Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Crewing/pacing Lynna at Honey Badger

After Port to Fort, Mitch and I drove to Cheney Kansas and then followed a lonely flat paved farm road westward until we found our friend Lynna Gilstrap. Lynna had ran all day and into the night--54 miles no less--and was over half way to her goal of finishing the Honey Badger 100. Honey Badger is the brainchild of one Eric Steele--an old friend from FlatRock. Eric wanted to create a 100 miler that was tough--in the way Badwater is tough. Put it in the middle of July, on an all paved road, with no shade and no trees. The running gods were kind to Lynna, and instead of 98 degrees, it was only in the low 90s. A good breeze made even the hot hours of Saturday afternoon bearable.

We joined the team at mile 54-55, and I assumed pacing duties while Mitch crewed us--driving ahead two miles while I shuffled and Lynna power-walked. My shuffle felt good even after my adventure race earlier Saturday morning, and I ran around 20 miles. Mitch and I switched somewhere around 4:30-5:00. When the sun came up, I took a few pictures

Lynna kept steady during the night while a few other runners seemed to slow down--a natural occurrence in a 100 miler. Lynna was in good spirits, and seemed like she was none worse for wear after 24-25 hours of relentless forward motion. I Facebooked her progress, and the well wishes flooded in. I saved these comments and encouragements because I knew they would be great motivation just when she needed it the most.

We chatted with friends in other runner's crews along the way. Most of the crews were experienced ultra runners, which is important in a race where heat exhaustion and electrolyte deficiencies can kill a runners race. Runners have lows and rebounds, more low spots, and grand recoveries. As a crew/pacer team, it was our job to try to keep the lows brief, and ride the highs for all they were worth.

Lynna's van was basically a food truck. There were a variety of cookies,  Gatorade, of course water, pop, Pedialyte, Pop Tarts, Pringles, Popsicles, PBJs, pizza, and beer. 

At every turn (there were few turns) there were warning signs for the country folk who might be hurrying so as to not be late to church.

 This little guy couldn't get out of the way of a speeding F150.

After Mitch got in 20 miles, we switched places again. It had warmed into the mid 90s, and any wind was hardly felt at our backs. Mitch and I had been pushing salty foods. Lynna had fueled herself with pizza during the night but once it was gone, nothing sounded good to her. I talked her into a stack of Pringles, a Popsicle, a small dose of Naproxen.  
Then, I began reading her the Facebook comments. She had over 400 LIKES, and 113 COMMENTS wishing her well, voicing confidence, and it worked. Lynna kicked it in gear, and the rising temps were not a factor from that point on.

I ran in to the finish ahead of Lynna to incite the crowd to wild applause for our runner. But it was a small race and a tired small crowd. So, Mitch, Eric, Trevor and I clapped. Lynna finished in 31:17--8th overall and 3rd female.

I would have crashed and slept for hours, but Lynna stayed alert and just took it all in. 

She was buzzing. 66 years old, and finished her 1st 100 in her 1st try. Mitch and I think she may be the oldest female to have completed her 1st 100 miler. 

 Showing off the swag. I'm super proud of her and honored that I got to help.

Ok--this picture was taken a week after her race, Lynna is nearly fully recuperated, and helped run an aid station at Osage Hills. I really like this pic. We could be brother and sister. But we're just great friends. 

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