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Nanny Goat Race Report ‘13

Nanny Goat Race Report ‘13

Tony Ryan and I drove up early Friday. We managed to score the bay area a stall, I spent a good chunk of Friday afternoon decorating the stall as I'd learned last year that decorated stalls are very fun and much encouraged, this year I had a plan and brought supplies! I made a giant crepe paper golden gate bride on one wall. After that was all done we made a trip to target for some last minute supplies then we all (save Chris who likes rice) got a nice carbo loading dinner at Cheesecake factory. We camped out at the race in a large tent snug in sleeping bags.


I woke up about 5:30 am with the sun coming up and runners talking and getting excited outside the tent. After getting dressed I headed out on my super long commute from the tent 5 feet to the barn entrance. Many people were wishing me good luck for my 100mile race, and did not believe me when I told them that was not my goal. Honestly it wasn’t, I did 64 miles at Nanny Goat last year and that was my first marathon and ultra all in one go, I didn’t make it the full 24hours and my goal this year based on my March Razorback 100k was to move for 24hours and to hit around 80miles. I took some time to set up my little aid station table with my favorite nutrition and the key things I knew I'd need during the race.

Steve corralled all the goats in the goat pen, gave us a stirring speech about dodging the sleeping dogs, no lassoing horses, avoiding attack chickens, making sure our laps were counted as there would be no added laps, and to give lots of beers to the race directors. Then we listened to an amazing rendition of the star spangled banner while Lucy held high the American flag.

The weather was cool but not cold, it was ideal running weather and I like many others went out pretty fast for this being a 24hr (or more!) event. I got pretty worried when I PR’d my 10k distance, I tried to hold back some slow down some. Still I PR’d my half marathon distance too. Then I was really worried that I was going to just crash and burn too early in the day. I started making myself walk at least the grass part. Then the sun suddenly made an appearance. It went very quickly from overcast to hello sun! I’ve learned that I do not do well with heat. I did not PR the marathon (by like 4mins) but was still way ahead of pace for the 100miler.

Right about the marathon distance I started thinking “hey maybe 100miles is a possibility” I was feeling good and despite the weariness of the heat my body felt great. The energy from the other runners was fabulous I was doing pretty good with nutrition and not having GI issues other than a small case of heartburn (tums to the rescue!). My fluids were going well I was on a roll. PR’d the 50k distance and was still feeling good. Around this time as I passed through the barn I told Steve Harvey (the old goat race director) “if I finish 100miles I’m getting a Nanny Goat tattoo!” I still didn’t think 100miles was really possible, as I knew soon things would really start hurting. I’ve never gone beyond the 64miles that I did at Nanny Goat last year.

As I was sharing a lap with Giovanni we were talking about how I’m anti-sun, being the pale white girl that I am. He remarked on how tan I was, I looked down at my legs and couldn’t help but laugh indeed I looked really tan but I had to admit “that’s dust not tan!!” and to illustrate I showed him a peek of my belly, it was a good thing he had sunglasses otherwise I would have blinded him with my white-ness! Maybe that should be my race strategy run in a sports bra so I blind all the other runners and win easily! All the rest of the day I kept laughing at a new form of fake tanning- the nanny goat tan!

At mile 40 I had my first break I sat for 5-10mins and did some preventative foot care. The course is really dusty and I washed my feet with handy wipes, re-lubed them, got new socks, back in my same shoes and off I went. Things started getting tough at this point my pace was slowing down things were aching a bit. My left knee felt like it was a bit wobbly I tried KT tape for support but that didn’t even make it out of the barn before it fell off. This is when I hit my first wall.

As I approached the 12hour mark I realized I wasn’t going to get the 50miles in that time, got kind of dispirited and was very tempted to drop to the 12hr event. I gave myself a mental pep talk and with a bit of verbal prodding from Ryan (crewman and husband extraordinaire!) went out on the lap that would officially make me go into the 24hr event. Once I got that temptation to drop to the 12 out of the way I got moving again.

