100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

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100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby orleansrunner1962 » Mon May 27, 2013 11:19 am

WOW! Where to begin??

For those of you that don’t have lots of time, the short version is that this was my first 100-miler and my first trail race, we had a 30-hour cutoff time, and I had no idea what to expect..... I told myself I would be happy with 29:59, but I had a goal in the back of my mind of 27 hours (a number picked with no basis: just a number), so when I finished in 26:51:39, I was OVER THE MOON!

For those of you who have a bit more time, and have a cold drink to sip on, I welcome you to follow again as I try to take you on the adventure of my first 100-miler! (warning: this is long, but then again so is 100 miles!!)
We’ll rewind just a little to help put things in context. When I turned 50, I thought let’s have some fun with this, so I ran Boston on my 50th birthday, then did a 50 km and 50 miler..... how else do you celebrate 50??!! However, a funny little thing happened: as soon as I crossed the finish line of the 50-miler, I ran into my Husband’s arms, crying and said: “THAT was so much fun!!” – his reaction: “Oh ****, you’re doing a 100-miler, aren’t you?”, and my reply: “Oh YEAH”.... and the seed had been planted.

I picked up some books, read, solicited advice from some Ultra friends, and hired an amazing Coach. I started training in November (a 6-month programme), and adopted some cross-training along the way: Yoga, snow-shoe running, x-country skiing, and some weight training. I lost 10 lbs along the way, and felt on top of the world – strong, confident, healthy, AND HAPPY!

I got sick in the last week of taper, so did ZERO running (Coach’s orders). We drove to Sulphur Springs (Ancaster) on Friday morning, arriving in the early afternoon, set up camp and had a nice pre-race dinner and presentation from the Race Director. Hit the tent around 9:00 p.m., and had an OK sleep (it was chilly for sure, but it was really important to me that I be right at the race site.... I wanted everything to be as logistically simple as possible.

Was up at 5:00 a.m. on Race Day morning, got my stuff together with my crew’s help, and lined up for the 6:00 a.m. start. The race is a 20 km loop that the 100-milers would be doing 8 times. So I had broken it down that way. I had done up pace sheets with contingencies for 30 hours, 29 hours, 28 hours, etc all the way to 24 hours.... and had left a sheet with my crew. They were to monitor my progress.

Lap 1 – 0 to 20 km – Motivational Words – “It is NOT 100 miles: it is 8 loops!”

I headed out with one of my friends who was doing the 50-mile event. We stayed together until the first aid station – I was not relying on them, so I kept on trucking when he stopped..... the race course is absolutely beautiful, and I was just taking it all in, and paying special attention to the markers for the turns, as I would have to memorize this course to be able to do it in the dark..... the loop was pretty uneventful otherwise, and I came in at 2:27, and took a good scolding from my crew!! (My goal pace was 3:20)!!

Lap 2 – 20 to 40 km – Motivational Words – “It is the training that gets you to the start line; it’s the pacing that gets you to the finish line”.

Headed out, feeling strong and happy – nothing too eventful on this lap, other than taking in the beautiful scenery..... oh, and I took my first tumble (darn roots) – rattled me a little, and took me a bit to get my confidence back on track..... also, had a few negative thoughts on this lap: “I could do 50 miles instead – it doesn’t really matter”...... and then shoved that thought out of the way, and kept on trucking..... came in at 2:32, (remember 3:20 was the goal) and yep, another scolding from my crew. My friend, Jamie, who was crewing told me that they had a chair set aside, and that if I didn’t behave, I would be put in timeout!!

Lap 3 – 40 to 60 km – Motivational words: “Sweat cleanses from the inside – it comes from places a shower will never reach!”

Still feeling great, loving the course, the sunshine on my face, the runners around me – took another spill, rattled up the confidence once again, but dusted off and kept on going..... did a lot of contemplating on this loop, about why I was doing this: was it ego, was it attention, or was it what I had set out to do in the beginning – seeing where I could take my body..... decided it was the latter: I wanted to see how hard I could push myself, and if I was as stubborn as everyone says I am.... came in at 2:56 – crew was a little happier with me..... Hubby reminded me that I had already fallen twice, so not to be stupid!!

Lap 4 – 60 to 80 km – Motivational words: “No one ever drowned in sweat”

It was starting to get warm, but I was still feeling great – things were about to get a whole lot quieter as this was the final lap for the 50-milers..... Kept on enjoying the beautiful scenery, and taking in all the course markers, making sure I really knew where each turn was, and remembering any challenging sections so that I could know them well for the dark. Took a pretty good tumble on this loop – came out of it with a goose-egg, and some scrapes on my face, and a cut on my forehead!! Hubby was NOT happy!! Came in at 3:20:45 – THIS he was happy about!!

Lap 5 – 80 to 100 km – Motivational words: “Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer...”

This was all new territory – my longest distance ever had been 50 miles – 80 km. This lap proved to be the most “challenging”, and it wasn’t really even that tough.... I was a little quieter, a little less upbeat, but not any negative thoughts or anything like that. I did math, and calculated that I would be taking 5 hours per lap, and meeting the cutoff would be really tight (PLEASE NOTE: Do not attempt math after running all day!!) In retrospect, I would describe it just as “energy management, getting it done, no fanfare”.... My crew says that I came in looking somber – I think I was simply serene, contemplative..... Came in at 3:44:05.

Lap 6 – 100 to 120 km – Motivational words: “Find your limits and exceed them”.

It was now 9:00 p.m., and I had been running for 13 hours – Robin (from RunningMania) had agreed to join me as one of my pacers. We headed out into the dark for what would be Robin’s first time on this course (IN THE DARK). It was quite chilly by then. The moon made a beautiful appearance, bright orange and full – very nice. Robin did great, and I LOVED having the opportunity to chat with her – I feel I have a new Friend – the Company was great, and the time flew by. THANK YOU SO MUCH, ROBIN!! Oh, and YEAH ME – no more tumbles. Came in at 3:36.

Lap 7 – 120 to 140 km – Motivational words: “Everything is possible, but you have to believe and you have to fight!”

Ken (from RunningMania) agreed to pace me for Laps 7 and 8 – he relished me with great tales as we walked along ..... my knees had decided some time back that running downhill was simply not an option, and the uphills were too steep to run as well.... so walking it was.... we held a decent pace, chitchatted, covered lots of ground and lots of stories – THANK YOU SO MUCH, KEN!! Came in at 4:06

Lap 8 – 140 to 160 km – Motivational words: “Let’s go get that belt buckle, Dad”

Continued to simply move forward on this lap.... it was still dark as we headed out (5:30 a.m.) – I had now been running for almost 24 hours, and yet I was feeling really good. My knees were still in A LOT of pain, so we just kept walking. Ken was great, doing the math (good math as it turns out – he was not as messed up as me!!), and kept giving me updates every 5 km or so – I had told him that I had a “pie in the sky” goal of 27 hours, and he was on a mission to make sure I made it..... It was really nice to feel the sun come up, and warm our faces again. We heard the forest awaken, as the birds started chirping – we heard cardinals and woodpeckers, and saw four deer.

As we had about 2 km to go it finally became real that I was going to get this done – I just had to make sure I didn’t fall again. I kept walking, paying special attention to where I placed my feet, and all of a sudden we came to the final aid station at 19 km. Then it was up the final climb (it is a NASTY climb).... My crew (Hubby and my friend, Jamie) and Robin and her boyfriend George met up with us in the middle of this nasty climb and walked up with me until the final finishing chute. I got teary, now realizing that I was really going to get this done..... I mustered up enough energy to come around the finishing chute, running in to receive my medal and belt buckle.

My Coach was at the finish line to give me a big hug and tell me how proud of me she was. More tears.... Finished the last lap at 4:07......

So I now have a belt buckle to share with my Dad – I am very proud to say that I am just as stubborn as him!! He left me with some very valuable lessons: Be the best that you can be! Never give up! Stick to your guns...... Thanks Dad – Love you and miss you.....

I want to thank my crew and pacers – you guys took really good care of me, and made this the most perfect day. Saturday night was a really cold night, and they set their alarm to get up every 3.5 hours, knowing that I would be coming in, and to make sure I had everything I needed, then they would climb back into their sleeping bag, for another 3.5 hours, and crawl back out into the cold to greet me again – they are HARDCORE!! Love you all!!

As I write this report, I am feeling pretty good – I have certainly been more sore after some marathons than I am today. I attribute this to some great training. As a final thought, I would like to say to you that if you want something, set your goal, work towards it, and “get it done”.... EVERYTHING is possible!!

PS: I am already thinking about next year’s race – my 7th year wedding anniversary is in a few days, so I think I’ll wait until after that before I ask Hubby if he’s ready to support me in my journey to a 2nd 100-miler!! LOL

Last edited by orleansrunner1962 on Mon May 27, 2013 6:38 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Mar - Around the Bay 30 km - Done
May - Sulphur Spring 100 miler - DNS
Sept - Army HM
Sept/Oct - 50 miler
Oct - Pace Bunny - Toronto Scotia Waterfront
Dec - Reggae Marathon in Jamaica

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby BJH » Mon May 27, 2013 11:29 am

Congratulations Sylvie! That is a great report and an inspirational race. You looked strong each time you came through the start/finish (I was there until about 4pm).

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Darth Tater » Mon May 27, 2013 11:36 am


I'm in awe of your accomplishment. Congrats!
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby La » Mon May 27, 2013 11:37 am

orleansrunner1962 wrote:As we came had about 2 km to go it finally became real that I was going to get this done – I just had to make sure I didn’t fall again. I kept walking, paying special attention to where I placed my feet, and all of a sudden we came to the final aid station at 19 km. Then it was up the final climb (it is a NASTY climb).... My crew (Hubby and my friend, Jamie) and Robin and her boyfriend George met up with us in the middle of this nasty climb and walked up with me until the final finishing shoot. I got teary, now realizing that I was really going to get this done..... I mustered up energy to come around the finishing chute, running in to receive my medal and belt buckle.

This is the part of your report where I got teary-eyed, too!

Bravo, Sylvie! You are such a determined person and approached all your challenges with such a great attitude. :)
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Strider » Mon May 27, 2013 11:44 am


Don't really know what else to say. You now are the 100 miles runner. You now are the expert. You did an amazing thing. Enjoy every moment of this, now and forever.
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Stampie » Mon May 27, 2013 11:48 am

I have been eagerly waiting for this RR and judging from the pictures I saw on FB, I was sure it was going to be a good one. You did not disappoint whatsoever! Your report almost had me running with you. If I was still living in Burlington, I would have gladly, and without question, help pace you too. You looked so strong out there, based on the pics I saw.

Congrats on completing a HUGE feat Sylvie, you are such an inspiration!
PB’s (official race results)
5K – 26:20; 8K – 41:28; 10K – 52:13; 15K - 1:22:43; 21.1K – 1:54:16; 30K – 2:51:34; 42.2K – 4:24:14

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Robinandamelia » Mon May 27, 2013 11:49 am

Congratulations again! It was so amazing to be a part of this experience with you, and thank you again, for allowing me to. You looked strong from start to finish, never complained, and I had no doubt you would cross that finish line. I too, feel like I have a new friend. I guess plodding through pitch black darkness, trying not to slide off a cliff, and avoiding horse poop can do that! It was so much fun and I was so excited for you from beginning to end :)

What an amazing accomplishment, one that I'm sure you'll be proud of forever!

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby purdy65 » Mon May 27, 2013 11:54 am

Aww Sylvie.

Thanks for the report!! From miles away, I was thinking about you. I'm so glad you met and even surpassed your goal!

BTW - My father instilled the same stubbornness in me :lol: :lol: It shows itself in other areas of my life besides running.

Robin and Ken! You guys are awesome. I think I could listen to Ken regale me with tales all night too. He has so many to tell.
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Jwolf » Mon May 27, 2013 12:03 pm

Great report Sylvie! You really took us in there with you. I love the motivational words you shared.

I am SO happy you finished strong and where you wanted to be. Kudos to your coach, your pacers (yay Robin and Ken), your husband for his support, and of course to you for your endless dedication and strong training.

I was thinking about you all day Saturday and Sunday morning, and checking in with the updates. Your persistence and strength is a true inspiration.

Congratulations yet again.
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Tori » Mon May 27, 2013 12:16 pm

Congrats Sylvie! You are the most determined and dedicated woman I have the pleasure of knowing. There is never any doubt in my mind when you come up with these crazy plans that you will do fantastic! :D

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Miss*Smiles » Mon May 27, 2013 12:27 pm

And you totally just made me tear up at work. Maybe I shouldn't have read this on my lunch break ;)

Congratulations Sylvie. You inspire. you leave me in awe. You are strong, motivated, fit, kind, caring, and just all sorts of wonderful. Congratulations - your time is well deserved! I hope to be able to cheer you on for one of your next races!
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby runJrun » Mon May 27, 2013 12:28 pm

First of all congratulations on your first 100 miler and making your whisper goal! I have been following your training quietly from the sidelines for 6 months and don't know what else to say except your are inspiring! I am in total awe of your dedication and your words of wisdom are so true. I have often thought of you when I have had doubts of my abilities and thank you for allowing us to come along with you on this journey!

I love that you have such a supportive network around you. Soak it in and relax!:)

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Mon May 27, 2013 12:28 pm

I got teary just reading your report. What great training. I know I would've stopped at the place where my knees hurt. So glad all went well.
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby ngcaper » Mon May 27, 2013 12:40 pm

AWESOME!!!...just darn awesome. Not much more to say than that.
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby trixiee » Mon May 27, 2013 12:49 pm

Another teary-eyed female here too!

Such a fantastic accomplishment!

Congratulations!! :D

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Mon May 27, 2013 12:53 pm

awesome, awe inspiring, amazing, wonderful. congratulations!
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby ratherawkward » Mon May 27, 2013 1:03 pm

Amazing job! What a huge accomplishment.
PR's so far: 5K 27:15, 10K 55:25, 21.1K 2:10:53, 42.2K 5:21:27
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Nicholas » Mon May 27, 2013 1:44 pm

Amazing accomplishment, Sylvie. Having a dream and making it come true are very separate things. There's a lot of commitment and sacrifice that go into the second part. Congrats on making your dream a reality. And that hubby-guy...he's a keeper.

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Hammie » Mon May 27, 2013 1:48 pm

absolutely amazing - such an accomplishment!
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Doonst » Mon May 27, 2013 2:07 pm

next up:

This broken wing will fly again
One fine day
This blackbird's mute gonna sing again
One fine day

So all you sinners come out
And all you drunkards crawl out
Come into the light of one fine day

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Joe Dwarf » Mon May 27, 2013 2:27 pm

Amazing! I can't even imagine doing something like that. Congratulations to you, I'm sure your Dad is proud.

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby runfbrun » Mon May 27, 2013 2:43 pm

This is absolutely fantastic! Congratulations!!

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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby jes » Mon May 27, 2013 2:44 pm

Doonst wrote:Wow.




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100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Kelodie » Mon May 27, 2013 2:47 pm

Wow! What a great report. You are inspiring, Sylvie. Congrats!
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Re: 100 miles -- OrleansRunner's report

Postby Jo-Jo » Mon May 27, 2013 3:18 pm

Wow...what a report for a race well done!
You have determination and focus in spades!
I chuckled at Jamie threatening to put you in a time out chair...and got a little teary reading about your last loop.
Thanks for taking us along on your journey....so glad you had a great crew to help you out.
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