Miami 112.3

” Should i go to Miami still ? Am I mentally and physically ready for a 100 mile run 4 weeks after pushing through a gritty 400 mile finish with an injury that was taking longer than normal to heal post Dome ? This was the question I had asked my mentor, my husband, as well as myself. The Miami 100 is an urban road ultra ( not many road 100 milers out there and this is my passion) I was invited and participated in Luis Coco’s inaugural event in 2018 so it holds a very special place in my heart. ( destination unknown, Incase you ever wondered where that hashtag came from!) Florida is my second home, full of good memories and friends I’ve made Over the years and where my husband proposed to me on Valentine’s Day on South Beach, so you can see why l really wanted to go, not only to run, but for the nostalgia of it all. The feedback I got from the ones I asked was a mixed bag, you should go, you should not go …so it ended up ultimately being my decision. I spent nearly 4 weeks nursing the “tendonitis” leg with massage, stretches, heat and ice, I know the drill. I thought i would be ok, and had made the decision to have a fun race, no pressure on myself just enjoy it !! BUT was I writing a check my body wouldn’t cash ? Being my usual stubborn self, 2 days before I was to leave I finalized all arrangements to go. Just have fun, have a good time and be a happy runner ! Plus getting to see Lauren ( who is a fantastic one handed crew angel and my girl ) all day was an additional blessing for me. Little did I know how things would play out, and in a 100 miler you never really know what will happen. There are so many unknown things that can happen. I guess behind every buckle lays a story. Here’s the story behind the Miami 112.3
Jokingly ( no I guess seriously ) I get lost very easily, everyone who has crewed me knows this ( my sister Amanda and good friend Jay Lee will vouch for me here !) For some reason it’s gotten worse post Tran Con, I think it has something to do with running in a straight line the majority of the time. I had made this joke at the pre race meeting about ending up getting off course last year, maybe I shouldn’t have said that because I seem to have jinxed myself, ( and poor Lauren too who had to work extra hard to review directions with me constantly)
The morning was slightly warm with a bit of humidity ( I heard later that the dew index was higher than i thought ) but none the less I felt comfortable. The start went pretty quick; national anthem followed by 3,2,1 and GO ! Luis doesn’t waste any time!! Let’s kick the party off ! 
I was feeling good, at the time the only thing I was worried about was the dull ache still lingering in my left ankle and shin. It was tolerable. I just added a little extra Rock Tape for support ( and had the magic pantyhose incase, if you’re wondering about the pantyhose you will need to go back and read my Dome write up ) and Didn’t even give it a second thought. Heading out of the parking lot, I was able to share the first 8 or 9 miles with Lisa and Jeremy, It was fun and we joked about the heat and Lisa’s blue blinkie, staring at it too long would put you in a trance. They were both holding a very strong pace and I felt myself slip back a bit but I needed to go at my own and remember I was here to have fun ! I watched Lisa’s blue light fade away and continued on to checkpoint 1. Still feeling really good and moving well. I looked around as daylight broke, the homes here are so beautiful as are the sunrises . Don’t forget to enjoy the view the voice inside said.
Checkpoint 1! The Jetty ! (Biscayne Point ) I made my way and got my next set of directions for myself and Lauren, my head was still on straight and all was good ! It’s funny how things can blur together, and certain parts of the route have specific memories. I didn’t see any iguanas here on my way back out of the Jetty, like I had last year. With all the standing water you shouldn’t be surprised to see a critter or two creeping across the sidewalk. The sun had started to heat things up a bit, Lauren is a saint and kept me iced and hydrated as we moved along. I started to have a bit of a stomach ache, which I don’t normally have, I knew it would pass, just had to let it work itself out. A little coke and Pepto Bismo did the trick. We continued on to checkpoint 2 Coral Gables which was in a park. I swapped out my direction card for a new set and continued on. The course was not the same as last year, why are there so many round a bouts ? It must be an East coast thing, these “ROUND ” Circles of hell I called them always make me nuts and maybe it’s “Sandy Logic ” that gets me into trouble, but if you tell me to go straight through it technically it’s a circle so wherever you happen to Stand going “straight through” it could technically not be where you need to go I learned. Here is where I got off course but was corrected not too far off. In this instance I missed the 3rd exit in the bubble and in my defense I didn’t see it after retracing my steps there, I made my way out of it and also thought sharp right was the turn I had just made to get through it. Well, I missed that turn too and went on straight for 6 miles, see running in a straight line is my jam haha !! I didn’t even realize i hadn’t seen Lauren, nor had I noticed how much time had passed. I finally decided to stop at a gas station and call Lauren and saw my phone had been in airplane mode ?! Lucky for me I had my credit card Went in and bought a water and a Cuban sandwich and proceeded to go slump down on the curb outside. I was really upset about it but decided to TRY not beat myself up. It was a Battle in my head about how much time I had lost and the good segment I just had wasted. It can be very demoralizing but I was here to have fun, so enjoy the Cuban snack and use the down time as a break. It had started to get much warmer but there was a gentle breeze. No ankle pain or stomach issues so all was good. But still ?? How did I do this again ?? Time to move on …the mind is a powerful thing you know.
When I finally hit 31 miles at the correct spot of the course, my watch said 38. Ugh don’t look at your watch. Need to keep moving to next checkpoint, beach access, I was going to be going through little Havana next! As we headed on, I ran through a nice shopping area and saw people getting coffee and carrying nice bags. Sometimes I wonder what people think when they see someone with a pack and a handkerchief full of ice around their neck running through people having a good time ? I was excited to see this next part in the daylight last year this was segmented later in the course so I didn’t see it in daylight. I took advantage here and stopped and took some photos. I could smell the coffee and many of the shops and restaurants had music playing, it made me smile, I even stopped and took a photo for a girl that asked me ! ( I had her return the favor !)

Did I mention Lauren is also a fantastic photographer ?? I said she was amazing !! ☝🏾 Working toward Key Biscayne, After making our way through here we hit the beach, and deja vu hit. “ You need to stay on the bridge and go over “ ok I think I heard that before. I went over the bridge and I don’t know what I did but lost in thought I was looking straight ahead and followed the path that took me off the bridge ….wait ? This is right, I need beach access 7… I started looking at the signs on the beach and counted them …5, 6, 7 where is everyone ?? Ugh again ???? What the heck , I called Lauren and asked her she said I got off the bridge, I looked around and was like how the hell did that happen ? I back tracked a bit and got back on the bridge. It seemed there was a break off in the path and I followed it right off. Needless to say I made it up and over eventually . I was starting to feel defeated, I kept repeating what had happened earlier and now again ? This wasn’t as bad but still …adding more miles, I just wanted to get my next set of directions and keep moving. The tears were stinging and I tried to keep smiling “don’t think about it , it’s ok” …”ugh that’s 3 times now and you aren’t even at 50 miles but technically you are close to it Sandra if you hadn’t missed that turn you would be farther ahead “ “stop looking at your watch and beating yourself up.” These were the thoughts that kept playing over and over. As I made my way back over the the bridge and out, I see the 3 amazing runners on their quest for most 100s ! It was quite a vision ! Billy ( who carries the American Flag for the ENTIRE run )Walter and Mike. It made me smile and I thought wow !!! This was the first time they had ever all been together and ran the whole race as a unit. I took a minute to let that sink in and pulled my phone out and took some photos of them coming !!! I am surrounded by inspirational champions. We cheered each other on and that made me happy and brought me some peace. I also stopped for a minute and enjoyed the view from the bridge. I really do love it here. The ocean is amazing and the buildings and sea port in the horizon made me think of the cruise Roger and I took a few months ago.

