Tag Archives: race

Antelope Canyon 55K 2016

My friend, Norb, handed me Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on The Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis the night before we were running the Antelope Canyon 55K in Page, AZ. I immediately stretched out on my bed and opened it up.

While reading the Introduction by Warren Doyle, a quote grabbed my attention. After letting it soak in, I read it aloud to Norb because I thought it was fitting to ultras and to what was to come the next morning.

“Don’t fight the Trail. You have to flow with it.”

This sparked an insightful discussion and Norb made the comment that the quote not only pertained to ultras, but to life as well.

This has been what I have been trying to acknowledge and welcome into my life. And as we flow with our experiences, it’s our attitude toward those moments that decide whether life has been positive and fulfilling or negative and frustrating.

I knew that this race was going to be a mental test because of the amount of sand that we were going to run through. The kind of sand that’s deep, loose and that makes you feel like you are losing ground, not gaining, the effort you put in.

It would be extremely easy to get lost and caught up in your goals if you didn’t go into this race with an open mind.

That’s why I had no goals for this race. In addition, it was my first race of the year and first since getting over knee pain at the end of last year. All I wanted was the pure enjoyment of running and flowing with the course.

It didn’t take more than a minute into the race that I could feel sand in one of my shoes. But I expected that and I didn’t want to worry on it so much that it would take away from the experience.

The course was a figure 8 design taking us around Horseshoe Bend, down into Waterholes Canyon and all the way around the Page Rim Trail that overlooks Lake Powell.

For me, it seemed like everything happened beautifully.

We reached Horseshoe Bend as the sun was rising, the slick rock burned red from the fresh rays and painted a reflection of vibrant orange on the Colorado River far below. I wanted to drink the moment longer, but a few glances at a time were all I could afford without risking a fall.

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From there, I found myself in rhythm with another runner as we wound our way along the cliff’s edge, trying our best to spot and follow the course flags.

We arrived to the Waterholes aid station together, but left separately.

Dropping down into the Waterholes slot canyon I was all alone and in complete awe with the geological features. I ran with my finger tips gliding over the smooth and cool rocks to both of my sides. It felt unreal, yet tangible at the same time to sense the passage of time in one moment. Even though I was in a race with hundreds of people, being alone gave off the feeling of this being my very own adventure.

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Climbing out of the canyon the course featured a long desolate stretch with nothing but more sand under foot. I was aware of the build up of sand in my shoes but I didn’t want to stop to dump them just yet. I didn’t feel any issues yet but I knew I should do something soon. So I decided I would dump them after I finished the first loop of the figure 8.

I heard the course was mostly dirt trail on the last loop. I figured it would be perfect and only necessary to have to clean out my shoes only once.

At the mile 21 aid station, I took both shoes off and took both inserts out. I poured out the sand and slapped the inserts on my legs to get as much sand out as possible. I slipped the inserts back in and both shoes back on and was on my way…but I noticed no difference.

I realized that the sand that was bothering me was in my socks. It was enough packed in, that it made it feel like I was running in shoes a few sizes too small. I did my best to push this away from my mind.

Beginning the last loop I was joined by another runner and his presence was just what I needed.

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I knew around mile 26, that my feet were destroyed and that they were only going to get worse. Both of my big toes felt like they were on fire at that point. But sand aside, I was having an awesome time.

We kept together the last 11 miles and were feeding off each others consistent and steady movement. This allowed for the last stretch to be easier than it should have been. Not that it was by any means easy at the end, it was a grind and a battle to keep convincing myself to keep running.

On the last quarter of a mile, I felt that he deserved the better placing of the two of us. When he picked up his pace, I happily watched him cross the finish line from behind.

I was 12th place in 5:37.

After taking my shoes and socks off, I immediately went to the first aid tent. One big toe had a few normal sized blisters and the other had one that was caked with sand and covered the entire inside area and a little bit under the nail.

Overall, this has been the most content with a race I have ever been. Other than a few parts climbing over rocks and one small steep sandy hill, I ran the whole thing. Which was all I asked from my body.

Reflecting back on my race and the others that placed before me, I wondered why people race or run ultras. Each person will have their own reasoning. But thinking on myself, I’ve realized that I do these to go against myself.

Me vs. Me

To see if I can overcome mental and physical obstacles. To see if I have grown and progressed. To see if I have learned from the past. To see if I can kill my old self and transform into my new self.

Obviously I want to improve my times and placing the more I do these races. But comparing myself to others is not how I define my success and accomplishments. I only want to compare myself before the race and after the race. The in between, how I adapt to the elements and persevere during mental and physical low points, is how I measure my personal endeavors.

