2011 Ultra Marathon

What am I going to talk about after this weekend?  For months YOU have been training with me so I ask you...are you ready for Saturday? 

  • I have dedicated the run to my friend Eleanor.  Eleanor is a warrior, diagnosed with stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer June 2007.
  • Last January she was trying to earn a place on the US National Women's Kayak Polo Team, balancing cancer treatment and training would be tough but she was ready.
  • She made the team but everything changed after learning she had 30 tumors in her brain. She blogs, 'Results are back.  I do have cancer in my brain.  Lots of it'. 
  • Eleanor continues to defy the odds, finding ways to outwit cancer to stay alive.

Running:  Just before I moved I was lucky enough to spend time with her - she told me she wasn't done fighting.  She spent Christmas with her husband and three children and earlier this week I had good news for her.  Eleanor will be running with me Saturday.  I will be wearing two bibs, one for each of us.  We are doing this together.

Not an hour goes by when I do not think of Martha and Eleanor, most of the time it's a simple thought like 'I hope you are having a good day'.  They are part of me, they make me a better person. They are fighting to stay alive, I can surely cross a finish line. It's nothing compared to the race they are running.

Timing and Weather:  Based on my long run, 27 miles in 4:54 I should be able to finish the 33 mile run in less than 7 hours.  The trail is icy, post blizzard and snow is in the forecast tomorrow.  I'm mentally prepared for this since it's out of my control.  Could make for an interesting day!

Cheer for us!

A week later...

  • It was a brutal day, the trail was in terrible shape from the blizzard last week.  The best way to explain the trail conditions is to imagine a dozen horses trotting on the trail just before 4-5 inches of water turn to ice.... there wasn't one smooth part to the trial.  To make matters worse the ice was covered with 5-8 inches of fresh snowfall.
  • The race was made up of three eleven mile loops, with a five hour time limit to start the third loop. 
  • Based on my long run I was planning to finish the run between 6 - 6 1/2 hours.  I just made the loop three cut off with a time of 4:50. 
  • I didn't see one runner the last 5 miles on the trail and thought I was the last one out there.  The only goal I set for myself was to not finish last.  When I crossed the finish line the announcer said, "and finishing in third place..."
  • It took me 7H 26M to cross the finish, I didn't see a runner for the last five miles of my run and I took third place!  I'm still trying to comprehend this news.
  • 180 runners registered (there were two events, the ultra and a marathon) 51 finished the ultra, 20 finished the marathon. 

Eleanor's strength was our secret weapon!  When I talked to her after the run, to let her know she just took third place, I asked her 'what's next?'  She said we need to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.

It's time to let my body recover and start planning a trip to Africa!

Fitness, Eleanor, MiscMari Partyka