Ok keep it moving on to Winwood. The next part was a bit more through the city area ( downtown if you will ?) Awhh yes I remember this only it’s not dark !! this was a segment later in the race last year. Making my way up the street, I see people backed up …. a draw bridge actually up ! I have never actually seen one up like that, very cool to see. I made use of the time and stretched out my legs, I was feeling good nothing hurt, I noticed a runner up ahead with some cool neon compression leg sleeves. She saw me and waved I Waved back and thought I will try and keep up with her through here. All things happen for a reason, right? This part was very noisy and congested, many turns and what’s hard is a lot of the street signs don’t have signs, what the heck ? I kept her in my sights just hoping to get out of here and I lost my footing and nooooo I felt myself falling no no no no …too late I landed smack on right side hip and leg and hand. I couldn’t move, I lay there for what seemed like an eternity glanced up up to make sure there wasn’t a car coming out of the parking garage I was sprawled out in front of. I felt the sharp pain of the pepper spray in my right pocket pushed into my leg and then the kind runner who later I learned was Rebecca was helping me up, she must have seen me fall and came back to help me up, I put my hand on my leg and felt all this wet warm, wait was that blood ??? Omg I’m bleeding!!! no it was a Huma gel I had in my pocket that had exploded from the fall. I chuckled to myself and tried to start running again, the pain was pretty tough to endure but I shuffled along, hopefully I would see Lauren soon I thought to myself. Finally there she was like a beacon of light with my pink ultra chair and hot food waiting !! I saw her and couldn’t wait to tell her what happened she immediately told me to sit down, eat and let’s get you cleaned up. I handed her my slimy iPod which was an innocent victim in the crash and burn from earlier. The good thing about Lauren is she will distract you, in a good way 🙂 let’s fix it and get you moving mentality. I sat down and ate some chicken nuggets and changed socks. New bottles with ice and off I went, it was cooler now so I ditched the ice bandanna I still needed to get to Roberto Clemente Park ( checkpoint 4) I got up and studied the direction card again, up the street and I had a left turn coming up. I started moving a little better but the fall had some consequences, wait this doesn’t feel right. I grabbed my direction card agin and saw that I had read the 2nd line of directions. I had a right turn first THEN a left, Oye Ve !!! Again ???? I caught this one myself and backtracked. I just kept adding more lost time and the extra steps were adding up. This next part was a bit sketchy, right as I was starting to feel a bit nervous about the “area “ I was in, the Miami Race Marshall Mathew showed up providing a personal escort, through this zone: I was relieved and happy to see him ! He was there to make sure we all got through safely. It was a short patch and I moved along, the next checkpoint was the beginning of the long stretch. Checkpoint 5 was at mile 71 at Miami Beach. I was feeling tired mentally I kept reliving the lost time and looking at my watch, plus I had significantly slowed down after falling. This argument went on and on and I was feeling completely demoralized. I started telling myself I shouldn’t have come, I wasn’t ready for this, then I just didn’t feel like running. And when that happened my mind was winning. I was done I wanted to be DONE, I told Lauren” I don’t want to run anymore” this went on and on for a few miles. My mind had taken over and I was in a very dark place where I didn’t care, my whole right side was hurting and i hadn’t planned to take this long ? I don’t have anything to prove ? Nobody is going to care, I didn’t …Did I really want to gut it out another 37 miles ?? I would not be done until the next day way after the sun had come up AGAIN !!! But If I hadn’t missed that one Major turn all the other unfortunate events wouldn’t have happened and I would be farther along. With all that in my head I couldn’t get my legs to turn over anymore.
The next time I saw Lauren she had me get in the car and sit. She told me to think about it. I laid there and closed my eyes. Where was the happy runner, where did she go? Dawn was not far behind me, her crew vehicle came up next to ours and next thing I knew LuLu was there in the window asking me what’s wrong? The tears started flowing and I told her I was done, she immediately told me how inspirational I was to her and she told me I could do it. She made jokes about why she likes to run looped courses, which of course made me laugh because there was some booty slapping involved. She suggested I wait for Dawn so we could keep each other company (butt slapping ??) She told me to eat and close my eyes for a little bit and wait. I listened to her and Lauren. I ate and drank and closed my eyes for a few to think some more. I opened my eyes and saw Mike, Billy and Walter heading up the road. Mike immediately came over to the car and asked what’s wrong. I told him I was done, I don’t want to run anymore. He
Told me “but what about the Compass ? “ 
I must have looked puzzled because he went on to remind me that 2nd time finishers get a very special award. A compass ( he also mentioned it really worked so I didn’t know if that was a joke with my lacking in “ sense of direction” but it made me smile) Dang it Mike !!! he also shared I had inspired him, isn’t that what it’s always been about for me ? He said “ We will see you out there again right ?” And i said “sure” and with that they left and I got up and out of the car. I decided to move again and prayed I could get my legs to turn over. LuLu came back over and hugged me said she loved me and that was just what i needed. Genuine human touch I believe is kryptonite to dark mental thoughts. (Que “ I get by with a little help from my friends “ ) I know that is what my saving grace was on most days on the trans con from Cinder Wolff. Never underestimate the power of love, empathy and kindness. I felt motived again to move and move with a purpose. My mantra has always been to finish what you start, no matter what and DON’T quit before the Miracle happens. The beat went on, need to get to checkpoint 5. This part was rather blurry I remember eating a cheese burger and crossing some bridges, people were fishing ? At this time of night ? Or morning? We finally made our way from here and heading toward South Beach only in reverse this year. Pros and cons here ! the energy and congestion of people partying, trying to dodge the crowds and major traffic through there make the few short miles here seem like a long journey. If I could get to the other side of the road i could move faster but crossing the street was a challenge so I strategically maneuvered my way through to the end, the noise of the music and chatter grew faint as I made my way up to where Lauren was waiting for me ( I thought of her often, She is Wonder Woman and I know she hadn’t slept at all, crewing solo means MacGuyver skills 24/7 and no naps !) I made my way up the road and back to another “Causeway “ ( what the heck is that ??) basically a bridge, to cross back over and into the downtown area and back toward Coral Gables. I would meet my crew chief on the other side ( get it flip side !? ) little did I know I had some of my own MacGuyvering to do !!!
“ SIiDEWALK CLOSED” huh ???? How the heck am I going to get around this ??? 

