Kathy Sebright

Writer. Speaker. Believer. Runner. Truth Enthusiast.


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Out of the darkness – 100 miles for Emmett

Facebook-20150707-033950On June 20th, almost 3 weeks ago, I ran 100 miles for “Emmett’s Endurance Event.” And then I went on vacation and then it was the Fourth of July and then I realized I never wrote about it. And as we all know, inside the mind of a writer (if I can be so bold as to call myself that these days) it’s almost as if it didn’t happen if I don’t recreate it with words. So if you are so inclined to read about my latest running adventure, for my son Emmett, and the deep dark ugly parts and the parts where I beamed with pride, read on.

I woke up on Friday, June 19th at 5:15. I didn’t have to be up until 6am, but I couldn’t sleep. I drug myself out of bed and started my pre run routine. When I got to the pile of clothes that I would start out this run with, I was transported. I stared at the white shirt with pink letters with a kind of disgusted fascination. I had bought it special for that day 3 years ago. And 3 years ago, when I stared at this same exact shirt that proudly proclaimed me as unstoppable, I felt like a fraud. I didn’t feel unstoppable, I felt afraid and nauseous and like running away. But that was then and this is now. As I put the shirt on, I knew I had grown into it. I truly believed what it said. And I say that not with arrogance or conceitedness or to pat myself on the back, but to remind myself. I am unstoppable. I have seen worse. I can do this. I can survive anything. I cannot be stopped. I will keep going. Somehow. Someway. I will. And with that in mind, I finished getting ready and took off running full of determination.

When attempting to run 100 miles, time ceases to exist. It’s just me and my legs fighting against my mind. As far as running goes, the first 10 hours were pretty uneventful. Friends came to keep me company and decorated my home base camp with all kinds of signs. I wandered around in the huge campground for a few hours, before deciding on a 5 mile route so as to never be too far away from my people and so I could be easily found.

Facebook-20150707-031330I ran and I ran and I ran. It got hot and I ran. Things hurt and I ran. I got really tired and I ran. I got cranky and I ran. I got discouraged and I ran. I got blisters and I ran. I wanted to stop running and I ran. I just kept going. That’s how you run 100 miles. There is no secret. You just keep going. You shut off everything else and just keep going. If my previous races had taught me anything, it was that once I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to stop. The dam would break and I would never be far from dissolving into hysterics at a moment’s notice. So I worked hard to keep myself together, to not lose it. I focused on my mind, shutting down all the cant’s and negative thoughts threatening to spill over. I held it together, willed the emotions back in until I was ready for them. I told myself things I wasn’t sure I really believed, but forced myself to adhere to them.

I hit 50 miles in a bit over 12 hours. More friends showed up and ran with me and they occupied my mind, kept the impending doom from setting in, and gave me a welcomed and happy distraction.  Round and round the 5 mile loop different people went with FB_IMG_1434829797093me. A group of friends sat around a campfire all night long, taking shifts running with me. I was never alone. These are my people. They don’t need to say it because they are there. They show it.

Highlights of the night include hysterical laughter with friends, high fives from groups of kids on golf carts, being scared of a bug zapper, and blinding everyone around me with my super-powered headlamp. Somewhere around 3 am, it took a turn for the worse. I was sitting on a fence, 80 miles under my belt, feeling sick to my stomach and fighting back the tears with every fiber of my being. Tony was standing next to me, urging me onwards and upwards. Facebook-20150707-031309But under the cloak of night, my resolve wavered and I couldn’t help but cry. It was too long. It was too far. I was too tired. It was too dark. It was going to be dark forever. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t remember what exactly my husband said, nor does he as we were both sleep deprived, but it was tough love. A get up and get your butt going right now because you don’t get to stop here, kind of sentiment. Whatever it was, it pushed me to stand back up on feet that felt like they were on fire. The pain blocked out everything else. All I could feel in each step was how much it hurt. Nothing else registered, just the burning pain in my feet. A very long and very dark night ensued. A darkness so encompassing, I didn’t think I would ever see the light again. I was convinced this was it. When dawn finally broke, I felt hope. The sun rose again and it with it came my spirit. I could breathe easier in the daylight. I was not doomed to run in the darkness for the rest of my life. I had run out of the darkness, both literally and figuratively.

