Wow, post #300. It's amazing to me that I've been 'talking' this long and people are still listening. Along those lines, I picked up my tech tee and bib from Vertical Runner on Friday evening for yesterday's Buckeye Trail 50K and the lady who helped me with a very distinct British (I think) accent knew who I was and that someone who she had just run with was praising me helping out with Burning River 100 training. I have absolutely no idea who she was talking about! I told her I had a blog but didn't know about helping anyone. I guess you never know who is reading and where it may reach. Like I've said from post #1, if only one person is inspired to cross that finish line or is helped via this blog, it's all worth it.
On the way out to the start of the race on Saturday morning, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Never had I toed the line of an event, much less an ultra-marathon knowing that half of it would be painful. I don't know why it was affecting me the way it was...perhaps because I'm extremely passionate about this sport and the people that I've met through it...I don't know. I guess that in a way it was a black eye on a day that hadn't even begun yet. Regardless, I maintained my goal of simply running simply to have fun, take over 150 pictures, and cross that finish line...with complete ignorance of the clock time. No doubt, it would be the slowest 50K of my life and I would suffer to do it. Nothing, though, was going to stop me. I wasn't missing this for the world.
As many of you know, there's been a Bondi Band "issue" at hand. Well, even though the Bondi didn't match my gaiters exactly, I stepped up to the plate and wore it all 31.2 miles. Truth be told...not one drip of sweat got in my eye and I really didn't feel it. After the race, I sent Marjie and photo text and her reply was "You totally look like you're in drag." Thanks so much, Babe. I appreciate it! :-)
I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow recap of the event because my day was quite simple. I stopped often to take pictures and was thrilled with what I captured. See all 154 here. For the first 10 miles, I ran swift and powerfully and had no pain. There was no reason to run extremely conservative because the pain was inevitably going to come and I knew exactly when it would arrive...and it did. Around Mile 10 or 11, on approach to the Boston Store Aid Station, I took 800mg of ibuprofen along with some watermelon and peanut butter and jelly. Once that kicked in, I was good to go. After making the halfway point turn at Pine Lane, the pain was already overpowering the ibuprofen and by the time I got back to Boston Store (about Mile 19.5), I was really feeling it again. It was also approaching 90F and full sun. As I plugged along, I was increasing my water intake, going to the bathroom often (a good sign that my systems are still functioning as they should), and not taking any more ibuprofen because 1) it was too early to take more and 2) even if I could, I didn't have food to take with it. So, it was a matter of just moving forward and coping. 3 miles after the Boston Store, Brian "Pebble" Musick was there with his own ice cold jugs of water. A pleasant gift, for sure, since the gallons of water staged there were all empty. Brian, you were a lifesaver! I was out of water and needed some. Forging forward to Snowville Rd which would be Mile 25, I noticed distinct signs of dehydration and my vasovagal syncopy warning signs. I could feel my heartbeat by pushing in on my jugular, but it was very faint. Hot and humid are my Achilles Heel in these trail events. (which is why the Burning River 100 in 2009 was my last BR100!!!) So now, I was getting lightheaded, my adductor was screaming and tiptoeing up hills became the standard. From Snowville on, it's exactly 6.2 miles or 10K to the finish. Much of it was hiked and a few stops to sit and get my heart slowed down were hallmarks of this section. My heart was racing to cool me but it's beat was so faint to me. I knew I'd better be careful or I was going to pass out and that never has a happy ending. Coming into the Ottawa Point pavilion area, Vince showed up and basically dragged me for awhile, forcing me to run. (thanks, Vince...it really was refreshing to see you out there) Nearing the finish, I knew I was less than a 1/2 mile from the finish, on a downhill, and still it took everything to run. A few steps later, I finished in 7hrs, 57min, 20sec. I like to say that I bested my worst 50K time ever! 3 years ago at my first ultra (ironically, it was the BT50K), I ran a 6:52 and it super hot. Before yesterday, that was my slowest. However, this event was the funnest 50K ever. I had a blast and regret nothing. I'm so glad I took my camera and wore my battery completely out. With no photographers on the course, I was happy to get so many good pictures. So that makes 39 marathons/ultra-marathons. Still sitting at 25 marathons and now 14 ultras.
While heading out for some dinner last night, I mentioned to Marjie this: "I truly believe it is the 'back-of-the-packers' who have the hardest struggle. I don't want offend the front runners, but the longer you are out there, the more mental fortitude it takes to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I've had my great days like the Winter 50K a few years ago when I broke 5 hours so I know what it's like to have a perfect day. Other days, though, we're dealt another hand and we have to deal with it, never quit, and forge forward to the finish line."
Thank you to the phenomenal volunteers...you were all awesome!!! By the way, I know what Hammer's Heed is supposed to taste like, and at all 3 aid stations, you nailed it. It was perfectly mixed. Congratulations to all the finishers and especially to those newly minted ultra-runners! You ALL rock!!!!
See you all on the trails...