Panic sets in and I text Lauren a pic of the sign, she had the same reaction I had, she told me to hold on, and after a quick call to the boss was told to go through. Oh boy, I was a bit freaked out, why is it closed ? What if it isn’t safe ?? I really didn’t have a choice unless I wanted to run across the median in the middle of the cars. My right side was pretty stiff and I had to climb over the fence to make my way in, I am sure I looked pretty crazy slowly trying to scale this! This would have been a great GoPro moment. Ok keep going ….all the way across, it felt like an eternity, I kept looking over my shoulder, because I thought someone was behind me but It was only my shadow, the hallucinations were starting, Lauren text me stay on the causeway you remember like last year, only we were going the other direction. Yup I got it ! She was waiting for me with the ultra chair and a smile as usual. Quick break and recap of directions, I was about to go through where the wheels fell of last year because I missed a turn and kept going straight for too long and found myself in the dark vagrant part of downtown. I had enough mishaps today so that particular one wasn’t happening again ! Up the street 3/4 of a mile and then a right turn and then 3 streets down left on Miami. It was hard to stay focused I kept glancing down and saw people sleeping curled up in alleyways and under doors . I often wonder what their stories are and how they got here. “Stay focused Sandra” I do believe I said that out loud. Let the talking to myself commence ! I glanced at my watch 5:30 just keep moving don’t go there, you’re almost at 80 !!!! I was going to be on this road for a while, Lauren kept circling to check on me and make sure I was ok, my leg was really achy but I ignored it and walked ran as much as I could here, the sun would be up In a couple of hours. One last checkpoint number SIX !!!! Only a half marathon left!!!! Can I play “ Looks like we made it “ yet ?? I always think of that song, near the end of an event, reminds me of when I finished my second 100 miler Beast of Burden winter edition in 2016. My sister was crewing me and she played it for me on the ride back to the hotel !!! Good times!!! My mind often wanders to past experiences and I guess the things we are challenged with can be looked at as tests of the limits. Ingraham park where are you ??? Let’s wrap this up and bring it home!!
These last 13 miles were tough, everything hurt, the sun had come up, sunglasses and hat came back out. I had caught up to the the fearless 3, I needed coffee and calories. trans con power walk I need you !!! I tried to NOT stop too much anymore as I was already death marching, my body ached I had not mentally prepared to be on my feet this long we were at 26 hours ….the air was feeling heavy, and as the sky grew kinda dark, I remember seeing it was going to rain Sunday. Please don’t let it rain, please don’t let it rain I kept saying over and over, but apparently I don’t know the weather elders so you guessed it !! it started raining, I thought this too will pass just keep moving ….Wait ? It actually feels really good!! Sorta like a refreshing splash of water on your face. Embrace the moment you have come this far I was way to tired to let the wheels fall off again for my sake and Lauren’s. She went on a scavenger hunt to find me food I didn’t have to chew anymore and wasn’t sweet. Hummus and avocado dip it was, insert in mouth and swallow. We were down to the LAST section A few more turns through this hood and it’s almost time to buckle up. The temperature was rising again, I just wanted to stretch out, my back and my leg were throbbing. I studied the directions again a blurry mess, can I make it through here no wrong or missed turns ?? Right on 87th I got this, 3 blocks in I realize it was 82nd I didn’t go down far enough, ugh it’s ok it’s not that bad just get back on course, mile 96 ish we were almost there. I had to sit down Lauren whipped out the ultra chair and I immediately sat down very SLOWLY grimacing the entire time. Ok one last push here, the LAST mile. Luis has come out, with a big smile and some encouragement!! I hit the end of the road and Lauren met me so I could shed my pack, 3 blocks to go, I was then greeted by the Marshall again who was getting the last few steps in with me. Now can I hear “ looks like we made it” ???? I could not believe WE did it, the longest, grittiest most painful 100 ( 112.3) miles ever. 
It’s true what they say, running a 100 miles isn’t easy and if it was everyone would be doing it. The ones you pour your blood and soul into, the ones where with every test comes a blessing in disguise, are the most meaningful and impactful ones. I am forever grateful, and so humbled by the love and care of those around me that refused to let me give up. My Crew chief who worked tirelessly so I could finish, to the random hands that picked me up when I fell down physically and mentally. I thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart. That’s the story of this 30 :48 adventure to buckle and compass up ! the DNF that almost was, well …not this time 🙂
#whichwaydoigo #turnornoturn #morethanithought #lookslikewemadeit #finishwhatyoustart #relentless #blessed #miami100 #destinationunknown
Photo credits @lauren Hadley @luis Coco

