[Note: please read
previous entry for introductory information
that will make this account easier to understand. It also describes Jim's
24-hour race on Saturday and ends at 7:20 AM Sunday when he returned to
7 AM SUNDAY: GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE!
I woke up Sunday morning with enthusiasm and energy to spare.
I'd been waiting anxiously all day yesterday and now it was finally my turn to
It was still mostly dark when I fed and walked the dogs. From
the top of the steps I could see runners' heads bobbing as they mostly walked
by the camper on the western side of the ATY loop. I waited until Jim came by
and we said good morning He was mighty glad to see I was up because he
was ready to quit -- but didn't want to wake me up again. (Thank you!) He was
soon back at the camper.
Jim napped on his recliner while I got myself ready to run,
took care of the dogs, and ate my favorite pre-race breakfast of hot oatmeal,
pumpkin-sweet potato soup, and juice.
I returned Jim's timing chip to Dave Combs when I was convinced he wasn't going
back out on the course.
About 8:30 Jim
helped me lug my stuff over to our crewing table, where I consolidated some of
the items he'd been using into my clear plastic boxes of supplies and canvas
duffel bags of clothes. I had more items in a cooler than he did because I
relied primarily on my own fluids and gel throughout the race, whereas Jim got
most of his fluids and calories from the aid station.
I had six bottles of Perpetuem
at double strength (I drank only five of them) and
about eight five-ounce bottles of Hammergel (I used about four of them). I added V-8, Starbuck's
flavored caffeinated coffee, and chocolate-covered coffee beans to my arsenal
of fluids, calories, and caffeine.
I checked in with the folks
doing registration at the house to make sure they had my name from yesterday when I picked
up my bag and timing chip, and then Jim and I went over to the gazebo for the
Day 2 briefing with RD Paul Bonnett.
Today there were fewer runners starting the race, only about
twenty-five of us -- a dozen 24-hour runners and the second wave of
48-hour runners. All the 72-hour runners were still on the course, as well as
the first group of 48-hour participants. The number of total runners going
around in little 500-meter loops remained at about seventy.
The funniest moment of the briefing came when Paul was
explaining about webmaster Lynn Newton's amazing messaging system that's "better than e-mail."
Paul asked, "What's better than e-mail?" and a man's voice quickly answered,
"FE-male!!" Everyone laughed, relieving any pre-race
jitters, and soon we were given the
signal to start.
9 AM SUNDAY: IT'S FINALLY SHOWTIME FOR SUE
I had a big grin on my face most of the next twenty-two hours
and forty-three minutes until I turned in my own timing chip. Part of that was
because of the constant infusion of caffeine for about twenty hours but it was
mainly because I was having a blast. I had a lot more
fun than Jim did because I am just so doggone thankful to be able to run this
far after my discouraging knee diagnosis (little to no cartilage) three months
ago. I felt really
of the race, I stayed warm at night, I had a blast talking with the other
runners, crews, and volunteers, and I reached my mileage goal.
It was a great day and a beautiful night. I can't wait to do it
Jim saw me off, then went back to the camper to try to get some
shut-eye. That was difficult, of course. He was very tired but it was
daylight, not the time of day our bodies are used to sleeping. He wanted to nap
long enough to get some relief but not so much that he couldn't sleep Sunday
night. I kissed him good-bye and focused on my race.
I had my camera in one of my drop boxes at our crew table but
never did take any photos during my race. The photos in this section are
mostly ones that Jim took when he came back out to the course in the afternoon.
Day 2 was at least five degrees warmer than Day 1. There was a
stiff breeze on the back stretch that quieted down considerably by noon. I
started out with a jacket, long-sleeved shirt, and pants that I quickly
discarded one by one within the first hour as I warmed up from running about
three-fourths of the distance on each loop.
Photo of Sue by Nick Coury, taken late in the morning on Day 2 (it's on the
ATY web site)
Remember this photo -- there's a story coming about it in a few
During the mid-day I ran with a singlet and shorts (above) until
runners told me my shoulders were getting burned (despite a heavy application
of SPF 50 sunscreen at 11 AM). Although I wore one of the very lightweight white long-sleeved men's ATY
shirts the rest of the afternoon to avoid further frying, some damage had
already been done in the form of dehydration.
NOON SUNDAY: THE PLAN IS WORKING WELL
In training both Jim and I tried out various run-walk patterns.
I used the same 3:1 pattern pretty consistently through my long runs,
with about three minutes of easy, loping go-all-day running pace followed by one minute of
walking. I wasn't sure how this would translate during ATY, but soon found a
pattern that worked well for me in either direction on that loop.
