Too soon it was time to get my packet and get ready for the race. It was raining again and a little cooler. I opted to wear my rain jacket that I got when I rappelled for Special Olympics. I was hoping it would keep me dry (it did not). I put my old shoes and a pair of dry socks in a drop bag just in case (did not use). I had my new shoes on and still was not quite happy with them. I also put a pair of dry socks in my hydration pack. I headed over to the start line and congregated under the awning with everyone else trying to stay dry for as long as possible.
Mike Melton, the RD, gave some instructions that I couldn't hear and then we were off. I settled in with Jim Ball, Terri Preast, and Steve Durbin. It was great to start the run with those guys. We were all moving well and chatting. We were keeping a sub 7 pace for 10 miles. We eventually separated when they stopped for refills and I kept moving. I knew I needed to keep moving. I would not be able to maintain that pace for the entire race but I had a goal to try to beat. Stu and Ray K had put the sub 8 in my head- so I made that my goal. My best time was a 9:28 here though- so a big jump for me!
The three of them eventually passed me as I slowed some. I enjoy running in the rain, but not cold rain. I was starting to feel the breakdown. I wanted to quit several times from miles 13-20. I knew Jim was way ahead of me but I passed Terri and Steve again. I think Terri was hating the cold weather as much as I. Steve eventually passed me again.
I finally stopped at a church and dug out my dry socks to put over my freezing fingers. They were cold and cramping so bad, but the socks really helped. I didn't care how dumb I looked. And the rain jacket- did not protect me from rain, just gave me a little warmth probably.
I eventually made it to the 20 mile mark and even though I still had half of the race to go, that was my turning point. I knew I would finish no matter how long it took me. I just had to keep moving. Of course, I really needed to go potty though. I knew there was an auction house ahead with port o pots, but I wasn't sure how far ahead. I had asked Steve before he left me for good and he thought it was only a few more miles up. He was right. I finally saw the beacon of port o pots calling to me. I almost did not come out. To be warm and dry for a few minutes was great, but this is also the nicest port o pot I have been in. It is for women and there are even flowers in there. Very nice touch. As I sat there, I wondered where I was on my goal time. I had forgotten to put my watch on that morning and I was running without any clue as to my pace or even what time it was since Jim and the others had went on. I finally dragged myself out of the potty and headed on down the road.
One of the rolling aid stations gave me a small cup of coke and that helped me tremendously. The cold rain was keeping me awake but I was still feeling tired somewhat from the lack of sleep and the drive to the race. I stopped at the aid station before the walls and got a cookie or tried too. Thank goodness for the volunteer. I could not open the package with my frozen fingers to grab a cookie out. I thanked him and headed for the walls. There were 4 or 5 people at the aid station and as I turned into the walls I could hear them coming up from behind me. My goal was to not let them pass me in the walls and too see if I could pass anyone while in there (thanks Carl Laniak!). I trotted along and powered up the hills (thank you barkley training!). I could hear voices up ahead and focused on trying to catch them. It took awhile but I finally did. I passed three guys total and kept moving on.
Unfortunately, two of them caught back up to me. Jonathan, Joseph, and I ran along together. It was nice to have company again, but even more so, Joseph informed me that we were on pace for a sub-8. I was ecstatic.
Stu and Terri stopped and chatted with us as they were driving the course. I was glad to know that Stu was not out in the elements. Was not good weather for him to be out in!
With about 5K to go, I told them to go on and not worry about me. I was having a little trouble breathing and I was getting spasms in my back. I walked and tried to take deep breaths as I stretched to the side to try to get the kink out as I watched the guys getting farther away from me. I was a little bummed to have passed them in the walls to only have them pass me back this close at the end. Dag nab em dumb biscuits!
I finally reached the the turn and the long stretch home. I caught up to and passed Ray K (thanks Ray for cheering me on to my new PR). I kept trying to catch the fellars right up until I crossed the line. No go though...oh well.
I finished in 7:52:14. About 90 minutes knocked off of my best time. New PR for me! I was thrilled and could not wait to say thanks to Stu and Ray for putting the goal in my head. I headed to the bus to grab some clothes and finally change in the port o pot into some warm clothes. Yay!
Now I got to enjoy my absolute favorite part of the race- the food and people. I finally got to meet Pat and Tim from the u-list. Chat with Mike, laz, Juli, Sandra, Ray, Stu, Joshua, Diane, and several others. I was a happy lil' camper as I finished eating, said my good byes, and drove back home. Three Pr's in the past three races in two weekends. Feels good....
|Joseph, me, and Jonathan|