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Miami 112.3
" Should i go to Miami still ? Am I mentally and physically ready for a 100 mile run 4 weeks after pushing through a gritty 400 mile finish with an injury that was taking longer than normal to heal post Dome ? This was the question I had asked my mentor, my husband, as well as myself. The Miami 100 is an urban road ultra ( not many road 100 milers out there and this is my passion) I was invited and participated in Luis Coco's inaugural event in 2018 so it holds a very special place in my heart. ( destination unknown, Incase you ever wondered where that hashtag came from!) Florida is my second home, full of good memories and friends I've made Over the years and where my husband proposed to me on Valentine’s Day on South Beach, so you can see why l really wanted to go, not only to run, but for the nostalgia of it all. The feedback I got from the ones I asked was a mixed bag, you should go, you should not go ...so it ended up ultimately being my decision. I spent nearly 4 weeks nursing the “tendonitis” leg with massage, stretches, heat and ice, I know the drill. I thought i would be ok, and had made the decision to have a fun race, no pressure on myself just enjoy it !! BUT was I writing a check my body wouldn't cash ? Being my usual stubborn self, 2 days before I was to leave I finalized all arrangements to go. Just have fun, have a good time and be a happy runner ! Plus getting to see Lauren ( who is a fantastic one handed crew angel and my girl ) all day was an additional blessing for me. Little did I know how things would play out, and in a 100 miler you never really know what will happen. There are so many unknown things that can happen. I guess behind every buckle lays a story. Here’s the story behind the Miami 112.3
Jokingly ( no I guess seriously ) I get lost very easily, everyone who has crewed me knows this ( my sister Amanda and good friend Jay Lee will vouch for me here !) For some reason it's gotten worse post Tran Con, I think it has something to do with running in a straight line the majority of the time. I had made this joke at the pre race meeting about ending up getting off course last year, maybe I shouldn't have said that because I seem to have jinxed myself this year.
The morning was slightly warm with a bit of humidity ( I heard later that the dew index was higher than i thought ) but none the less I felt comfortable. The start went pretty quick; national anthem followed by 3,2,1 and GO ! Luis doesn't waste any time!! Let’s kick the party off ! 
I was feeling strong and no real pain at the time the only thing I was worried about was the dull ache still lingering in my left ankle and shin. It was tolerable. I just added a little extra Rock Tape for support and had the magic pantyhose (incase, if you’re wondering about the pantyhose you will need to go back and read my Dome write up ) and didn't even give it a second thought. Heading out of the parking lot, I was able to share the first 8 or 9 miles with Lisa and Jeremy, It was fun and we joked about the heat and Lisa's blue blinkie, staring at it too long would put you in a trance. They were both holding a very strong pace and I felt myself slip back a bit but I needed to go at my own and remember I was here to have fun ! I watched Lisa's blue light fade away and continued on to checkpoint 1. Still feeling really good and moving well. I looked around as daylight broke, the homes here are so beautiful as are the sunrises . Don't forget to enjoy the view the voice inside said.
Checkpoint 1! The Jetty ! (Biscayne Point ) I made my way and got my next set of directions for myself and Lauren, my head was still on straight and all was good ! It's funny how things can blur together, and certain parts of the route have specific memories. I didn't see any iguanas here on my way back out of the Jetty, like I had last year. With all the standing water you shouldn't be surprised to see a critter or two creeping across the sidewalk. The sun had started to heat things up a bit, Lauren is a saint and kept me iced and hydrated as we moved along. I started to have a bit of a stomach ache, which I don't normally have, I knew it would pass, just had to let it work itself out. A little coke and Pepto Bismo did the trick. We continued on to checkpoint 2 Coral Gables which was in a park. I swapped out my direction card for a new set and continued on. The course was not the same as last year, why are there so many round a bouts ? It must be an East coast thing, these “ROUND " Circles of hell I called them always make me nuts and maybe it's "Sandy Logic " that gets me into trouble, but if you tell me to go straight through it technically it's a circle so wherever you happen to Stand going "straight through" it could technically not be where you need to go I learned. Perhaps overthinking it ?? Here is where I got off course but was corrected not too far off. In this instance I missed the 3rd exit in the bubble, and in my defense I didn't see it after retracing my steps there, I made my way out of it and also thought sharp right was the turn I had just made to get through it. Well, I missed that turn too and went on straight for 6 miles, see running in a straight line is my jam haha !! I didn't even realize i hadn't seen Lauren, nor had I noticed how much time had passed. I finally decided to stop at a gas station and call Lauren and saw my phone had been in airplane mode ?! Lucky for me I had my credit card Went in and bought a water and a Cuban sandwich and proceeded to go slump down on the curb outside. I was really upset about it but decided to TRY not beat myself up. It was a battle in my head about how much time I had lost and the good segment I just had wasted. It can be very demoralizing but I was here to have fun, so enjoy the Cuban snack and use the down time as a break. It had started to get much warmer but there was a gentle breeze. No ankle pain or stomach issues so all was good. But still ?? How did I do this again ?? Time to move on physically and mentally, the mind is a powerful thing and will OWN you if allow it to.
When I finally hit 31 miles at the correct spot of the course, my watch said 38. Ugh don't look at your watch. Need to keep moving to next checkpoint, beach access, I was going to be going through little Havana next! As we headed on, I ran through a nice shopping area and saw people getting coffee and carrying nice bags. Sometimes I wonder what people think when they see someone with a pack and a handkerchief full of ice around their neck running through people having a good time ? I was excited to see this next part in the daylight last year this was segmented later in the course so I didn’t see it in daylight. I took advantage here and stopped and took some photos. I could smell the coffee and many of the shops and restaurants had music playing, it made me smile, I even stopped and took a photo for a girl that asked me ! ( I had her return the favor !) 👇🏾
Did I mention Lauren is also a fantastic photographer ?? See above pic ☝🏾I said she was amazing !! Working toward Key Biscayne, After making our way through here we hit the beach, and deja vu hit. “ You need to stay on the bridge and go over “ ok I think I heard that before. I went over the bridge and I don’t know what I did but lost in thought I was looking straight ahead and followed the path that took me off the bridge ....wait ? This is right, I need beach access 7... I started looking at the signs on the beach and counted them ...5, 6, 7 where is everyone ?? Ugh again ???? What the heck , I called Lauren and asked her she said I got off the bridge, I looked around and was like how the hell did that happen ? I back tracked a bit and got back on the bridge. It seemed there was a break off in the path and I followed it right off. Needless to say I made it up and over eventually . I was starting to feel defeated, I kept repeating what had happened earlier and now again ? This wasn’t as bad but still ...adding more miles, I just wanted to get my next set of directions and keep moving. The tears were stinging and I tried to keep smiling “don’t think about it , it’s ok” ...”ugh that’s 3 times now and you aren’t even at 50 miles but technically you are close to it Sandra if you hadn’t missed that turn you would be farther ahead “ “stop looking at your watch and beating yourself up.” These were the thoughts that kept playing over and over. As I made my way back over the the bridge and out, I see the 3 amazing runners on their quest for most 100s ! It was quite a vision ! Billy ( who carries the American Flag for the ENTIRE run )Walter and Mike. It made me smile and I thought wow !!! This was the first time they had ever all been together and ran the whole race as a unit. I took a minute to let that sink in and pulled my phone out and took some photos of them coming !!! I am surrounded by inspirational champions. We cheered each other on and that made me happy and brought me some peace. I also stopped for a minute and enjoyed the view from the bridge. I really do love it here. The ocean is amazing and the buildings and sea port in the horizon made me think of the cruise Roger and I took a few months ago.
Ok keep it moving on to Winwood. The next part was a bit more through the city area ( downtown if you will ?) Awhh yes I remember this only it’s not dark !! this was a segment later in the race last year. Making my way up the street, I see people backed up .... a draw bridge actually up ! I have never actually seen one up like that, very cool to see. I made use of the time and stretched out my legs, I was feeling good nothing hurt, I noticed a runner up ahead with some cool neon compression leg sleeves. She saw me and waved I Waved back and thought I will try and keep up with her through here. All things happen for a reason, right? This part was very noisy and congested, many turns and what’s hard is a lot of the street signs don’t have signs, what the heck ? I kept her in my sights just hoping to get out of here and I lost my footing and nooooo I felt myself falling no no no no ...too late I landed smack on right side hip and leg and hand. I couldn’t move, I lay there for what seemed like an eternity glanced up up to make sure there wasn’t a car coming out of the parking garage I was sprawled out in front of. I felt the sharp pain of the pepper spray in my right pocket pushed into my leg and then the kind runner who later I learned was Rebecca was helping me up, she must have seen me fall and came back to help me up, I put my hand on my leg and felt all this wet warm, wait was that blood ??? Omg I’m bleeding!!! no it was a Huma gel I had in my pocket that had exploded from the fall. I chuckled to myself and tried to start running again, the pain was pretty tough to endure but I shuffled along, hopefully I would see Lauren soon I thought to myself. Finally there she was like a beacon of light with my pink ultra chair and hot food waiting !! I saw her and couldn’t wait to tell her what happened she immediately told me to sit down, eat and let’s get you cleaned up. I handed her my slimy iPod which was an innocent victim in the crash and burn from