An Ancient Oaks 100 Finish with Thanks to My Ultra Family! : Run Natural Coach Blogspot

An Ancient Oaks 100 Finish with Thanks to My Ultra Family!

by Dawn Lisenby on 01/05/18

What can I say...I like my 100’s to be extra challenging! But doing AO 100 10 weeks post Grindstone may be taking things a bit too far. ?? From the beginning my legs just had nothing. I kept thinking they would come around after a few more miles, as sometimes after 10-20 they begin to loosen up, but they just never did.

I figured it was the Grindstone elevation still sitting in them and resigned myself to a training run of 50k, if lucky 50 miles, as I knew my friend Michael was coming to run 20 or so miles with me. But when he showed up saying he wanted to get 50 overnight miles in as a training run, I could not disappoint him and was determined to carry on come what may! I was so glad I did, as we had SO much fun talking, and navigating the roots/sand together. It really was a most wonderful night. Thank you Michael so much!

The last 21 became a struggle. Compounded by an already aggravated calf strain from Grindstone, that reared its head once again 2 weeks prior and required my walking all soft sand sections of course from the beginning. It most likely is to blame for my spraining my ankle going into the last 10 miles, making it a suffer fest of epic proportions. But I was determined to get my finish, being so close to it and coming that far.

I have never gone to such a dark place to get a race done, literally collapsing into a chair at the finish. I was barely able to stand up, let alone make it to my car, because as soon as I finished I could not bear any weight at all on my ankle. It is crazy what adrenaline will do.

After being assisted there, I tried to lay down, as was so tired. But then I realized the two runners I coach would be coming in shortly for their FIRST 100 mile finish, which I wanted to see. I drove over to the start, where once again I was assisted out of the car into a chair. I was so very proud, happy and inspired by seeing Ivana and Maya run strong to the finish, on a tough day, that included 33 DNFs and only 22 finishes! And to get to spend time on course with both of these very incredible ladies! 

I went into this race solo due to my best crew gal, Carla getting sick race week.
But the ultra community never let me feel so. To Scott assisting me during the day to fill my bladder or get ice. To Brandice; running a most FUN loop with me, changing batteries, and driving me home, when due to my ankle I could not drive. As well as, loading my van up at race AND unloading it for me when I got home! Conspicuously Bruce was not around for this. ??. Although he did offer much encouragement and laughs throughout the day.

To my beautiful, inside and out, gal Darlene that I got to run 2 cherished laps with. A VERY bright spot in my day. To Matthew who carried me to and out of my car and loaded it, cracking me up the entire time. To Tamiya, who although I never let help with my lube as he offered many times LOL, did give much needed and appreciated shoulder massages. To my sweet Julie and CB Pops for their continual words of encouragement and inspiration they provided on course watching them achieve distance pr’s. To a Heather and Tim sighting, words and hugs that boosted me BIG time!

To Christiañ for his lending me a bladder and example on course of fighting through to get a badass finish! To giving/receiving motivation on course from my ULTRA idols; Jeff, Andy, Jim, and Bernadette. To sharing a enjoyable lap with Mike, whom I never have talked with before, but was super impressed by him gutting it out to the finish.

To the amazing volunteers; Lynsey, Michael,Jeff, Tony and Juan; for staying up all night, your cheers EVERY lap and help. With Juan even, out of his own volition, running food out to me on course multiple times! You are a gem! 

Lastly, to the man, Mike Melton, who I have come to LOVE spending time with over the years, as I watched him encourage many a runner over a finish line at my races. I was so excited to finally get my chance for him to do so for me, with that smile and his unique way, to a 29:35 finish. Making me the 6th OA female out of 14. Thanks to my sponsors for always helping me finish strong in style!

The enchanted forest is not just so because of the splendor of it’s TOUGH course, but because of a community that gathers there once a year to encourage others to achieve what few do. I will forevermore be there to support it, as it truly it is a special place and AO 100 a most special race.


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Photo Credit: Carla Cellini