|Native Forest tour on the North Island, pictured with some of the best ultra runners in the world! Droz Photo.|
|Running on the beach in Dunedin. Photo by Droz.|
|Running the Kepler Trail on Tuesday.|
|Getting surfing lessons on Monday in Dunedin. Droz Photo.|
|Running with Grant Guise in the forest near Dunedin. Droz Photo.|
|Running in the first 20k. Droz Photo.|
|Looking through the options at the Aid Station. Droz Photo.|
At 10 miles I had the thought that it sure felt like I'd already done 50 miles. Good thing I am a 100 mile runner--- if you've done 50, you can still do 50 more. Somehow this was comforting. I ran, very aware of my pace being sub-par, but forced myself to smile and enjoy the ride. I am lucky that I enjoy a good, long sufferfest. And this would most certainly be a good, long sufferfest. If I played it right, I could still run strong and finish well despite my early onset fatigue. I've done enough 50+ races to know that if you just stick with it and finish strong, you can end up on top.
|Smiling through the pain|
The most beautiful part of the course was the 10k before the turnaround, including the incredible Tarawera Falls. I drew some energy from the beauty and serenity and powered on. I was in 4th place (in the 100k) at the turnaround and the 5th place woman was just 8/10 of a mile behind me. I decided to push hard the entire way back so she couldn't catch me. I powered up the hills and flew down the downhills, running faster on the way back than I had on the way out. My body protested, but I did not listen. I was getting very close to the 85k finish.
In the last 14 miles I passed more than 20 people. I was on a roll. I had been working hard for so long, I didn't want anyone to pass me. It was a feeling of elation and pleasure to finish the 85k! I sprinted though the finish line and went to the First Aid tent to get my many scrapes/cuts cleaned and then into the lake to wash off the dirt that coated most of my body. I'd fallen twice, quite hard, and I wanted to make sure I didn't get an infection. The finish line folks informed me that the 3rd place woman in the 100k had dropped to the 85k when she realized she was peeing blood. That meant I came in 2nd place. Not bad, considering how horrible I felt all day.
|My finishing medals|