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Monthly Archives: September 2013

(Contributed by Janeth Badaracco, Pamakid member since 2012)

Read Part I here.

Read Part II here.

The weigh in at Forest Hill went perfect. Up one lb. Things happened very fast. I remember sitting on the chair eating a nice warm soup while lots of hands were all over me. My shoes were off, clothes were everywhere. Like Pam Smith said in her race report, I felt like a pornstar. The girls kept me lubed, wet, and excited.

Best crew!!
Best crew!!

I was happy to finally see Noe. He started to crew me in the early evening until the end.

Noe Castanon “The Mustache” is like a brother to me. He has been crewing and supporting me ever since my first 100. He paced me at Rocky Road 100 and keeps saying he won’t help me anymore, and keeps “quitting me” every time. I love Noe. He is such a good man. A selfless runner who would drop everything to lend you a hand. We have gone through so many things together and I feel safe when he is there. The hubs will be in good hands. Noe is here!

I didn’t get to see my boys and give them a kiss goodnight. I got there too late and my parents had taken them to the hotel already.

Fueled and dressed in clean clothes, I was ready for the next section. This is where the race begins, as Coach Franz would say. If you can run this section and run this long sweet downhill stretch, you have done a good job saving your quads.

Lavy “My HURT Princess” would pace me until Rucky Chucky and I was happy to have her company. I knew she would push me hard and take no BS from me. I love this girl.

With Macklemore blasting “Can’t Hold Us” in my ears and my legs feeling good, I started running hard. I was in trail heaven and loving it. We ran hard and nonstop until the next AS. We passed lots of runners. I remember passing The Dirt Diva, Catra Corbett, and I knew something was wrong with her. I have never been able to catch her or even been close to her pace at any 100. I said “hi” to her but I barely got a “hey” from her. She eventually would drop due to stomach issues.

It was a clear night but hot. Lavy and I were sweating like crazy. We ran strong until Cal 3. It was tough watching runners drop at the different aid stations. Lavy would let me sit for bit while I ate solid food, and all I could think was making it to the river.

After Cal 3 my running turned into shuffling. I was getting sleepy and there was no way I was gonna even ask Lavy for a break. She would have slapped me – I was warned from the beginning. We still had another 5 miles or so before the river. I kept running behind her in hopes of getting some “sleep running” but she would notice and then run behind me. Dang it!

We finally made it to the river crossing and I was hoping the cold water would wake me up.

There was a line of volunteers from one end to the other along the rope guiding your every step. Rocks everywhere waiting for you to trip I thought. The cold water felt amazing on my legs and it reached above my waist. I didn’t want my pack to get wet so I gave it to the guys and they passed it to each other as I crossed the river. Now this is what I called full service! My crew just thought I was a diva. Meh!!

I could see Noe on the other end calling my name. I took my time to pose for the photographer of course 🙂

Mile 78, less than a marathon to go. Woohoo!

I was so happy to see Canadian beauty Kelly Haston still with us. Between her and Erica they got me all changed and perfectly matched. To my surprise, we were 30 minutes ahead of schedule. We were finally able to make up some time.

Ace would take over pacing me from here. I kissed the hubs and we headed up Green Gate. I noticed he looked tired. My poor hubby. Later on I would hear the story of “the freaking tote.”

To get from the car to the river crossing it takes about 4 miles down and 4 miles up on the way back. I had a drop bag at this AS but my crew decided to bring my tote just in case I needed something else. This tote had everything I might need and it was heavy (I heard) :).

Apparently, they all took turns carrying this thing up and down. Even Chris Jones had a chance to carry it since everyone else was getting tired and annoyed by it. I heard Noe was yelling at everyone and telling them to stop whining and that you had to be positive and do whatever it takes for your runner. I could just imagine the cursing and whining.

Picture of my precious tote.
Picture of my precious tote.