Jim chose to run about half of each loop at ATY and walk about half. I
ran more slowly than he did but for a longer period of time each lap. It is more
comfortable for me to run at an easy pace than to walk as fast as he does. I
usually broke up each 500-meter loop into four parts, alternating running and
walking so that time-wise I was running about three times as long as I was walking
each lap (i.e., running about 90+ seconds, walking 30+ seconds, running 90+
seconds, and walking 30+ seconds -- plus time at my table every second or third
It sounds complicated, but it worked well for me for twelve
Jim had a detailed schedule for his entire race. He knew how many laps
and miles he wanted to run every hour to reach 100 miles. He couldn't
understand how I could run without a detailed plan like that. Years ago I was
able to do that, but in this race my plan was very simple: run/walk as
steadily as possible the first twelve hours, getting at least 45 miles. To
reach my goal of 75 miles, I could walk three miles per hour (including all
stops) and fairly comfortably reach 75 miles in the next twelve hours. If I didn't have any major
problems, I should be able to reach 80 miles or more -- my "secret" goal.
Very simple. And it worked until I got a big blister on one
forefoot and couldn't handle the pain any more after reaching 75 miles.
THERE'S MY CREW!
Jim came back out to the race periodically after lunch. It was
fun to have him back, although he was obviously tired. He
brought me more of my favorite flavored coffee, helped me find clothes in my
bags as the temperature cooled down, told me about e-mail and printed messages
I'd received, took several photos of me, and generally offered his love and
encouragement. He also helped Paul and Rodger and sent thank-you e-mails to
friends and relatives who were cheering us on.
Sue (front) and Martina Hausmann run past the mailboxes and personal aid
This was the gist of Jim's e-mails after he awoke from his nap Sunday morning:
"Thank you so much for your support. Sue and I really appreciate your
note of encouragement.
That was really tough last night. My feet were hurting (blisters, etc.)
that I couldn't run a lot after 50 miles. That made it very difficult to
Looking at my shoes now, I see blood has soaked thru the fabric on both
of them. I haven't taken my socks off yet to investigate.
Around 12:30 AM I came into the camper to warm up, but Sue chased me out.
She wouldn't let me stay. She made me go back out into that cold dark
I just woke up from a 3 hour
power nap. I'll shower, fix my feet and
go attend to Sue's needs now.
Stay tuned . . . Jim (& Sue)"
I'm glad to see that his sense of humor was still intact!
THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP
Remember those two photos of us by Nick Coury that I asked you to remember?
(The one of Jim was in yesterday's entry.) Here's why:
Late in the morning Dave Combs, timer extraordinaire, smiled broadly and said
he had something to show me in the timing tent when I wanted to take a break.
He wouldn't tell me what it was. I asked him if it could wait until Jim woke up
because I figured he would be interested, too. When Jim came back out
we both ran over to see Dave, curious as all get out.
What a wonderful surprise he had for us -- an e-mail message from one of our
good friends, Deb Pero, and two picture attachments. One was a painting she did of ME
from Nick's photo above, and another of John Geesler and three other runners
with him. The original paintings are small,
just 5x7," and the attachments were even smaller. We did not see that Jim was
in the photo with John Geesler until the next day when we went to
Deb's web site
to see the paintings there! We don't think Dave realized Jim was in the
painting with John, either. Very cool.
That was such a thrill to me and it made my smile even bigger the rest of the
afternoon and evening. I felt pretty special. Deb recently began doing a
small, quick "painting a day" to add to her collection of very fine landscape and still life
paintings. The paintings she did of us are in the gallery entitled "Painting a
Day." Check out all of her work! She's very talented.
Thank you so much, Deb (and husband Steve), for your friendship and support.
3 PM MONDAY: STILL ON TARGET
It was very satisfying to see the miles add up loop by loop. Every two laps =
one kilometer. It took just over three laps to add another mile. Since I was
running over the timing mat most loops I didn't have much time to read all the
information on the screen. I pretty much ignored the kilometers and lap
splits until I was walking all the time after 9 PM. The
first I became aware of kilometers, in fact, was when someone watching the
screen told me I'd reach 100K on the next loop. That was around 3 AM on
Monday! It was about that point that I
also started noticing the lap splits. Duh.
