I awoke very early on Saturday to the sound of my wife’s alarm. She wanted to get some food in her stomach early, so that she could get it starting to process before she began her race. She had been looking forward to the Moose Mountain Marathon all year, and this was her big goal race of the year. She was dialing in everything she could to make it as successful as possible.
Once we were all up and ready to go we headed to the start line down at Cramer Road. We arrived in enough time for her to hit the bathroom and then line up for the start. I took the opportunity to check in with folks and see how things were going. I trotted down the road a bit to get some video of the start, and waited for the gun. The lead runners streaked past me at lightning speed, which meant I had to run hard to get to the next vantage point I wanted to be at for a video. I made it in time and captured the last time that the runners would be close enough together to get a video of the entire field.
Once we finished up at the start line my mother-in-law and I headed back to the house for a short bit before going to see Lisa at her next stop. The Temperance River aid station isn’t accessible by crew other than 100 milers, so we had to take the next best opportunity which was the bridge crossing right near Highway 61. We parked and made our way up to the bridge to wait. Soon enough Lisa came down the hill, looking and feeling great. She was having an amazing time and was happy to see us (and even more happy that we had her cans of Mountain Dew for her).
She quickly downed her drink and was back at it for the climb up Carlton Peak. We made one more stop by the house to kill some time, and then moved on to the Sawbill aid station. Based on Lisa’s goal time, I figured she would be coming in around 12:30ish. I set up a chair for mom to relax in, and then wandered around taking a few pics and chatting people up. All of a sudden, Lisa was there. A full 30 minutes earlier than anticipated. In retrospect my times were off because of some miscalculations of distance, but she was still WAY ahead of pace.
We got her another can of Mountain Dew and she was back on her way. We then decided that we should head straight to the next aid station, and not dawdle, since it was only 5.5 miles away. We pulled into the awesome TCRC party that is Oberg, and waited. Based on her new speed, Lisa showed up close to when we expected, and once again it was another whirlwind stop. She was feeling great and having a great time. She declined using poles and headed back out to the trail.
From this point on it was just a quick drive for us to the finish line while she tackled the legendary Moose and Mystery Mountains. I admit I was a little jealous since those are two of my favorite spots on the course, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I was most certainly getting my steps in. I was also overjoyed to let Lisa have this amazing day and to be the center of attention for the incredible job she was doing.
We arrived at the finish and it was time for me to grab a beer. It was all about relaxing and taking it easy at this point while we waited. It was also a time to soak in the party atmosphere of the finish and cheer on all the amazing runners coming in. My friend Mike W. was taking photos of the finishers, and since he saved my butt the night before, I happily gave him a break and took over shooting runners.
Mike returned, and I went back to congratulating and socializing when all of a sudden I hear Lisa’s name over the PA system. All of my friends next to the finish line scream, “Jamison! GET BACK HERE!” I run over, and manage to capture a nice video of her crossing the line, exhausted, but smiling one of the biggest smiles of her life.
Her goal time: 9:00:00
Her finish time: 8:14:50
She absolutely crushed the course, and had a great time doing it. I remembered the feeling I had when I did Moose Mountain a couple years ago, and I was elated that she also got to have some of that amazing feeling of accomplishment. We hung around for a while and got some dinner, shared with the wonderful Robyn R., and soaked up the atmosphere. Eventually, Lisa was ready to head back and get showered and rested. We drove the 7 miles back to the house we were renting and got cleaned up and started coming down from the day.
Around 7pm I realized that I was about to fall asleep, but if I fell asleep too early I’d be awake at 2am. So I made the decision to head back to the finish line and hang out for a bit longer. I was so happy that I did because I made it back in time for the award ceremony. This is a ton of fun because the ceremony is always getting interrupted by more runners trickling across the finish line. Because so many people were still around, the cheers for each and every one of these runners (coming in after dark) was robust and joyful. It was an amazing experience to give all of these people such a warm welcome.
At the award ceremony we got to honor not just the winners of the race, but some amazing accomplishments as well. In particular, Susan Donnelly who was finishing her 100th 100 mile race. Shortly after the awards wrapped up I had the pleasure of video’ing our second 100th 100 mile finisher, John Taylor. It was an amazing way to wrap up an incredible evening.
Shortly after this, my friends and I headed back to the house to tuck in for the night. When I arrived my wife (much to my surprise) was wide awake, still riding her caffeine high. We all gathered in the living room and started to decompress from the day. Sitting around with a beer, talking about trails and trail running was the perfect way to end an amazing day.
We finally went to bed and tried to stop our minds from running 100mph. The next morning there was a breakfast gathering back at the finish line with some friends, before I started my 4 hour trip back.
As always happens after these weekends, it’s hard to get back to real life. Coming together with my trail family is always such an amazing experience that it’s hard to realize that there is anything other than trail life. Sometimes, I get a sense of dread before these weekends, thinking maybe I should just “get out” and get involved with something else. Then, I don’t have to keep saying good-bye to these amazing experiences. It’s a silly thought, and one that I recognize, but it just goes to show how powerful it can be to be a part of such a rich and loving community.
Many of my friends have already started their countdown clocks for next fall. I know that I can’t wait until I get to do this all over again. As a slowly developing “trail person”, a weekend with other trail people is the energy that keeps me going, building myself into more and more of the person I want to be.