Published December 1st, 2011
My 27 hours, 42 minutes and 30 seconds in the Arizona desert were some of the most challenging, yet rewarding moments in my life. My mood ranged from sheer elation to fatiguing funk – sometimes just minutes apart – but my journey to that point fully prepared me for any obstacle that presented itself. When the low points started descending upon me, I conjured up the sage advice I received from my fellow ultrarunners, dismissing the doldrums with ease (or at least stuffing them far down into the pain cave). Failure was not an option; I would continue on until no longer possible.
When there’s no where else to run
Despite racking up several marathons and ultras, I didn’t think a 100-miler was in my future. But less than 2 hours after expressing that sentiment to a couple of my ultrarunner friends during a 12-hour race last year I was coveting the JJ buckle another friend had just earned. She raved about the race, saying it was great for first-timers. Because it was held around Halloween (or “Jalloween”), costumes are encouraged. Given costumes were de rigeur for my first marathon, the Marathon du Medoc, this was particularly apt. The fact one could earn a buckle for finishing at least 100K was another plus (severe knee problems had forced my friend to drop to the “wuss out” option, but she still proudly wore her 100K buckle).
Since the 2011 date hadn’t yet been set, the next day I was Googling “2011 full moon schedule” knowing the race would be held on the full moon weekend closest to Halloween. The first option – Oct. 15-16 – wasn’t ideal as I knew the temps could still be quite toasty (I’m not a fan of heat). But I was ecstatic to see the second option – Nov. 12-13 – as it not only might mean cooler weather, the race would start on my birthday. I checked the race website religiously over the next couple of weeks, waiting for the date announcement. Impatient, I emailed the race director. I jumped for joy when he confirmed it would be in November. I must have been one of the first to sign up once registration opened.