Last I updated the blog, I hinted at some thrilling happenings unfolding over the weekend. To reminisce a little: do you recall the magical moment in May 2014 when VEGA orchestrated a surprise by flying my dearest friend, Emily, to Vancouver to cheer me on during the BMO Vancouver Marathon? Inspired by that gesture, I decided it was my turn to reciprocate. Enter the Coldwater Rumble 100-miler.

During a trip to Arizona in the preceding November, Emily proposed that I accompany her for one of the 20-mile segments of the Coldwater marathon. Given the close proximity of this race to the Phoenix Marathon in late February, I initially declined, thinking two trips in quick succession would be infeasible. But, in a twist, I secured my flight in December, hoping to stun her with my unexpected presence. While Emily had already arranged for other pacers, I intended to support and root for her throughout the race. After all, who doesn’t adore enthusiastic cheerleaders? Emily’s mother and our mutual friend, Shannon, were my accomplices in this scheme.

In a stroke of irony, mere days before my scheduled departure, Emily confided that one of her pacers (and close friend), Dawn, had to drop out unexpectedly. Having longed to meet Dawn (known as @racingdawn on IG) for ages, this was a personal letdown. As Emily scrambled for an eleventh-hour pacer, I was torn between revealing my secret and maintaining the surprise. Shannon and I orchestrated a little ruse, convincing our friend Traci to feign an offer to pacify Emily’s frantic search.

A Weekend to Remember

On my arrival, with assistance from Emily’s parents, we staged the surprise, evoking a reaction that was truly priceless. Overwhelmed by emotions, we indulged in a hearty meal, shared tales, and ensured we were well-rested for the marathon looming ahead.

For a first-timer at an ultra-marathon, the experience was novel. Witnessing Emily ace three loops like a breeze, especially post-pregnancy, was awe-inspiring. Throughout the day, we cheered and supported, fostering camaraderie with other participants.

As nighttime approached, it was finally my turn to run. Armed with determination, we commenced the last loop. There were moments of sheer panic and unintentional detours, but Emily’s unyielding spirit prevailed. Mile by mile, despite setbacks and unexpected cactus attacks (yes, you read that right!), we journeyed on.

In a poignant moment, with just a few miles left, Emily, typically the beacon of inspiration for many, sought encouragement. Drawing from heartfelt messages and memories, I did my utmost to uplift her spirits.

Against the backdrop of dawn, Emily triumphantly crossed the finish line. Clocking in 100 miles in 23 hours and 26 minutes, she claimed the first-place female title. Witnessing her sheer grit, endurance, and unparalleled spirit was nothing short of breathtaking.

This weekend’s adventure, deeply rooted in the core values of athletic tenacity and plant-based nutrition, will forever be etched in my memory. To each of you reading, who’ve been a part of this extraordinary chapter, either through heartfelt messages or by simply being here – a hearty thank you.

Cheers to the victories, big and small. And kudos for reaching the end of this post. Keep thriving and stay green!

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