Sept 1, 2016- Part II
August 15, 2016-Race Day:
4am start. We were a bit turned around about location and I was so nervous about getting there late. But we made it thankfully. With a great smile from the Race Director Todd Jennings and a small but amazing crew of individuals being out here so early for this great race in the Catskills. I felt pretty awake for the early start. I was given my bib # which I quickly put on with Giselle’s help and to the starting line we went. But first a picture. Cheese! Yet again another race another I don’t know what will happen. But that is the greatness of ultra running. “You just don’t know.” There we are at the starting line. Not sure what my mind was saying. But I felt myself moving back and forth and concentrating. I honestly thought, “please don’t fall again.” “I must do this, I got this.” The seconds of the countdown begin and soon we are off. My Suunto watch literally goes off. Meaning my alarm at the same point which I had set weeks before the race as a reminder. “Are you kidding me I thought.” How do I shut this off. Thank goodness it was easy enough so I did it quite quickly. Now to adjust to the dark. Headlamp on, flash light in pocket. All my goodies together. I’m good! Now “RunRoniRun!” I took it slow at first to catch my breath. Slowly but surely as in any race the nerves will subside in a few miles. Thank goodness I thought. Now happy thoughts. So that is what I started with. But I already had to pee by mile 2. Oh well, I will be holding this one. With this race you and the wilderness are one. You got to go. Find a shrub or tree and do your thing. By Mile 3 I started getting in that racing mode. I wanted to keep my pace at a certain point and stay there if I could and slow it down when I hit those for ever up and down hills which can kill you if your not playing it smart. 10k was always on my mind. It would be where you would see your crew. I would see my Giselle! Woohoo! It was always a good point to think about. It kept me going. For the first 6 miles you would not see no one but after mile 12 you would see crews and friends. I ran this one mostly alone. There was a woman behind me for the first 5 miles then I lost her. No where to be found as I turned back and I was all alone. Headlamp on I just felt that it was not working right so I also used my flashlight. It all worked pretty well together until my flashlight begin blinking 3 times stopping vehicles in there path. Well I guess that was helpful but driving me crazy for some time. As I continued all I thought was at this point I need a restroom. At mile 8 I saw two women which were aiding us on the side and asked if there would be somewhere to use the restroom. No! Okay! I thought I guess we will be passing my motel. Well I hope and I could just go there. When I hit mile 12 I see Giselle with that great big smile if I needed anything. I kept running and she also looked at me Duh…use the trees. Okay! She asked if I needed anything at this point. I was perfect just a bathroom. I kept going. Finally it must of hit mile 14 when I was by my motel. At this point there was a young lady in front of me and I offered her a place to go to the restroom as my motel was right there. She said she was fine. I flew like a bat. Breathing hard I needed to be relieved. Thankfully we left the door with key in it as we had checkout early. I run in. I’m a new women. As fast as I got in I got out. I soon pass the young lady and another gentleman ahead of me. I ask if he was good. Did not seem quite happy. We were I would say at mile 15 at this point. hmm..I’m passing runners I knew there were not many ahead of me. Okay this is good. My pace at this point had not changed one bit. I was on incredible pace but more than that. I was comfortable in my pace. Always seeing Giselle was a breath of fresh air. The next 10k I wanted Sprite and Coke. Only in racing. It tasted refreshing and I haven’t mentioned the weather was perfect. If it only could stay cloudy it would be ideal. As once that sun comes up ouch it could hurt. Soon enough I was off again. I did not stay at my stations very long I just wanted to continue I was in mode. I felt dame good I tell yeah. Giselle would take the drive and then when she was at the aid stations to meet me she would tell me what to expect. So it was all good. She warned me she would meet me at the next 10k before the forever hill. Perfect I thought. It began to get hilly. There is almost 9,000 elevation in this race. If I recall I ran most of these hills at first slowly and carefully not to blow myself early. The beauty of it all was immaculate. The waterfalls cascading. There were so many times I wanted to stop in one to wash my face but I was in race mode so I did not. I just enjoyed every minute of it as I ran. There was a wonderful older man and I believe his wife in a burgundy car that continued to be such joy for me. They cheered me on and made me feel so good about myself. Thank you so much if your out there. I continued on by mile 24 I would be hitting the steepest of steep hills. I have learned do not look up and just conquer. My way of doing things. See a point run to it then walk a little and keep that going. Giselle prepared me