"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strongman stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."- Theodore Roosevelt, Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

Monday, October 18, 2010

I laugh every time I say the name, " 24 hour race". This was my first venture into a timed race greater than 6 hours and I underestimated how difficult it was going to be running a course that didn't have a true finish line. It was harder for me mentally to deal with that simple fact than anything else that happened to me that day. Here is quick break down of my day by the numbers.

-Miles 1-18 Frosty start, bright sun, and running in my new Vibram Five Fingers (KSO Treks image here). The day was new and fresh and my attitude was good

-Miles 18-30 I spent the next few hours working on trying to repair the damage to my feet that the VFF's inflicted on them. My feet hurt so bad I am reduced to walking early on. I am lapped by everyone including a ultra running grandma.

-Miles 30-36 I got a boost from Leslee and the kids coming out to see me. ( one of the benefits of the course being 10 minutes from the house) I am finally into some comfy shoes, and I feel I can run for the first time in a while. Bad news -I messed up on the electrolytes somewhere and I began barfing while walking with Leslee. The barf-o-ramma continued for about two hours. -

Miles 36- 48- After a brief stint spent in my hammock with my feet up contemplating where I went wrong; I was bullied into walking loops ( now in total darkness ) with the former race leader. Tony had ruled the race for 12 hours, but now that the sun had set he was running into issues and he himself was being lapped by the new leaders. " Hey man...you wanna walk some loops with me?" As he stood at a distance but within earshot of where my pity party was taking place. " Sure" was my feeble response...I stood up to put my shoes back on and promptly threw up again. Nice. I walked with Tony for almost five hours straight. Around 11pm I am greeted by a family friend who dressed up in costume, and as he described it, " am ready to run all night" . After I finish laughing at his crazy get up ( blond-greenish afro, racing splits shorts, a shirt that could have fit a 5 year old, and knee high socks with orange horizontal stripes ) I calmly explained I haven't been running in hours. "Cool, lets go." was his reply.

The end- I wouldn't say this is a DNF because this is a timed event; but its as close as one can get with out having the DNF tag hung on your race number and name in the results. Around midnight Tony, Austin dressed in his rodeo clown type outfit, and myself walked through the checkpoint for what would be my final time. I was frustrated. My legs felt good, and I had not thrown up since putting my shoes back on hours ago. My feet; however, were swollen, huge and blistered on the ball of each foot. I informed Tony I would not be going back out, and he seemed relieved. " Good, this isn't what I signed up for anyway. Now I can get some sleep." and with that he turned around and headed off. I thanked Austin for coming out and hanging with me on the trail. His efforts made the final loop much easier and something I could tolerate. I would like to thank my wife Leslee and my kids for supporting me during this stupid experiment. Especially Leslee who took it upon herself to run/walk with me even through the barfing stage. Thanks also to the birthday girl Amy V who came out to say "Hi" and to see how I was doing. It is much appreciated. In the end I am disappointed with the total number of miles; tho I have to admit I am not sure how far I actually went. It was right around 47-51 miles ( maybe?). By comparison, I've run other races that are 50 miles in length in much less time. I blame myself for the stupid decision to wear the VFF's and the destruction of my feet. Tough lessons learned are lessons soon to not be forgotten.http://www.stpats24hour.com/