Even now I still have to listen to the hubs complain how heavy this thing was and how he had to climb all 8 miles in the middle of night while Noe crewed him and Kelly paced him. (He has a full crew now if he decides to run his first 5K. Just kidding!”Let’s boogie” Ace said as we started the climb up to Green Gate. I didn’t remember how long this part was. Last year when I paced him at this same race, We had Tony Nguyen crewing the crew and he carried all of Ace’s stuff. Good thing Ace only had a little tiny cooler.

Ace ran, I shuffled. Only 20 more miles to go and I couldn’t wait for the sun to come out again. Ace kept pushing those dang awful GU’s. At this point, I was so sick of them, but I was also sick of any food. I was looking forward to the morning pancakes though.

We ran, we walked. I was not sleepy at all. This was the easier part of the race but it was about mile 80 something after all and my leggys were finally tired.

I was driving Ace crazy asking him “what mile?” I must have asked him over 100 times. My watch had died already and I was wearing Noe’s watch since Foresthill. But I couldn’t even add 1 plus 1 at this stage of the race.

The sun was finally up and it gave me some energy – I was able to run for a while. Ace kept running in front of me and he would turn every few seconds to check on me. I was worried that he would fall and hurt himself, but he never did. Thank God!

Ace is the coolest and nicest guy you could ever meet. I met him in 2011 at a CTR race. We have run a few 100’s together ever since and he knows how to make running fun. He ran Western States last year for the first time, in sub 24 with hardly any training miles on his legs. He is just a natural fast runner. The Fool! I love Ace and Tiffany, his wife. Cutest couple ever!

We took a few pics once the sun came up, then we kept on going. I picked up the pace and we started passing runners. A lot of them were struggling and it was starting to get hot again.

We got to ALT AS and I was hoping to see George Miller and several of the Coastside Running Club members. I met George back in 2011 when I ran Miwok for the first time. He is a wonderful man who always has the best advice. He gave me the most valuable advice after my first DNF at Rio de Lago. I still remember and live by those words now. Thank you George!

Unfortunately, George was doing foot care this year and was at Foresthill. Bummer. I wanted that hug.

I saw Ron Little with a huge smile and beautiful Sabine helping out. Ron Little had DNF’ed the race Saturday due to some IT band issues. He decided to join his Coastside mates and help out all the other runners. Way cool! I ate and grabbed what I could while Ace took care of my pack.

At one point we caught up with Greg Lancroft and his pacer Loren Lewis.  He is such a fast and strong runner but he was struggling.

Running 100’s are no joke. It doesn’t matter how strong or fast you are – anything can happen in 100 miles. We all have good days and bad days. As coach says, train smart and respect the miles. But again, anything can happen.

Off to Brown’s bar we went. You could hear the loud music there from far away. I grabbed some pancakes and off to Hwy 49. I would see my crew there again yippie!!

The heat was definitely getting to me. At 8am it was already 85 degrees. It felt like a punch in the face. As if I hadn’t had enough heat the day before, I was getting another taste of it. This time I was not ready for it.

All the heat training really paid off for the first 25 hours. I sat in the sauna almost every day for the last two weeks while getting in trouble at my club because I was doing weights while I sat there. I had to maximize my time there – I couldn’t just sit there and watch other people eat or flash their business at me 🙂

Really, who eats at a sauna?

We approached Hwy 49 and it was fun to see people again and hear all the cheering out loud. I had one of the best smoothies here. It felt so good! I saw Jenni, Jesse, and Noe again. Seeing their smiling faces really gave me more energy. I got a hat from Noe and asked them to meet at Robbie Point so we could all run together to the finish. The hubs had gone to get the boys and my parents from the hotel and would meet us at the finish. 6.5 miles to go!!

Approaching Hwy 49.
Approaching Hwy 49.
Noe taking care of me.
Noe taking care of me.

We had a nice, gradual 2.7 mile downhill run to the famous No Hands Bridge. Once there I dosed myself with water to keep cool.

