Friday, July 24, 2009

20in24 - The Final Loops

Laps 5 and 6 were when this really got hard.

The start of Lap 5 was great. We were in our night-time gear, reflective vests, headlamps, glowing arm bands etc. It felt silly and fun and like we were some kind of warrior people sticking this crazy race out no matter what.

It was also nice to hook up with my sister at this point. We'd both been alone all day and it was good to have a buddy to talk to - especially one where you didn't have to start with the really basic small talk like "what's your name and what's your goal for today?".

She was on her 6th lap which meant she was 8.4 miles ahead of me and moving towards her 50 mile goal. We agreed that we'd take it easy on this lap and do mostly walking. We stuck to that plan, only breaking it up a few times to relieve pressure on my toes that were feeling sore again. Oddly, for me it felt better to run at this stage than to walk.

As the night wore on, I was starting to get really tired. I'm sure quite a bit of the fatigue was related to the race, after all by the end of lap 5 I'd have covered 44 miles, but mostly it was because it was approaching my normal bedtime. On the 2nd half of the loop I was having a really hard time trying to decide if I should press on to get to 50 miles.

What was the point? I kept asking myself. I don't get a medal or a t-shirt. There is no finish line, this was just an arbitrary goal I set for myself. I'd already accomplished a PR for one day distance. There wasn't much incentive to continue other than it sounds a lot more impressive to say 50 miles than it does to say 44 miles.

But I was tired. I felt OK physically, but I wanted to stop. I couldn't find it in myself to decide either way what to do. I could see good reasons (well, reasons anyway) for choosing each way. My sister wasn't much help. She'd hit 50 but was feeling some pain from blisters and was willing to stop if I really wanted to quit.

Checking into Lloyd Hall I collapsed into the beach chair still undecided about the plan. I took another Tylenol. I ate a couple slices of pizza. I talked to some college girls who were running the relay. They were impressed enough with the 44 miles that they sort of made me want to throw in the towel.

Luckily I decided around that point to check my cell phone for messages. I had two texts that both were encouraging me to press on to get to the full 50! Thanks Joan and LaDonna for helping me make the decision! About that same time, I got a call from my friends Tom & Maureen who were there to run the Midnight Madness Loop.

He won the prize for the best costume "Most Illuminated Runner". We could see him clear across the river!

Anyway, seeing them and getting the texts pushed me over the edge so around midnight we struck out on our last lap of the night. By this time our Garmins were dead so we were just out there on our own hoping that we were maintaining some kind of normal pace.

We did OK, not slowing down much over the last lap even though it felt like we were walking though molasses the whole time. I don't think there was much if any running on this lap.

The Lone Rangers were all tired and cranky and SILENT at this point. You'd see groups of them chugging along together but nobody was saying much of anything.

About a mile from the finish line my left calf started to feel funky -- like it was about to go into cramping spasms or something. That was how I knew it was smart to to quit at Mile 50.

By the time I sat down in my beach chair the right leg was getting the same feeling. Luckily they didn't really get much worse. A few twinges on the way home but nothing too bad.

What did it feel like to finish? Kind of anti-climactic! Because everybody stops this race at different times there was no finish line hoopla or anything. I went from the finish area (where the nice volunteer did mark my bib with exclamation points and a happy face) to Lloyd Hall were everybody was sprawled on the floor sleeping. I was happy but kind of in a state of total disbelief that I'd done this crazy thing and that I didn't feel too bad.

I was dreading packing up all the junk and lugging it back to the car so we ended up abandoning some stuff there in the gym. The cooler, the aerobed and some other stuff I think. I sat there taking in the scene and drinking another Slim Fast before heading SLOWLY back to the car and driving home.

I was showered and in bed by 4AM.

Video (after lap 5, kind of sad):

Video (after Lap 6):

1 comment:

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