I had every intention of getting to bed at an decent time Friday night. However, that was not going to happen. For whatever reason, I couldn't fall asleep. To bad I couldn't start running then. 3am came & I quickly had my usual breakfast of Steel Cut Oats. Left to go pick up friend Jason. Then made the trek down to the race start. Beautiful moon to welcome all of the runners.
Checked in. Mentally rehearsed the course in my mind (I ran it last year). If you have read my others posts, you will know that my training this year has been hell.
My goal for this 3rd race in 4 weeks was
A) Not die
B) Cross the finish line
C) Faster then last year (10:18 hours)
6:30am. The sound of the bull horn went off & we were on our way. I had NO freaking clue what was in store for me.
The 1st hour went by. My legs were not getting in gear. Usually takes about 10miles to get in the grove. So I prayed that would be the case this time. Wishful thinking.
Reached the 1st aid station at mile 7-ish. I have to say that this is one of my favorite parts of ultra's. The men & women manning the aid station are always so helpful & encouraging.
This race is beautiful for the first half. Running through Bluebells helps the pain. Kind of.
I use Hammer Nutrition Perpetuemfor my hydration. However for a 50 mile run, I didn't have a way to make it all the way on one bottle. **Note, if you ever want to crew for me, please let me know!
About mile 21 my Perpetuem was up. I had to refill my bottle with-gag- Gatorade. Left the aid station. Boy, I was in for a tough day ahead. And it had already been going on 4+ hours.
The climbs came and went. Pretty much used to hills at this point in my running life. Then the hills started inside my body. I started getting sick. And not sick of hills (although I was). Started with diarrhea. Thank god for trails.
Mile 26.1 Had a Popsicle as I left the aid station. Gave my mouth something else to do before all hell broke loose. By this time the lead runners had already passed me. To make matters worse, the runners that should have been behind me, were in front of me. I admit. I was very tempted to call it a day. I knew it wasn't going to get better. And boy was I right.
The next miles were completely hell. HELL. I took turns throwing up & using the trees as an bathroom. Did I mention that it sucked?
The course is not easy. Heartbreak hill is going to have nothing on me-that's all I can say. As the course, day & miles went on, so did my insides. At mile 31 I staggered into the aid station. A very helpful lady suggested water & ginger ale. Bring it on. This was the "Do Loop". I was dreading (yes, shocker I know). This section is quite lonely. And to make matters worse, people kept passing me. I wanted to shove them off the path. No, more like puke all over them. Damn it. I want to run like them! This isn't fair!
I ran, no trudged on. The tree visits were becoming more & more frequent. At this point I knew that my 3rd goal was not even an option. I would be lucky to make the cut off. Something I haven't ever had to worry about before.
The next 20 miles were about two things. #1) Wanting to die. #2) Survival.
I can honestly say that it was NOT a pretty run. The last 10 miles took me THREE F*CKING hours. Double time. The farther I ran, the slower I became. The more I puked, the more I bitched. What the hell was I doing out here running for THE LOVE OF GOD 50 freaking miles?
Oh that's right. A little thing called inspiring, encouraging & motivating the nation to be healthy & active. In that moment I hugged a tree (I felt it only appropriate since I was pooping & puking on them all). Yeah, I wanted a nice race time, but since that was not going to happen I (forcefully) reminded myself that TODAY was about crossing the finish line.
Yes I knew I was going to have people judging my "time". I knew I would have naysayers looking at the race results and critiquing how slow I ran. But despite that, I knew that no matter how slow I was I was going to finish that damn race no matter how long it took me. Because today was about others. It was about inspiring a nation that sits to get active. And maybe, just maybe my horrible, worst, F-ing race EVER will inspire one person to get their butt up off the couch and place one foot in front of the other.
As I stumbled & walked (yep, walked) the last 5 miles (it was torture, trust me), I never cursed so much in my entire life. I was BEYOND thankful that I didn't have to run another 50 miles!
12:26 hours later, the finish line never looked sweeter. I didn't even have enough energy to run across the damn thing. You get a sweatshirt after finishing. They were out of small's-he asked me if I wanted a Medium or wait for a Small. I said give me a Medium. And I wore it proudly for the next 3 days. Two of which were in the 80's :).
It was 7pm. Jason drove back to his house (thank god). His wife was glad we made it back alive. Then I had to drive back to my place. It took me a few try's to find the street. Yes, seriously. I was a little out of it. Designated driver anyone?
At the end of the day it doesn't really matter who came in first, middle or last. What does matter is that the HEART of not quiting when you feel like you are going through hell. When you want to call it quits. When you want to kick that runner sprinting by you. But staying as strong as you can & fighting to the bitter end.
I survived. So can you. Promise!