And as I further to develop myself inwardly and outwardly through running, my hopes are that what I learn will spread to all other aspects of my life allowing me to flow with life, not fight it.

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*Photo credit: Norb Lyle

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Desert Rats 50K

It was either raining or snowing on my 8 hour drive down to Colorado the day before the race. Which sapped and diminished my excitement for the race. I was looking forward to the desert warmth but the forecast for the race showed a cold, rainy day.

The race organizers assured everyone through email and their Facebook page that the race would go on regardless of the weather. They received some backlash from people fearing that the race would destroy the trails and many were begging them to even cancel the race.

I was excited to race but wasn’t looking forward to feeling miserable for hours. I knew I had to change my mindset before going to bed if I was planning on having a great race, like I was expecting to.

I went ahead and put myself visually in the race while I did my pre-race stretching the night before. I imagined trudging through thick and long stretches of mud with wet and freezing cold clothes while my hands, ears and nose were numb from the chill. I went ahead and embraced the suck. I expected and planned for the worst.

Another thing I did was that I threw out my time goal, since I figured the conditions would slow me down, and I think this was the best decision I made prior to the race. Something I have learned from running ultras is that you can come to a race with a plan. But the only thing you can count on is that plan not going as planned.

I decided I was going to do the best I could do with what I would be given during the race.

It was in the low 30s at the start of the race. Cold enough to leave me feeling reluctant to get out of my warm car and peel off my jacket 10 minutes before the start. But I was ready to roll.

There was a course change due to some conditions on the trails and they put together a new course that they felt like would preserve the areas that were in most potential to being damaged.

So instead of doing one giant loop, they designed a 10.4 mile lollipop that the 50Kers would do 3 times. Simple, right?

Waiting around the starting line with the other runners, it was mostly silent. A lot of sizing up was going on it felt like. Then a few minutes before the start, the mood seemed to chipper as people started to joke about who was going to get to the first aid station first. Whoever did, was getting a $100 bill handed to them.

The race began as the marathoners, 50kers and 52 milers took off down the dirt road together.

Right away it was messy. Everyone was trying to find the driest parts to run on but not much to work with. Within a few minutes I had a pound of mud clumped to the bottoms of each shoe.

“Feels like I have weights on my shoes,” I said to another runner that I ran with for the first few miles.

Honestly it was already making my legs feel tired.

This dirt road rolled for a little over 3 miles, then we ran up a minor hill then down to the first aid station. I stopped for just a few seconds to trash my first GU that I just gulped down and took a swig of water.

About a minute after this stop is where it got tricky. We were still on the road and the first trailhead opened up to our right. There were blue flags marking this trail but there were also the same markers on another trail just a few steps further down the road.

As we passed the first trail, a runner next to me made the comment “aren’t we supposed to follow the blue flags?”

“I don’t know…think so…” was what I came up with not really caring too much.

But everyone ahead of us went to the second trail. As we were hopping on the second trail, a runner came running down the first trail and said “I took the wrong trail” as he joined us and the line of other runners.

Almost right away we were treated to our first exposure of the view that we would be running with during the day. As we ran on red rocks and dirt close to the edge of the cliffs, the Colorado River flowed well below. I felt I had just been placed in the Grand Canyon.

Immediately a wave of gratitude washed over me with my initial awe I took in.

At this point everyone was settling into their paces. I held tight with a few guys and we ran single file at the same clip with not much chatter happening.

Right at an hour into it, we popped back out onto the road where the race director was standing telling us that ran the wrong route and that we should have taken the first trail.

Getting on correct trail, we were greeted with our first hill that was super rocky bringing everyone’s stride to more of a tiptoe.

A few runners that I was with were pretty frustrated by the mistake we did. I just shrugged it off.

Surprisingly it didn’t phase me one bit. Maybe because there was no point in dwelling in the past or maybe because I was just so focus on the task at hand and keeping my mind in the moment, that it didn’t get to me.

From this point on, we were basically running the cliff edges for a while. Some people that went out too ambitious started to lag behind.  But mostly everyone held their ground pretty steady.

After that first hill, I hit my groove and was feeling great. I was keeping it easy and sticking to my nutrition and hydration plans.

And the weather ended up being favorable. It was overcast. No rain and the temperature was minimally climbing. After expecting the worst, I was very comfortable and realized that the cloudy day was more of a blessing in disguise than anything.