earlier. The good thing about Lauren is she will distract you, in a good way 🙂 let’s fix it and get you moving mentality. I sat down and ate some chicken nuggets and changed socks. New bottles with ice and off I went, it was cooler now so I ditched the ice bandanna I still needed to get to Roberto Clemente Park ( checkpoint 4) I got up and studied the direction card again, up the street and I had a left turn coming up. I started moving a little better but the fall had some consequences, wait this doesn’t feel right. I grabbed my direction card agin and saw that I had read the 2nd line of directions. I had a right turn first THEN a left, Oye Ve !!! Again ???? I caught this one myself and backtracked. I just kept adding more lost time and the extra steps were adding up. This next part was a bit sketchy, right as I was starting to feel a bit nervous about the “area “ I was in, the Miami Race Marshall Mathew showed up providing a personal escort, through this zone: I was relieved and happy to see him ! He was there to make sure we all got through safely. It was a short patch and I moved along, the next checkpoint was the beginning of the long stretch. Checkpoint 5 was at mile 71 at Miami Beach. I was feeling tired mentally I kept reliving the lost time and looking at my watch, plus I had significantly slowed down after falling. This argument went on and on and I was feeling completely demoralized. I started telling myself I shouldn’t have come, I wasn’t ready for this, then I just didn’t feel like running. And when that happened my mind was winning. I was done I wanted to be DONE, I told Lauren” I don’t want to run anymore” this went on and on for a few miles. My mind had taken over and I was in a very dark place where I didn’t care, my whole right side was hurting and i hadn’t planned to take this long ? I don’t have anything to prove ? Nobody is going to care, I didn’t ...Did I really want to gut it out another 37 miles in this pain cave ?? I would not be done until the next day way after the sun had come up AGAIN !!! But If I hadn’t missed that one Major turn all the other unfortunate events wouldn’t have happened and I would be farther along. With all that in my head I couldn’t get my legs to turn over anymore.
The next time I saw Lauren she had me get in the car and sit. She told me to think about it. I laid there and closed my eyes. Where was the happy runner, where did she go? Dawn was not far behind me, her crew vehicle came up next to ours and next thing I knew LuLu was there in the window asking me what’s wrong? The tears started flowing and I told her I was done, she immediately told me how inspirational I was to her and she told me I could do it. She made jokes about why she likes to run looped courses, which of course made me laugh because there was some booty slapping involved. (Story for another time ) She suggested I wait for Dawn so we could keep each other company (butt slapping ??) She told me to eat and close my eyes for a little bit and wait. I listened to her and Lauren. I ate and drank and closed my eyes for a few to think some more. I opened my eyes and saw Mike, Billy and Walter heading up the road. Mike immediately came over to the car and asked what’s wrong. I told him I was done, I don’t want to run anymore. HeTold me “but what about the Compass ? “ I must have looked puzzled because he went on to remind me that 2nd time finishers get a very special award. A compass ( he also mentioned it really worked so I didn’t know if that was a joke with my lacking in “ sense of direction” but it made me smile) Dang it Mike !!! he also shared I had inspired him, isn’t that what it’s always been about for me ? He said “ We will see you out there again right ?” And i said “sure” and with that they left and I got up and out of the car. I decided to move again and prayed I could get my legs to turn over. LuLu came back over and hugged me said she loved me and that was just what i needed. Genuine human touch I believe is kryptonite to dark mental thoughts. (Que “ I get by with a little help from my friends “ ) I know that is what my saving grace was on most days on the trans con from Cinder Wolff. Never underestimate the power of love, empathy and kindness. I felt motived again to move and move with a purpose. My mantra has always been to finish what you start, no matter what and DON’T quit before the Miracle happens. The beat went on, need to get to checkpoint 5. This part was rather blurry I remember eating a cheese burger and crossing some bridges, people were fishing ? At this time of night ? Or morning? We finally made our way from here and heading toward South Beach only in reverse this year. Pros and cons here ! the energy and congestion of people partying, trying to dodge the crowds and major traffic through there make the few short miles here seem like a long journey. If I could get to the other side of the road i could move faster but crossing the street was a challenge so I strategically maneuvered my way through to the end, the noise of the music and chatter grew faint as I made my way up to where Lauren was waiting for me ( I thought of her often, She is Wonder Woman and I know she hadn’t slept at all, crewing solo means MacGuyver skills 24/7 and no naps !) I made my way up the road and back to another “Causeway “ ( what the heck is that ??) basically a bridge, to cross back over and into the downtown area and back toward Coral Gables. I would meet my crew chief on the other side ( get it flip side !? ) little did I know I had some of my own MacGuyvering to do !!!
“ SIiDEWALK CLOSED” huh ???? How the #%!* am I going to get around this ??? 
Panic sets in and I text Lauren a pic of the sign, she had the same reaction I had, she told me to hold on, and after a quick call to the boss was told to go through. Oh boy, I was a bit freaked out, why is it closed ? What if it isn’t safe ?? I really didn’t have a choice unless I wanted to run across the median in the middle of the cars. My right side was pretty stiff and I had to climb over the fence to make my way in, I am sure I looked pretty crazy slowly trying to scale this! This would have been a great GoPro moment. Ok keep going ....all the way across, it felt like an eternity, I kept looking over my shoulder, because I thought someone was behind me but It was only my shadow, the hallucinations were starting, Lauren text me stay on the causeway you remember like last year, only we were going the other direction. Yup I got it ! She was waiting for me with the ultra chair and a smile as usual. Quick break and recap of directions, I was about to go through where the wheels fell of last year because I missed a turn and kept going straight for too long and found myself in the dark vagrant part of downtown. I had enough mishaps today so that particular one wasn’t happening again ! Up the street 3/4 of a mile and then a right turn and then 3 streets down left on Miami. It was hard to stay focused I kept glancing down and saw people sleeping curled up in alleyways and under doors . I was gripping hr pepper spray so tight in my hand I felt the sweat dripping ...I often wonder what their stories are and how they got here. “Stay focused Sandra” I do believe I said that out loud. Let the talking to myself commence now. I glanced at my watch 5:30am just keep moving don’t go there, you’re almost at 80 miles ...I was going to be on this road for a while, Lauren kept circling to check on me and make sure I was ok, my leg was really achy but I ignored it and walked ran as much as I could here, the sun would be up In a couple of hours. One last checkpoint number SIX !!!! Only a half marathon left!!!! Can I play “ Looks like we made it “ yet ?? I always think of that song, near the end of an event, reminds me of when I finished my second 100 miler Beast of Burden winter edition in 2016. My sister was crewing me and she played it for me on the ride back to the hotel !!! Good times!!! My mind often wanders to past experiences and I guess the things we are challenged with can be looked at as tests of the limits or I just call them s$@# shows. Ingraham park where are you ??? Let’s wrap this up and bring it home!!
These last 13 miles were tough, everything hurt, the sun had come up, sunglasses and hat came back out. I had caught up to the the fearless 3, I needed coffee and calories. trans con power walk I need you !!! I tried to NOT stop too much anymore as I was already death marching, my body ached I had not mentally prepared to be on my feet this long we were at 26 hours ....the air was feeling heavy, and as the sky grew kinda dark, I remember seeing it was going to rain Sunday. Please don’t let it rain, please don’t let it rain I kept saying over and over, but apparently I don’t know the weather elders so you guessed it !! it started raining, I thought this too will pass just keep moving ....Wait ? It actually feels really good!! Sorta like a refreshing splash of water on your face. Embrace the moment you have come this far I was way to tired to let the wheels fall off again for my sake and Lauren’s. She went on a scavenger hunt to find me food I didn’t have to chew anymore and wasn’t sweet. Hummus and avocado dip it was, insert in mouth and swallow. We were down to the LAST section A few more turns through this hood and it’s almost time to buckle up. The temperature was rising again, I just wanted to stretch out, my back and my leg were throbbing. I studied the directions again a blurry mess, can I make it through here no wrong or missed turns ?? Right on 87th I got this, 3 blocks in I realize it was 82nd I didn’t go down far enough, ugh it’s ok it’s not that bad just get back on course, mile 96 ish we were almost there. I had to sit down Lauren whipped out the ultra chair now embossed with my sweaty behind marks haha ! I immediately sat down very SLOWLY grimacing the entire time. Ok one last push here, the LAST mile. Luis has come out, with a big smile and some encouragement!! I hit the end of the road and Lauren met me so I could shed my pack, 3 blocks to go, I was then greeted by the Marshall again who was getting the last few steps in with me. Now can I hear “ looks like we made it” ???? I could not believe WE did it, the longest, grittiest most painful 100 ( 112.3) miles ever. I felt the tears well up, thank God it was done ....
It’s true what they say, running a 100 miles isn’t easy and if it was everyone would be doing it. The ones you pour your blood and soul into, the ones where with every test comes a blessing in disguise, are the most meaningful and impactful ones. I am forever grateful, and so humbled by the love and care of those around me that refused to let me give up. My Crew chief who worked tirelessly so I could finish, to the random hands that picked me up when I fell down physically and mentally. I thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart. That’s the story of this 30 :48 adventure to buckle and compass up ! the DNF that almost was, well ...not this time y'all 🙂
#whichwaydoigo #turnornoturn #morethanithought #lookslikewemadeit #finishwhatyoustart #relentless #blessed #miami100 #destinationunknown
Photo credits @lauren Hadley @luis Coco 
Sent from my iPhone

