I did it!! YAHOO!!! March 7th 2009
Wow, my 1st Ultra. I can’t believe I ran the whole thing!(Link to audio of the run…No, not the whole thing!)
I basically hung with the main core of the runners; there was probably close to 20 or maybe less, I got there late and had to run past the group as they had already started, go to the state line, turn around, start my watch and catch up. Wasn’t bad, but that 1st mile was 7:45…NOT the way to start things off!.
The main group would run a couple of miles and then walk for about a minute and we did that pretty much through out the run with occasional longer stops at where the support vans parked. There we had gator aid, COFFEE and bananas.
I found I was constantly pushing ahead of the group, not cause I was trying to, it just happens since I normally run a faster pace but shorter distances. (Most of the miles were around a 9:40 pace except near the end) So I tried to make sure I stayed with them and stopped when they did. I think that REALLY helped.
I did hit the preverbal wall at 20. Don’t know exactly why that happens, I mean I was keeping up with my gel’s and bumble bars and even a banana, but right on schedule at 20 miles I felt way tired and weak. I stopped at a wonderful aid station (Some folks from the BRCC group volunteered to provide aid, what timing! There were two stations) and took in some pretzels, gorp and gaiter aid and probably stayed a good 3 minutes as I felt I just needed to.
Finally around 23 or 24 miles which was about the top of Doomsday Hill everyone stopped again, but since I had just seen Sandy at the carousel downtown and had walked with her for a couple of minutes I felt like I just didn’t need another stop, so I pushed on down the hill and never saw the group again, which I kind of liked. Not that they weren’t great company, they were, but I like the solitary feeling at that time. It just felt right.
As I crossed over the Meenach Bridge and then turned north on the trail just after the bridge and behind SFCC, 26.2 miles came up. For some reason that is a magical number, so I stopped my watch, yelled at the top of my lungs, “YAHOOOOOO!!!!!!!” and then started off again. That was a GREAT feeling!
The path up till this point was snow free except for just a couple of places between Pines and Argone, and those places were only about 20 yards long and no problem. (Had screws in my shoes….yes, and rocks in my head, but that’s another story). But the snow behind SFCC and going north was PLOWED! There still were a couple inches of hard packed snow and ice, but it was somewhat more smooth and easier to run on and with the screws in my shoes I didn’t really have any problems, even though it was up hill all the way to the military cemetery.
Just past the 27 mile marker was a good friend Steve Warrington from my Saturday morning running group and he planned on meeting me there to finish off the run. So there he was waiting with all sorts of food and drink and ready to go, even though a little earlier he had already run 5 miles with our Saturday group. I drank half a bottle of gator aid and ate a delicious peanut butter sandwich (just half) and then we took off.
I was still feeling pretty good, but was very nervous about this part of the trail since my wife and I had scoped it out earlier in the week and assumed by what we saw that it was going to be very difficult since there was so much snow. I was shocked and ecstatic to see that the trail was almost completely snow free partly because it gets more sun since it’s so open and since someone had plowed it.
Steve was great company as he just chatted away the miles, although the only time I ran a sub 9:00 minute pace (besides the 1st mile) was with Steve. He seems to speed up the more he talks! (HAAHAHA! I love teasing him!!)
As we passed the 7 mile bridge we were around 33 miles or so and started up a couple of big hills to the parking lot and I was beginning to feel the miles in my feet and ankles and general fatigue. Now this part of the trail my wife and I checked thoroughly and past the parking lot the snow was solid across the path and about 8 inches or deeper, so I was REALLY dreading this part, knowing how tired I was. BUT low and behold, SOMEONE had plowed this section too! All I could do was shout, “THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!!!!” I KNEW I was going to finish when I saw that, (all though I still wouldn’t admit it even to Steve…didn’t want to jinx anything).
But even though it was plowed I was starting to feel pretty fatigued. There had been a guy in front of us for about 3 or 4 miles and my 1st instinct was to try and catch him, but knowing there was a BIG hill right near 36.5 miles I thought, “don’t be stupid..just finish!”.
My wife was waiting for me at the top of the hill and I finally shouted out, “I think I’m gong to make it!”.
Wow, what a relief! I mean I really didn’t know if I would make it! My longest run in training had only been 20 miles followed by 11 miles the next day and I remembered how I felt on both days, tired! I remembered after that training run that I had a lot of doubt whether I could actually do this thing.
But there it was, a sign post with 37 miles written on it, and 37 painted on road, so as I started to cross over the line, I stopped, and rolled across it! I’d done it! I ran (yes and walked) THIRTY SEVEN MILES!! And, the best part? I didn’t feel like I had to be rushed off to the medical tent! I didn’t feel like running another 37 or even another 2 or 3, but I still had a little (just a little) left over, and that’s a GREAT feeling!
I remember when I 1st ran Boston back in 1983 and crossed the finish line; I went DIRECTLY to the underground parking and collapsed on one of the cots. I mean I was DONE! My back hurt, my feet hurt, my hurt hurt! But this was very very different.
So to sum up..it was a great time, and yes I want to do more of these!