IMAG0010 (4)Now that it was actually June 20th, the day of Emmett’s first surgery, I allowed my mind to go back. I saw myself on that treadmill, tears streaming down my face silently, my teeth gritted in sheer effort, and a crushing despair that filled me as I waited for that blasted hospital pager to ring. Waited to hear that my baby boy had lived. Waited to hear that I could stop running. Waited to hear that everything was going to be ok. I waited and I ran, a terrified mother trying to convince herself how brave she was. I could still feel it as I ran 3 years later. Sometimes I am still that mother, trying to convince myself I am actually brave when I feel anything but. But still, as my home base came into sight, 100 miles within my grasp, I felt the brave rise up. I did not cry. I smiled and sighed with intense relief as I crossed my finish line holding Emmett’s hand. I was victorious. I really felt unstoppable. In previous races, I felt like I had merely survived 100 miles. It was a brutal assault to my body and senses. This time, I felt like I did more than just survive, I thrived. I remembered the reason I was doing this. I used it to power through what I thought I couldn’t. I finished and I smiled.  After running for 27 hours and 38 minutes, I really did run out of that darkness. Facebook-20150707-031351

We told a handful of people about Craniosynostosis in person. I told even more online. I ran to honor Emmett’s journey. And I did. I ran to remind myself I can. And I did. I ran to make a difference. And maybe I did or maybe I didn’t. But what I do know is that I have done something and that is better than nothing. And you all have made a difference to me. Every text, call, comment, and email. Everyone that shared about Emmett, helped me tell the world what Craniosynostosis is and why it matters. Everyone that has stood by me or stepped in when I needed it the most. Everyone that has cheered me on from near or far.  You are my people. You don’t need to say it. You show it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. Facebook-20150707-031254


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Emmett’s Endurance Event 2015

WIN_20150616_083216We are just 3 days away from running 100 miles in the hot, muggy haze of June.

And people have asked me – “what can I do to help?” If you are one of those people, I have an answer. It’s simple. Join me.  Run with me. Walk with me. Bike with me. Tell someone about Craniosynostosis for me. Wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. Join me in spirit this Friday, June 19th or Saturday, June 20th. You can even wear the official race bib if you are so inclined. Don’t worry that it says 100 miles. Your miles are a part of mine and every bit as important! That’s because together we are stronger. So if you want to help. Join me.

Click here for the bib: June 20 Race bib


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Why on earth are you running 100 miles?

Here’s the thing – I never wanted to do anything like this, originally. I never planned on being the voice behind a cause. I had no drive or desire for anyone to ever think or say I was inspirational. In fact, despite the noble words that people have used for me, I have not ever felt inspirational in my life and I’m completely ok with that. I never needed my name to be known in local circles either. The only thing I wanted was for my son, Emmett, to be ok. I wanted to protect him more than anything in this entire world and I couldn’t. And so the only way I could survive that was to run. It was the only way I could be ok. That’s what started all of this.

Let’s rewind to 3 years ago: June 20, 2012. I was on the 10th floor of the children’s hospital running on a treadmill while a team of surgeons cut apart my 15 month old baby’s entire skull a few floors below me. My son Emmett was born with a birth defect of the skull called Craniosynostosis. Craniosynostosis causes the sutures in the skull to close prematurely so that the skull can not grow as it should, thus inhibiting brain growth. I vowed to run the entire time he was in surgery, no matter how long it took. I would not stop. I would not rest. I would not do anything but run until I knew he was going to be ok. I ran for exactly 7 hours and 26 minutes that day, calling it “Emmett’s Endurance Event” and raising awareness of Craniosynostosis in the process. It lit a fire under me. I had to do it again and so I ran for the 7 hours and 26 minutes on the anniversary of June 20th for the last two years. This year, I wanted to do something different. 945865_418390074926464_583492023_n

