FINISHED! On Saturday, October 12, 2013, at six o'clock in the morning, I set off with a group of 27 runners, cutting a path around Canandaigua Lake 50 miles long. The first hour was pitch dark, the first thirty miles, a piece of cake. By 35, I wished I was somewhere else, and by 46, I became convinced that my vital organs were shutting down. Still, I ran. I ran the bulk of the race, walking only up hills and stopping for a couple minutes at each of the eight aid stations. Mom, Dad, and Boyfriend met me at four of those; seeing their faces and their arms waving as I crested each hill was like a magic elixir to my fortitude.
There came a point in each marathon I have run when I seriously considered dropping out at the halfway mark or a little bit after. That never happened at Canandaigua. I never once feared that I would not finish or tried to convince myself to quit. Every climb (and there were many) just promised another gorgeous view. Every ache in my legs, my hips, my back just urged me on. Move faster, finish sooner, I told myself, and it worked. I crossed the finish line in 9 hours and 41 minutes–9th place out of 27 women, and 46th in a field of 100.
Thanks to everyone who supported me in this crazy endeavor. It was painful and ugly and hard, but those nine hours (and change) were some of the best of my life. And runners, if you can run a marathon, you can run an ultra. Trust me.
Photos, from left: mile 23, mile 38, finish line.