As we were leaving No hands bridge I saw Ken Crouse and got a “you got this” from him. I met Ken this year at the training runs in May and was introduced to him by Annette Mensonides, who was running States for the third time.  He had run WS in 2009. He was kind enough to give me a ride from FH to Robinson Flat. On the ride there I was also introduced to Tim Twietmeyer. Little did I know that I was riding with Western States legend, 25 time sub 24 finisher Tim Twietmeyer! It was an awesome ride listening to many Western States stories and getting some advice from the master.

To me the hardest part of the race was approaching. It’s only a mere 5K from this point but the last two miles are pretty much all uphill and the last mile on road. Really?

Back in February, we had the first training run and covered the last 20 miles of the course. I recorded every step from Robbie Point to the track. I had played and seen this part so many times, and always thought how much I dislike this part and knew that I would be struggling on race day.

The climb to Robbie Point was brutal. I was really trying to push hard but I was hot and feeling nauseous. Every step was a struggle. I lifted my head and saw Jenni, Lavy, Myles, and Noe running down to meet me. At that moment I knew I was gonna make it. All of a sudden I couldn’t hold it anymore and just threw up this nasty black stuff. Ace said that was so “cool”.

Jenni kept pouring water on my head and I started to feel a lot better.

We all ran up to the paved road together. There were lots of people cheering on the sides. That first grinding climb to the “Mile 99” sign is a killer, but I could not feel or hear anything any more at this point. I was just talking to my mom up in heaven. I did it mommy! I did it! Are you watching me? I was also thanking Pete for pushing me up those hills. He would be so happy for me I thought.

Janeth 19
Pictures courtesy of Myles Smythe. Thank you for being there!
Pictures courtesy of Myles Smythe. Thank you for being there!

If you know me, you know I am a cry baby, but for some reason I had no tears. I was just happy. Myles kept taking pictures of all us. At some point Ken “All Day” Michael joined us. It was the most wonderful feeling to have all my amazing friends running this final mile with me. I saw the white bridge and knew the track was within reach. My heart was pumping so hard. Macklemore’s song playing in my head “na,na, na, na, na, na…So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us.”

I stepped on that beautiful red track and saw my babies and my parents. They ran towards me and I held my baby’s hands and we ran together the most amazing 250 yards to the finish. Just like I had been dreaming it for a long time.

Janeth 21
Janeth 22
Crossing the finish line with my family. Photos courtesy of Myles Smythe.
Crossing the finish line with my family. Photos courtesy of Myles Smythe.

28:51:13 of the most wonderful, rewarding hours of my running life.

The big dance was over and it was a million times better that I have ever imagined.

Finally touching my buckle for the first time.
Finally touching my buckle for the first time.
She is a beauty!
She is a beauty!
Blessed to have a supporting and loving family.
Blessed to have a supporting and loving family.

My Amazing Family and Crew: My Dearest husband: Thank you for being my number one fan and supporter. You are my rock and I am nothing without you. Thanks for supporting this crazy journey of mine and living my dreams with me. I love you!My Parents: Thank  you for always being there and helping with the boys while I run all my crazy “marathons.” I love you!Coach Franz Dill: Thank you for teaching me to become a smart and strong runner. Your knowledge and support were key to my success. It was not easy but you helped me push and fight through all the obstacles that came our way during training. You are an amazing coach, runner, and father. Congratulations on your sub 24 finish!Lavy Sin: You are my “pacer” princess. I owe you so much and could have never done this without you. You are like a sister to me. You get me and understand my crazy life. I love you girl!

Noe Castanon: You are like my brother and you can’t ever quit me. You make me feel safe and know how to put me in my place when I struggle or whine, as you call it. Thank you!Andrew Ewing “Ace”: Thanks for being you and making me laugh so much. Thanks for dealing with my slow turtle pace. Please no more strawberry banana GUs!Jennifer Jimenez: You are one amazing woman. Thank you for taking the time away from your beautiful family to crew me. You always had the right words to say and kept me going strong. Thank you!!Erica Teicheira: Thank you for crewing me and for keeping me coordinated. I hope you had a great time and enjoyed the WS experience.Allen Lucas: Thank you for helping me with this report. I am an awful writter and you made it easy for me.