But 1st……Qualify for Boston!!!!!
PS: Here’s a link to pictures: (Here) But as of 4:50 PM on 3/8/2009 I haven’t copied them up. Should be up soon!
Next Day Notes:
Well, the feet are fine…now. The top of my right foot was a little tender starting around mile 32 but today everything feels good! (thanks to the glutamine and BCAA recovery drink I take..really works!) And thanks to Dennis Clute for helping me with training and nutrition, I really didn’t know where to start!
Yesterday after the run I could hardly go up or down stairs and I HAD to use the hand rail. Today I was able to walk down with only a little pain and mild stiffness. I remember after I ran my 1st Boston that I couldn’t walk for about a WEEK! I am definitely going to do the Jeff Galaway method of running to prepare for qualifying for Boston this year. It’s OBVIOUS that it works! I mean I didn’t do EXACTLY what he recommends, but I did enough that I was able to complete all the miles having NEVER run past 26.2 miles and the last time I ran 26.2 was 1985!!! So it makes such complete sense to me now, that I’m going to purchase the book, CD, whatever it takes so I can get ready for qualifying.
** Update 2/6/2012 – Someone commented on this post today so I’ve added another picture here: Thanks Bridie Miller!
***Updated 2/22/2013 – Someone commented on this post again today (a year later) and I’ve tried to clean up some of the links and add pic’s
Strange how things just come together. I was loading some podcast onto my MP3 player today and noticed I had this picture of the Amaryllis. So I thought I’d do a search and see if I could find anything about this event in my life back in 1965. Here’s what I found: (This takes place in Singer Island, Florida, the area I grew up in)
The Story of Amaryllis
The day was September 9th, 1965. Gale force winds from Hurricane Betsy whipped the normally calm seas off Singer Island into a frenzied nightmare of 20-foot breakers and 80-mph winds. Palm trees leaned horizontally away from the onslaught, but many uprooted and were sent soaring by gusts of unthinkable velocity.
A lone ship struggled against uncertain odds. The Amaryllis was nearing the safety of the Palm Beach Inlet, but found itself being literally blown into the shallow waters less than a mile from the beach. The crew made desperate attempts to compensate for the winds and the storm damaged steering, but the gale force winds were too much and the foundering ship grounded on the shore immediately in front of the Rutledge Inn.
As dawn broke, so did the fury of the storm. Where last night had been a beautiful beach, now rested the storm beaten wreck of the Greek banana freighter, Amaryllis. As the day went on it soon became evident that that this great 450 foot ship would be resting here for some time.
Shortly thereafter, local surfers found the ship to be one of the most spectacular surf spots in the area. A little more than three years later, the foundered ship was finally removed from the beach, and towed out to its final resting spot about one half mile from shore in about 75 feet of water.
Here are some memories of other people whose lives were touched by this ship:
(*Note: I’m trying to refresh the 1st two links as they are broken)
More good stuff: http://surfhistoryproject.org/news/article_ship_at_beach.pdf (This one works!)
This must be a log of sorts about different ships. You can do a Ctrl F and type in “Amaryllis”, and you’ll find interesting data going back to 1828
More to come as I tell you why I posted this.
Okay, so WHY did I post this? Well, because I lived in the area where this happened back in Florida and we used to go down to see the ship a lot. I mean it was bigger than life! At least to me it was. I would have been…lets see, 11 years old, when this happened, and I can remember going down to the beach with my family and seeing this HUGE ship jammed into the beach! It was the biggest darn thing I’d had ever seen! And I remember the longer it sat there the cooler the beach became. I mean on one side the beach was being built up, but on the other side it was being washed away. So much so that it uncovered a reef that must have been covered over years before, but now it was a brand new place for fish, sea urchins, moray eels, lobsters, you name it, came and populated it.
What was cool, was that the people on the boat just started hucking things over the side and each thing they threw over would eventually become encrusted with barnicles and sea creatures and would start a reef of their own. It also created territories for barracuda’s to guard! That was the scary part! You would be skin diving and come across a piece of the ship and there would be a BIG barracuda guarding it’s treasure and they would NOT back down! You could go up to them and the just stay there and wouldn’t budge. You could see their fins go up in like a warning, “stay away buddy, or there’s gonna be trouble!”, but if you continued pushing closer to them, they would eventually back down. But MAN, those teeth! (These pictures are not mine, but they show how big these things are, and they look even BIGGER underwater!)
I remember a time I was diving with a good friend of mine, Mike Ellis, and he always wore a St. Christopher’s medal, and one day we were out on the reef and all of a sudden a BIG cuda swam right underneath Mike because he was curious about the “shinny thing” hanging off of Mike neck. That always made me wonder, “Why do they make diving mask with a nice shinny chrome ring around the glass?”.
Well eventually they must have thrown enough stuff off of the ship so that they were able to get a couple of tug boats and pull it off the shore. Wow, what a sight!
Here’s a link to some Surf History Project pictures: http://surfhistoryproject.org/photos.htm
TriMoot…out…mmm, I might add some more later.