The dark hours are kind of a blur mentally I think I zone out some during this time, I know I took my second break somewhere and put some pants on as it cooled off. Also my heartburn issues were returning and Loren saved me with a combo short and fast acting antacid. Still no nausea and my hydration was going well. I ate some vegetarian cup-of-noodle like soup, which was fabulous, and I had some rice. The company started thinning out on course but there were still lots of people I knew and saying hi to each other and occasionally sharing parts of laps were very helpful. One of my favorite nighttime things of looping courses is seeing Ed the Jester’s light up hat throughout the night.

Towards the end of the night the possibility of me finishing the 100miles was becoming real to me, I was on pace and while things were definitely hurting it seemed possible to hike out the rest of it. But then as the sun rose my spirits took a major turn for the worse. I’m a very logical person I like numbers and having plans. Sadly though a first grader probably had better math than I did at this point though, I had some how got in my head that I had to keep 16minute miles for the next 28 miles in order to complete the marathon and while I could push and do that pace walking then I knew things were going to get much tougher before it was over and I kept having visions of Tony being forced to drop at 88miles last year. I saw myself hitting the cut off but then not being able to finish the 100miles. I got in a real mental funk over this one.

As my mind kept looping around this incorrect (though at the time I thought it was correct) math I heard jingles approaching. Ed could tell something was off with me and struck up a conversation. I’m not a very emotional person and that moment was the most emotional I’ve ever been during a race. I had finally thought I could do 100miles and had gotten excited about it but then felt it slipping through my fingers like tiny grains of sand. Ed very logically talked me though it and it was still a possibility!

My garmin was charging in my pocket and I couldn’t see my pace so I was very worried that I wouldn’t keep the proper pace. Ed sacrificed the end of his 24hour race to pace me to that cutoff at which point it was decided that Giovanni would take over pacing and get me to the finish line. My pace slowed but it stayed on target enough, Ed distracted me and we talked about so many different subjects it really helped pass the time. Relentless forward progress with the Jester was amazing I really don’t know how to put into words what it means to me that he looped so long with me. I really felt like I got to know Ed so much better there is nothing like shared miles to get to know someone especially when you are in so much pain. After the 24hr mark passed Ed stuck with me and paced me all the way to the end. I remember how excited he got that I was down to single digits, it wasn’t about 9 miles more to go but the relentless progress, single digits!!

Some laps were shared with Colleen also some were shared with Giovanni and sometimes I had a whole little entourage keeping me going. Those final miles were the toughest miles I’ve ever done in a race physically to hurt and be that stiff and yet keep putting one leg in front of the other is an amazing thing. Was I running? Definitely not, but I was getting closer and closer with every step. The company was amazing and I don’t think this buckle would have happened with out the amazing support of my fellow ultra runners. When I finally made it to 99 that last lap really was a victory lap, Ryan Ed and Giovanni all were with me. As we got to the out and back section Ryan Launder was waiting with jester hats for us all so  we could finish in true jester style! As I made it to the hated orange cone for the 100th time I knocked it over as a final gesture, that was very cathartic. I on my 98th lap I saw Jeff Liu give a double birdie flip to the orange cone, and realized I had to do something too. I really wanted to kick the cone over but figured I'd put my legs through enough abuse so I smacked that sucker over. I hear a rumor that it's going to have a face on it next year so it's harder to beat up. Finally we made it back to my favorite section of the entire course the smooth through the tree's last stretch before reaching the barn. That section is always shady and feels so good. Then came the turn and there was the barn!


