I’m finding it very hard to put the 3 Days at the Fair race into words. There is just too much to cover. Essentially, it was both a grueling physical endeavor and a great escape with friends,
The 100-mile distance has scared the hell out of me for years. It took me a long time to work up the training and courage to even sign up for this monster. I finally did, and have finished it twice. Both times took all I had to give, and annoyed me more than elated me. I felt as if I survived them versus conquered them.
That changed with this race. I finished strong…strong enough to take a victory lap. I knew how to manage my nutrition, clothing, supplies and moods. I’ve learned survival skills, how to adapt and persevere, and that no matter how bad it gets, it will pass. I’ve learned that I’m tougher than I think.
Now for the camaraderie. Jim and Marco---ah, what to say about these two. We met on race courses when the 100 seemed out of reach to any of us. Marco was the first to get his, and has now crossed eight finish lines (several with Jim by his side). I came next. Jim has crewed for both us during various adventures, and was ready to take on the 100 challenge himself. There was NO WAY either Marco or I would not be there when Jim grabbed his first finish.
The course is a one-mile loop in the shape of an elongated mushroom. We would go around and around and around (Big Ben…Parliament) 100 times. I know I can close my eyes, and pace out an exact mile.
It was a 48-hour race, so time was not a concern, but Jim had goals that were carved in stone (30M in six hours, sub 30 hr finish). Marco was more flexible. When I would ask him what lap he was on, he would say he didn’t know, but could name every runner on the course…he does have the gift of gab. I kept hash marks on my arm and moved at a steady pace, following the plan I set out for myself.
Jim ran with a fierce determination. This guy knew what he wanted to accomplish, and was driven to get there. I swear, the smile never left his face. He met his goals! Well done, my friend!!!
Marco unfortunately, got pretty sick and had to sit out a big chunk of time to recover. He still knocked out 100k and provided exceptional crew support while he was down!
I trucked along, doing my thing. I ran 101.
It is amazing to me that even though we saw each other often on the course, THE THREE OF US ONLY RAN ONE MILE TOGETHER. I still don’t know how that logistically happened, but we each ran our own races, with our own focus. That said, we were never more than a few minutes apart, and the support we gave each other is what made this race so wonderful.
I can’t find the words to describe the bond I feel with my brothers from another mother. But, I will say that the best moments probably had nothing to do with running. Whenever we would see each other, the laughs came easily. We know each other well enough as runners and as friends, that we were able to step in and help, encourage or chill. My goodness, there are certain moment that automatically bring a smile to my face, and I don’t think will ever fade. I love you guys, and I look forward to all the adventures yet to be!