuing - body, mind, egos, alter egos. A cacophony of discord was in battle. Great as long as my mind was occupied my body just needed to move forward.
I had only managed about 2 miles by the time Oscar and his buddy had caught up with me. Oscar seemed to be moving well and I did not want them thinking they needed to stay with me, so I shooed them on......but now with the shoe on the other foot, Oscar stayed, empathising with my tiredness and now was motivating me on. I was grateful for the company and words.
As we walked for another mile, Oscar's buddy politely encouraged us to run to the next corner, then walk uphill, run down hill. He got us to mile 80 within 3 hours. It was at this CP, both Oscar and I agreed to rest for at least 20 minutes. So Oscar's buddy left us as we lay down in foetal position on a bit of grass on the curb. The marshal also left us with further supplies of food and drink.
80-90 Miles: CP9: The Merry Band
The sun beaming down kept us warm and I allowed my mind to fill with the music of birds, cars, wind in trees, a tractor ploughing......beep beep beep beep...Oscar's alarm! 20 minutes had flown by! I definitely felt so much better for the kip and ready to go. Oscar still had to sort out his legs and feet. My leg was now almost immoveable and the offer of an anti-inflammatory pill was gratefully accepted. We had 20 more miles to belt out and the finish line was now in sniffing range.
As we got ready to move, another of Oscar's buddies pulled in, and as they "caught up" with each other about the event, I decided to get the leg moving. I gave my adieus to limp slowly up the hill, though it really was not long before they both caught up with me. I once more tried to shoo Oscar and his buddy repeatedly on and without a thought Oscar announced "we're buddies and we will get to the end together".
I gotta say it is great having buddies. Further up the road, a car pulled over and out hopped a couple more of Oscar's buddies with reserve supplies and took our back packs from us. Impromptu, they decided to join us on the last 20 miles. The group was now a merry band aiming to get us both to the finish line. We all chatted away, taking in the scenery of rolling hills and farmland bathed in sunlight. It felt like a Sunday stroll with a group of wonderful friends. It was pertty warm now and the sun was painting skins red. With motherly concerns over the group it was time to get everyone to "factor 30" up and my cap that I was not wearing went to a "red/ginger" haired chap. He would certainly need it more than me. Being of oriental descent and growing up in the sun, meant I had more natural sun block protection than our new buddies.
At CP9, one of our new buddies tried to ease off the back of my leg. Unfortunately the leg just needed rest and the inflammation to drain. We had 10 more miles to complete and we were not going to stop until we had reached the end.
With just a mile to go, Oscar sat down. His one foot was a bloody mess ravaged with blisters. With a bit of duct tape and some clothe, his friends patched him up to do his final mile. We jogged and with less than 200 metres to go, Oscar's energy ramped up and he put his pains aside. I tried to keep pace with him. He had said he would sprint the final 100 metres and I had said I would keep pace, but his rockets had far more power than mine.
100 songs sung and the last 100 metres but a blur of speed. 100 miles done!
Wonder if mental running translates to physical running?
Does my last 100 miler 6 weeks ago make me good for a marathon
Without any further training except in my mind sitting in front of a PC
Finishing projects, writing code, fixing systems (the internet is soo amazing)
Am assuming that after the first marathon next weekend
I should be ready for the next marathon the weekend after
Ahh we will see the mental battle vs the physical mind
Does this sound foolish?
But then to many so is the thought of completing 50 miles wearing a pair of slipper type sandals
...and they were lovely and no further foot abrasion - my feet loved me for the exchange mid-way
As for tyre dragging - the craze will catch on. You'll see
Always challenge yourself to make you grow mentally
The only obstacles are the ones you put in your way
The madness of Tyre Girl is about to begin!
TG: Tyre Girl
RD: Race Director
Active Tyres: Opendu; Tring; Bisaniiwewin
The TyreGirl site documents the first 50 tyre-pulling marathons/ultras