And after we got off the road section, there was never a problem with mud on the trails.

Arriving to the second aid station was a relief. With the added section we did, it felt like forever until we got there. I stopped for just a few seconds to get in some water and was back running.

From here though, we had to do another climb. This was the worst part of the race. It wasn’t a long hill but the mud came back and was thick. The type of mud that sucked at your shoes and made that weird suction sound with every lift off.

Once at the top, we barreled down and hit the road again going back to the start/finish area. I guess the course was more like a giant P, instead of a lollipop because when we got on the dirt road we were closer to the start/finish area.

I have done one other race similar to this style and love it because you get to see the runners ahead of you going back out.

I got to the end of my first loop and refilled both of my water bottles. The race director was back at this point and apologized about the course confusion to everyone coming in.

At this point, a guy I was running near was wearing a GPS watch that said we were 15 miles into the race. Which made the extra loop that we did, close to 4.5 miles. I think I came into the start/finish area in a time of 2:05.

Heading back out I was keeping my steady easy pace. The runners had definitely thinned and spaced out more this go around.

I got to the first aid station in about the same time it took me the first time.

Though I was keeping it easy this is about where the pain began to settle in for me. And historically in pretty much all of my ultras, this is about where I start to cave mentally. But this is my first 50K that I was getting to use my nutrition plan that I came up with right before doing my 100 miler in May, which is what I believe to be the main reason why I would crash mentally. I wasn’t putting enough calories in my body. So now, my new plan, I was rotating between GU and Clif Bars. Getting about 250 calories per hour in me.

I embraced the pain and kept pushing on, reminding myself to never give in and to never give up.

I was starting to move up in the field as I ran on. I was also finding out that running seemed easier when I was with someone, even if we weren’t talking. Once I found a new groove, I aimed to slowly reach the next runner ahead and run with them for some time.

A hard part of this race was actually knowing what place you were in regards to the race you were running. Because the start wasn’t staggered, I couldn’t tell who was doing which race. But there was a guy I had my eye on.

The whole second loop he kept the exact same distance ahead of me. Every time I came around a bend his pace and distance from me were the exact same.

At the second aid station I decided to up my salt intake and increased to taking 2 pills per hour to hopefully avoid any cramps later on.

Leaving this station the mud on this climb just got worse from all of the foot traffic. There was more slipping and sliding on this go around making it even more difficult to get up and over this hill.

Getting back to the dirt road this time I made it more of a conscious effort to look at people’s bibs that were coming the opposite way to gauge where I was place wise.

I remember passing the lead guys of the 50 miler, exchanged a few “good job man”-s. And I knew that they were the ones that lead from the get-go. I don’t remember seeing anyone with a 50K bib in this stretch.

When I got to the start/finish area, I asked “how many are ahead of me in my race.”

The guy I asked, who was marking bibs after each completed lap, said “no idea. I’ve already lost track. Maybe 6 or 7.”

“Shit” was my response.

“Reel them in man!” He said.

There was no way that there were that many people ahead of me I thought.

Don’t give up and don’t give in, I kept repeating to myself.

I noticed my pace was slowing a little bit but I was still plugging away.

I got to the first aid station a few minutes slower than the previous laps and I didn’t pass anyone on the road. I asked them if they knew what place I was in. They told me maybe second or third. That was more like it and closer to what I thought!

I began picking people off, not knowing which race they were doing, and not because I was upping my pace but because others were bogging down.

Towards the middle of this last lap, I had to begin my mental fight. It wasn’t like it was in the past where a switch would be flipped in my mind and all of the sudden I didn’t to and wouldn’t run anymore.

It was the urge and drive to dip deep within.

“This is it man. You won’t get this moment ever again. Keep pushing. Don’t give up and don’t give in” was basically the dialogue going on in my head.

The runner I was chasing on the second lap was not letting up. At one point I saw him in the middle of a climb off in the distance and still running strong.

I caught up to a runner doing the 50 miler and held onto his pace.

It was really hurting for me at this point but I was determined to not given in.

At this point we were probably at or even beyond 31 miles, about 4:30 into the race. Which was my original time goal.

I followed a step behind him for a few miles and into the last aid station. We both stopped and took in some more salt pills and we quickly got out of there. I was glad he left with me even though I was only a couple of miles to the finish.

Every step with someone was one less step alone in my head. Leaving this aid station you could see the mud hill before hitting the road to the finish. The guy I was chasing was walking it but still in the distance from me.

“This is your moment” I told myself.

Hitting the mud hill, my right hamstring gave me an honest threat of cramping.

