I have always been very impressed with Gilles and his accomplishments with finishing the 100 milers that he starts. Today, I am impressed with something quite different: His courage to start. I always think that if his training is going well, (and we all know he has been training well) the race should go well. What we normally don't take into consideration is the runners mental state: stress at work, preoccupations. Add this to the fact that we drove 17 hours in 2 days to get here, lack of sleep and a 100 miles starts to look a little daunting.
The morning of the race, Gilles announced that he had not slept at all. He was not sure if he would even be able to start. He was demoralized before he even got started. I tried not to make a big fuss thinking maybe it would all just pass. I went to take my shower and realized that he needed a boost to his morale. I got dressed and wore my finest "Run Gilles Run" t-shirt. The, I took out my dollar store pompoms and encouraged him to give it a go.
We followed the usual routine:
- Tape feet
- Go to breakfast
- Go to race briefing
- Go to start and wait
Once the star spangled banner or pledge of allegiance or something of a patriotic nature was recited or sung (I was too far way to hear anything). I began my picture taking. At first it was random shots of runners since I did not know where Gilles would be. Then, Karl came by and warned me he would be on the other side. Great, I had a few secs to reposition my self.
Most importantly, he started!!!!