Thank you!!It took a village of amazing friends and family to get me to the track. I will never forget this journey. Western States is by far the most amazing 100 miler race out there. I am so blessed and proud to be part of the 2013 Western States family. I am already looking forward to next year. Running it or not, I will be there!On to my next Adventure!

With coach Franz Dill.
With coach Franz Dill.
My amazing Crew. Noe, Ace, Jenni, Erica, Lavy and the hubs.
My amazing Crew. Noe, Ace, Jenni, Erica, Lavy and the hubs.
[Editors Note: Janeth is well on her way to running three more 100-milers this year including the San Francisco 100, Headlands 100, and Javelina Jundred.]
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(Contributed by Janeth Badaracco, Pamakid member since 2012)

Read Part I here.

Own the day” as I started the first climb. Coach’s words kept filling my head. “Don’t go up too fast,” “don’t get stuck in the back train,” “take advantage of the cool morning,” “eat, drink” – so many things to remember.

I knew I had to push a little until at least 11am. It was a cool morning and I had my long sleeve “lucky” white shirt on. I love this shirt because it was the shirt I wore on my last run with my dear friend Pete Mingoa. He passed away last year from a brain aneurism. We both wore the same shirt on that awful race at Mt. Diablo last year. He would keep me safe, I thought.

As I climbed, I kept turning to appreciate the view. It was beautiful. I also kept my eyes on how far behind I was. I never saw Catra to get that hug. I hoped the hug I got from her the day before would be enough.

I made it to the top and posed for Luis Escobar. If you know me, you know I am always ready for a good picture. Most people don’t care too much – I do. These are memories that will last a lifetime.

Time to let my legs loose I thought. I had no cramps at this point. Thank you Jesus!!!

I started running; my legs felt good. I started passing as many runners as I could, trying to keep my goal pace and trying not to get stuck behind anyone whose pace was not mine. This was a big deal to me. In past races I had tended to just follow others and didn’t realize that I was running their pace, not mine.

The weather was still cool and I had a smooth run, enjoying the technical trails and views as this was my first time running this part of the race.

At Red Star Ridge, I picked up a handheld from my drop bag, filled it with water and ice, and used it to keep my head wet at all times. The run to Duncan Canyon was nice and smooth, and I was looking forward to seeing my crew for the first time on the course.

Coming down to the Duncan Canyon Aid Station.
Coming down to the Duncan Canyon Aid Station.

I was feeling good and strong at this point. As I came down to the AS, I could see my crew in their bright pink t-shirts. I got some hugs, refueled, and to my surprise, the hubs had gotten some Hi-chews for me. They are these Japanese delicious chewy candies in all different flavors. I started getting them for my boys, and then I got addicted to them. I was a little bummed I forgot to get them – I love to chew on them when I’m struggling on steep climbs. It sweetens the pain I believe.

The girls glamorizing their crew shirts. Loved it!
The girls glamorizing their crew shirts. Loved it!

Fueled with a turkey sandwich, Hi-Chews and hugs, I left happy and strong. I would not see my crew again until Dusty Corners.

It was awesome to see so many safety patrol runners on the course with their bright red Western States shirts on. You felt safe. I think I would love to do that if I don’t get in next year.

At Robinson Flat, I was happily surprised to see Pamakid teammate Kelly Haston cheering on us. She had just arrived from Europe the day before. She knows how to cheer me up with that potty mouth of hers.

I got myself soaked and headed up the short climb knowing that there would be a sweet downhill stretch coming up.

At the top, I rolled my ankle hard on a rock. It was painful and I had to stop for a while. I kept walking slowly, waiting for the pain to subside. Every time I tried to step all the way down, it would hurt. I kept running and watching my step, just stepping half way down.
After a few miles trying to figure out how to step without pain, I decided to call someone on my crew to see if they could meet me at the next AS to try to fix this problem. Unfortunately, there was no crew access at the next AS so I would have to suck it up and wait until Dusty Corners.