We pushed up the hill despite the mud clawing and attempting to rip the shoes off me.

Getting to the top we pounded the short down hill and reached the road. The guy I was chasing was within a very reasonable reach now.

“You going for it?” The guy I was with asked.

“Yeah!”

I took my final charge and surged to the finish which was a little over a mile away now.

I was thinking that I may be in third and was working on passing the second place guy. And the thought of being in second about to pass the first place guy got me even more excited and amped.

I pushed the rollers of this dirt road. The hamstring made a few more threats but it never materialized into anything, thankfully on this final stretch.

I caught and passed the guy I had been watching for most of the race.

We exchanged good jobs and I continued my kick.

Never letting up I crossed the line in 5:11.

I asked for my place, but still didn’t get a definite answer.

“I think 3rd” was one answer.

“No idea” was another.

Oh well. Right away I went over the race in my head and realized that I just had my best race ever.

Everything, from my nutrition and hydration were on point. My mental game was the best it has ever been and never did I have a negative thought. I stayed focused, in the moment and only had a few times where I had to give myself a pep talk.

And physically my body held strong the whole time. Yeah it hurt, but I think I have started to develop the experience to know that that is part of the game. Embrace the pain or let it embrace you.

I think what I am most proud of is that I never walked. I never gave in and never had to do the death march. I think that was rooted in my determination and my passion to keep running.

I hung around to cheer people on and met a bunch of people as I soaked in the experience and accomplishment.

I few people that had GPS said we ran about 35.7 miles. Converting my time to 31 miles, my time would have been a few minutes over 4:30, right at what I was aiming to do for the day.

Time wise, I came and did what I wanted to do. The placing was secondary.

The results were posted and I came in 4th place.

I am not sure if the three guys ahead of me ran the extra miles in the beginning or not. I never saw them on the out and back section on the dirt road which makes me believe that it is very likely that they didn’t. I didn’t let the placing bring me down though.

I feel that I put down a solid performance. I have nothing but positives to take from the race and I hope I can build on them.

This was my first ultra in 11 months and I’m extremely proud on how much I have developed and that I was able to learn from past mistakes. I finally feel I am coming into my own and I feel that things are actually and finally clicking for me as an ultra runner.

But anything can happen on a race day. I’m thankful everything came together so well for me this race.

I have two months until Bighorn now! Time to hunker down even more and dedicate my attention to that.

Oh and the funny thing about the guy I passed at the very end, he was doing the 50 miler. I hung out until he finished and we laughed our asses off about me thinking he was in my race.

4th Place!

Yesterday’s race was hands down my best race I have ever had. Even though I missed a turn with a group of runners and added about 4.5 miles to the 50k race, I have so many positives to take from this one.

My official time was 5:11 for roughly 35.7ish miles.

I wanted to post a quick update on how the race went since it might be a few days until I sit down to write out a longer report. Just feel like relaxing and kicking back with my feet up now.

Thanks for the support everyone!

5K: Win is a Win

Got my first win in a race ever!

I ran a 5K over the weekend in the next town up from me. Races are few and far between in Wyoming so I really wanted to jump on the chance to get in a 5K before I really amp up my ultra training.

Well my race wasn’t pretty.

I went out pretty ambitious and hard. I figured it would be my only 5K until the Fall, so why not go all out?

First mile I was around 5:42. I knew from my breathing that I wasn’t gonna be able to hold it but just ran hard anyways.

Obviously I just fell apart. By the half way point I was on pace to run 18:30, which was my goal. But still fell back from there…

Ended up getting 19:41 for the whole race. About 2 minutes faster than the person behind me.

Not many people run in this state, I have found out, which kind of sucks because I don’t have people to push me.

I talked to a friend back home about the race details and he said “a win is a win.”

Didn’t go as planned but I’ll take it even though I would be destroyed in any other 5K.

Hopefully it sets a trend….

Almost Race Day

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I’ve made it to Key Largo in Florida! This is where the race will start Saturday morning and we will head 100 miles to Key West.

Right now, it’s pretty humid, as thunder rumbles above. Looks like a rain storm will be here shortly. On the bright side though, the weather looks like it will be in favor of the runners for Saturday. The forecast is calling for temps in the low 80s and winds from 15-20 mph. I believe in the past it has been in the 90s for the race, so we are lucking out.

I’m feeling calm and collected at the moment. Yesterday and even this morning I was freaking out about this colossal challenge. I told a friend that I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around 100 miles. He told me that I cannot think like that. I have to keep my mind in the moment and to break the race up into little pieces. Eventually the miles will be covered, I just can’t think of the big picture or else I’ll just make myself nervous.

