Kettle 2022, my 3rd 100 miler, my goals were:
-To see what was possible. 🤩
-To leave it all out there. 🤗
-To have no fear. 😳
-To run in the moment and run grateful. 😄
-My time goal was sub-26 hrs
(also any finish under the course limit of 30 hrs was a win in my book…it’s a 100 miles…anything can happen, you have to respect the distance).
My coach Sarah had written me a “race pep talk” & in it she said,
“You are ABLE & CAPABLE.”
Those words were in my mind the whole race.
The weather was as perfect as you can get up at Kettle which is notorious for being HOT humid w/ an occasional afternoon thunderstorm. We got lucky w/ mid-60s, cloud cover, & typical June humidity. A day that had to be taken advantage of. 💪🏻
Final hugs & hi-5s from the crew & I was off to the Start.
All the typical race morning feels were swirling in my brain as I tried to stay calm & take deep breaths.
My race plan was to stay in a relaxed aerobic HR, run the runnables, & be strong in the last 10 miles.
What I’ve learned from my last 100 was to keep my watch set to HR, & not check mileage, pace, or overall time.
Knowing that I wanted to be aerobic, I was checking my HR frequently in the 1st section…& it was high. But I didn’t panic. I let myself settle in & if I “felt” relaxed & in control, I had to let the numbers go. Maybe it was my adrenaline? Maybe it was the humidity? (which was 95% at the start).
Before I knew it I was at the Bluff AS & got to see my crew!
It’s hard to explain the energy of coming into an aid station, it’s exhilarating. You can hear the excitement from like a mile away.
AND MY CREW IS LITERALLY THE BEST! I could hear them clapping, cheering, whistling, & yelling my name before arriving at all the crew aid stations & immediately I was smiling ear to ear. Their energy was contagious, I would carry it with me for miles after seeing them.
HONESTLY this is how the whole day went. Mile by mile, aid station to aid station. I was soaking in the race…living in the moment…SMILING & having FUN!!!
Last year I had some real lows…some deep dark moments…this year I can say honestly…I had NO lows. Just HIGHS. Even when I was DEEP in the pain cave. This year it didn’t scare me, I embraced it, knowing I was giving it my absolute all.
I just kept repeating to myself. You are able & capable.
Trust me, there were sections I wanted to power hike longer, but I promised myself I would RUN the runnable sections. Even when I was in the section where you don’t see your crew for 12 miles (which feels like an eternity), I was jamming to Beyonce & keeping myself present & positive. Last year this section was a deep low for me.
As I came into the stretch before the Bluff AS (Mile ~56), I felt like I was sprinting, I couldn’t wait to see my crew, AND pick up Ryan my 1st Pacer!
We probably took off a little hot, but I was excited to now have a Pacer the whole rest of the race, for me that is a game changer. There is nothing like having one of YOUR people w/ you for the back half of the race, when things will for sure get tough, mentally & physically.
We made it back to Nordic, the Start/Finish (Mile ~63) & it was ELECTRIC. Quick change into fresh clothes for the night, grabbed my light & w/ the sound of “100 miler heading out”, Ryan & I were back onto the Nordic Loop.🙌🏻
I was ecstatic to be running this section. It’s a section I know like the back of my hand, but every other year, SOMETHING got in the way of me running this, & I was reduced to power hiking most of it (sometimes w/o the power 😂).
Ryan kept me pushing, keeping an eye on HR, but also making sure we were pushing the runnable sections. We were jamming to tunes cruising thru the miles.
Right as I was nearing the end of Ryan pacing me & before Jaime was going to take over pacing duties, I received a text from Sarah…
“Hope all’s going well out there in the dark for you. You’re so strong! The finish line is around the corner, but it might get tougher before you can see it… One foot in front of the other… Keep pushing forward with everything in you. There’s more strength in you than you even know.”
How true her statements would become. I just didn’t know it yet.
When we had 1-ish miles left together, Ryan gave me a little final (& emotional) pep talk ☺️ before passing the baton, all while “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” was playing…
“You’ve run strong all day, keep pushing, you can’t let up now.”
Ryan & I approached Highway 12 AS (Mile ~77) & it was a glowing oasis in the night. The crew was all lit up w/ glow sticks, the song “Best Friend” was blaring & Jaime was smiling, full of Red Bull energy & ready to take on her “closer” duties. 😎
Smiles, hugs, & LFG’s from the crew and Jaime & I were back out on the trails. We immediately started chatting…like it was any old Friday training run.
Jaime mentioned shortly after jumping in w/ me…
“You have to trust me & commit. You are going to have to dig deep. Deeper than you’ve dug before. But you have it in you. You are strong. You won’t regret it at the finish.”
I told her “I TRUST YOU!”…& I 100% did 💚…I knew she was going to push me to my absolute best. ☺️
The time seemed to be flying by, we were in a groove, running, talking, & laughing. Having FUN! 🤗
I knew she was pushing me, but it felt comfortable, or as comfortable as it could be for how long I had been running.