Once there, I wrapped my ankle really tight and prayed it would work. I was glad to see our Pamakid president, Andy Chan, and his wife Malinda. It was awesome to have so many members of our club along the course for support. This was the first time in Pamakid history that we had a full team at Western States. Colin, John, and I were so proud to represent our club. It was a little bit of a challenge for our teammates to follow all of us on the course as we were all running at different paces. There was super speedy Colin Alley, speedy John Gieng and me, turtle slow Janeth. Somehow, they managed to spread out well as I would see them many times.

Pamakids and WS board member Tony Rossmann.
Pamakids and Western States board member Tony Rossmann.

All wrapped up, I headed out, unsure but hopeful. The canyons were calling my name and I was ready to face them. I would not see my crew again until Michigan Bluff. Towards Last Chance I went.

This part of the course was beautiful, with views of Screw Auger Ridge. After a nice downhill I reached the Last Chance AS. My ankle was still hurting but it was manageable. I was looking forward to this AS. I knew Allen Lucas will be volunteering here with 600 lbs of ice. He posted on FB the day before that he would be bringing lots and lots of ice. I loved this AS. It had a Hawaiian theme and everyone was happy and cheerful. I got weighed here. I kept telling the guys not to say my weight out loud – it’s a girl thing I guess. Everything looked good and I was only 1 pound under at this point.

Next, I was welcomed to the “car wash.” Allen made sure I got sponged off pretty well before I headed out towards Devil’s Thumb. He took a couple of pictures and I thanked him for being there. As I was leaving I started to see these awesome signs on the trail and saw the one with my name. That brought a huge smile to my face. That Allen sure knows how to treat his runners. Thanks a million Mr. Notthatlucas!

Thanks Allen for the sign!!
Thanks Allen for the sign!!

I knew the next 4 miles would be fun. First, the descent is gradual, passing old mining equipment, and then it turns into single track. At this point, my right knee started to hurt. It was a sharp pain on the outer side of my knee. I figured this was due to my ankle problem as my form was a mess and my step was awkward. I strapped my IT band tightly and hobbled my way down the steep downhill. Fear and tears took over and all I could do was talk to my knee and bargain for more time. I was told once that if you talk to your injury and show it some love, you could find relief. I had been practicing doing this a lot over the year since my stomach issues and IT band issues started.

I kept bargaining with my knee. I kept promising it lots of rest and caring after this was over. Many of the runners that I had passed a while back were catching up to me now. I  knew my knee wouldn’t hurt as much going uphill. The swinging bridge at the bottom of the canyon was near and as I got close I saw my friend Chihping Fu. He decided to walk down to the river under the bridge. I thought to myself, why not do the same? Soaking my knee in the cold river for a few minutes would be nice. Plus, the 1800 ft climb with its 36 switchbacks in the next two miles would be hot and long.

We played in the water a bit and I watched many runners run over the bridge, thinking “you don’t know what you are missing.”

I started the climb up Devils Thumb feeling cool. The knee didn’t hurt going uphill and I started power hiking it with lots of energy. I had ran this part once before and I knew what to expect. During my training, coach had me running on worse hills than this and I really didn’t think it was a big deal. I was too busy talking to Pete and asking him to “push” me through the uphills.

I really don’t know why I picked trail running. I dislike uphills very very much – I guess everything else makes up for it. I love to talk to my “angels” when I run uphill. They lightly push my back and keep me going while I suffer on the climbs.

I could see lots of runners having a hard time here. I kept passing one after another and that made me feel good. I pulled out the Hi-chews and things just got sweeter. I saw a lady just sitting on the side of the trail looking spent. I offered her a Hi-chew and told her to get her butt up so we could chick some guys. She laughed and followed me for a bit. I really enjoyed this part on the run. The devil had nothing on me I kept saying to myself.

I could hear the AS station about 1/4 mile away. This little boy was on the side of the road reading our bib numbers through a walkie talkie (so they could have our drop bags ready I guess). He was getting eaten by bugs and offered the runners some bug spray. I passed on the spray and gave him a Hi-chew.