Usually it’s me that’s speaking the words of insights, but sometimes I need to be reminded of these valuable lessons.

I am happy and absolutely relieved I’m finally here! Just need to stay off my feet until Saturday and keep my thoughts in the present.

Croom Fools 50 Mile

It wasn’t my morning. I slept like shit. On my drive down the day before, my eye started bothering me. Either something got in it or it was some infection. It kept me up all night and when my alarm went off it was mostly shut and dark red. I flushed it out in the sink of my hotel room and made the decision to wear my contact in that eye. Which I think made it better and made me believe something was in my eye because the contact was blocking the irritation feeling. But my vision was still blurred and sometimes the double vision effect came on.

When I was about to drive off from my hotel, I realized I forgot my foam roller in the room. I really didn’t want to waste 5-10 minutes going to get it, so I just left it. I figured I would just get another one since I work at a running store. Also, I didn’t find out until after the race, I had left one of my car windows down. It rained a butt ton and the passenger side was soaked when I finished the race.

The morning was humid. I thought that it felt like a summer morning in Georgia already. It was about 70 degrees and I debated even wearing a shirt. I placed my drop bag in the designated area and tripled checked I had everything I brought. I stuffed my shorts with gels and s-caps in my handheld’s pocket. The RD announced we had about 10 minutes to go. I just hung out, sipped some water, made sure my shoes were tied and did some light stretching. And I got to meet my first fellow blogger in person. (Rebecca. She had a great 50K that day!)

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We lined up as the RD was giving everyone course instructions. We were to do a small 5 mile loop, then 3 15 time loops, to make it 50 miles. Everyone was clicking on and off their light source to make sure they worked. Small jokes were tossed here and there which gave it a very chill and light mood. The final countdown was declared and then we were off.

Right away a guy my age was by my side. He had done this race before two years ago. It was his first ultra and he won it. Then his next one was the Keys 100, which will be my first 100 miler coming up. He told me how much of a disaster that was for him and now this race was his third ultra. We were in the lead pack but in the back of it. We both wanted to started off super slow. We kept reminding each other to slow up a bit a few times.

This first part was mostly on a service “road” made of sugar sand. There was rain the night before which made most of it compacted but there were still areas where it was pretty loose. So almost like running in the sand at the beach.

By the first mile, I was draining sweat. I almost forgot what it felt like to sweat so much after the long winter we had in the South. I knew I had to stay on top of my hydration because otherwise I’ll be sorry late in the race.

We went about 3 miles on this then hit the main trail. This last few miles of this loop was also the last miles of the bigger loops. So we were now on the course. This section had a good bit of roots so we had to step carefully. Even with all of our lights, occasionally someone would stub their shoe into a root but no one fell victim.

We made it to the start/finish area. The 50K runners were getting ready to start and they cheered everyone on as we went through. Everyone I was running with blew past the aid station and the chance to get anything from their drop bags. I stopped to grab another gel and to add some water to my handheld.

I started the first big loop with a couple of guys. It was still dark so we still had our headlamps. Well I actually used knuckle lights. I was behind them. Eventually the lead guy made a slight wrong turn off course. I didn’t follow, so now I was leading both of them.

Slowly the darkness faded but the weather was overcast leaving a greyness in the sky. I was feeling good and settled into a very easy pace. Up ahead, I could see a few runners in the distance. I was barely reeling in.

As we ran on, I could hear this awful bugle sound in the distance. I soon realized it was a vuvuzela that I remember hearing from watching the World Cup. It was from the guy manning the first aid station. When I made it there he refilled my water bottle and I tossed a few cups of cold water over my head. Before taking off, I took my first and only pee break.

Off and running I could still see the same few runners just ahead of me. The course winded through the woods. A few fallen trees were in the way that we had to get over. There were some tiny inclines and declines but mostly it was flat.

Eventually I passed one runner but also around this time, runners doing the 16 mile race started to pass. And then I kind of lost track as far as who was who and in what race. I got to the next aid station and the same story there. Someone filled my bottle up and I cooled down with water over my head. I made sure to take my time at each stop. No point in rushing and making myself more tired.

The next little part went by quick and I don’t remember much. It felt like I had just left the last aid station when I came up to the next one. Turns out it was only 3 miles from the last one. Anyways, I welcomed it and made a stop. They told me that this was the last stop and I had a little over 4 miles to finish this loop.

