If I knew how to add sound effects to a blog, I would insert a button here that triggered a big waaa – waaa – WAAAAAAAA.
I mean, I took off with conviction, running wildly determined into the night. That…. didn’t last long. Soon after leaving the aid station I began falling asleep mid-stride, and soon after that I sneakily laid down on the trail. When Peter tried to get me to stand up (on my own, since rules state he can’t help me), I resolved to crawl/slither around like a snake. He wasn’t having it. Technically, neither was I which is why I got up - but I knew how far I had to go and I just couldn’t fathom it. Every step hurt everywhere and my body was legitimately shutting down. Net result: I officially didn’t want to do it anymore.
"Why would anyone ever do this? It’s too many miles. It’s too much."
We started back up the hill for the final time and I was a complete disaster. Peter had to keep his hand on my back to stop me from falling into cacti and shit, as I had now resorted to sleep walking/running. Since the pace was more of a death march type cadence, I couldn’t keep my core temperature up which was only making things worse. And by “worse” I mean “freaking TERRIBLE.” Slagel-fly made up 4 miles on me and passed me flying up the hill.
Maybe you should let her lie down for 5 minutes or so. (said in a delightful British accent, which only makes it sound more appealing)
Peter, did you hear that? Craig says I should lie down and he knows!
That is a terrible idea.
But I want to… I’m just… so…. tired.
Do you really think you need to lie down?
….you think it’s a bad idea?
YEAH, I think hypothermia is a bad idea!
Okay, well…. baaaaaaaahhhhhhh I don’t want to DO this anymore!
Then mumble, mumble, mumble, and I’m asleep on my feet again. At one point, Peter finally slapped me across the face to wake me up and get me moving again. It was fucking rough. Apparently it was actually four points that he physically abused me, but I only remember one because like I said – I was basically asleep on my feet. The fourth was a punch in the jaw while frantically attempting to get some circulation going in this ghost version of myself. Poor thing was actually concerned I was going to fall asleep, go hypothermic and die out there in that desert. I guess I see how domestic violence was a viable option.
For my next trick, I peed all over my shoes and socks. Fantastic.
We got back on the trail, and I became desparate to stay awake. I tried to sing songs, but I couldn’t remember the words. So I tried to make up songs, but that required too much thought process. So I resorted to incoherent mumbling. Peter is quite certain I was dreaming at points, given the nonsense coming out of my mouth. I remember none of this. All I can remember is heading up, up, up towards the bright white light blinding my eyes. Nope, not death. Just the fucking moon again. Holy crap that was a bright moon.
It’s too many miles. I just don’t want to do it anymore.
I gotta tell you, that Peter Birney is one smart guy. Since I couldn’t wrap my brain around running 6 more miles, he simply suggested that we run the 2 into the aid station and I could sit down there for a bit if I really needed to. Fuck. I couldn’t wrap my brain around ANYTHING, but that somehow seemed feasible. So we kept moving. I came into Coyote camp for the final time and collapsed into a chair. I knew I was almost there. I knew I could do it. But I didn’t want to.
So, uh… she’s falling asleep. What do we do about that?
The aid station volunteers wrapped my shaking body in a big blanket and made me some extra strong coffee, per Peter’s suggestion/plea for help. I sucked down some hot broth and drank half the coffee and began to wake up a bit. This was good… but it was also very very bad, as I suddenly became aware of the fact that I had let my sub-24 finish slip away in the last two miles. I was horrifically sad, and I really didn’t see the point of getting up. I now feel like I have a better grasp on what depression feels like.
I was doing so good, and now I’m not doing good.
First of all this is annoying because it is not proper English and it came out of MY mouth. Second, this sucks because I sound like a five-year-old. I didn’t know this at the time, because I doubt I even knew my name. I had officially run myself retarded. Awesome.
