Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pacing Elizabeth

Three weeks before the Cactus Rose 100 mile run I told Elizabeth that I may only be able to go 15 miles with her. Even though she had asked me to pace her the last twenty five when she would be moving at a slower pace, physically and in a poor state of mind, I felt I couldn't do it. But a week before the 100 all was well again. I had shaken off the demons hovering over me.
Elizabeth was hoping to be at mile 75 about 3 or 4 AM on Sunday morning (October 26). I camped out at the race site Saturday night after arriving late afternoon and cheered on  many of our fellow Rockhoppers before I hit the sack at 9 PM. Some in our group were running their first hundred miler. Elizabeth was running her fourth I believe, but her first Cactus Rose. She would later say "never again will I run this race. These rocks hurt!"
This race is held at our favorite training location, Hill Country State Natural area. Rugged hills littered with Sotol cactus that whip at and bite at your legs. Rocks, Rocks, and more Rocks of all shapes and sizes that don't stay in one place.
 Elizabeth Arrived at the mile 75 turn around at 5:30 AM, 24 and one half hours into her race. After Tim, her pacer up to that point, and I made sure she ate something solid and helped her change her shoes Elizabeth and I left the Lodge aid station to complete her 100 mile run. With a 36 hour cutoff we had plenty of time.

Pacing Elizabeth was a pleasure. Although she often spoke of how the soles of her feet hurt it was never in a whining or complaining manner. She handled the heat well too. It was a beautiful day to be sitting in the shade. The race director would later say that this was the hottest day ever in the history of this race. Many experienced runners would drop out.
Towards the end Elizabeth began to really slow down. Always cheerful though and able to laugh at herself. Such as when she struggled descending the last hill at mile 98. A downhill littered with big rocks, loose dirt, and scree. It was hilarious as she crab walked some of it! A memory that will always come to mind when ever I descend this hill.

Last climb completed at mile 98. Just before the descent

A high five after the descent and a stroll down the dirt road to the finish. Elizabeth would approach and cross the finish line to yells of "Woo Hoo, Elizabeth!"  at 34 hours 8 minutes.
Another challenge tackled, a 100 mile finish, and another belt buckle for Elizabeth.

Another great experience and more great memories to reflect on for me.

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