I was feeling a hot spot on the bottom of my foot here and I wanted to take care of it right away before descending into the next canyon. All those water crossings were keeping me cool but they were messing with my feet. I got weighed in again and was offered a Popsicle. It was just perfect.

I sat on one of their lounge chairs and one of the amazing volunteers started to work on my foot as I enjoyed my Popsicle and watched Chihping taking pictures with all the volunteers. I love Chip . He is such a nice guy with a beautiful smile. He was going for the grand slam of Ultrarunning this year. WS was the first of 4 100’s he would be running in the span of 4 months. Just awesome!

I felt like I was in a salon getting a pedicure for a minute. Everyone was so friendly and happy and we were just chatting away. The volunteer was taking too long so I grabbed the tape and took care of my feet right away. I needed to get out of there ASAP. I was still on time, but I knew El Dorado canyon was next. I fueled up and thanked everyone. This was a long descent and my knee was feeling a lot better. Between the IT strap and all the sweet bargaining I did with it, I think it paid off.

I had a blast running downhill listening to my crazy playlist. I think this was one of the longest downhills, almost 5 miles.

At the bottom of the canyon was the El Dorado Creek AS. I saw Tina Hyde and thanked her for being there. I was thinking, how in the heck did you guys get here?? Wow! Volunteers Rock!!! She asked if I had seen Annette who I had passed a long time ago. I figured she was not far behind me. I had a lot of cold watermelon and refueled my ice water bottle.

The next climb to Michigan Bluff will be long. Steep at first, but then it levels out towards the top. It was here where, for the first time in the race, I felt the heat. You know the heat you feel when you open your oven door? Just like that and just for a second. I dowsed my head with ice water and felt good. I had kept myself soaked with my long sleeve shirt on throughout the day so I had no problems so far.

I power hiked as much as I could. At one point I noticed that I had not seen any ribbons for a while. Did I go the wrong way on that 4 way split? This girl and I kept climbing and yelling out “hello” and “Kah kah” but no response. We decided to run back to that split. Half mile down we saw some runners coming our way and they reassured us we were going the right way. Phew!! We just wasted 20 minutes though I thought.

On my way to the top, I saw beautiful Jeanne running down. Always nice to see her. I knew I was close to the Michigan Bluff AS. I was sooo happy to see Jenni and Jesse there. I needed to change my socks. My feet were hurting. I was also surprised to see Ace who was ready to run with me to Foresthill. (If you get to this AS after 8pm, you are allowed a pacer from this point on.)

Jenni, Jesse and Ace providing foot care at MB.
Jenni, Jesse and Ace providing foot care at MB.

Jenni and Jesse helped me change my socks, but I had no socks there. Jenni just asked Jesse to give me his socks. Bless his heart!! Ace got my pack ready and we were off to Volcano canyon. I was so glad he started pacing me from there. I was getting tired at this point and it was starting to get dark.

This part consisted of dirt road, some single track, and some pavement. We stopped for a picture before the sun went down.

Janeth 14

“Let’s boogie” said Ace. Half way through this part Lavy joined us. I was so happy to see my girl. She would pace me from Foresthill to the river.

But right now I had both pacers with me. How lucky was I? I felt so good but my legs were tired from running downhill.

I was looking forward to getting to Foresthill. I would see my babies and change all this wet gear. We didn’t even stop at the Bath Road AS.

Read Part II here.

(Contributed by Janeth Badaracco, Pamakid member since 2012)

This is my first attempt at writing a race report. It is super long because I want to remember everything about this wonderful experience. Maybe read it to my children and grandchildren 30 years from now. I also wanted to share it with all my friends. I hope you enjoy it.

Running Momma and her Big Dance

December 8th 2012 was the day my running luck changed and I was picked in the lottery to run Western States for the first time. I had been waiting for this moment ever since I read Born to Run, over 8 years earlier.

