I have fallen in love. As soon as we got in the rental car and left the Seattle Tacoma Airport…I was hooked. That is one amazing, beautiful place. For real. So clean, the people were nice, they were fit as well. I guess that is what happens when you live in a place surrounded by amazing outdoor activities. It was a huge difference from Memphis. Most of you who know me personally know that we despise Memphis. Nothing is good here, except that we have friends and family here, that’s it.
Anyway my rant about Memphis. I do not choose 901, never in a lifetime. One day we hope to move out of this disgusting city. We want mountains.
And boy did we find it!
So on to more beautiful exciting things!
We left Memphis and our flight was delayed for Dallas. We left an hour later, which would cause us to miss our connection. We got off the plane in Dallas and Michael said “Hey, there is your Dad!” So my Dad said let’s roll. He knew we had a great chance of missing our connection. He frequents that airport and he helped us get to our gate, that place is huge! So we ran to our gate and ended up missing it. Our next connection was about 1.5 hours later.
We got on the plane and flew to San Diego, we didn’t have an trouble making that connection and we arrived in Seattle around 6, which was 8 our time. We were pooped! We got our rental car and headed to the hotel. We checked in and went back into Seattle to meet up with James and his crew and pacers. We had dinner at 12:00 a.m. our time! We made it back into the hotel and slept in.
Friday we spent most of the day in Seattle. We left early Friday morning because our hotel room was so cold! The weather there was magnificent. Mid 70s during the day and 50s at night. We drove into Seattle and headed to the Space Needle. We found it and discovered it was $26 a person to go up. No way. We took some pictures and went to the gift shop and bought the girls a souvenir.
After the space needle, we went to REI. Moly Holy! That place was insane! Michael and I were there for three hours looking at all the stuff. They had a HUGE climbing wall and they had boulders, trees, and small walking trails on the outside. This store was 3 stories tall! I couldn’t even imagine it during the holidays. I bet it is nuts!
So after we finally closed our mouths, we left with some new cooking utensils for camping, socks, running socks, and Michael a long sleeve shirt. He apparently only brought one shirt for the non running days and as he told me that in the Memphis airport, nasty water from the parking garage fell down on that shirt. Ha!
I wanted to go to Pike Brewing Pub and Restaurant which is located in the Pike Public Market. We walked around the Market, saw the original Starbucks, and headed to the restaurant for lunch. After lunch, we went to a downtown Target, which was crazy because it was 4 floors. We got some provisions for the race that we needed and couldn’t bring on the plane. We packed up the car and headed to Cle Elum, Washington, which is about 1.5 hours away from Seattle. The drive…breathtaking. HUGE beautiful mountains, everywhere! Michael was on the phone so I handed him my phone and told him to start taking pictures. He got off the phone and said he was going to take a nap. I said are you serious!! And miss all this?!? I cranked up the tunes and enjoyed weaving in and out of mountains!
Cle Elum, is tiny! We went to the grocery store to get some more food for me during the race. We checked into the Lodge and got settled in and started making preparations for the next day. We had our race meeting and met up with James, Scott, Kiran, and Mary. James was running the race. Scott, Kiran, and Mary were pacers and crew. I was crew. We went to a local italian restaurant for everyone to carb load up. After that we came back and checked out early.
The race didn’t start until 10:00, but we had to be there at 8:00 for check-in, breakfast, and meetings. 10:00 game on. I wouldn’t see Michael until 23 miles later. So I drove to the next aid station, Tacoma Pass and waited. Forty miles of this race is on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). For those who don’t know about this trail it starts near the Mexico/California border and goes all the way up through California, Oregon, and ends at the Washington/Canada border. I was so hoping I was going to see some of those trail markers, and I did! I was so pumped!! I put on my hiking shoes and took off! I walked about 4 miles and every step was breathtaking. If I was able to, money-wise and job-wise, I would LOVE to hike that trail! After I got back, we set up chairs and got all the runners stuff out and waited. I got to see some through-hikers on the PCT and they were completely shocked to see all of us! But the aid stations were so nice and offered them food, drinks, and a porta potty…luxuries to them! Michael and James rolled in and I was about to barf when I saw Michael. I knew by the look on his face, it wasn’t good. He said he had a blister, and that it was brutal. I wasn’t worried about it being brutal, I was worried about a blister, that early in. His face was sunk in as well. He looked rough. He geared up and asked me to tighten his shoes. I got him some duct tape and he taped up his blisters and took off.
Oh by the way, the drive to these aid stations…unbelievable. I got a FABULOUS shot of Mt. Rainier. I kept stopping the car and taking pictures of the scenery! We all headed to Stampede Pass, the next aid station for mile 33. He looked a little better, put on the tighter shoes, more duct tape, and ate some food and off they went! At this point, he was on a 25-26 hour pace. He didn’t really have expectations for this race, being his first mountain race, his main goal was to just finish.