Emmett had gone undiagnosed for the first 14 months of his life. At birth, his pediatrician had told us he was just fine when we questioned his head shape. In the coming months, we would ask our Doctor about it as well and be reassured more than once that it was completely normal and nothing to worry about. After his first birthday, Emmett began having seizures. Two different times, at two different hospitals, the emergency room discharged us telling us that there was nothing wrong with our son after the seizures. We fell through the cracks unnoticed and so I took matters into my own hands. I knew something was wrong, call it mother’s intuition or God or a gut feeling. I knew. I turned obsessively to Google for answers, searching for hours and hours, multiple days in a row, going without working, eating, and barely sleeping. After many days of this manic behavior, I diagnosed my son myself. Because of the late diagnosis and severity of Emmett’s case, things didn’t go as planned after the first surgery. Emmett has other medical issues and there’s no way to know what could have been prevented if the Craniosynostosis was corrected sooner.

There wasn’t just one surgery. There have been five surgeries so far, three related to the Craniosynostosis. Multiple times, surgeons have sliced my child’s head open ear to ear. They have peeled his entire face back all the way down to his cheekbones more than once. They have completely cut apart the bones in his skull. They have put in numerous plates and surgical screws. They have filled in holes of missing skull and patched it back up. They have cut off excess bone that was healing incorrectly and growing in the wrong direction. They have drained pockets of fluid of and blood that wasn’t supposed to be there and looked for infection. I have seen my child’s eyes swell completely shut for 8 straight days after surgery. I have soaked up pools of blood at the base of my child’s head more times than I can count. I have watched as my child became traumatized: kicking, screaming, and crying, eyes wide with fear as the nurses approach him. I have pinned him down myself to help. I’ve spent hours trying to force him to swallow all of his medications. I’ve sent him off for tests and scans over and over. I’ve seen him unconscious and seizing on the floor in front of me. I’ve seen him cry tears of blood after surgery. I’ve rocked him in my arms crying right along with him, my heart broken and my shirt stained red. I’ve begged for relief. I’ve offered up myself to God as a sacrifice if only he would heal my son. I’ve fallen apart. I’ve shattered into a thousand pieces. But I’ve stood back up and faced it. I’ve refused to sink. And still the only way I could survive that was to run. Emmett hospital

That is why I will run for 100 miles starting on June 19 and finishing on June 20, 2015. It’s 100 miles for Emmett, to pay homage to all of his pain and suffering over the last 3 years. It’s 100 miles for myself, to acknowledge that I have survived and done the best I could. It’s 100 miles for all the families that have been affected by Craniosynostosis, to show them they are not alone. It’s 100 miles to raise awareness of Craniosynostosis, to tell the rest of the world what this is so that they can recognize it and maybe help another family some day.

Symptoms of Craniosynostosis in an infant include an unusual shaped head, a hard, raised ridge along the affected suture, and a soft spot that closed too early. If this could be your child or a child of someone you know, I encourage you to speak to your Doctor. Craniosynostosis inhibits brain growth and can cause intracranial pressure, seizures, eye problems, developmental delays, and more if left uncorrected.


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The day that everything changed

June 20th. For years, it was just a simple day; my mother in law’s birthday actually. 3 years ago, it became something else entirely just like I had. It became Emmett’s Endurance Event. It became the day that I stared fear in its cold, dark, unforgiving face. It became the day that I got my first glimpse of the amazing community that we are surrounded by – where love and support flooded in so greatly that we were left floating in it. It became the day that I learned I was capable of so much more than I ever gave myself credit for. It became the day that I discovered a passion for ultra-running that would continue to change my life in so many ways. It became the day that we survived, together.
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I ran for exactly 7 hours and 26 minutes on a treadmill in the children’s hospital on that incredibly long June day. I ran while they broke apart not just the skull of my sweet baby boy Emmett but while they broke apart my entire heart and soul. I would never be the same again; I just wouldn’t. I didn’t know then that there would be more surgeries. I didn’t understand then that the struggle would continue long after that day and that fear had only shown its face that day. I didn’t realize I’d soon meet fear in person when they scanned Emmett’s brain. I had no idea the road we were about to go down.