I knew right and then that I would need to train smart and stop running  “junk miles” as I called them. I also knew that I needed the help of a great coach to get me to the finish. Franz Dill came to mind immediately. He is a 4 time Western States finisher, smart, speedy and an amazing guy. Plus, he lives on the other side of Montara Mountain, very close to me.

Lottery Day in Auburn. A few of the lucky runners. Coach Franz Dill is on my left.
Lottery Day in Auburn. A few of the lucky runners. Coach Franz Dill is on my left.

Training started in January and I was looking forward to the first Western States Training Run in February.

Part of the plan was to run many races and use them as training runs. In mid January I started having these odd cramps while running. At first, I thought it was a hydration issue. As time went by though, they just got worse.

After months of many, many visits to doctors and many painful tests, I had to deal with ulcers, gastritis and colitis while training. I don’t think I had one long run without cramps. None of the medications worked. All I kept thinking was you won’t stop me! You won’t win!

Lake Sonoma 50 was the longest training run with cramps. I hurt  the longest at this race, and to make it more fun, I got this awful rash all over my body due to the heat and antibiotics. To this date, I still have mild cramps and I have taken a break from dealing with doctors.

Janeth 02

What else could go wrong?

Coach kept saying “this is just making you stronger. Come race day, you will have nothing to fear.” Really? I was praying he was right. The long sleepless nights were normal. I would cry myself to sleep dreaming of those final steps on the Placer High School track holding my baby’s hands.

The cramps became a daily problem whether I was running or not. I was tired of dealing with my GI doctor. I found some relief with acupuncture but not enough. Listening to Kelly Clarkson’s song “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” was a must.

Race day was approaching and training turned into “running while managing the cramps.” What else could I do? Just suck it up and run. I might never get this opportunity again.

The Big Dance is almost here!!

We arrived in Squaw Valley the Wednesday before the race and stayed at my friend Erin’s condo, only 20 min from the start. I wanted to attend as many of the pre-race festivities as possible. I also wanted to enjoy some time with the family. The kids could enjoy some pool time and the hubs could get some rounds of golf.

Hiking up to Escarpment and attending the flag raising ceremony was my favorite. It was a beautiful ceremony and it was also the first time I would set my feet on the first climb of the race.

I was so happy to share this with my friend and pacer Ace Ewing, “The Fool” who had finished Western States the year before sub 24 hours. I had asked him to pace me the same day my name was picked in the lottery. After the flag ceremony, we hung out at the pool with my boys on top of Squaw. They loved taking the tram. I kept thinking “would they notice if I took the tram on race day?” Maybe not a good idea.

Ace Ewing and I at the top of Escarpment for the Flag raising ceremony.

Ace Ewing and I at the top of Escarpment for the Flag raising ceremony.

I was getting nervous at this point. The heat was getting hotter and hotter every day. While it had rained a few days earlier, talks about being a very hot race year were in full force.

Coach had me doing heat training a few weeks before the race to get me ready for the heat. I spent lots of time in the sauna, plus having the heater up high in the car was a norm. I was happy for a change the AC was broken in the Momma Mobile. The hubs was not happy and the boys were used it. I remember Ethan complaining one day and Josh said to him “it’s for WS training, just deal with it.” That’s my boy!

The Friday before race day was a little crazy. I was getting really nervous. My cramps were still there but not too bad and the heat was getting hotter and hotter. I  kept texting coach; I guess I was just looking for reassurance. I was also looking forward to seeing my awesome crew and all my running friends.

Ace and many friends were running the Montrail 6K challenge that morning. I had the boys with me while the hubs played his last round of golf. I knew I had to check in and go to thru the medical check – things were becoming real. I started to freak out that morning and kept calling the hubs to get back right away. I was getting upset for no reason. I was truly thankful when Jenni showed up and helped me with the boys while I went to check in.

