So when I say we “had to find it” I mean it. Laying the hammer down is a mental game. Our bodies are very capable of doing more than our minds often allow us. Being mentally strong for an Ultra Relay is key.
Once we hit dark and realized that sleep might not happen we had to dig deep. We passed SR in the van while she was out on her 19 mile craziness and asked her if she needed anything. She yelled out ” A bodyguard.” OK, done. At the exchange in the middle of her run Dave was able to join her. Serve, protect and pace. Thanks Dave. Just as we did during the day we took turns running in the night. Our nutrition was not great and sleep was not happening. It is so hard to sleep in a van when there is so much going on. It also comes down to feeling like a crappy friend if you are not there to cheer on your runner.
I laid down in the back seat, snuggled under a blanket and prayed that I would fall asleep. I even tried those weird relaxation techniques where you relax each part of your body until you are fully relaxed. It didn’t do squat. At least I laid down and “rested” but there was no sleeping.
At 5:30 a.m. it was my turn to run again. This time we were in Escondido heading into Carlsbad. I felt comfortable because I know the area so well. Finally in SD. I ate a bag of PowerGel bites and took off for 8.5 miles. The first leg was 3.9 miles and they were freaking awesome. A few climbs with some fast downhill miles in foggy weather. YEAH BUDDY!
I was so thankful for this part of the course as I needed a little help. I hit 3 sub 8 miles on this part (let’s not get too crazy, by sub 8 I mean 7:50) and was hoping I would be able to make up some time for my team. Yes this was about fun and being smart but let’s be honest. Our group of gals are competitive by nature. We wanted to catch everyone. We wanted to freaking win.
I breezed through the exchange on my way to the second leg when I realized where I was. NOOO. The Carlsbad Marathon course. Time for a pace killer.
At this point I was in the high 8’s and passing a lot of walkers. It felt hard and I ended up running with another girl on a mixed ultra team for a mile or so. She told me that they had started at 11 am. Yes! We were catching people. I hit the downhill and finished strong. Total time for legs 23 and 24 1:11:38, 8.52 miles, 8:25 pace.
I headed into the exchange and talked with Pam and Chiara for a while. I felt positive about this run and actually thought to myself “Sweet, a negative split on legs. Maybe I can run low 8s high 7s for my final legs.” It was then that my stomach went into major fail mode.
Looking back now I was having a total nutrition fail. Total.
We were headed into the home stretch and knew what we had to do to win this thing. Now it just trying to figure out how to do it on no sleep.
To be continued…