For the past two years, I have continued my tradition of running for 7 hours and 26 minutes on the anniversary of that day. But this year, I’m not going to do that. Because at the end of last year, Emmett had two additional skull surgeries that cut my heart open
once again. So I’m not going to run for just the 7 hours and 26 minutes. Instead, I’m going to pay homage to all of it: the hours he’s collected from 5 surgeries so far, the hours spent in the hospital, in Doctor’s offices, and in emergency rooms. The tears of pain and frustration, being poked and prodded at, sleepless nights, undergoing tests, scans, therapies, blood work, and having medication after medication jammed down his throat. I’m going to take it all and use it to run for 100 miles on June 20th.

IMG_2174-2When I think back to the last 3 years, I can tell you it feels a lot like an ultra marathon, like 100 miles of absolutely terrible, overwhelming struggle and triumph. There were times when I felt so alone, completely and utterly alone. Like it was 3 am and I was lacing up my shoes, about to do something that most people can’t even fathom. I stuffed every emotion and pain down as deep as I could, unwilling and unable to find the words to ask for help as I ran through the night on a path that I wasn’t sure would ever end. At times, I was surrounded, completely and utterly surrounded. When I was sure I couldn’t go on, people were pressing in from all sides. Their shoulders pushed up against mine, pulling me forward with them as I shuffled my feet in a daze.

There were times when I was screaming in agony and crying desperate tears that wouldn’t stop. There was misery and unbelievable suffering at points. There was doubt and fear that I was not who people thought I was and that I was not really strong enough to make it. There was the sweet allure of just giving up and questioning why I would ever do this to myself. There were tears of joy from doing what I once thought I couldn’t. There was pride that overflowed from my very being from surviving and digging deep. There was hope that I would get there, somehow, someway, I would do it and we would all be ok. There was love; love beyond words. Love in the face of a man that has seen you at your very worst and loves you anyhow. Love from friends that will show up all hours of the night, whenever you need them and do whatever you need them to. Love from family that will always come through no matter what else is going on.

There was all of it, mashed together into one heartbreaking beautiful cacophony of mess. That’s what watching your child struggle with his health feels like. That’s what running 100 miles feels like. It’s all of those things and more. It’s raw and real. It’s awful and full of hope. It’s pain tinted with joy. It’s who I am and what I do.  Motivational-inspirational-meme

So on June 20th, I will run for 100 miles for Emmett, for me, for our family, and for everyone who has ever been in our shoes. I will continue to tell the world about Craniosynostosis, a birth defect of the skull that inhibits brain growth. I will bang that drum loud and clear in the hopes that more awareness will keep another baby from going undiagnosed as long as Emmett had. It all started with Craniosynostosis, but it’s about the rest of it – the brain lesion and epilepsy too. I do this not to continue to hang onto the darkest moments of our lives, but rather to bring light into them and in the hopes that it might make a small difference to someone else. Because that’s what this 100 miles is really all about. Hope.


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The brutal amazement that is 100 miles

2015-02-20 13.57.54-4If I had to find just one sentence to describe the process of running for nearly 24 hours, it would be this: the sum of all things. It was all of my emotions, fears, and failures. It was all of my progress, triumphs, and the whole of my life. There was that ugly voice in the back of my mind so sure I would fail and should just quit and be done with it. That voice told me over and over, that there was no way I would ever be able to do this because it’s just too fast for way too long. There was a quieter but more powerful voice too. A voice that was so sure I could do this, that I could do absolutely anything if I really wanted it badly enough. That voice reminded me over and over that I’m a fighter, not a quitter because I’ve already done more in my life than I ever felt capable of.