Dome Arrest, Pain Trains and running 400 miles while injured

This was it, go time in a matter of hours. Jay and I loaded up the car to the petite ice center and get situated. I had done all the training physical and mental for months for this. As much as I felt ready I didn’t. How does anyone really train for An event that is multiple days? The anxious feeling of the unknowns that would occur over the next 144 hours were very familiar to how i felt before we left for the Transcon back in 2017. 6 Days in the Dome was my first legit multi day race, yes I had done a run from Santa Barbara to San Jose in California (350 miles in 7 days and yes my run across America 3,125 miles in 54 ish days ) but the Dome was an actual race ….the clock doesn’t stop. The main goals here are to obtain as many miles as possible, and maybe set a new age group record. This was quite a prestigious event, all the athletes here are legends, holding world and American records. Everyone had a story to tell. Getting to spend the next 6 days with them was a honor.

I Went in with the same mindset that I knew it would be hard as hell, but knew time off my feet is as important as time on. This called for expert support which was why I was so thankful Jay Lee aka El Jefe was there. He knew and always knows exactly what to do. And he’s family to me so That was also very comforting. He was the driver and my support in the road for Sandy Across America so we can say he knows me pretty well and what an athlete attempting this type of endeavor would need. The benefits of the environment seemed to outweigh the concerns ( at the time ) controlled temperature in a controlled environment. A perfect 55 degrees, indoors so no night gear needed here. Elements such as wind, heat, would not be a concern. The Terrain was ideal, flat and smooth, no gravel, rocks, or climbing ( don’t get me wrong some of those things are ok, but I’m a true road runner at heart. Give me a smooth buttery road any day of the week. The track was 12 mm lightly layered over pure cement. The Pettit ice center is more than just an ice arena. Opened in December 1992, the Pettit Center provides free training ice time to high potential speed skaters and was home base for eight 2010 U.S. Winter Olympians, including four medalists. It is also Known as a legacy of Olympic medal winners. Being invited to participate here with these elite runners was quite exciting.

That was it all was almost unloaded, time to get my shoes on and eat some breakfast. We started in 30 min and quick debriefing at 11:30. We made our way over to the start line, Mike Melton was going to review rules, lane etiquette and get us going. We were all required to wear this “timing chip” on our ankle for the entire duration we were here ( hence my sarcastic reference to “Dome Arrest”)

We were told we had to have it on as long as we were on the premises. Sounds like house arrest right ?? It didn’t take long for it to cause me problems as i don’t wear long socks so it was chafing my ankle 4 miles in already. Jay quickly remedied it by wrapping a bandana around my ankle underneath the “ankle bracelet “ otherwise that could have been a big issue if ignored.

The cool temperature was very pleasant ….for the first few days, it became painful to have to rewarm up again after stopping for meals or stretch breaks. The lights from the overhead cast a glare off the ice in the middle of the arena, so wearing sunglasses became a welcomed benefit that soothed my eyes as well as almost everyone else. I can only imagine what our herd must have looked like running around in sunglasses round the clock. Most of the time I had no idea if it was dark or light outside, and in actuality it didn’t really matter. The goal was daily to keep moving for so many hours and then off my feet. I wasn’t expecting to have a bout of tibial tendinitis and if you have had it, you feel my pain and agony. It was around day 3when it reared it’s ugly head. I felt the annoying pain in the front of my ankle. Wait what is that ?? No no no, not now. I was staying on top of my stretching and always Kept my shoes tied loosely. I knew the inevitable was going to happen so I might as well just ride it out as long as I could. You see I’ve had this before a few times and while it is the most painful thing I have ever had to deal with it just comes down to managing the pain, adjusting ice breaks and the painful massaging and the mental strength to tolerate the pain.

I was trying to stay On the inside lane as much as possible because I didn’t want to rack up any Additional steps or miles, but this was also where the sharper curve was. The pain eventually turned into the million knives being stuck in my shins and ankle forcing me to stop. I showed my leg to john who who quickly taped me up, that bought me some more time so off I went. Round and round and round, the cool thing was being able to see the zamboni Smoothing out the ice after the kids has practice. It had also become a part of our daily routine, and a good distraction.

Ouch ..I shuddered again with the shooting pains

I was forced to stop and decided to show Dr. Andrew Lovy. He was head of the medical tent but also a participant. One of the most giving humans who cared more for the runners than his own race We tried several things icing, wrapping and icing while running. It came down to me being able to tolerate what I could. As the next day and a half went on I was able to get a good handle on it. Jay was able to help me get my brace back on it which stabilized it so running was doable and not painful. I took several intermittent breaks to keep the swelling down, stopping and starting was taking a tole, the once thought cool 55 degree had become what I felt was freezing temps. When you stop moving in the dome you get cold and usually need a lap or two to warm up again. Layers came on again off again. By this time too sleep deprivation was kicking in. I could never seem to shake the internal cold I constantly felt.

By this time everything was blurring together. What day was it ? I wonder what was going on outside ? Was it sunny ? I had begun coughing quite a bit as it also seemed many of my peers did too. The air in here seemed stuffy and drying. Dome arrest ..hmm maybe I could go outside ? Get some fresh air …I later learned that many of the runners often went outside for breaks so I quickly did too. Wow the sun felt so good. I elevated my legs up against the wall and stared at the sky the small white clouds seemed to be moving fast, I wondered how many laps I had ? I tried to to look at the screens too much and just follow the line. Most of the time I could get into my trance listening to music and just grind it out. The end of day 4 is when the ultimate breakdown happened. The pain was excruciating and forced me to stop my entire leg had started trembling. The pain had turned to shooting pains I could no longer manage. Touching my leg became impossible. I really thought I was going to be done. I just can’t handle it anymore. I layed wrapped in blankets for an hour screaming and crying about the pain. I was freezing and couldn’t stop shivering.

Dr. Lovy made house calls so he stopped by and saw me. Made the recommendation that we needed to get me into a pair of tights or pantyhose. They would act as a an agent to pump up the build up around my ankle and shin. Jay and Roger put me to lay down on my little mattress for a few hours to rest to get ready for the last hours of the race. I was losing hope and feeling defeated. I can’t even run anymore what’s the point ? “You can walk out out you did it before” ( the voice of my guardian who wasn’t there Cinder Wolf played constantly in my head) “You walked out 60 miles on transcon when this happened “ “its ok to walk just walk with a purpose “ ( the other voice I kept hearing those are words from uncle Marsh (Marshall Ulrich) who also was a mentor and adviser as adopted uncle to me ever since the transcon. A lot of these last few hours reminded me of the pain and toughness it took to finish something so hard like a trans con, It’s mental I knew I had to be able to push out the voices telling me all the reasons why I should stop. You see what also has happened here over the course of 6 days was the runners has become family. I wasn’t the only one in the pain cave. We had all bonded and seen each other go through highs and lows. We would create these “ trains “ or as I like to call them “ pain trains “ to have some fun and encourage each other to get on board and keep moving. No runner left behind though that’s pretty impossible to do here going round and round and round …how many laps had I done ??

Moral support came from many runners and friends as I call them now. Soo many to mention. All having a special place. The hours seemed to pass slowly as we got down to the last 24 and I decided to work as hard as I could to make as many miles as I could. It was a push to the end here.

The Sandy power walk went on for hours, 17 to be exact. I decided to adjust back to a shuffle….slowly slowly wait I can run again !!!!!

Taking it a little bit faster now it felt good to adjust my cadence. I had been practicing a different style of running as a suggestion from Jean-Louis who was seeing me in pain struggling has made a suggestion to alleviate the pressure of my shin. I had been implementing it and it felt so much better. I was running again and the hallucinations were in full effect. The track seemed to be moving when I stared at it for too long. I felt like it was a trail with rolling hills,As the hours went on Mark says to me “you can get to 400 but you’re going to have to work for it, 400 is special not obtained without pain and not obtained by many” It was nose to the ground here I had less than 2 hours to get the last 10 miles in. As I pushed harder to keep it going I kept thinking how much it hurt tears welled up, this whole journey has played out not at all how I imagined. I was already so happy I had set a new American age group record a few hours ago, and land a spot on the podium. But to still be able to achieve the 400 mark !!!! I pushed and pushed until the end and managed 400.376 miles, 1,453 loops. It was all very emotional for me

After all that had happened I never would have fathomed being able to get to 400 finishing 3rd female and setting a new record. It seems like a dream still, and there are so many people that made this happen. What I loved the most was the spirit of all the Athletes and crews and the staff. We survived the Dome because we had each other and it is a memory I will have forever along with all the amazing people who have touched my life In some way out there. All the laps shared with so many new friends. Thank you to Tristan

This was it, go time in a matter of hours. Jay and I loaded up the car to the petite ice center and get situated. I had done all the training physical and mental for months for this. As much as I felt ready I didn’t. How does anyone really train for An event that is multiple days? The anxious feeling of the unknowns that would occur over the next 144 hours were very familiar to how i felt before we left for the Transcon back in 2017. 6 Days in the Dome was my first legit multi day race, yes I had done a run from Santa Barbara to San Jose in California (350 miles in 7 days and yes my run across America 3,125 miles in 54 ish days ) but the Dome was an actual race ….the clock doesn’t stop. The main goals here are to obtain as many miles as possible, and maybe set a new age group record. This was quite a prestigious event, all the athletes here are legends, holding world and American records. Everyone had a story to tell. Getting to spend the next 6 days with them was a honor.