Despite frequent stops at my table for Perpetuem, water to chase it down,
Hammergel, electrolytes, coffee, frappuccino (oh, that holiday
peppermint-chocolate version is soooo good!!), ibuprofen, sunscreen, clothing
changes, popping a blister/changing into my larger shoes (after only five
hours, no less), getting a cup of soup from the aid station, and a 33-minute
stop for medical attention six hours into the race, I reached my goal of 45
miles seven minutes earlier than planned! I was happy.
I was hoping to avoid the need to utilize the medical services of Chris
O'Loughlin or Dr. Andy Lovy, who have the remarkable ability to run/walk 100
miles in the 72-hour race even while stopping frequently to help runners with
blisters, dehydration, cramping, tendonitis, nausea, and other problems that can end their races
early. They patched me up three times during the race. Twice I went back out on
the course like a new woman. Thank you, Chris and Andy!!
I started to notice some tightening of my calves and hamstrings about 2 PM and
immediately began drinking more fluids and downing more electrolyte caps. But
it was too little too late in the arid, sunny Arizona atmosphere and I
began to cramp. Not good. I'd been sailing along so well for six hours and now
I was in trouble.
I talked with Chris as we circled the track and he said to stop inside the big
tent where he and Andy were set up:
Chris came in soon afterwards and quickly
determined that I was very low on potassium and other electrolytes, as well as
fluids. He did some massage and resistance work to relieve the tightness in my calves
and hamstrings, and admonished me to drink more fluids -- immediately. I did. I
also switched from two or three Endurolytes per hour to two Succeed! caps per hour
(they have considerably more sodium). Chris gave me a high-dose potassium pill
that apparently took effect very quickly. He
and Andy have the uncanny ability through touch to determine if a runner is
seriously low on that
mineral. They said it took them many years to learn that skill.
Within a few minutes I felt better and went sailing along for another six
hours. Chris got a kick out of it because he could see how much better I was
running! He often gets similar immediate gratification in this race after
assisting runners with blisters, tight muscles, and other fixable problems, and it's what keeps him
and Andy offering their services so generously.
They probably also get more heartfelt thanks from runners than anyone else involved
with the race -- because they literally saved their races.
Look at 'er go! She's just a blur!!
5 PM MONDAY: STILL ON A ROLL
Jim took this photo of the screen when I reached 30 miles at 4:56 PM. I
was still getting some good lap spits eight hours into the race:
Unlike Jim, I barely ate or drank anything from the aid station the first
twelve hours of the race while I was still running three-quarters of the loop. I did great on
the fat, protein, and carbs in Perpetuem and the carbs in Hammergel. I did
eat one cup of hot homemade potato soup while I was running and another one after I began walking -- good
There were special catered entrees each afternoon. The special on Day 2 was lasagna. I didn't eat any of
it because I was still running
when they first presented it to us at 2 PM. I knew it'd end up at the
side of the track! I can't handle much solid food while I'm running, especially
in the heat of the day.
I never had any nausea or GI problems and
by evening, when I got more fluids into me and it cooled off, I was peeing
every hour --inconvenient, but better for my system than being as dehydrated as
I was earlier.
9 PM MONDAY: TIME TO WALK & TALK
I met my twelve-hour goal of 45 miles a few minutes before 9 PM, 11:53 hours into the
race. The last hour I had to push harder than earlier, although my pace was
about the same (one of my last run/walk splits was 4:18 minutes). I was getting tired but nowhere near bonking. It had been dark
for over three hours, and my body was ready to slow down for the rest of the
night. I wouldn't run another step the rest of the race, although I probably
could have if I wanted. I had energy but there was just no need to run any more
to reach my goal.
It was a treat to walk. I could eat the chunks of potato in the delicious
homemade soup without
worrying about upchucking it. I could take my eyes off the track and enjoy the moon and stars and the pretty
lights on the gazebo and sculptures around the manor property. I could relish
the cool, clear air, warmly bundled up in my new brown fleece race hoody
Jim's new black fleece race jacket.
And I could talk
with the other runners more now -- the ones who weren't sleep-walking, that is!
“But there is something about building up a
comradeship — that I still
By evening of Day 2 the only 72-hour runners who were still running were the few who
would end up with the mega-miles. The others were walking briskly or shuffling
along, starting to scrape their feet on the path. Most of the fist half of the 48-hour
runners were also mostly walking by now. At night, even the majority of 24-hour
runners were walking much more than running.
believe is the greatest of all feats — and sharing in the dangers with
company of peers. It’s the intense effort, the giving of
got. It’s really a very pleasant sensation.”