We’d run for a bit, & then Jaime would remind me…
“Trust me. Commit. You can do this. Stay with me.”
And I would respond…“I trust you. I’m here!” I swear I felt like I was shouting it but apparently sometimes it was inaudible, so she’d turn back to look me RIGHT in the eyes “trust me…stay with me!”
Before every AS Jaime would push pace a bit & tell me to get right up behind her cuz 1) “we’re gonna come in looking strong” 2) & if I wasn’t right behind her she’d “get in trouble”. 😂
We were “cookin” thru the miles & the crew stops were efficient AF (my crew is the BEST), down to Rice Lake (Mile ~82) & officially homebound! (there was still many miles between me & the Finish Line, but damn that was a good feeling) & back thru Hwy 12 (Mile ~86).
As we were coming down from Confusion Corner, you could hear the crew in the distance at the Bluff AS (Mile ~93). Jaime said, “Ok we’re gonna see the Crew. Get all the energy from them.” 💚
Last cheers & LFG’s from the crew & we were off on the final miles on the Nordic Loop on our way to the Finish.
Jaime reminded me, “You have to trust me & commit. I’m gonna need you to push a little more.” 💪🏻
I responded w/ a shaky laugh of “ok hah haa” – like oh shit, is she serious?, we need to push MORE? but, I trusted her, so it was also a chuckle of I’m going to do whatever you say!
By now every step hurt & reminded me of the mileage I’ve run.
We made it to the Tamarack AS (Mile ~95) & Jaime said, “We’re gonna run these last 5 miles hard. You have to give me a little more. I know you are hurting but you are strong. You can do this. You won’t regret it.”
You could see over the trees the sun was starting to rise ☺️.
We were officially “cookin pushin” (IYKYK), & my mind kept flipping between ‘YES ONLY 5ish miles 😁’ & ‘UGH 5ish MORE MILES 😭’.
We got to the same spot last year where she asked me “how bad do you want it” & all the feels came rushing back! 😭
I was trying to hold it together but it was hard. I wanted to tear up & collapse. I wanted to be done, (& I know it sounds crazy) but I was also sad it was all coming to an end.
The last 2 miles are a blur but yet I can bring myself back to those feelings.
There were a few other runners ahead of us. We’d cheer them on, & then continue on our mission to get to that Finish. Amazing respect for all the runners out there, everyone had worked hard all day. But Jaime told me, I want you to have that Finish Line all to yourself.
We are running side by side & Jaime asked me one last time to give her everything I had. To keep digging. To trust her. Commit. She said, “You’ve got to want it bad. I need you to leave it ALL out here.”
I said... I trust you! I want it!
F*ck yeah I TRUST YOU ☺️…
I WANT IT! 💚
I swear I yelled those words w/ strength, but in reality, I don’t think the words made it out my mouth. I trusted her 💯, I truly didn’t know what “it” was…but I knew “it” was worth leaving it all out there. ☺️💪🏻💚
Jaime was pacing me to my best.💚 To ensure that I…left nothing…no 2nd guessing…& that’s what I wanted. No questioning could I have pushed more...run harder…given any more of myself.
She kept reassuring me…”stay w/ me, you are strong, I need you to leave it all out here, you won’t regret it.” ☺️
At some point in the final mile, I said to Jaime desperately, “please tell me we’re almost there.”
It felt like my legs couldn’t keep up w/ what my ❤️ was asking them to do.
As we approached the Finish, Jaime turned to me & said “as SOON as you cross the Finish, LOOK AT THE CLOCK.”
I crossed the Finish & turned to see my time, & was overcome w/ emotion.
I burst into tears.😭
No words accurately describe the pure joy, shock, & excitement, to see a time I truly didn’t think was possible.😄
Hugs from the crew, Jaime gave me a huge hug and asked “you still love me? We still friends?” – ummmm OF COURSE!!
I can honestly say I left it all out there, I let myself see what was possible when there was no fear, just trust that I was able & capable.
The whole day was magical. 1 of those days where ALL the ✨ align.
To my fam Bill & Gwen, THANK U for your ❤️ & support not just on race day, but ALL the days leading up to it, I couldn’t do it w/o you – I ❤️ U!!!
To my # crunching, nutrition slinging, balm applying, glow stick twirling co-crew chiefs Becca & Julie, THANK U for all the behind the scenes race day management – you have the efficiency of a NASCAR Pit Crew – it’s hard work & you make it look easy!
Ryan - we were “one with that trail”, THANK U for those zen hours when day turned to night, for keeping me calm, cool, & collected.
Jaime - there aren’t enough THANK U’s to share how grateful I am for you literally making sure I left it all out there!!! You are my #closerforlife (& no open containers this yr!) I am forever grateful for the miles of memories we shared, talking, laughing, singing, & “cookin pushin” our way to the Finish, mile x mile. To be able to share this experience & bring this race home w/ my BFF is something I will cherish forever. ☺️
I will NEVER…EVER…forget this day, & I am forever thankful for this badass crew of beautiful friends who made a day like this possible. SO MUCH 💚💚💚