Round and round the 200M track I went. That’s 8 laps to a mile. Which means 800 laps total to hit 100 miles. Every 1 minute and 30 seconds, I passed my temporary home: my husband, my lawn chair, and my storage tote of running gear. And it got harder and harder to pass up all the comforts of home just waiting for me each and every time. There were a few times, I cried as I passed my lawn chair it was so devastating.

2015-02-21 08.16.09-6What saved me was “my people.” One person I can always count on no matter what, is my husband Tony. Propped up in a corner, tallying up my laps one after another, running with me here and there, and waiting on me hand and foot: he is the ultimate crew person. But even so, there were a few hours when I was really floundering alone. I slowed down, I struggled, I got discouraged, and I started to sink on my own in the middle of the night. But then God sent help, in the form of my friends and family. A group of friends showed up Friday night when I was already starting to hit a rough patch. A group of non-running friends that is. And they proceeded to not only run but run FAST with me. A few hours after they left, someone else showed up. They came at 1am to get me through the long, dark hours of the night. A group came at 5am decked out in feather boas, princess crowns, and sunglasses carrying inspirational signs. A couple of awesome coach friends showed up and gave me a massage, and helped me fix my terrible running form that I had descended into. A complete and utter Godsend came sometime early Saturday morning. She made it her personal mission to see me to the finish. Made me eat when I felt too sick to eat, filled up my water bottle probably 50 times, fixed my shoes over and over, stood outside the bathroom stall waiting for me like a loving mother would with her child, just in case, watched me like a hawk commanding “eyes open” every time they threatened to close, and kept an eye on our pace, always pushing me to make sure I really was going to make it. When Saturday morning rolled around, my cheering section tripled. The same friends that had shown up late the night before, the same ones that must be exhausted and tired and sore, there they were again.

The final hour took every last bit of will power I had. All I knew is I was “close” to 100 miles but I didn’t know how close. Shortly after hitting 50 miles, I decided I didn’t want to know anymore. It was tormenting me to know how much farther I had to go, so everyone started keeping it a secret.2015-02-22 14.39.53 I was really struggling near the end when I saw some women on the track walking towards me. I couldn’t understand why until they got closer, and I saw 4 of my friends in matching Team Kathy shirts. The back proudly proclaimed it was a division of Team Emmett. Hysterical sobbing ensued as they hugged me until I was making that loud, embarrassing noise from trying to breathe. There were so many times I had felt alone in my life before. So many times where it seemed like I had no one. And this was just the opposite of that, times 100. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt more loved. I was sure my heart was going to burst. It was simply amazing. It was complete when my mother and father in law showed up with our boys and all I could manage was to smile at them through my heavy tears. 2015-02-22 14.40.10

Finally, after being told how close I was and getting angry, whiny, desperate, hysterical, crying, and stopping in defeat for a few seconds, my husband Tony told me I was on my last lap. A friend was singing “our song.” I was surrounded on all sides by even more friends that escorted me one last time around that track. They were cheering, yelling, and clapping. Emmett ran just ahead of me as I rounded the very last corner and threw my head back in instant relief at being able to stop running. And I did it. 100 miles in 23 hours and 50 minutes. Under 24 hours, with only a few minutes to spare.

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When I think back to the Hallucination 100 I did last year and how much I cried, I think I may have cried almost as much this time. But this time most of those tears were of gratitude, appreciation, amazement, and pure love. There were some desperate tears in there too, but they were few and far in between comparatively. All of these wonderful people that showed up to support me– they are the ones that pushed me to run faster. They are the ones that kept me going even when I was feeling miserable and wanted to stop. Their mere presence made me both laugh and cry and renewed my fragile spirit. I owe the bulk of my miles to them, and them alone.

