So much for burying the lead, right? Seriously though, Dr. Z. and I smashed all expectations, starting with finishing 1.5 hours under our time goal of 18:00 (16:31 finish) and ending with not only JOGGING one of the portages, but TAKING THIRD PLACE.
Day One we were both a bundle of nerves. It was FREEZING COLD that morning and we were shivering while waiting for the paddler's meeting and then the seven waves before us to go off. However, once the gun went off for us we settled into our long-distance pace and ended up surprisingly close to the front of the pack. We knew this would be our toughest day because of all the portaging, but we followed our game plan of alternating between yoking and shoulder carrying the boat. JewishMom rocked the hizzouse as Pit Crew, meeting us at every portage and handing us food that we ate while walking. We finished the day in 7:10 and were quite happy with that.
The morning of Day Two we checked the results and found out we were TWENTY TWO SECONDS away from third place after our worst day (i.e. the one that played against our weakness in the portaging). That's when we realized we had a VERY good chance of placing. Holy crap! Problem was, there was another boat only 2:30 behind us, making it a three-way dogfight for third. CRAP! We stuck to our game plan and just mowed people down on the open water. With only one portage the entire day, we finished the 31 miles in 5:35 and felt sure we had improved our position. Unfortunately we had neglected to note the numbers of the other two boats so we weren't sure.
Day three we were practically frantic to look at the results. We were in third place. Once again, HOLY CRAP! The other two boats were five and seven minutes behind us. Still a dogfight. We all got each other's number during warmup and everyone was going to be bringing their A-game, you could tell. The gun went off and as we expected, the other two boats went flying off in the distance. We planned to do what we had been doing and just wear them down. Unfortunately, they weren't slowing down, so we had to stay at the top end of our speed. We caught one boat before the first portage, but although we ran the portage they still passed us. For the rest of the day, we were chasing the other two boats. We FINALLY passed one of them with only a couple miles left to go, but we didn't know if they were the boat that was 5 or 7 minutes ahead, so we had to keep chasing the other boat hard. Despite a sprint finish, they came in 38 seconds before us. However, it was not enough to beat our cumulative time. (As it turns out, they were the ones that were seven minutes behind us.) I gave a paddle-five to the other woman, and complemented her on their speed that day. She replied that she "felt good [that day]".
So, I am now not only a 90-Miler, I placed third! WOW! And...OW. For anyone who runs, it was basically like doing a marathon two days in a row and then running a half-marathon at your 5K pace.