My 1st Ultra…Yahoo!
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.