- Sir Edmund Hillary
So the opportunity to chat multiplied. I was still on a high from consuming
caffeine since 7 AM that morning and had to tone it down to suit the hour --
folks who were full of talk and laughter during the day were much quieter at
night. I had to respect that and not annoy them with my rampant enthusiasm. Many
headphones to stay awake. One young man even carried a laptop computer for
several laps as he walked around the loop, playing video games! Now I've
seen it all. Some runners were annoyed by that but I was mostly amused by his
I love running and walking at night! As at Hinson Lake in September, I
was just so durn happy to have the opportunity to be out there that long that I
was on a high. It's been several years since I've been out all night in a
100-miler (because of DNFs) so I cherish every opportunity I can get.
Large lighted (tethered) balloon flying over the race site at dusk
Jim went back to the camper to go to sleep about 9:30 PM. He knew I was
feeling good and able to take care of myself during the night. He slept solidly
At night runners start to disappear for varying lengths of time. You could tell
when they returned to the course because they'd be the only person walking in the
opposite direction for part of one lap. When runners left the course, they had to remember which
way they were going and complete the lap in that direction when they came back
out before turning
around the way everyone else was going. It was interesting.
By 10 PM I needed another session with Chris to loosen me up. Rats. I didn't
want to "waste" time off-track. But I was
starting to cramp up again -- this time it included my adductors -- and the
situation would only get uglier the longer I postponed addressing it.
Despite drinking more fluids and taking in more
electrolytes after my first session with Chris seven hours earlier, I was again depleted.
Chris hesitated to give me another high-dose potassium pill until Dr. Lovy also confirmed
that I was in serious
potassium deficit again. Chris also did more
resistance work to loosen up my hams and adductors. When my adductors start to
cramp, the pain is unbearable -- and I can handle a lot of pain.
I also complained of a sore forefoot but Chris couldn't see anything. It felt
like a sore metatarsal from lack of fat pads in my feet and the Hapad met pad on my
innersole wasn't compensating by relieving the stress on the joint. (Because of
this I can no longer walk barefooted comfortably on a hard surface like
hardwood or tile floors.) I probably should have worn my thin Spenco
inserts under the EnduroSoles but I left them out the entire race to leave more
room for my feet -- less likelihood for blisters. Wrong choice, probably.
Turned out that my
pain was at least partly from a blister that finally manifested itself at 5 AM,
when Chris was able to pop it.
MIDNIGHT AT THE OASIS (NOW MONDAY, DECEMBER 31)
Messages continued to accumulate in my mailbox through the night, including this one from Karen
Pate and Pat Homelvig, ultra running buddies from Colorado. Jim had written to
them earlier, so they knew that I'd kicked him out of the camper the previous
"Hey, Sue - The pics of you on the web & U-tube are awesome! Looks like
you're moving well, and SMILING :) . . . don't even CONSIDER
heading to that
camper - turnabout's fair play! Statistically you are bang-on
to meet your
goal, being half way there and more than 12 hours left in play.
But you have to
continue strong thru the nite! Don't let yourself get
cold or low, and just
keep on a truckin'!"
That's another message that made me laugh!
I'm proud to report that I never once had any desire to climb into our camper
as I continued to circle past it throughout the night every few minutes. I was still having fun
and moving well, chalking up some pretty fast loops as I walked. At least they
seemed fast, compared to the increasingly slower pace of the 48- and 72-hour
runners! My all-walking splits were about a minute slower than my run/walk
splits earlier in the day. I couldn't
keep up with Lisa Bliss' or Alene Nitzky's blistering walking paces, but tried
matching their strides each time they blew by me during the night. Lisa was nice and went my pace for
a couple loops so we could talk. She was occasionally slowed down in the 48-hour race by
tendonitis pain but still came in fifth overall and second female with a little
over 150 miles .
I continued to drink Perpetuem and frappuccino during the night, supplemented
with espresso gel and chocolate-covered coffee beans. All that caffeine kept me
wide awake. REAL wide wake. I stopped using caffeine about 5 AM because I was
afraid it'd be days before I could go to sleep! I figured I had enough in me
for the last four hours of the race without continuing to use it.
5 AM MONDAY: DOGGONE IT, MORE DOWN-TIME
My forefoot hurt the same moderate-but-bearable intensity from about 9 PM until
5 PM, then became very painful. I was suddenly able to feel fluid in it and
knew I'd better seek Chris' help again.
Fortunately he wasn't sleeping but I needed to wait while he worked on another
runner. I'm not flexible enough to see the bottom of my foot very well,
especially in the dark and after running/walking for twenty hours. It wasn't
something I could fix myself even though I knew the nature of the problem.
