Part 3: Help Amidst my Hopelessness
I decided to just walk for a while and try to eat. I thought maybe walking would change things eventually. This has happened to me several times during long training runs and most of the time I get a second wind and catch right up to Leah and Peter a ways down the trail. This section to the next crew-access station was very, very steep and long (11 miles). I quickly got uber discouraged here. My progress up the steep, unending hills was so incredibly slow because I had to keep sitting down on the trail due to dizziness and nausea. Not long after the third time I sat down, another runner named Hai came and sat down next to me. I shared my nausea woes with him, and he shared his DNF stories with me. We decided not to sit long and got right up to keep putting one foot in front of the other. He had a huge bag of Tums with him and generously shared them with me along with an applesauce. What a difference it made! I’m not sure if was the Tums, applesauce, or just the conversation with another person that made the difference, but I was able to go on after that without such intense discouragement. We started to run after a short bit and Hai kept saying to me, “When you get your second wind, just go. Don’t wait for me.” I never saw him again to thank him, but I did see that he finished.
The hill before coming into Silver Seas at mile 59 was 2.25 miles long, and though the entire course was super-duper hilly, *this* particular hill became my nemesis! I seem to be a pretty good power-walker for some reason and that particular strength served me well at Vermont. Except for when my headache and nausea were at their worst, I usually passed everyone in front of me on the hills. Here I passed Chris, who I had met earlier in the race, at which point we realized we knew each other. I also passed Grace, who I had encouraged earlier and who now offered me a couple ginger tabs to settle my stomach. Despite moving at a better pace, I was beginning to think that there was no way I could finish this race with the headache I had. The thought began to really make me angry because my legs still felt fine! Every step made my head pound and all I could think about was lying in blackness somewhere. I had nearly made up my mind to tell my crew I was dropping out. I went back and forth about how to say it, and what I would say later to everyone who was watching and waiting to see if I finished. As I got near the top of the hill, I saw Cindy (Leah’s mom) who was very excited to see me! When she got near, tears welled up in my eyes as I began to explain how I felt. The funny thing is, Cindy wouldn’t let me talk about how bad I felt! She just kept right on talking about how it was so awesome I was there and how close I was to picking up Leah at mile 70! I am nearly certain Cindy saved me from dropping out. She gave me a new perspective and the encouragement I needed to take my mind off how I felt. Next, Hannah ran up to me and gave me some Tylenol for the headache and an Anti-Fatigue cap.
Hannah, me and James walking up to the aid station together
My son, Elijah, greeted me with a BIG hug!
I was at this station for a few extra minutes as my crew tried to get as much caffeine and food into me in hopes that it would help the headache. Hannah re-taped my blister on my heel and changed my shoes to relieve the pressure point. I also loaded up with my flashlight as it would be dark before I completed the eleven miles I had to cover to get back to Camp 10 Bear and pick up Leah as my pacer.
I left that station with a little bounce in my step and a totally new perspective. I was feeling a bit better and my blister and knee felt 100%. I knew I could count down those eleven miles quickly if I ran the whole way so that’s what I set out to do. It felt good to be back on pace again and get into a comfortable running groove. I passed endless runners who made comments about how fresh I seemed. I’m sure they were all thinking I would be toast on the side of the trail a couple miles later. I began working up a good sweat too, and the puffiness in my hands subsided a little. I had my mind set on completing those eleven miles and picking up Leah. If I could just get there to mile 70, I *knew* I would finish! I knew it. I knew there was no way Leah was going to let me do anything but move forward!
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Click here to read Part 4, which details the last 30 miles of Jaime’s race!
Also, if you want to read more VT100-related posts, check these out: