Guest post written by Lynette Scansen – my awesome crew chief, pacer and mom
My first time to crew a hundred mile race: Pinhoti 100
My daughter Chelsie has always had the athletic gene and has been on so many crazy adventures that when she came to me with the thought of running a 100 miler I knew it was going to happen. The only question I had was: when? How much time do we need to prepare? I also knew that this would take the entire family as we were talking a 30 hour, yes, you heard that right 30 hour race time. Wow! Is this possible? People do this? Who? Crazy people, that’s who….
Chelsie did much research and ended signing up for the Pinhoti 100 for the month of November. She would plot and get very organized about her training. The whole family was on board and very supportive and asked what they could do, and the C.R.E.W was born. As prepared as we thought we could be we set off into an environment we had no firsthand knowledge about. The plan was to get a good night sleep, well that wasn’t going to happen, not until Sunday night. We got up early and headed to the start line, naive to what emotions and physical demands we would endure. I was excited that this day had finally come encouraging Chelsie knowing she was ready for this race. We were an hour early and I was so focused on Chelsie and her needs I hadn’t planned too much for myself. 15 minutes before the race start time the rain came and did it ever come down. I was wearing the only tennis shoes I brought and that I would be running in as a pacer 10 hours from this time realizing I made my first mistake. We were drowned rats before go time….
Ready, set, run! The race is on. Now we wait. Thankful that my daughter Tiffany knew I would not be prepared for the rain she hooked me up with a proper rain jacket and I changed into my rain boots. As we set up camp waiting for the 12 mile aid station we notice how prepared other crews were with tarps canopy and camp stove with hot drinks and food. Have they done this before? We start talking with others and met lots of people – husbands, wives, parents, children and friends from all over the country. This was exciting and we would start to recognize many as the day would progress. A quote from one women we met, “my boyfriend, her husband (pointing to the women next to her) is running”. Well everyone in ear shot burst out laughing as we thought she was talking about one man. It really was two men – you just had to be there…
Chelsie made it to the aid station in good spirits and was off again. Mile 18 here we come. When we see Chels she was down and out. She had been sick. Which brings me to the first reason I have no desire to be a ultra runner: people really go to the bathroom in the rain on the trails. We get to walk and talk with Chels changing her shoes and feeding her. This went very well and she would be off again. Next crew station would be her longest stay but it would be a little chaotic. We have a few hours first so we check in with all the other family and eat. Rain, rain go away. At this point I start to worry for the runners that did not have crew. I couldn’t imagine Chelsie out there without us 🙂 Another lesson we learned was that our GPS did not work and we only had one copy of the directions which did not fair well with the weather and all the hands on. We met at aid station 7 at 5:30pm and it is still raining and now its dark and really foggy. 10 ½ hours to mile 40. We had been organized with all of Chelsie’s change of clothes and shoes labeled but with the darkness we could not read. The crew is scrambling looking for what she needs. Lesson learned: next time we will color coordinate. We get Chels ready to go and her father-in-law and I take off. We walk while she eats and I realize I do not like my head lamp and Paul offers me his flashlight. I am hesitant because he would have to walk back in the dark but I was so thankful by the end of my run. Having a handheld light was a great lesson learned because the flag reflectors were easy to spot with the little light but not so easy with the headlamps. Now we hit the steep down hill. I would fall but then how could I not? It was crazy steep, wet and muddy (still raining). We hit a backup of runners and I watched my daughter take charge and lead us on. It was confusing finding the flags in a couple of sections it looked like there wasn’t a trail, which way do we go? Here is where several people fell and I thought these people were crazy. We were running down hill, in the rain, with streams knee deep, in the dark. I am not complaining just making observation. what are they thinking? Really; what? We get through this mile section and the part I trained for has come, running my 3.5 mile stretch, feeling excited that Chelsie let me into her ultra world. I just got a glimpse into the mind of the ones who push their bodies to the max enduring the severe elements. Most people quit at 40% of what they are capable of – not 100 milers, they give 100%. I have a deep respect for the pain they go through to get to the goal. I stand in awe of all who even attempt such a race.
My youngest daughter Hannah meets us at the next aid station to give me a break. I would go to the hotel and arrange to meet Matt and Sarah, the midnight crew. We have no cell service and updates do not come in very often. I am anxious to not be in the loop. How is Chelsie? Emotions all over and napping is not going well. But time goes by and Matt and I sit and brain storm at 3.30am drinking coffee (bad idea I will explain later).Matt fills me in over the last three aid station and Chelsie’s mood – grumpy… We need to come up with what foods to force on her and we head to Walmart and then on to aid station16. It is cold but there is a fire. We see Chelsie’s friend Melissa about 6.00am and we would stay together the rest of the day. Waiting but now it is windy with a little rain and daylight is here.
Then we had some drama at the fire: only 4 runners left on the trail and all others have been turned back but there were 6 families at the fire so 2 will not have a runner. Nervous waiting, 1st runner comes in 3 left waiting. Having to pee (coffee), woods here I come… Waiting. We are getting close to cut off time and our emotions are running wild. Waiting. There she is! 2nd to come out of the 4 but her time was right at cutoff so instead of eating or any aid she sprints with tears in her eyes – we are at mile 85 and it is 8.33am. Sarah, her pacer, fills her water and sprints to catch up with Chels. All I can say is, “you got this” because I wanted to burst out in tears. I saw and felt her pain and disappointment of cutting it too close. Worried making the cutoff to the next aid station. Aid station 18 here we come. We get lost but we find aid 17 and they tell us she was 10 minutes before cutoff so we can breathe a little. She doesn’t stop at the aid station because of time but Matt would take over for Sarah. Off they go to the finish line. At this point it is 11.00 am and I know Chelsie will complete her goal. Of course it is raining but I don’t think you can get any wetter than I was. Rain you can stay because you did not discourage my finisher. Feelings of pride ran deep. That term living through your kids vicariously, well that was me. Even though it was Chelsie that ran the 100 miles I can say that I did finish my first 100 miler. I survived the nail biting, ever waiting, always raining Pinhoti 100 Crew. After 29 hours and 41 minutes my Chelsie crosses the finish line and I proudly say we did it!
Chelsie’s race displayed physical endurance and is an illustration of how I want to finish my spiritual race:
Hebrews 12:1&2 – Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.