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I am not one to write race reports, but I have also never been touched so deeply by a race before. I first learned about the Run-de-Vous (RdV) 50K/50M/100M on April 25--two days after running the Ruth Anderson 2011 Ultras. This year at Ruth Anderson, I really wanted to run the 50M. But, due to negative thoughts in my head (and pain in my legs) I chickened out and stopped at 50K....opting for a "finish" of a shorter distance rather than chancing a DNF. RdV was to be a new race in August 2011--the race director of Ruth Anderson (Rajeev Patel) decided to organize a 100 miler. Given my fondness for Rajeev, I immediately decided on the 50M at RdV. It would be my chance to come back and do the distance I shied away from at Ruth Anderson. To sweeten the pot, the course is a 2.01 mile loop so I would get to spend half a day seeing Rajeev's smiling face and hearing his words of encouragement over and over and over.
From the first time I stumbled upon the RdV website http://www.run-de-vous.com/ I realized that there was something extra special about this race. RdV is 'A race with a heart' and participants were encouraged to celebrate a loved one (from the website): 'Here is your opportunity to dedicate this race to them and say "I Love You" or "I Thank You" or "I Am Missing You". Here is your opportunity to send out prayers for the ones you love. Let the power of prayer carry you around the course.'
Now, let's jump ahead to race day: August 20, 2011.
I will share my journey. I decided to dedicate my race to my beloved son who means everything to me. He turned 2 years old 2 days before the race. He spent his first week of life in the Neonatal ICU with lots of tubes and cords connected to every which place. At 2 months old, he had part of his colon removed which is a really major surgery for a baby of that age. Now, he suffers from asthma and milk and egg allergies but besides that, he is the happiest healthiest, cutest little guy. The issues that plagued him at birth were 100% cured from the surgery so now we just watch what he eats and stay ahead of the asthma.
50 miles is 25 loops and each loop starting with month 0 (birth to under a month old) on lap 1, I filled the 2 mile journey with images of my son from that specific month of his life (0 to 24). There were times I laughed and times I teared up replaying milestones and activities from each month as I looped. The hardest miles for me were 34 to 42. My legs really really hurt. I still replayed the months in my mind but additionally, every time I began to walk, I would remember that two years ago that day my son was in the neonatal intensive care unit and went through more pain than I ever could running (see pic below). That kicked me back into running.
I felt very very good starting at mile 44. I just envisioned being at mile 20 of a marathon. This is a time in which I am usually sort of tired/stiff, but the last six miles are ALWAYS my favorite miles because I can keep running. Since I look forward to these final six miles in a marathon, I got excited about them at RdV. My pace dramatically picked up, my legs felt great, and I was smiling again.
But, the real thrill began at mile 48. I had just passed through the aid station for the last time before finishing when I heard some commotion. I thought maybe my husband had arrived until I heard Rajeev shout "You might win". "Holy shit" I shouted (pardon the French but that is what I said), and I really ramped my running into high gear. I wizzed past every runner I saw on this lap and nothing has ever felt better in a race. And then, I see the finish line. I remember breathing SO loudly for the last few yards and hitting 50M in 10:13:55. First Female and a PR.
It was great to see my friends Tony, Yolanda, and Bill on course, and to make new friends like Fred, Everitt, and Lorraine at the pasta dinner. And then there is the whole story of Nishad, a 15-year-old boy who completed his first 100 miler while raising money for Crystal Springs Uplands School. It seemed like an entire community came out to support this boy, and witnessing this made me proud to be human. Every runner out there had his/her own story and inspiration, and I feel the people who chose to run this race have very beautiful souls.
After the race, I shared this on RD Rajeev's FB page: 'Rajeev, this weekend I was a small piece of something so special....much more than a race. Everything was orchestrated perfectly. I loved seeing so many familiar faces, but the true beauty, in my opinion, was seeing the journey of young Nishad. He has such a wonderful heart and what an amazing turnout of friends and family to run with him, cheer for him, and help him in any way possible!! Very inspiring to see so many people focused on one goal. Thank you for putting this on. I knew I couldn't miss it and I am SO happy I was there. :)'
My son on August 20, 2009. Knowing that he could push through this as a 2 day old baby helped me push through my tough times exactly 2 years later during RdV.
With my sweet Prince after finishing RdV 50 miler. He is such a healthy, happy 2 year old!
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Rajeev Patel Wow! Wonderful
report! I am happy and honored that you chose to run RdV.
You are a sweetheart and I love your spirit and smiling face! See you soon in a
Francesca Arabella Brava That brings tears to my eyes, Val. You wrote so beautifully from the heart and the love you have for Sebastian is so beautifully voiced.
Francesca Arabella Brava Rajeev and Val, I am really sorry I missed doing this race. It sounds like a wonderful, from-the-heart experience.
August 23, 2011 at 12:02am · Like
Rajeev Patel It was, for me, a magical weekend that happens so rarely. It was made all the more beautiful by the presence of loved friends like Val, Wendy Georges, Alan Geraldi, Anu Singh, Vasudha Rao-Redmore and others.
Valerie Hower Rajeev, I don't care if I live in Florida or if I move to Timbuktu, I will be back... :)
Allen Lucas Wow - what a great race report! No, it was WAY more than a race report. Very moving and inspiring. The thought of doing one of these looping timed races is still a bit foreign to me, but I keep reading these great reports and know I need to do more of them - they have a special quality, especially with great RDs. Thanks for writing and posting this!
Baldwyn Chieh what a great story. thanks for making rdv your run...with heart!! what a buzz!!! and hb again sebastian!
August 24, 2011 at 9:06pm · Like
Bill McCarty Valerie, what a great writeup! I do not know how I missed reading it until now.
Peggy Dean We have another writer in the family! I enjoyed reading your account of the race. You are a good mind trainer.