Monday, September 5, 2011

Strolling Jim 40 miler May 7, 2011

  I had a heard time deciding to do this race.  Practically last minute.  And all because it is on the same day as the Kentucky Derby- which I normally watch on television (and bet on).  What we, hubby and I, do though is go to the Kentucky Oaks every year.  We meet up with his brother (and sometimes other family members) and sit by this huge bush in the Infield close to the finish line.  We have went just about every year for 13 years.  Big tradition for us.  For me.  I stayed on the fence until finally I thought I had a good plan to go to the Oaks and to the race too.  We usually would get home from the track around 7 or 8.  So I figured I would go straight to bed and get up early Saturday morning and drive the 4.5 hours to Wartrace, TN.  I
figured I could get there and sleep in the bus for about an hour before the race started so I could feel a little refreshed after driving.  That was the plan. 
  I had signed up for the race, but when I checked the website it wasn't showing me as an entrant.  I emailed the ultasignup guy and was going back and forth trying to figure out why it wasn't showing, even though I had a confirmation number and email.  I even spoke with Mike Melton, the race director, who assured me not too worry about it.  Couple more emails while I was at Oaks and it seemed to be straightened out.  I
was still worried though.  It took me awhile to fall asleep Friday night, but I did get up and headed out without incident.
  As normal, I pushed the bus very close to empty on gas before looking for a gas station.  I figured there would be a gas station at the exit to Wartrace.  There was, but it was shut down.  I was getting a little nervous when I finally came upon the Walking Horse Hotel- where the race started from.  I pulled in, but needed to go to the bathroom so bad that I decided to try to find a gas station.  I pulled out and as luck would
have it, right down the road there was a gas station.  Yeah for me.  I quickly potty'd and gass'd up then head back to the Hotel parking lot.  I climbed into the back of the bus to try to rest.  It was very quiet and dark in the parking lot.  Perfect  Then a tap at the window.  I thought security was going to throw me out of the parking lot.  Thankfully though it was Mike M., the RD for the Strolling Jim.  Such a nice guy!  We chatted for a few minutes before I settled down to rest my eyes- sleep would not come.  I eventually climbed out of the bus and went to sign in and get my race number and stuff.  Mike was great about the whole mix up with my entry-which made me feel great.  I wanted to make sure he did get my entry money and that it wasn't somewhere it wasn't suppose to be.  I had plenty of time to get my stuff together; fill my bottles, pin my number on, etc.  I walked back up to the entry table just in time to see Laz (aka Gary Cantrell) finish his run.
  Soon it was time for us to head over to the starting line.  I chatted with Steve D and Mike S.  Soon Mike gave the race instructions and started us off on our way.  I settled into my own little plodding.  I was hoping to get finished in under 10 hours, but I had no idea how I would do.  I've only ran 41 miles and that was last
October at the Backyard ultra.  I spoke with Naresh and another fellow, Dean.
  I was about 5 or 6 miles into it when my phone rang.  I went to answer it and noticed I had several missed calls.  It was my brother telling me my uncle was trying to get ahold of me.  Drats...I knew what it was about.  It was Derby Day at home and he wanted me to get some bets up for him.  Sigh....I tried to explain to my brother and told him I would call my uncle.  Which I did and was forced to walk to hear since the coverage was getting spotty.  I felt bad about not being able to help but
I was on a road in the middle of Tennessee-not really in a spot to get a bet up for him. 
  I did pretty good for about 15 miles or so, then I needed to start doing some walking.  Not too mention start looking for a spot to go potty.  Like normal, I didn't really look at a course map, nor know when aid stations were coming up.  I did find a nice spot in the woods to squat and I eventually came upon an aid station.  Naresh and Dean caught up to me before that I believe.  I tried not to stay too long in the aid station and headed off again.  I was doing okay but my right foot was really hurting on top of my foot.  I tried loosening my laces up, which helped for a while.  I met Janet from Huntsville, Alabama- she was very encouraging, especially about pacing.  I always have a problem leaving people (i.e. at aid stations, or feeling better) and she made sure to tell me not too worry- to keep going.  That was great help for me at the time.  We would pass again several times throughout the race.  At one point, I stopped and took my shoe off to see if there was anything I could do to get my foot feeling better.  When I took my sock off, I soon realized the big problem.  My foot was sunburned from the day outside at the track and with the heat and miles on the pavement it was swelling more than I'd ever felt.  So I sat and loosened the laces up as much as I could and still keep the shoe on.  It helped again for a while.  I'd walk.  I'd jog.  I'd death march.  I'd get passed by Janet, Naresh, and Dean again for the last time.  I got rained on-which was perfect for me.  Very refreshing.  I got to "The Walls" with three other chicks in front of me.  I was able to power walk pass them on the uphills and put a little bit of distance but they eventually passed me also.  I was struggling, like normal.
  Finally, I turned out onto SR 64.  I had about 2 miles or so left to go.  I caught and passed Janet and another chick I had bounced back and forth with all day.  Knowing I was at the end, I regained myself and pushed on- which means I didn't push hard enough if I had that left at the end probably.  I finally crossed the finish line.  9:28:33.3  I met my goal of under 10 hours.  I also got to see Stu G, Diane T, and Angela I. cross the finish line.  I finally met Juli A. and Ray K. 
My niece, Emme, on Mother's Day.
It was a wonderful day all around and I was really glad that even though I missed watching the Derby, I was experiencing my own Derby.  I spent the night with my wonderful friend Lina before heading home early Sunday morning since it was Mother's Day.  (Which I had forgotten in my haste to try to figure out if I could run the race or not.)  I did make it to my grandmother's in time and was able to spend time with my family on my mom's side and had a wonderful weekend.  Incidentally, I did have a $2 to win ticket on the Derby winner that I placed on Friday and had a winning ticket waiting for me at home.  : )
  All in all, the Strolling Jim is an awesome race and I look forward to trying to make it all work to run again.

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