before living her and I was set to capture it. It was long and hard but we are not here if it is not for some pain. So suck it up. Shit me it was difficult but you could not take your eyes off the beauty. I must say I believe this is the first ultra I have completely enjoyed meaning. I saw my sideline. The streams, falls, clouds, sun, trees, etc. And for everyone elses crew passing by me. Everyone was so cool driving by me and just screaming. What fun! Mile 30 I began to feel some buttocks pain. It did not feel like my hip but were the leg and the butt connect. You know what I mean. At this point if you could believe my pace had not yet changed I was still going strong. Just running, just wanting to get to the other side. Giselle at point was getting me on my way. She was on point. Would give me those welcoming smiles as I’m getting in then she got me out. Making sure I was well and nutritioned. Gels, water, you name it refilled and I was out again. Now I will jump to the 70k mark I was beginning to hurt on one side. I don’t know if you understand the feeling of everything feeling just right. But just this little prick trying to be unforgiving. That is what it was. The sun had come out by this point. I was hot and sweaty and a bit shaky. All I wanted was my Advil. I look at Giselle two please. I remember being there but not being there. It was kind of a fog at this point. She tried to force me in real nutrition meaning food. I could not the GU Energy was working fantastic for me. But at this point if your not feeling 43 miles your superman. For me reality was hitting. But I’m still up and going pain on one end but I’m never ever giving up this is in dedication to my son on his 2nd Birthday. At this point drinking tons of water, my coke, gathered my gels. Some chips. Bug hugs see you soon. I continue. Could not wait to the Advil would kick in. I told my mind 20 minutes. “You got this.” At this point I just ran and ran. What more can I do. I don’t even remember thinking about much. I soon befriended a gentleman in front of me and a gentleman behind me. They would cheer me on and I would do the same. I also had another crew/family of the runner in front of me whom became such a great part of my finishing strong. They asked if I needed anything. Would give me ice to place in my Nuun trucker hat when I asked. Give me a nice frozen cold water to take. Just thank you. You will be close to my heart for your generosity. Giselle and I kept meeting up a little before then 10k mark as we missed each other at one point. I just kept running. But for the meetings. She was serious did her thing with me and I remember her words. “Slow down.” I remembered that and started walking a bit. I did not know my placement or anything at this time. The race director drove by me asking how I was. Did not think anything of it. I felt good. Gave him a great big smile. I was feeling happy and content of how I was doing. Next time I met Giselle I was no longer foggy I was really going to do this. Feeling dame good! I learned how to be one with nature..ha, ha and kept my running going. As I reached my last 10k. I had dropped my hydration pack I put on my Fitletic Belt some GU Energy Gels and water in my UD bottle and that’s it. I got this! But what was to occur was unexpected. A tremendous downhill with a grand big storm. Oh shit! Lets cool off and finish this thing. I mean it did not just rain. It downpoured. I literally pee’d in the bush before lightening began to strikes. I just thought,” Dear Lord just guide me to the end safely.” I was soaked and this this downhill was dreadful 1000 ft. drop just down. I tried to do everything I could but with this rain. I would slow down. I would run fast. I would walk. I did all! A car drove by me with a relay team asking me if I wanted to jump in and if I was okay. I say NO! I would be fine. So here it is the end. The moment I worked so hard for. At this point the last three miles felt like forever. I ran with a women who was on one of the relay teams and she was from Orange County. She gave me some great words to end my race. I let her go. But would have never believed what I was expecting. I soon see Giselle and I hear loud cheers from everyone at the picnic area. She is waving me in. I see her but I yet don’t see the finish line. But it awaits. As I turn I see the race director with a great big smile. I run in to the finish line. My time is called out. I made it. Giselle hugs me. He’s telling me at the same time I am Champion. First Female Solo Finisher. I look up, Noooo with tears in my eyes. I look at Giselle and hug her again. “You did it Roni she says.” I really did do it. I never gave up. I felt great. I was so zoned out. It seemed as if I were dreaming. I walk towards everyone. They all begin to hug me and praise me. He hands me my trophy. We take a photo together.
I was just a mama again two years ago again. Look at me now. Everything is so possible. We are so capable. Don’t ever be afraid of the unknown. Go with fear and conquer. That is the only way of knowing. Thank you all whom follow me. I hope I just give you some motivation in living your dreams. They take work. But are possible. Thank you for joining me on my journey.