This final part of the loop had the most inclines. The smart people were walking up them already, I decided to chug along and run up them. I even told myself that might not have been the best idea.

Running on I finished the first big loop feeling great, comfortable and at ease. I was 20 miles into the race but still had a long ways to go.

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I reloaded on gels and s-caps, then took off for my second big loop. I was sticking to my original plan of one gel every 30 minutes and one salt pill every hour. I took a gulp of water about every 5 minutes and I switched my bottle to the other hand every 15 minutes to avoid getting sore arms.

I was happy to hear the vuvuzela this time around and found it comical that this guy was doing that all day. This was around mile 25 and from there I made it to the next aid station with no problems.

I was coming up to a guy who looked like he was having problems. He was in a run/walk shuffle. I was feeling great and just when I was about to catch him, a hamstring cramped up when I was jumping over a log. I stopped for a minute to work it out. Once it settled I was back running again. But the guy ahead was no linger in my sights.

About 5 hours into the race is when I first started to tire. My heart was started to pound and the heat was making my head thump. I took my first walk break to regroup. After a short 30 seconds I was running again. But it was a slippery slope from there. One walk break led to another and I was living in my own darkness. This was just after about 30 miles into the race.

Everyone one of us has that person in our lives that tells us we can’t. That we should quit. That we are pathetic and that we are not good at anything in life. That person for me is me. I am my own worst enemy…

From that point on for about 4 miles, I felt like a failure. I felt like I was an awful runner. I wanted to quit and just go home. Each time I got into a run, my mind got in the way and told me to walk. And I caved in.

I really wanted to finish the last mile to get back to the start/finish area. Slowly my mind came back to my corner. I felt down but it was yelling at me to get back up. To fight. To push through this shit hell I was in.

Most of the second loop it was thundering in the distance. I was starving when I got finished with that loop. I ate a PB&J sandwich and drank some Coke. I went over to my bag and reluctantly stuffed the rest of my gels in my pockets. I went back to the aid table and ate some cookies. I took longer at this stop than any other. I was beginning to get that cold feeling from standing around after running for a long time. Then a giant boom went off overhead and rain just dumped down.

I was so hoping for the race director to say something like, “all runners stay here and keep safe.” But instead he said something like, “woooo! It’s gonna be a fun one out there.” Fucking shit was all I could think of.

I started the final loop, 15 miles, with two other runners. The trail had already flooded in just minutes. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because of how miserable I felt. A few minutes later I was another person. The food pulled me from my own hell, the rain kept me cool and running with others helped me suck it up. I began to embrace everything and turned it into a positive experience.

I left for the final loop at 6:10 and knew that if I wanted to break 9 hours I wouldn’t have any room for any walk breaks. I would have to run the whole loop.

The rain continued to drop on us and I couldn’t help but to think of Forrest Gump when he was in Vietnam. It felt like we were in the same scene with this much rain coming down. He was at war with another country though. This was different.

We race to run against others. But every single race ends up being a war against yourself. No matter the distance or the time you are out there, you will be put against yourself. Each race is a different battle and each mile you win, you become a stronger, different and new being.

One guy eventually had to slow down. But me and another guy fell into a wonderful rhythm. No breathe was wasted on words. We just ran.

Each aid station I ate more solid foods. I had no issues with stomach cramps. I still took my time at each stop but knew I had to get a move on. I stayed strong and never had a negative thought this lap. I began to pay more attention to watch. I was so determined to go under 9 hours.

As the minutes clicked by my pace started to pick up. I didn’t take any walk breaks this last loop. It felt like I was running hard, but in reality I probably wasn’t running fast at all. I pushed hard to the finished and crossed at 8:56.

It was a tough race. The humid conditions at the start and down pour the last 15 miles made for a challenging race. I had one rough stretch but powered through it. I didn’t give up, as bad as I wanted to, and finished with a new found pride and strength. I am very pleased with my performance and ready for the next one!

*I stopped by my hotel after the race before heading home and they still had my foam roller! I also stopped at a CVS and talked with the on staff doctor about my eye. He recommended a certain eye drop and it has cleared up now.
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50 Miles Today: Finished Strong

8:56 for today’s 50 miler. Almost 2 hours faster than my first one. I had a rough stretch and really wanted to quit at mile 35. And when I thought I couldn’t feel more miserable, it started to dump rain and lasted the rest of the race. Coke, PB&J, Oreos and Chips Ahoy brought me back to life and I had an awesome finish. So happy for how things turned around and put down a solid time.