I made it to the top of Goat Hill and it was hard like I knew it would be .. but when I got to the top I was so relieved (whew!) Just past the top of the hill there was the second to last aid station .. I did my last regroup and headed on down the hill.
I knew the next 5+ miles of the course so well, they have been my least favorite on all of our training runs and not because they were particularly hard to run, but for some reason they had always been mentally challenging for me. This day I didn’t even let that thought into my head .. I just kept looking forward .. I can do this .. I will finish this .. I am strong.
Miles 27, 28, 29 all slowly one by one .. done. By this time I could really start feeling my feet, but I was not defeated. I knew I was close .. talking to runners the last few miles as they passed me, and I them, leap frogging the rest of the way, was comforting somehow. We were all there at the same mileage .. with the same goal — FINISH!
Just as I crossed over Highway 49, and with under 2 miles left of the race, I passed the final aid station and dug deep. This part of the course is not flat or smooth, rocks and a bit of an incline .. time to give it your all before you’re done. Then something came over me .. I could feel happy in my soul, my entire body felt like I was running effortlessly. I knew what was up around the corner .. step by step closer to the finish. As I passed the “1 More Mile” sign .. I could feel my smile growing, I said out loud “I am going to do this .. I am an Ultra Runner .. I am so thankful for my body!”
Around the last muddy bend I could hear my name from friends, see people waving, cheering and clapping, .. family, runners, strangers, friends .. I was high-fiving whoever was willing – I was listening for my name to be announced as I crossed that finish line .. smiling all the way! Yes at some miles it was hard .. somehow I felt great .. that day I had no self doubt .. another lesson learned!
I am an athlete .. I AM AN ULTRA RUNNER!