The finish was magical and honestly I don’t remember it all too well, I was exuberant and on a total adrenaline high. I hope I hugged and thanked everyone present because they all were so pivotal in my day. Steve Harvey was waiting with my buckle on my belt already and a DFL prize! Ace limed over with a crutch because his leg was thoroughly pissed off after 100miles. Chris Jones was there making his usual stink. Jeff Pace finished his 12hour race much, much earlier but stuck around all evening changing his travel plans in order to stay. Tony had a rough day and had to call his race at the 50mile mark but after some sleep he came out and relentlessly paced people to their 100mile finishes, and in true endorphin dude style celebrated everyone of our finishes. Giovanni who had shortly before finished his own 100mi race paced me on the final mile and we celebrated together. Elizabeth McKay was there to the end cheering loudly for me. Ryan Launder had come out just to cheer and crew at this race. Colleen was there to adding her peppy cheerful spirit and we felt a connection with pretty much me being in the place she was last year. It really was a big party at the finish.

Diana had stayed as long as she possibly could but unfortunately had to leave shortly before I finished, I know she tried to stay and was upset to miss the finish. She was so encouraging all day and evening I really appreciated her help and support, and I felt her there in spirit as I finished. Also of note are Loren and Elisa, Loren I met at quicksilver 50 2 short weeks ago and despite our shorter friendship he was so encouraging all throughout the day, he had been registered but due to complications couldn’t “race”. He did complete a marathon in flipflops which is stunning, and relentlessly crewed for Elisa and everyone else. As I’d come in the barn either Loren or Ryan would be there “what do you need what can I get you?” and Loren’s antacid really saved me. They had a flight to Europe for a marathon out there and had to leave shortly before my finish but again I felt them there in spirit as I finished.

Ed placed 4th overall in the 24hours with 108 miles and he could have done much more if he hadn’t stuck with me and helped me along. I really don’t think I can ever thank him enough for that sacrifice, nanny goat was Ed’s first ultra and he’s done a lot over 500miles over the last 5 years at this race. I know this race is a very important one to him and that he would help me at this important race so much is truly touching. Nanny Goat was my first ultra (and marathon) last year it’s amazing how far I’ve come since then. I’m so happy that Nanny Goat was my first 100miler this race will forever have a special place in my heart. Many ultra runners seem to not understand the looping ultras (and non-runners really don’t get it) they see it as a hamster wheel exercise in futility. I see it as an amazing way to bond with your fellow ultra runners, we have a very special community and I’ve never felt this social aspect at other ultras quite as I do at the looping ones. You see your fellow runners so many times and whether their pace is faster or slower than yours you really do get to spend time together. Also having food every 1mile is quite nice that you can bring your own food that you know works for you GI wise and not be dependent just on aid station food is a really awesome thing. Vegan donuts rocked my world at this ultra and I think that will be come an ultra-standard for me ☺.

Ryan my ever-accommodating patient husband was my perfect crew and I can’t thank him enough for all his hard work. He crewed for me checking in frequently but not smothering me with his helpfulness, and while doing that he crewed for the entire race spending most of the day cooking food for all the runners. He drove our little group down and drove us all the way home on top of crewing for most of the day only getting a bit of a nap in when I insisted. Really what he does to support me in these crazy adventures never ceases to amaze me. I’ve changed from the lazy watch TV and hang out on the computer all day girl that he married, and he has supported me every inch of the way (interesting face 100 miles is 6,336,000 inches, wow!) THANK YOU so so much hun <3

Sorry if I rambled I very rarely write race reports plus 100miles over 27hours and 52minutes is a very long ways and makes for a very long story! There were many people that were very important in helping me in this accomplishment and my gratitude goes out to them.


And if you are wondering about that tattoo that said I'd get in the middle of the race?



May. 31st, 2013 04:45 pm (UTC)
Wow Danni. I finally got to reading this. I am honored, touched, and more than a little choked up that I could be part of your tremendous accomplishment. I had a blast and cherish the experience in spite of my injury. Because of that injury, I was able to help you, Elisa, Diana, and others. IT WAS AN HONOR!

Gosh, did we really only meet two weeks prior? I feel like you and Ryan have been my friends for quite some time. Sharing miles can be like sharing years.

Love you both.

- Loren

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