Keys 100miler in Florida, hot humid and totally new territory for me but why was I doing it because it was a challenge not similar to anything I had done and also I wanted to see how I would go in such extreme heat, how my body would cope as I was hoping to sign up for Badwater135 next year but I needed to know I was mentally prepared to do the race so here I was ready to tackle the Keys 100miles …160km …of pushing the body and mind to new limits…. and never really knowing the outcome.
Well what an .incredible experience… not sure where to start without getting all teary and mushy
My nerves and excitement set in pretty early and I kept to my plan and just kept ticking the legs over not trying to go out too fast at the start in fact I almost felt like I was going too slow so that was a good sign to me… I had a waist belt with two bottles on it
and had planned to go 50miles without any pacers and for the crew to meet me every 30mins roughly to change over the bottles and spray me down with water trying to cool my body temperature but as the day heated it was ice under my hat and ice neck bands ….anything really to give me some relief from the scorching heat.
I was certainly being entertained by my crew but in saying that they kept me focused too and they seemed to be working like a well oiled machine. Dan had binoculars and would perch in the trees to see if he could see me coming then the crew would get into action.
I could always spot my crew car as it was very heavily decorated in an Aussie theme, of flags, boxing kangaroos and my name and number all very colourfully drawn all over the car
I was pretty pumped to have my own crew car and soon realised how valuable each one of the crew were to me. Each one having their individual and very unique way to get me to that finish line and in my someone delirious state, very non talkative and indecisive at times they were the calming rational influence that just keep me moving forward.
To be truthful it is not always a pretty picture out there and I made them work hard with trying to keep me from overheating by spraying and icing me down……OMG when the sun comes out it is cruel and the humidity is even crueller….and at night the humidity got more intense…but that was always the challenge…how was my body going to react….oh yes there was vomiting and the good old runs to the nearest bush…..and after I apologies to poor Linda and Dan I just got on with what I was here for to finish this beast of a race…
It was awesome going over 7mile bridge and Dan was pacing me at that time was great to have the company and the views over the water were breathtaking.
Linda and Dan swapped with each other pacing me and Col kept the food, water and electrolytes into me as best he could until it just got all too much for me at one stage and I went deathly quiet think I was asked what I wanted…. I didn’t speak then blurted out “I don’t know” they told me to just stop for a few minutes and try to get some food into me… by that point I really just didn’t care just wanted to get to that finish line.
Off I went again ….one foot in front of the other then I started running again it hurt but I was fine well I told myself that anyway not sure it was true. Dan was pacing with me he told me get in the zone Sandy stay focused you are doing a nice pace…I think at that stage I was hurting my head was in a bad place my energy was dropping I was struggling to keep food in and mentally becoming more unfocussed…but that is where those words just took me to another place where I just plodding along I could do this I kept telling myself ….stay calm … stay in control… you are strong… you can do it…go to another place I said this over and over again.
Col went from spraying me with water and icing me down to rubbing my legs down, trying to get me to eat and did a great change of clothes on me at night they were dripping in sweat and I had trouble standing and it was hilarious now when I think of it…he gave me kisses in passing and then at one point he said something like you need to regroup stop for a few minutes and you will be fine..all I could think is do I look that bad so for the first time I listened and did what I was told….
yes I know I can do what I am told….
from there I got my sorry little arse on the way and as I passed the last checkpoint before the finish line they said you are first female. I looked at Linda who was running with me and said no way she said we hadn’t told you but the two of you have been passing each on and off for awhile between first and second place ..then she went past me again looking like she was on a mission I needed a quick change of gear, tried to get food down and just went back to my own head space ..really it was about finishing for me anything else was a bonus and it was still a fair way to that finish line and anything can happen to change you crossing over it that I did appreciate…
I kept telling myself only a marathon to go now…..ha ha ha…..well Linda got hers and my game face on …we played the game of running then a fast walking break and continued like this as best I could by then I knew the other girl was 15min in front of me and although I lost some time with a few good chucks and other un pleasantries… I knew I had given it my all….. I tried to catch her but it was not to be.
Words cannot describe that feeling …I wanted to get under 21hrs and they told me I came in at 20hrs.37min….
and yes stocked to be 2nd female could not believe in a race like this I would have even placed….so go figure…if you have it in your heart…mind….to do something just do it…you might surprise yourself….I sure did think others believed in me more than I did…..I know I have raved on seems to happen with all the emotion after a race…but with my first experience with a crew and not just any crew of course….I would have to say they made the race for me….it was team Sandy …and looking here at my trophy that is what I see each of their names on that trophy with mine….they all know how I feel and the journey has been awesome…golden friends are very special and I feel honoured and humbled by that whole experience……