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Ben Woodbeck Friday, 18 November 2011 11:08 TWEET COMMENTS 1

Pacing Diana - Page 9

I moved to the side as a scrum formed around Diana. After savoring the race at the finish area, we went back to our room and slept. Then, she awoke and threw up. This had happened before, her body simply not ready for food, still processing the stress of the effort.

I was worried about her a little more than I was in other 100s, because she had fallen so many times in the last 15 miles. Strange falls, on terrain that was almost flat. She tried to put on a smiling face. "I'm fine," she would say, "it will be fine."

I was most worried because, after 10 hours of sleep, she had not peed. She did not eat anything. She had drank very little, less than a dozen ounces since crossing the finish line.

Before the race, we were in Boulder and Diana bought a skirt, a festive, colorful skirt, but had not worn it yet. I saw it the morning before the awards ceremony laid out on the bed in our hotel room. She was in the shower, getting ready to go to the Hardrock post-race breakfast, to the ceremony where she'd get her finisher award, be feted a bit. In the past she'd dallied at the breakfast, talked with other runners about the race, that solitary experience that they had all had together, to hold on to it for a bit.

I realized then that she had gotten the skirt with the thought that if Hardrock went well, she would wear that skirt to the awards ceremony. I had listened to her throw up that morning, repeatedly, but she was wearing the damn skirt. The skirt said that it had, in fact, gone well, that the sacrifice was over, that our lives had changed now that Hardrock was behind us.

She wore the skirt and made a nice speech but did not want to hang out afterward. She wanted to leave. She slept for our three-hour drive home. She did not want anything to drink. She had not peed in over 24 hours.

There are things you learn when you run 100 miles. There are things you expect to learn. And you do. The old truisms, the anticipated verities: that through perseverance, determination, hard work, belief, faith in yourself, you can achieve things you had once perhaps thought impossible. You learn those things when you run 100 miles, at least that day you run the 100. Life tends to disrupt your belief in these things, and then instead of the 100 being a metaphor for life, things get angulated, switched up, and life becomes what it is: at times resplendent, at times a slog, at times it is 3 p.m. on an unremarkable day.

Maybe that makes you want to run another 100, to be reminded again.



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