Emily with her plaque - the lake and race course! FIRST WOMAN!
This past weekend I drove to western New York to watch Emily in her first 50 miler. She KILLED it but more about that to come.
But I finally arrived in Rochester, NY where I stayed with someone Emily knows through running. She and her family were wonderful hosts! Em and I went and got her race stuff and returned "home" for a pasta pre race dinner. We were up dark and early the next day at 4:00 ish to a downpour! Emily packed about a thousand things she might need and we drove about 25 minutes to the race start. It continued to down pour and it wasn't exactly a balmy temperature either. It turned to a drizzle before the start but of course everything was soaking wet. I started my day of finding the aid stations and trying to anticipate Em's needs. It took a bit for us to find our groove but we did. It worked best to stop, run out to Emily, find out what she wanted and drive ahead and have that item ready for her. She would often say in two miles or whatever distance she thought would work. I would go as close to that distance as I could with finding a pull over spot. Everything had been organized in the car but it didn't take long for that to dissolve.
Nice foliage but overcast.
Emily in blue running with some of the 50K runners.
She also had me tweeting, something I don't do and it also took me some time to remember to do it and to find my groove for that as well. Once I did it was rather fun and I was also trying to put some stuff on my Facebook account. But we did find what worked for Emily as a racer and me as a "handler." It was a great race as you could drive most of the course and really help out and see your racer.
I had a hard time knowing what place she was in as some runners had started early and then at 10 all the 50K runners started and were intermingled with the 50 Milers. I did keep seeing some of the racers over and over. There was one guy in a bright green shirt that was a ways ahead of Em so I when I saw him I knew about it would be a bit before she might be coming. That didn't always work. One time I was reading when she ran by and tapped the roof of my car. I thought I had a lot of time before she would get there. I was always amazed at how quickly she kept coming. I had thought of bringing my bike and riding the race course. I'm glad I didn't do that as I had all I could do to keep up with her in my car.
She's pretty much on her own now, this is one of many hills.
I found myself eating her junk food as I waited. I didn't think she was eating enough but she explained her plan to me after the race when I mentioned this and she certainly did have it under control.
At some point (in the 30s?) she told me she was the first woman. By this point she was running alone most of the time. Once she passed 35 miles every step was new personal distance for her which was awesome.
The last ten miles were amazing. She dedicated each one of them and had me tweet who she was dedicating them to to help inspire her to keep going strong. I would barely get this tweeted and get to the next mile before she did. I know that my daughter is a strong racer but yesterday I could really see it myself. I watched her just get faster as she neared the end of the race. I watched her having an amazingly positive attitude in spite of crummy weather for most of the race, unbelievable hills and 50 miles of running. Well, not just running, racing!!! And I do mean racing. I loved watching her pass people in those last ten miles. She did it again and again and again. That guy in the bright green shirt that had been way ahead of her.....history! And she was smiling and appearing strong throughout these ten miles. Then she met up with a friend from DC who was doing the 50K. The two of them were chatting and appearing to have a great time. Chatting after 45 plus miles? Smiling? Both of them were awesome! When I drove ahead to get to the finish line there was one more guy in sight ahead of Emily. I almost missed her at the finish line because I was watching for him. Well surprise or really no surprise, he was one more guy whom Emily breezed past to become the top woman and third racer overall! In her first 50 Miler! She was shooting for 8 hours and killed it in 7:34: something! Wow! And she didn't appear dead! What a race! What a day!