Jackpot Ultra Feb 16-17, 2018

Here we are again!  It seemed logical if not slightly ridiculous and insane to attempt the 48 after previous 12 and 24 hour races so that's what we did.  Never apply logic to running, unless it's running logic which makes no sense anyway.

The weather was going to be perfect.  We had showgirls!  And Elvis!

No race start will beat this one.

Here's the 48 hour Friday start group.  Elvis and the showgirls aren't running.  The fireman is, and the jester.  I'm in the second row having imposter syndrome.

We set up our car/aid station quite near the running path so we could access food and clothes and use it for breaks and heating during the night.  This was a win.

First 6 hours (20 miles)  8am - 2pm

I start right at the back and run/walk the first lap. Look, I have a happy!  That thing stuck to my front is a Flat Fanny, being British I find that endlessly amusing and also quite useful for long races.  I got Kev his very own Fanny for this race.

Look at my Fanny

Then more of the same.  New this year is the grass semi circle at the turnaround, humpy grass is my least favourite thing to run on so this part I walk.  There are a few little tents on the lawn which is entertaining.  My legs are quite tight from the get go.  After 6 hours I realize I've already got blisters on both feet and the little toes on my right foot are quite angry.

I stop to take off the Ininjis and change into my larger size Hokas.  I definitely hadn't planned on that this early.  Every lap I'm trying to eat something small and refill my water bottle with nuun whenever it runs low.  The aid station people are amazing.

Ken hands me an ice lolly in the afternoon - it is bliss.  It's not in focus as I was more interested in getting it into my face.

To 12 hours (35 miles)  8pm

I've reached the random pain everywhere phase, just need to keep moving through.  I'm behind where I'd like to be on my mileage and finding it quite frustrating.  It seems I'm always a lap or two back from the number I want to be on.  I don't think I'm running at all anymore.  I've slapped various blister plasters on all the rubbed parts of my feet, now I have bonus blisters on my heels. This part is quite fuzzy, I don't remember what I ate and I think I cried through a few laps for no reason.  I just feel wiped.

It's not the race, it's all me. I couldn't be in a better environment, all the other 48'ers are friendly and encouraging.  The aid station is a small oasis of friendliness, music and food. I pass Jester Ed and Ann Trason and my new friend Tony several times, they make me smile every time.  We are like a small family shuffling along the course.

I get changed into night stuff just before it gets dark, getting tights on in a car is ridiculous.  One leg is twisted slightly out from the other FFS.  Can't fix it, off we go.  

Night (55 miles) 4:45am

One lap into darkness I spot George who has popped out to see everyone, then very shortly after that my friend from Pittsburgh - Chelsea who's in town for a race the next day - appears out of nowhere and does a lap with me.  She's dragged her poor friend out as well, bless her.  That is the best part of the race, she's so energetic and excited about all the chaos going on around us. I don't have enough words to explain how amazing she is. 

I get progressively colder and add more layers as the night goes on; extra trousers, toque, fleece, jacket, gloves.  I have some soup then a grilled cheese then I start getting hot then cold and I just can't eat anything.  I also realize I've managed to get sunburned during the day, that's special.

The chafing gets going at some point here too, there's a raucous discomfort party in my pants and the gel from the blister plasters has escaped, solidified into what feels like sharp grit and is scraping my feet.  Yup, it's a party.

I intended to get to 60 miles then have a break but I join Kev on the 55 mile lap and it becomes very hard to even keep moving without stopping and sitting on every available surface we pass.  

When we reach the car Kev turns on the heating and I pile 2 blankets on myself but I can't stop shivering.  I'm done right there, I can't imagine going back out.  

The last bit (62.5 miles)  6:45 - 10am

Two hours later I wake up with my headlight still on to find the sun is rising.  I do not want to squeeze my feet back into these shoes.  Nope.  The thing that gets me moving is encouragement from people on Twitter and the demon FB, thank you everyone who said nice things. I owe you a bunch of miles.

I focus on getting my shoes back on, that's all.  Then stepping outside, making it to the course and shuffling along.  I think hobble is the best term for my forward motion.

The first lap is just with the 48hr runners.  Every person I pass says good morning and smiles.  It's a special moment I'll never forget.  

There's a big cluster of people around the start waiting for 8am to begin the 6/12/24 and 100 mile.  The sun is shining hard.  Oh wait, there's that thing again.  The chafing.  It is killing me, out of all the issues I have this one is the least bearable.  

Faking it with Robert

1-2-3 and I hit 100km.  While out on what turned out to be my last 2 laps, being passed left right and centre by fresh runners, I just couldn't see a way to keep crawling along.  I could have maybe got to 70/80 miles eventually or I could have sat down in the middle of the path and given up. The clincher was feeling that I wasn't earning those miles.  And the chafing.  And my feet.  And I think I screwed up my nutrition quite badly which made it very hard to tolerate anything.

So that was it.  I was at the race until Saturday night when Kev hit 100 miles. I couldn't sleep or eat, I don't think I drank anything and I cried for most of that time - I was pretty dysfunctional as a human.  

I'm glad I got to see Ken hand Kev his first 100 mile buckle.  Plus Ken was grilling hotdogs at that exact moment, this is called multitasking.  I had 2.  Superstar RD.

My third 100k finish.  Kev has a better story to tell you.


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