I Went in with the same mindset that I knew it would be hard as hell, but knew time off my feet is as important as time on. This called for expert support which was why I was so thankful Jay Lee aka El Jefe was there. He knew and always knows exactly what to do. And he’s family to me so That was also very comforting. He was the driver and my support in the road for Sandy Across America so we can say he knows me pretty well and what an athlete attempting this type of endeavor would need. The benefits of the environment seemed to outweigh the concerns ( at the time ) controlled temperature in a controlled environment. A perfect 55 degrees, indoors so no night gear needed here. Elements such as wind, heat, would not be a concern. The Terrain was ideal, flat and smooth, no gravel, rocks, or climbing ( don’t get me wrong some of those things are ok, but I’m a true road runner at heart. Give me a smooth buttery road any day of the week. The track was 12 mm lightly layered over pure cement. The Pettit ice center is more than just an ice arena. Opened in December 1992, the Pettit Center provides free training ice time to high potential speed skaters and was home base for eight 2010 U.S. Winter Olympians, including four medalists. It is also Known as a legacy of Olympic medal winners. Being invited to participate here with these elite runners was quite exciting.

That was it all was almost unloaded, time to get my shoes on and eat some breakfast. We started in 30 min and quick debriefing at 11:30. We made our way over to the start line, Mike Melton was going to review rules, lane etiquette and get us going. We were all required to wear this “timing chip” on our ankle for the entire duration we were here ( hence my sarcastic reference to “Dome Arrest”)

We were told we had to have it on as long as we were on the premises. Sounds like house arrest right ?? It didn’t take long for it to cause me problems as i don’t wear long socks so it was chafing my ankle 4 miles in already. Jay quickly remedied it by wrapping a bandana around my ankle underneath the “ankle bracelet “ otherwise that could have been a big issue if ignored.

The cool temperature was very pleasant ….for the first few days, it became painful to have to rewarm up again after stopping for meals or stretch breaks. The lights from the overhead cast a glare off the ice in the middle of the arena, so wearing sunglasses became a welcomed benefit that soothed my eyes as well as almost everyone else. I can only imagine what our herd must have looked like running around in sunglasses round the clock. Most of the time I had no idea if it was dark or light outside, and in actuality it didn’t really matter. The goal was daily to keep moving for so many hours and then off my feet. I wasn’t expecting to have a bout of tibial tendinitis and if you have had it, you feel my pain and agony. It was around day 3when it reared it’s ugly head. I felt the annoying pain in the front of my ankle. Wait what is that ?? No no no, not now. I was staying on top of my stretching and always Kept my shoes tied loosely. I knew the inevitable was going to happen so I might as well just ride it out as long as I could. You see I’ve had this before a few times and while it is the most painful thing I have ever had to deal with it just comes down to managing the pain, adjusting ice breaks and the painful massaging and the mental strength to tolerate the pain.

I was trying to stay On the inside lane as much as possible because I didn’t want to rack up any Additional steps or miles, but this was also where the sharper curve was. The pain eventually turned into the million knives being stuck in my shins and ankle forcing me to stop. I showed my leg to john who who quickly taped me up, that bought me some more time so off I went. Round and round and round, the cool thing was being able to see the zamboni Smoothing out the ice after the kids has practice. It had also become a part of our daily routine, and a good distraction.

Ouch ..I shuddered again with the shooting pains

I was forced to stop and decided to show Dr. Andrew Lovy. He was head of the medical tent but also a participant. One of the most giving humans who cared more for the runners than his own race We tried several things icing, wrapping and icing while running. It came down to me being able to tolerate what I could. As the next day and a half went on I was able to get a good handle on it. Jay was able to help me get my brace back on it which stabilized it so running was doable and not painful. I took several intermittent breaks to keep the swelling down, stopping and starting was taking a tole, the once thought cool 55 degree had become what I felt was freezing temps. When you stop moving in the dome you get cold and usually need a lap or two to warm up again. Layers came on again off again. By this time too sleep deprivation was kicking in. I could never seem to shake the internal cold I constantly felt.

By this time everything was blurring together. What day was it ? I wonder what was going on outside ? Was it sunny ? I had begun coughing quite a bit as it also seemed many of my peers did too. The air in here seemed stuffy and drying. Dome arrest ..hmm maybe I could go outside ? Get some fresh air …I later learned that many of the runners often went outside for breaks so I quickly did too. Wow the sun felt so good. I elevated my legs up against the wall and stared at the sky the small white clouds seemed to be moving fast, I wondered how many laps I had ? I tried to to look at the screens too much and just follow the line. Most of the time I could get into my trance listening to music and just grind it out. The end of day 4 is when the ultimate breakdown happened. The pain was excruciating and forced me to stop my entire leg had started trembling. The pain had turned to shooting pains I could no longer manage. Touching my leg became impossible. I really thought I was going to be done. I just can’t handle it anymore. I layed wrapped in blankets for an hour screaming and crying about the pain. I was freezing and couldn’t stop shivering.

Dr. Lovy made house calls so he stopped by and saw me. Made the recommendation that we needed to get me into a pair of tights or pantyhose. They would act as a an agent to pump up the build up around my ankle and shin. Jay and Roger put me to lay down on my little mattress for a few hours to rest to get ready for the last hours of the race. I was losing hope and feeling defeated. I can’t even run anymore what’s the point ? “You can walk out out you did it before” ( the voice of my guardian who wasn’t there Cinder Wolf played constantly in my head) “You walked out 60 miles on transcon when this happened “ “its ok to walk just walk with a purpose “ ( the other voice I kept hearing those are words from uncle Marsh (Marshall Ulrich) who also was a mentor and adviser as adopted uncle to me ever since the transcon. A lot of these last few hours reminded me of the pain and toughness it took to finish something so hard like a trans con, It’s mental I knew I had to be able to push out the voices telling me all the reasons why I should stop. You see what also has happened here over the course of 6 days was the runners has become family. I wasn’t the only one in the pain cave. We had all bonded and seen each other go through highs and lows. We would create these “ trains “ or as I like to call them “ pain trains “ to have some fun and encourage each other to get on board and keep moving. No runner left behind though that’s pretty impossible to do here going round and round and round …how many laps had I done ??

Moral support came from many runners and friends as I call them now. Soo many to mention. All having a special place. The hours seemed to pass slowly as we got down to the last 24 and I decided to work as hard as I could to make as many miles as I could. It was a push to the end here.

The Sandy power walk went on for hours, 17 to be exact. I decided to adjust back to a shuffle….slowly slowly wait I can run again !!!!!