I just LOVE this message (and everything else out there) from Fellow Flowers. It’s something I have been privileged enough to live out.

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An upward spiral

Today is the day – it’s time to run for 24 hours at the inaugural Upward Spiral 24 Hour Endurance Run!!! It’s awesome for a so many reasons. My friend and running partner Adele is directing the whole thing. It’s something she dreamt up. It’s raising awareness of depression, bullying, and self-harm. The name? Upward spiral. Instead of downward spiral like so many people use to describe depression, like I’ve used to describe the darkest moments of my life. It hits close to home and it IS close to home, literally. Like 10 minutes away close. And it’s free! Absolutely free. How much more could you want in a race?

When I do long runs like these, I always like to set 3 goals for myself. It’s good to have a backup plan because having 3 different level goals ensures I always have something to focus on even if my original plan falls to pieces.

My #1. goal is to hit 100 miles! It’s a lofty goal, seeing as how it would be exactly 5 hours and 44 minutes faster than my previous 100 mile finish, but this is all indoor on a track, which takes away a lot of the unknown factors that tripped me up last year.

My #2. goal is to hit at least 70 miles. If something goes wrong and I end up walking a lot, I should be able to at least hit 70 miles. A plus side to doing a lot of walking is I’ll be able to visit with all my awesome crew that is coming out to support me.

My #3 goal is not my own. If I blow up big time out there somehow and can’t possibly go on, I want to do everything in my power to help others succeed. I will do what I can to help my friend Adele complete 100 miles. I will stick with my friend, and forever cheerleader, Kelly attempting her longest run yet – 3 hours! I will step outside of myself and find people struggling and that look like they could use some help and then step in.

Regardless of what path I take, what goals I meet or can’t meet, the woman that finishes the race is not that same as the woman that starts the race. I’ve lived it many times to know how true it is. It will be true today. It will be true tomorrow.  Why exactly? Because of Hope. Braving the journey and letting it go. WIN_20150220_075239


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The art of surviving life, 100 miles, and other things

Originally posted at http://53riverbankrun.com/blog/roadwarriors/2014/09/17/the-art-of-surviving-life-100-miles-and-other-things/

How do you survive the longest run of your life? How do you keep your tortured body and mind going when the going gets impossibly tough? What do you tell yourself when you are shrouded in doubt? What is the answer to that ever confounding question for the ages: Why? Why are you doing this?

IMAG0924_BURST012A week and a half ago, I stood excited, scared, and feeling naively prepared for the journey that lay ahead of me. I was going to run 100 miles. I was at Hell Creek Ranch preparing to run not only my first real ultra race, but my first 100 mile race. Let me paint you this picture. It was Friday, 4pm. It was 90 with the heat index. The sun was beating down on us and I was sweating just walking to the start line. The heat was unfortunate but really, it would be the most pleasant experience of my race in Hell. Really, I was in Hell, Michigan. Oh, the irony to be had.

I’m not sure how to divide out a race of this magnitude. There were 6 laps of 16.67 miles, but in reality, it wasn’t evenly split at all. So, I’ll start with what went right: Nothing. That’s what. And what went wrong? Everything.

A severe storm blew through Friday night, bringing violent wind that sent large limbs and small trees falling down around us, in the middle of the woods. Running while watching the trail ahead of you for the usual tripping hazards while simultaneously watching the sky, being honestly afraid for your life, as the forest caved in on you is NOT a good time. Had I been able to step off the course easily, I would have probably stopped right then but I was in the middle of the woods. The only way out was through. Then the lightning started and the heavy, steady rain that would not quit. The only upside was the storm dropped the temperature a good 20+ degrees. In the process of sprinting out of the woods, my friend and I got separated and lost for almost 5 hours. This meant, I ran out of food and water in my pack. It meant it was way past dark and I didn’t have a headlamp because I was supposed to be back hours ago. I ended up using the small, dim light from my dying cell phone that half heartedly showed me the way. This also meant I had been wearing my very wet socks and shoes for the last 8+ hours and nasty blisters were settling in.

