Until last weekend, Angel was a friend of a friend. She was this courageous, ballsy woman I had met who was training for her first 100-miler called Cascade Crest 100, even though none of us were ready to face that distance yet. I didn’t know her very well, but I could tell she was one of those people I would make fast friends with, and so I implanted myself into her existing plans. At the Yakima Skyline 50k in April, I told her I’M IN! before she asked, and she assigned me as extra hands to her crew.
Two weeks before the race, Angel’s 2nd pacer, Shamai, decided to get a super-awesome boyfriend and go on the trip of a lifetime river-rafting down in Grand Canyon, which left Angel pondering what to do. She needed someone who would
a) have nothing better to do, ie, no plans in the Grand Canyon,
b) celebrate missing a night of sleep, and;
c) love the idea of running 32 miles with her through the night,to the finish.
She knew I would be up for this kind of nonsense in a heartbeat, and I was. I was stoked, beyond the level of excitement I feel before my own races! I was going to join the dream team of Aggie, Tara, Annie, and Broeke, and I could not wait!
At 6pm the crew/pacer dream team descended upon the mile 47 Olallie Meadows aid station, where we set up a costume-filled dynamic circus-like environment. While runners came in to get fresh perogies and bladders refilled by the awesome Scott Sports crew, we gave them a good time with a hoola-hoop show, led by Annie in her camo onesie and her light-up hoola hoop. A perfect Saturday night!
We did a little show with our hoolas for Angel, then she was off to tackle a supposed section with ropes, and a legendary 3-mile railway tunnel.
Aggie decides that we’ll have a traveling pacer outfit. She would wear the rainbow tutu for her 20 mile trek with Angel, and then I would get to wear it to delight her, and all other trail champions we meet, for the last 32 miles.
At Kachess Lake, mile 68, Angel comes in looking strong! I’m impressed with how normal Angel looks, even though other people have weird glazy eyes, etc. She looks beautiful! Aggie gives me the colourful tutu, I put it over my gold shorts, and away we go.
Angel was strong like a champion for the entire 32 miles. She could laugh and smile, and boy could she power up the hills! Honestly, I wouldn’t have climbed any faster on my own short training runs. She could tell stories and listen to mine, even though she was 70, 80, 90 miles in! Inspired by her recent trip to El Camino in Spain, she would eat beautiful chocolate croissants every 20 or so miles, she had fresh baguette sandwiches from her favourite Seattle bakery, and she drank coffee and orange juice. She could happily chat with other runners, most of whom could not chat back. For the 10 hours we ran together, Angel was graceful and happy. Witnessing her beautiful style of nailing it made running a 100 miler look fun (and delicious). Thanks to Glenn Tachiyama, you can join in our moment rocking up Thorpe Mountain!
With four-five miles to go, the last aid station came with our beautifully decorated crew. No, Angel did not want salty chips or food, she wanted her pink unitard, which was key to overcoming the ugly highway stretch toward Easton. (She changed into it within eight minutes.)
We picked up Tara, and the three of us approached the highway like this:
With one mile to go to the finish, my work was done when the pacer dream team surprised us on the side of the road, dressed in full (and different) costumes. This was the scene.
And this. I can’t help but share this!
Together, we ran Angel in to her first 100 miler finish, a colourful 26-hour run that inspired everyone she encountered that day to find that beautiful balance, between 100-miler hard work, and mega, colour tutu, LED light, pink unitard fun.
It’s a sliver of what Angel and crew are capable of, and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for us…!
If you’d like to read more about our running + hoola hooping adventure during CC100 weekend, let Angel take it away here, and this blog post by super cool trail clothier Run Pretty Far. Also, Angel’s husband Tim also ran and smashed it, and he wrote an excellent recap over there. Next year here we come!