We headed over to the next station, mile 41, Meadow Mountain, which was crazy to get to. My only complaint of this race is crew directions were pretty much nonexistent. Although we found this one, we did do some complaining once we got in the station. Michael and James rolled in quick, someone gave Michael a Pabst and he ran into the aid station drinking a beer! I had to get a picture! He looked even better, he mowed down pizza, beer, and some sort of mexican wrap. We both nearly fell down the mountain in my chair. Good stuff. Off they went!
Hyak Aid Station, mile 53, pacers can go out now. After also getting lost on the way to this aid station, we found it. This one was nice, they had clean restrooms. It was also decorated for Christmas. Very lively and the biggest of all the aid stations. Being out and about like I am, you get dirty. I went in to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and tried to take a sink bath the best I could. It was getting colder. I had on my compression capri pants throughout the day and decided to put my jeans on top of them. I busted out my glow sticks (helps Michael find me better) and set up camp for him to come in. At night it is usually easy to see Michael, he is pretty much the only one who runs with a hand held light. Most all runners wear a head lamp. I saw them coming and led them over to our chairs. I ran and got Michael some more duct tape, by now he was like a rainbow on both feet. He mowed down some more food and they went out with Mary and Scott.
Kiran had been sleeping in the car, he had the late night pacer job. I packed up everyone’s things and woke him up and told him we needed to head out to mile 68, Kachess Lake Campground. We found it pretty easily and we had about an hour to try and sleep. I don’t do that on these races…too many thoughts rolling through my head, fear of falling asleep, not waking up, and missing him. I got out of the car and Kiran was getting ready and we walked to the aid station and Michael and James and Mary were already there, they had picked up a little bit…but were still at a 25-26 hour pace. Kiran and James left. Michael had to work on his feet some more. Scott said he was doing great. They left about 15 minutes after James.
Mary and I had a plan for the next aid station. We were going to drop her car off at the start/finish line and go together to the second to last aid station, Mineral Creek, mile 73. We dropped the car and headed out for the aid station. I followed all directions, paid attention to my compass and my mileage. Those directions were the worst. We never came across an intersection, we dead ended at a shady camp ground at 2 in the morning. No way. We turned around and I paid attention to my mileage, and still didn’t find it. All I could think of was serial killers flashing lights at us and running us off the road…it was that shady. We went through the towns where Twin Peaks was filmed…and one other show, Northern Exposure. We gave up hope and decided to go on to the final aid station…mile 95…Silver Creek. We got there around 3 or 4 in the morning and she was able to sleep. By that point, missing an aid station, I was beyond worried. #1 We missed the aid station with his stuff. #2 I had no idea how he was doing. #3 I had no idea if he was still going. #4 I didn’t want him worrying that we got lost, broke down etc. I didn’t sleep…I kept checking and checking for updates but all these races are so slow at updating the websites. Its a good thing they had a porta potty at that aid station because my stomach was all in knots. I kept checking the time and mileage. If he was still on a 25-26 hour pace, he would arrive at that aid station at 10 am. At 9:00 we set up at the aid station. James rolled in at 10:16, he looked great and carried on to finish the race. He didn’t know how Michael was, he hadn’t seen him since leaving Kachess.
11:00…26 hour pace
11:16 we hear Michael yell “I’m comin!!”as he ran down the mountain.
Fantastic. He looked great! He said this was the most ridiculous thing he has ever done!
They carried on to the finish…
We got to the finish and James finished right under 25.
Michael rolled in at 26:04:38!! Many thanks to Scott for bringing him across that finish line!
He threw his water bottle across the finish line. They gave him his belt buckle and sweatshirt…and he sat down! I got him all fixed up with food, water, flip flops, and hat…he fell asleep in the chair for a little bit.
We celebrated with a few beers and headed back to the lodge.
I had way too much adrenaline pumping through me that I couldn’t sleep. I updated everyone and took care of Michael and got him into bed. He slept for maybe an hour. Then we all went to eat mexican, came home and passed out.
Bad job on our part…planning the flight back home. We had to be in Seattle at 6:00, we woke up at 2:30 and barely made our flight. Michael was rolling pretty good through the airports, we think it helped him recovery pretty quickly. We arrived back home around 3:45 and got to see the girls!
The trip was super stressful, beautiful, and outrageously fun!
We have found a place where we would LOVE to live!
Scott took some awesome pictures while they were running:
Next up…Arkansas Traveller 100, this weekend….back to back 100s…first try at that !