When I finally made my way back to my crew, I was drained not just physically but emotionally. We set out for another lap in the dead of night. Despite a hard fall, this was one of the “easier” laps. I lost my friend at the next aid station due to foot issues, but my race went on and time went on, ever so slowly. I started struggling a lot early Saturday morning, whatever lap that was. I called a good friend whining, crying, and desperately looking for motivation. I was feeling pretty awful and like I’d never stop running. My blisters kept getting worse and I just wanted it to stop. She talked me through my desperation and gave me the courage to keep moving. The rain had made the trails super thick and muddy and really hard to pass in spots. I fell 2 more times, luckily, with no real injuries.

I lost track of all time. I lost track of where I was and what I was doing and I just kept going. And going. And going. Every aid station, I cried because I was so relieved to see people again and not just an empty trail. I knew I was either last or very close to it after getting lost early on. I was so isolated out on that trail, I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming this or really doing it.

I forgot what lap I was on, my Garmin died, I confused the folks in charge because I got lost, and they were missing some of my info for previous early laps. Because of that, I thought I was on my 3rd lap, not 5th. Regardless, on my actual 5th lap, a friend appeared on the trail ahead of me. I thought I was hallucinating, but she was really there. I ran, ok, more like slowly shuffled, to her crying and so thankful to see a familiar face I could barely find the words. She encouraged me and stuck with me until I could see my crew again. My kids and mother in law were there and I was overwhelmed with exhaustion and emotion. We made new friends with the experienced ultra-marathoners next to us and they helped fix the damage that was my feet. 2 blood blisters the size of my thumbnail, 4 blisters in between my toes, a huge blister on the pad of my foot, and another on my heel. They did everything they could to tape and bandage me up. My feet were so swollen I could barely get them back in my shoes. And once I did every step was agony. Pure torture. I winced, audibly gasped, cried tears of pain, and grit my teeth with nearly every movement.

I set out for what would be my last lap. I thought I was going to end up running 73 miles in all and take home a 100k finish at the very least with this lap. I still had no idea I was heading for 100 miles as planned. My husband, not a runner, not trained, not even dressed for something of this magnitude, agreed to bring me in my last lap. He was going to run 16.67 miles on a whim, just so I wouldn’t be alone. I don’t remember much of this lap. I wasn’t really running, I was limping and barely moving my feet. I cried a lot, desperate, hysterical, rantings of an exhausted woman on the edge. I remember flip flopping between thinking we are going to make it and thinking we would never, ever make it. Many times, I didn’t care how close I was, I just wanted to stop. My husband brought me through the most miserable hours of my life. When I stepped out of that forest for good and saw the finish line ahead of me, I couldn’t believe it. My husband was walking, I was holding his hand, slowly shuffling next to him in a pathetic attempt at a run. I crossed the finish line in 29 hours and 44 minutes. Just 16 minutes away from the 30 hour time limit. I made it.Hallucination 100 finish

I went home thinking I had run 73 miles, not 100. A week later my results still stood and the race director had emailed me back, confirming, yes I had in fact run 100 miles. There was no way around it. My splits weren’t right because the early ones are missing and included in the later ones, but that didn’t matter. I was second to last anyhow. I made it. That’s all that mattered. But I couldn’t have done it without my family and friends. If I didn’t have people behind me and people that knew how important it was to do this, I wouldn’t have made it. This was not my solo endeavor, there were so many other people that made this journey possible.

So how do you survive? Simple. Just keep going. “Keep the end in mind” as my brother in law would say. In life, in running, and in other things, it’s going to be hard. You’re going to want to quit. You’re going to be standing all alone in the black of night, in the pouring rain, exhausted, defeated, and asking yourself why. Why am I doing this? Only you can answer that question. Only you can decide if it’s worth it to keep going.