For some reason this blog has been hard for me to write. I just haven’t decided where to go with it…. The truth is, Tea running was met with criticism to the race director just days after she finished. My awesome race community came to the rescue talking about how wonderful my Little Lady is. I can not thank you enough for loving my Lady. But to the critiques wondering why a 9-year-old is running a 100k and the race director is allowing it, do your research said “9-year-old” happens to live with said “race director”… funny how that works…
But enough about that, she is qualified. Well, maybe not this year. The amount of 9-year-old little girl tantrums we had was pretty special. No not about computer time, her phone being taken away (she doesn’t have one), or not being able to go to the mall, all tantrums were about the time she spend training. She was disappointed. We went on runs and she cried. She knew that she was nowhere near ready, and I spent time trying to tell her it was ok it really wasn’t her fault (and may have spent a lot of money at Ivivva trying to convince her the right outfit would help). The reality is she only ran when she was with me, and I was too broken to run so she had to run with +1 (which she actually likes, he listens well 🙂 ). So training was nowhere near where it was last year and she knew it was going to hurt.
Our last run together was suppose to be 10 miles but turned into a pathetic 6 with the complaining and commiserating we both did. But whatever, we both knew we were in for pain (me feeling super broken and wondering when I would have to call in a replacement “run 100k with a Little Lady”) and we stepped to the starting line.
And by step to the starting line I mean fumbled to grab our stuff (put clothing on) and watch the 100milers start. Tea loves her ultra peeps and was really excited to see Catra (who isn’t!). So we watched them leave and got our shit together. Nathan’s happens to make bottles that are great for her little hands so I bought her an extra (if you don’t carry enough water at Javelina you are screwing your race) and I carried two bottle too. And we were off… off to pain… off to an adventure together… off to our second buckle together.
The first loop went fine. Nothing notable really, Tea was just excited to see friends out there but was somewhat disappointed at how slow we were. We came into headquarters and +1 had my pack ready. Knowing we would be out there in the heat of the day a pack was necessary as a “just in case”. We took a minute and off we went again, pretty much alone. You know, many people thought the trail was going to be crowded, maybe even I did a little, but Tea and I went for long stretched not seeing anyone even on this loop. You know who we did see?
Our first rattle snake out on the trail. “Gosh” I thought “good thing we got that out of the way”. And on we went… Now the faster people are coming at us. Going counterclockwise is not our favorite so we vowed to walk as much as we wanted and to not feel bad about it. We picked up the pace a little and started to scoot over for a fast guy coming our way when he gave a “OH SHIT” and JUMPED! It took a minute to see it, and then we heard it! This guy was hidden well!
Afraid that he wasn’t going to move out of the way and someone might catch him in a bad mood we waited for a couple minutes warning people “Big circle people!” until our not so friend left. We were warned about a snake ahead 2 other times but only saw these two. Apparently they wanted to party in the desert too.
It was about this time that I started to have a “oh shit that hurts” moment but we were running with a friend so I didn’t mention it. A little while after Jackass Tea and I stepped off the trail to talk “hey Hunny, my ass really hurts” “Mine too Mommy” ummm…. Neither of us have ever dealt with ass chafing before and this Momma was not prepared! Of course vaseline didn’t help, I knew it wouldn’t … (oops) and so we were in pain. The awesome “hey Mommy it looks like you peed you pants” comment she made earlier (isn’t she sweet?) is telling me it might be a little more humid out then I had planned for. We ran into Jean Ho who kindly shared something with us (totally can’t remember the name!) but I think we were to far beyond repare at this point. Hobble in to finish the silly second loop is what we did, both thinking and not mentioning to each other that if we couldn’t fix this we were done.
As we ran in to headquarters I saw the always amazing Angela Shartel “I have a question” I yelled and she joins us trotting in. “Umm… we need desitin, do you have any?” “Hold on I’ll find something!” Yup, just like superwoman! Over she comes with some RunGoo and I give Tea some first “Oh my goodness Mommy, it feels better already!”. Angela saves the day!
Food, warm clothes (last year we were freezing so we were over prepared this year), and off we head into the impending darkness. Tea wanted to hold off on caffeine until it was dark but she decided to try some coffee before this loop, not a fan, caffeinated gels it is, This loop was just going to be a long walk with Tea reminding me how close she was to her crash time along the way and we were already close. But we made it to Jackass, the most welcoming party you can ever come across in the desert in the dark!
Walking out of Jackass (Jackbutt as Tea calls it) lead way to both of us complaining. Without saying too much, Tea was unhappy. So now in the middle of the night walking with my daughter we both cried, a lot. I always talk about how amazing it is sharing a journey like this with your little person and the deep bond it creates, conversations it spurs, and insight into their world you get. It’s eye opening, but sometimes it hurts. Tea shared with me memories of the past that you wish your child never was to be privy to. It reiterated the failure I felt in my ability to protect my Littles. So we hugged, walked, cried, and talked about how thankful we are for times like these, out on the trial, just us, free from the world and able to share honestly and openly.
All we could say as we finished are 3rd loop was “BED”. And we slept.
Up at 4 (somethingish) and moving by 4:45, time to finish this! What made this loop special was seeing all the 100 milers on their last loop. Last year we were so late in the race we hardly saw anyone. This year the smiles, high fives, and hugs really made it special. Yes it was a lot of walking, but the day could not have been more beautiful and the people as well. The best part of a race with Tea is by far the finish. Watching her decide our run/walk schedule, making deals with herself along the way, and then her always strong finish! All smiles of course.
We finish, my Mom drops all the kids off with me, and now I’m Mommy to 5 who just finished a super long 100k adventure and just really wants a nap! Apparently none of my little people did though….
I have to say thank you to everyone out there who stopped to tell little Tea how amazing she was. Your stories of how she inspired you really touch my heart. Thank you to my Ultra Family for loving my Little Lady and seeing how strong she is!
As always Javelina was an amazing event (not that I’m bias). Great volunteers, great friends, and a great party! I count myself a very lucky Mother to be able to share all this with my wonderful daughter.