I walked in and saw Stan “The Man” Jensen handing out the yellow wrist bands that I would wear throughout the whole race. Stan always brings a smile to my face; he is like my grandpa. I feel at ease when I see him and I just want to hug him. I took a picture with him and moved onto the blood pressure area. The lady was super sweet and told me not to be nervous and asked how I was feeling. I just started to cry feeling overwhelmed for no reason. I wished David was there to hold me. I saw my friend Janet Freeman, whose husband was running the race as well. She grabbed my camera and volunteered to be my photographer while I got weighed in and got my mug shot taken for the online tracking.

Stan Jensen helping with runner's check in. Love you Stan!

Stan Jensen helping with runner’s check in. Love you Stan!

Next, I was in line to get all the swag. Yes! I love race swag and I will run just to get some cool swag. I remember last year after running Firetrails 50 a week after running Rio De Lago 100, I was so beat up and tired and the hubs asked why did I do it? I said to him “I ran it because I wanted the cool jacket you get after you finish.” It was worth all those painful 50 miles with the sweeper on my ass for most of it.

I promised my body I would never do that again.

Next was the mandatory race meeting. The day was hot and there were few shaded areas left by the time my crew and I got there. Craig Thornley, the RD, introduced the elites, and all I kept thinking was how awesome it would feel to be that fast just for a day. I know that no matter how hard I try I would never be that fast. A girl can always dream though. Like I always say, I like being a middle of the packer. I get to “spend and see more” of the trail, mingle with all my friends, and there is still food left for me at the aid stations.

Well, that is what I say to make me feel better 🙂

He talked about the heat, hydration, and how we should throw away any pace charts. With all my cramp issues my goal of 28 hours had already changed to finish in 29:59 and now with the addition of high temperatures, I was doomed!

Team Ace back at it again. This time Jenni, Erica and Jesse would be joining as well.

Team Ace back at it again. This time Jenni, Erica and Jesse would be joining as well.

We headed to the condo hoping to be in bed by 7pm. I had prepared my pre-race dinner ahead of time and was looking forward to a nice roasted chicken and pesto pasta. I packed all our bags and got everything ready for the hubs and the boys so they would be ready to go on race day.

I kissed my boys and told them to be ready to run on the track with mommy on Sunday morning.

Feet taped up, I laid in bed thinking about the big day. Was I ready? Did I train enough? Does my outfit match? Will I be able to run 100 miles with cramps?

I couldn’t sleep. I knew Lavy, my HURT warrior and pacer was on her way. I watched the movie “Unbreakable” for the 110th time really quiet so the hubs wouldn’t notice I was up. Once Lavy arrived around 10pm, I just woke up and wanted her to braid my hair. They were mad I was up but oh well. She braided my hair beautifully and I finally went to bed around midnight.

The alarm clock went off at 2:30am to one of my favorite songs “The Beauty and the Beat” by the Bieber. I was ready to go.

Lavy drove me to the start. It was great to see most of my crew at the start. We talked and took pictures. I loved how awesome my crew looked in their bright pink crew shirts.

I knew I wanted a good saying on the shirts representing how I felt. The song by Macklemore “Can’t Hold Us” was  perfect:

This is the moment
Tonight is the night
We will fight til it’s over
So we put our hands up
Like the ceiling can’t hold us

Janeth 06

Janeth 07

Our Pamakid team was ready. John and Colin were gonna rock it. It was great to see a lot of the Pamakids there – Andy, Malinda, Tower, Tan, Jerry, and others. We hugged and wished each other good luck and headed to the start.

I am Peruvian and have lots of superticions. Believe me, it’s no fun.

I consider Catra Corbett my running angel; it just happened that she had been running at all the 100 races I ran in the past year. I always get a hug and kiss from her. To me, this is a good sign that I will finish the race (I know, it’s silly). Race day morning I kept asking Chris Jones “Where is Catra? I need my hug!”

I could not find her.

Team Ace ready to roll.

Team Ace ready to roll.

Almost 5 AM and I am here at the starting line of the big dance. The race I have been waiting and dreaming of for years. Wishing my mom was there and hoping she was proud of me watching me from above.

Read Part II here.

Read Part III here.