The Lone Ranger Ultra Marathon

The weekend of the Lone Ranger Ultra Marathon was perhaps the biggest weekend of my life thus far. The preparation, support, training, and dedication involved makes other personal achievements and milestones seem small in comparison.

While I showed up to the starting line a prepared as possible, both mental and physical, the Ultra was an extremely humbling experience. The highs were high and the lows were low. Without my team, the road would have certainly been more challenging.

Back in January, when I decided to sign up for the Lone Ranger, I had a goal: do my damnedest to make it to 100 Miles, or get as far as I can. Having never attempted such a distance, this experience was a shot in the dark as far what would really happen to me out there on the course. I learned the hard way that my body is not built to run for 24 hours in the middle of summer. Between my extremely low blood pressure, and ability to lose sodium so fast, my body had to work very hard to stay on an even keel.

The first four laps (about 35 miles) went by smoothly. I had to run them solo, and though my legs began to fatigue, my spirits were high and I felt pretty great. Thankfully, I had Chris with me there the entire race, and he kept me sane and focused.

The 5-7th laps were clocked with my fantastic pacers, and we spend the miles chatting, running and walking. I made sure to keep pouring liquid into my system, and consumed about 12 bottles of water, 2 Gatorade bottles, 2 coconut waters, 1 pinapple juice and a mango smoothie – that’s a lot of liquid. I should have realized that forcing myself to urinate once within 14 hours was a bad sign.

In my 8th lap, Chris joined me with a PB&J sandwich, and we planned to walk for a few miles so that I could eat and digest on my feet. This is when things fell apart. After eating, my stomach felt off. Not long after, my eyes kept trying to close and I began to stumble as I walked. Chris kept talking to me, and held my hand at times to keep me from falling. My brain and legs began to lose their fast connection, and Chris became concerned.

We decided to try to jog, since the longer that lap took, the longer I was on my feet. The decision was made to potentially stop at the medical tent once we got to “home base” again and completed lap 8. I was able to jog for maybe 20 seconds. Every muscle in my body began to cramp – including my shoulders, neck and throat. I barely had to strength to get Chris’ attention to stop. The writing was on the wall at this point: I was in trouble.

When we finally reached “home base,” my mom (who had been volunteering at a water station), Ben, and Kristen were waiting for us. Up until this moment, I had been jumping between 2nd and 3rd place female – which was rather amazing considering how slow the 8th lap was for me.

In the medical tent, I was immediately put on a cot and given 6 bags of ice that were strategically placed to cool me down. My heart rate was frighteningly low and my temperature was high. I quickly began to shake and shiver violently, causing more concern. I was given two bags of saline via IV, some Gatorade, and the reality check that the odds were not good that I’d be allowed back on the course. The doctor was extremely concerned about my kidneys, and said that if I couldn’t pee soon a color that wasn’t dangerous, I’d be on my way to the ER. Luckily, by the time I was finally able to make it to the lady’s room, my urine was light enough to avoid the ER.

14 hours, 68 miles, and a world of adventures later, my Lone Ranger Ultra journey had come to an end. There was no room for debating with the doctors about potentially getting back on the course, though mentally I didn’t feel done yet.

This incredible journey was only made possible with the help of my pacers, family, donors, and team in NYC. I truly would not have found strength or support without all of them. While I doubt I’ll decide to reprise this race next summer, I am so happy to have had the experience. I am also really happy to flip that chapter and focus for the next few months on speed and the NYC and Boston Marathons. 


~ by Elizabeth on July 22, 2012.

3 Responses to “The Lone Ranger Ultra Marathon”

  1. Wow, 68 miles = truly beautiful! Congrats.

  2. You were a superhero, Elizabeth! You were in such good spirits despite all the trauma, and the next day you were walking like it was nothing! You’ve inspired me to try it next … year … did … I … just …say that ……..

  3. […] office. If you’d like more details about my first experience with the Back On My Feet race, here is the blog I wrote about that. The abridged version is this: I made it 68 miles and was pulled […]

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