Taking it a little bit faster now it felt good to adjust my cadence. I had been practicing a different style of running as a suggestion from Jean-Louis who was seeing me in pain struggling has made a suggestion to alleviate the pressure of my shin. I had been implementing it and it felt so much better. I was running again and the hallucinations were in full effect. The track seemed to be moving when I stared at it for too long. I felt like it was a trail with rolling hills,As the hours went on Mark says to me “you can get to 400 but you’re going to have to work for it, 400 is special not obtained without pain and not obtained by many” It was nose to the ground here I had less than 2 hours to get the last 10 miles in. As I pushed harder to keep it going I kept thinking how much it hurt tears welled up, this whole journey has played out not at all how I imagined. I was already so happy I had set a new American age group record a few hours ago, and land a spot on the podium. But to still be able to achieve the 400 mark !!!! I pushed and pushed until the end and managed 400.376 miles, 1,453 loops. It was all very emotional for me

After all that had happened I never would have fathomed being able to get to 400 finishing 3rd female and setting a new record. It seems like a dream still, and there are so many people that made this happen. What I loved the most was the spirit of all the Athletes and crews and the staff. We survived the Dome because we had each other and it is a memory I will have forever along with all the amazing people who have touched my life In some way out there. Thank you to Steve Durbin and his staff as well as all the families and crews who cheered us on. My husband and Jay for taking care of me so well. This is an event I will never forget …thank you to Trishul for showing compassion and helping me reset my head with new goals.Thank you to Steve Durbin and his staff as well as all the families and crews who cheered us on. My husband and Jay for taking care of me so well. Thank you Joe Fejes for inviting me, this will be one to never forget.

Here’s how today’s training race went down…..

Today’s 50miler was to be for training only. In my head I knew I would try and be consistent and strong. Troy’s California Trail races is new to me, and I figured a good trail run in the heat with the elevation (9k) would be great Badwater training. 50 miles ? ..sure no problem, I had 12.5 hours if I needed. As I drive up and park, I see a handful of runners…as we are getting ready checking shoes, filling water bottles and slapping on sunscreen I’m analyzing the course entrance, looks like it’s going to be tough! I’ve never been to this trail head before, so it should be interesting. As we get ready for the start, the RD is debriefing us and telling us what color ribbons to follow and oh by the way there could be possible encounters with Mountain lions, and rattle snakes. 😳 great, really hope I don’t run into either ! And with that we were sent on our way.

It’s a 16mile loop and then you repeat counter clockwise. The last out and back is 9 miles. As we all head out, not realizing I’m in front we take off( not intentional) . The first 4 miles was through some rolling hills nothing yet too intense , before I knew it I was in waist high grass and weeds. Single track, rocky, technical and plenty of bugs. As I’m making my was through the bush, I feel an itchy and burning irritation on my legs ( hope I don’t end up picking up a tic) who knows what’s in those weeds ?! I ignore it and keep moving, doing pretty good, the sun hasn’t come out yet, but it’s going to be over 100 today. Finally out in open trail, I make it to the first aid station. As I continue on, I’m falling into a good pace and keep moving. There was definitely some hills with a STEEP grade, my strategy was to still jog em up as not to lose time and the sun hadn’t hit yet, so I was making good time. As I get to mile 14 I see the speedsters heading back on the return loop. In my head I know I’m training ONLY, but I couldn’t resist counting ..hmm 5 men and no women yet ? ….I would be the first one!! So I push a little harder and sure enough when I check in, I’m told First female and in top. Heading back out, I’m thinking I can keep this up, I’m conscientious of the ribbons ( follow the pink ones ) I proceed to make my way back passing the water stations so feeling like I’m on route, I am still making good time and excited about the possibility of winning first woman in. Two hours pass I’m at 10 miles, great only 6 left !
I hadn’t seen anyone for a while, but I start to notice runners that were in the 50 miler event passing me from the other direction? .. I said well maybe they are dropping ? I keep moving and a runner I had talked to in the early part of the race, told me I was going the wrong way ! What ?!!
How could that be, I was following the right loop ?! Feeling frustrated I turned around and retraced the last 5.7 miles to try and figure out what happened and where I missed a turn off. The sun had come out, it was blazing hot, and it was in my head. Mentally I kept thinking about the time I wasted, and I could kiss number one female in good bye. I was frustrated, and tried to get it out of my head, just shake it off and keep moving. I hate the idea of wasting time, but tried to look at is as extra mileage for training, I tried to move faster, I was able to maintain a bit quicker pace, but lost that battle to the reverse extra hills and technical terrain. I couldn’t make up time like I could in a road race, I was seriously struggling. How did I go from doing well to fighting to meet the cut off ? I had to make it to the check in by 2:00 in order to go out for the last loop. I finally came in at 2:15, starving and thirsty and at mile 37.5. The assistant race director told me I didn’t make it and it’s not recommended I go back out, I would need to make 9 miles by 4:30 before I would get swept. I stood there for a minute and looked at all the 50k peeps sitting and relaxing and while it did seem tempting to quit, I couldn’t, I had to try. I refilled water, downed a Gatorade, grabbed a sandwich and went out anyway. I was mentally drained, I ate as I ran and realized the last 9 miles was TOUGH ( I found out later NOBODY attempted to finish ) the sun was beating down on me and I had no ice to keep my temperature down, I was feeling fatigue and my legs were itching and red from the earlier bushes. As I was making my way up hill, I calculated if I hiked the uphill and slowed down the run on the downhill, I could make it. I fought mile after mile and what seemed like an eternity made my way to mile 4, I was feeling nauseated and tired and could feel myself slowing down. More uphill in the open, I kept thinking to myself this is what you need, this is how you will feel in 6 weeks in DV fight it off and push, and I felt myself fall into a low and dark place in my mind. Full of self doubt, I kept moving and poured water from the water stations on my head and switched to my lucky hat. Unfortunately, there was no ice and the water was warm, I tried to make the best of it, and knew I wasn’t going to make the cut off. The next 5 miles were the longest miles of my life and I knew if I could refuel and rehydrate I could finish the last 9. I swear I was hallucinating as thoughts of how and where i messed up earlier replayed over and over in my head. I was mentally torturing myself and I happened to glance down at the ground and a rattle snake went slithering across the trail, I jumped and screamed. Luckily it didn’t bother me and I quickly moved past hoping that was all I would run into. Finally I saw the entrance to the aid station to check in. I looked at my watch and saw that it was 5…the RD was walking toward me, with concern and asks if I’m ok, what do I need ? Apparently they were going to start searching for me. I felt the waterworks start, as he stated the obvious and said I didn’t make it. I said ” but I can finish.” He said ” no my dear you are done, you are the ONLY one who made it this far and the ONLY one who tried. You got some serious guts kid and I’m proud of you” he sat me with the paramedic, and said to eat and drink, and make sure I was ok, someone would drive me in soon. I’ve never been driven in and I felt like a failure, I was so close I had made it 41 miles plus the extra 5.7. I only needed less than 4 miles. I sat quietly and tried to accept it, one of the other runners who was helping with the race kindly drove me back, he said ” your daughter is waiting for you.” That was the best news and unexpected surprise. As we drove back he filled me in on how tough this race was and all the 50 milers dropped down to the 50k. We pulled into the race start I thank him, and get out. I see my Shell and the tears start rolling again, she comes and gives me a hug ” it’s ok mom ” all I needed to hear. We sat and I rested a bit my head still racing with what just happened. The assistant RD asked if I needed anything, I was still thirsty so I drank more Gatorade. As we waited for the RD to come back we all chatted about other races, what to eat for dinner, and it felt good to get my mind off it. I knew I needed to shake it off and I will. ” Turn the page and move on” as my coach @Dave said. I was happy to know that they moved my DNF to a 50k finish. I look at this as a learning experience and accept that sometimes things happen. I need to remember that, and know I’m not a failure, 47 miles is pretty darn good, for a training run, and after all, that is what I came out here for, and In my heart I know I didn’t quit💪🏾 Tomorrow is new day. Maybe I will ride my bike 🙂