Once I stopped shaking, Batman and Robin set out for the homestretch. Four more miles and then a chair. After he accidently tripped and smashed my foot, my wingman came through with the goal setting once again. We couldn’t beat the clock, but we could still beat the sun. I found this acceptable, so we took off running down the Tonto Tank trail to finish this damn thing once and for all. I was still struggling, but the pre-dawn sky was pretty legit and at the risk of sounding lame-o, my soul was awakened. There were actually even coherent phrases amidst the mumbling and I was later informed that at one point I even made a legitimate joke. With two miles to go, I saw a recognizable stride heading up the trail towards me.
I think that’s Jimmy!
‘Twas Jimmy and I was so happy to see him – my friend, my coach and one of the only people in this world that can talk any sense into me. I told him I was sad about giving up, but he politely pointed out that if I had given up I wouldn’t be running right now. The man has a point. He set off up the trail to find Kate, alone on her sixth lap as I resolved to run that last few miles in if it killed me. The irony here is that you would think due to the laws of relativity that two miles would seem like nothing compared to the previous NINETY-NINE. Wrongo! Those two miles were a lap all their own.
Regardless, the fire was back. Keep moving. Just a little more and then I get to sit down and there’s no more miles. And I don’t have to run anymore. But for now… relentless.
With a half mile to go, Peter sprinted in to wake up our crew. Alone with my thoughts, I became completely overwhelmed with the magnitude of what had just happened; what I had just done. I couldn’t comprehend it – my mind was too tired – but I knew that whatever went down over the last 24 hours was pretty freaking cool. I’d figure it out later. For now, I was just going to smile and complete the hardest thing I'd ever attempted. Point: DeSplinter.
I turned the corner off the trail and into the homestretch/parking lot (epic, I know.) and the first person I saw was P-Dubs, screaming my name and flailing his arms like wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man. Sleepy people were peeking out of their tents to see what the hell was going on. Oh hey, just crazy-eyed girl dressed as Batman. Finishing up a 101.4 mile run.
HOLY CRAP I JUST RAN OVER 100 MILES.
I'd like to thank my sponsors: Saucony, and the City of Gotham.
I crossed the line to the cheers of my friends in a complete and total tear-stained daze. I had beaten the sun; I had beaten the desert. I had beaten myself. Jamil, the RD, came over to congratulate me and give me my very first buckle. I probably said something very poetic, such as “cool.” Then Peter came over and I buried my head in his chest and just sobbed. Then OTHER Peter came over and the tears only multiplied… for everyone. I was over. It was over. I survived.
This guy is the best. He even touched my pee socks.
Will I do this again? Welp, I would say it was 88% fun and only 12% absolutely fucking miserable… so all signs point to yes. SPLINTOBOT ENGAGE.
Ascent/Descent = not a lot.
24:38:16 - 14:35/mi average
1st Female 1-29
7th chick overall
Sample of Damage.
The story of my race is impossibly separated from the stories of each and every one of my friends out there running too. This was OUR race. Here's how the team fared:
Katie (Me): I reached my goal of running until I passed out – and then kept running.
Kate pushed through some serious shit to finish strong and reach her goal of winning the costume contest.
Slagel-fly crushed the last 9 miles to capture his first sub-24 finish.
Dom did not get chicked. He only got Anderson-Abbed, which doesn’t count. (Dom's recap)
Skelley did not turn into salt-man in the desert and finished in grandiose fashion, palming the clock. (Rock Hard Video)
Guillaume’s IT failed him, but he’ll kill the next one he enters – no doubt.
Katelyn missed the time cutoff with 2 miles to go, but finished the entire distance on her own will, still donning the pink tutu. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of in my entire life. (Pink Steel's video blog)
I sat in a chair for an hour and then tried to get up (pictured here). This was a very bad idea.
BE IT KNOWN...
I am forever changed by what I experienced out in that desert. Here’s what I mean:
1. Nothing will EVER seem that bad. (Until I do something harder).
2. My body completely shut down out there and somehow I kept running – I don’t know how that happened exactly, but I have a new respect for myself.
3. I am the luckiest person ever to have the friends who came out to support me and the the rest of the fam above. Jimmy, Erin, Bev, Julie, Krogmann and especially Birney – I love you guys big time. Deal with it.
We came together. We finish together. That's how we roll.