There was no way I could poke the right spot to drain the blister.
Chris and the other runner were very helpful. With the light of a bright LED
headlamp they were able to find the blister beneath the thick skin on my
forefoot and Chris lanced it. Apparently a lot of fluid came out. Ahh, relief! Chris lubed
the foot with Dr. Lovy's special cream with anti-bacterial properties and I put
my shoes and socks back on.
My calves, hams, and adductors were fine and they didn't need attention this
time. My Granny Knees never once hurt during the race. My fluids and electrolytes were in good balance throughout the night
was peeing regularly. My stomach
felt fine. I had energy to spare. It looked like I was going to go back out and
tear up the course again. (As if.)
I was off the course another 27 minutes for the medical attention but still had high hopes that I
could exceed my goal of 75 miles if I could start doing some running again for
the next three and a half hours. I had run and walked 68 miles when I got off the course
at 5 AM. If I could average even 20-minute miles walking I should be able to
get another ten or eleven miles before my race ended at 9 AM. That would give
me 78-79 miles total. If I could run a little, I could reach 80 or 81 miles. I
was pumped and optimistic, feeling almost as good as I did Sunday afternoon when Jim
took this picture of me:
Alas, that exuberance lasted only about as long as it took me
to do the math! My foot hurt as badly post-lancing as it did before Chris
popped the blister.
I used to believe in David Horton's admonition that "It
never always gets worse." Ha! I don't think David's ever had a bad blister
on the bottom of his foot. It did NOT get better with time, only worse.
7:43 AM MONDAY: 75 MILES AND I'M DONE!
I tried my best to continue walking fast but I absolutely
couldn't stand the pain of running on that foot. The extra pressure was just
too much, despite the caffeine and ibuprofen I had consumed. I was
absolutely determined to reach my original goal of 75 miles, however, and I
hung tough through the pain until I reached that mark at 7:43 AM. I
still had over an hour to eke out three or four more miles but it just wasn't
worth the agony. I couldn't see any point to it.
I decided it would be fun to end with the same mileage as
Jim. I knew that even though he felt bad that he had to stop twenty-five miles
short of his goal he would want me to go beyond my own personal goal in the
race if I could. I would have no qualms about "beating him" if I could have
more comfortably continued to run, especially if I could have reached 80 miles.
But to continue on another mile or two past 75 miles just to get more mileage
than Jim did not seem like good form. I knew 75 miles would give me a new
age-58 ATY "record" (not by much, however!) and that was enough for me on this
About 7:15 AM I saw Jim at the door of the camper and we
said good morning to each other. He said he'd be out to see me after he took a
shower and got dressed. He asked me how many miles I'd done so far --
73-something. I didn't let him know that I'd be stopping soon. My plan was to
get 75 miles and turn in my timing chip, THEN tell him what I'd done.
Robert Andrulis and his wife approach our aid tables on
Sunday afternoon -- his is just in front of ours.
And that's how it played out. Jim came out to our crew table one or
two laps before I was done, bringing me my favorite hot Cafe Vienna-flavored
coffee. We hugged and talked quickly about how my night had gone. Then I went
out for my last laps, which I savored mightily. I was eager to end the pain,
but not the race. I still had a smile on my face despite the agony of da
foot (no defeat in this race!).
After 242 laps, 121 kilometers, and 75.186 miles I
crossed the timing mat one last time at 7:43 AM, stepped
off the track to remove my timing chip, and handed it to a very surprised Dave
Combs -- with a smile on my face. I think Rodger Wrublik was in the timing tent at the same time. Yes, I
was sure I didn't want to continue another hour and seventeen minutes. Yes, I
was still having fun but my foot hurt too much to go on.
I'm tough, but not THAT tough. I wasn't even sleepy. I just
wanted to get off that sore foot.
I walked the short distance to our crew spot where Jim was
talking with next-table neighbor Robert Andrulis, awake and ready to begin his third day in the
72-hour race. I plopped down in the chair and Jim told me not to get too
comfortable (the old "beware the chair" admonishment). I smiled and told him I
was done. He didn't believe me at first, and asked how much mileage I got.
took about, oh, one second for my response to register: 75.186 miles. I
don't know if he was more surprised that I hadn't surpassed his distance -- or
relieved that I hadn't surpassed his
distance -- but he was definitely happy that I'd reached my goal.
Next entry: Days 3-4 of the race, including the New
Year's Eve Celebration, the race finale on New Year's Day, and the awards
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and
© 2007 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil