Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Crewing the Cactus Rose 100M

Cactus Rose 100M Endurance Trail Run
Bandera, Texas
October 29, 2011

I honestly have to say that I have met the most amazing people through running. There is an unwritten rule that runners help other runners. You don't think twice about it, you just do it because you want to. It's who we are in the running community.

I have been running with Jeremy for the past few years. A little group of us would get up before the roosters and start running in Grapevine before the sun came up. Our goal, get as many miles in before that giant fireball in the sky zaps the life out of us.

Last year, I had a disaster marathon in Chicago. I plotted my revenge marathon as I always do. Jeremy told me he was going to run it with me. He knew how upset I was after Chicago and he wanted to help me achieve a goal that was important to me. He didn't need to run a marathon. He just wanted to help me.

When Jeremy said he was going to make Cactus Rose 100 his first 100 mile race, I immediately jumped at the chance to help out in anyway I could.

According to the race director, Cactus Rose is no joke...."No whiners, wimps, or wuses: A nast rugged trail run. Bonus points for blood, cuts, scrapes and puke." He means every word of that. Unlike most 100s, this race is UNAIDED. This means, there is water and ice at the aid stations. You want anything else, you figure out how to get it there. My job was to ensure Jeremy has his food, electorlytes, whatever else he needed at every aid station.

First of all, I love crewing. I really do. There is something amazing about helping someone do something epic--being part of that magic. And selfishly, I wanted to see what this trail is all about because I am considering Bandera 100K.

You learn a lot when you are crewing -- how to fuel, how to run certain sections, what do you do if you are feeling sick. If you are considering an ultra, the best way to prepare is to go out and crew and pace someone.

I also had the opporutnity to help other runners at the aid stations while waiting for Jeremy. From giving someone advil, to asking them if they are ok, to getting them water, or just offering them some words of encouragment.

Another friend of mine, Reece was also running his first 100 mile race at CR. I mentioned to Reece on a trail run the weekend before that he should try to run with Jeremy for the first 50. They are about the same pace. They chattted and agreed they would try, but they are running their own race and if they split, no hard feelings.

Well, a lot happens out there on the course. When 50 miles rolled around, I kept hearing these exchanges between them at the aid stations, "hey wait up", "just need a few more seconds." At 65, I joined the boys to pace on the toughest section of the trail. They were asking each other for damage reports, telling each other to walk or run. I said something about going forward since they each had pacers now. Reece said, "Oh no. We are sticking together for the entire 100 miles." I was a little suprised. They had made a promise to each other to cross that finish line together. So at this point, us pacers were really there for comedic relief and to keep them on the trail!

I guess my point in all this is that the running community is full of amazing people. The ultra running community is full of really freaking amazing people....whether it's "hey do you have any body glide", to giving someone encouraging words to get them through that next mile, from random strangers who agree to pace you.

Reece and Jeremy ended up pulling together to help each other get that belt buckle. And honestly, this is so true of their personalities. Either one of these guys would drop anything to help another runner out.

Crewing and pacing Jeremy was my small way of saying thanks for his years of friendship, stupid crazy early morning runs that required him listening to my whinning, complaining, bad jokes and singing before the sun comes up. But also, I guess I'm paying it forward because I know when I do something epic, I can count on him.

My Ribsy wrote a blog on the epic adventure! Check it out here.


  1. I would not have been able to do one hundred miles at Cactus Rose without your help. Don't hesitate to ask for my help whenever you have epic stuff planned. I'll be there to help.

  2. The brother/sister hood of have to join to understand, don't you.
    Loved the story...hope to see out there someday.