Well, I fell way short of my goal for this weekend’s race. I had a great big goal of 140 miles and ended up quitting at 118 miles. The weather this year at the Aslinger 12/24 hour race was very tough! Earlier this week I watched the weather bounce around from 10% to 20% to 30% to 20% to 40% in a roller coaster of emotions. A few days before the race the forecast looked awesome with 40-50 degree temps, light wind of 4-7 mph and a 10-20% chance of rain. The day before it was clear we were in trouble.
We got there a little after 6pm to unload and set up my spot. I paid some extra money for a very awesome VIP spot. Marcy helped me strategically placed my coolers, clothes, electronics, changing tent, and nutrition. We had cups with a concoction of Ucan, chia seed, coconut oil, and almond milk with an option of homemade chicken bone broth.
We had a few minutes after setup to chat with some friends and fellow runners from around the area and far away. 6:50PM and the lineup came very quick. I toed the line with my usual crew, but everyone else seemed to be afraid of the start line. Kelpe got everyone moved up and the hampsterfest began! It was a little cold, the wind was picking up, and the clouds had moved in, but no rain yet. The last time I checked they said 7pm was when it would hit, so I got to thinking maybe my prayers had been answered! Woo Hoo it was going to pass us by! Well, that’s not what happened.
We started off like every other year taking off like greyhounds after the fake rabbit. We did our usual chit chatting, joking, and catching up. All the regular running talk about goals, training, previous races, and upcoming races. We group up and move back and forth within groups talking to different people and catching up. I really do love this part of the race! Lots of quotes and one liners I wish I could remember, but never do. We all settle in to our paces and spread out. Now it will be 12 hours of loops with this group of folks all running their own race.
Each lap I start to learn the other racers that I will be passing and will be passing me. It wasn’t long before it started sprinkling, but it didn’t seem so bad. I was holding a good pace and feeling good. The wind was much harder than it was forecasted earlier in the week and directly in our face ½ of every lap. I knew early on this was going to be a killer. A couple hours in the weather hit and things got real for us all. I spent hours in rain ranging from sprinkles to hard downpours and always with those dadgum winds. I don’t know the official wind gusts, but I do know they were at least 20mph at some points. There were so many points I felt like quitting! It seemed such a daunting task! In the early hours of the morning I asked one of the volunteers, Chris Crossett, what the forecast was and he told me that it looked like it would be out by 4am. 4AM!!! Holy crap is what I was thinking! That was many more hours of misery away. I changed shoes and socks, but kept my wet clothes on. My wool t-shirt and light water resistant wind jacket were working well together. I had a coating of water resistant diaper rash cream under my shorts that seemed to be working well, so I decided to leave things as they were for now. I noticed other runners dropping. Several guys I really didn’t expect to drop left. There were injuries and guys just not feeling well. The field was dropping down, which always makes me think about why I am sticking it out.
Dawn finally came and with it was sun and dry weather. My spirits started to pick up, but I also could feel the toll of the night’s weather. 7Am rolled around and I was 67 official miles and 68 ran miles into it. This was 5 miles under where I expected to be at this point. I was feeling down but not out. I was running my bad runner math in my head. Could I still do it? What would my pace need to be? Could I make that pace? I had some confusion on whether or not the counters missed a mile or if it was the difference in tangents on the measured course and my actual ran. It is hard during a race to work these things out in your head. 12 hours of hard running in bad weather doesn’t leave you thinking clear. Through the day I was able to see the mile creep on each lap and clear up the issue of a missed lap. I figured out that I was with each lap running extra. If you are a walker you should pay attention to this. I gained over 3 miles in 24hours going around walkers and not hitting tangents.
The current batch of 12 hour runners expelled a huge sigh of relief the turned the wind back for a moment and the new batch of 12 hour runners took off. Several fast and highly watched racers were in this group! I felt like kicking them all in the shin as they sprinted by me all smiles and fresh. This is always another upturn in attitude as new friends hit the course and lift your spirits. Matt Miller joined me for a few laps and spurred me on with humor, pork rinds, and promises of special beer at the end.
18 hours in I knew that I would only hit 130 miles at best. The guy in second place was hurting, but still going and on my heals. John Polihan amazed me! He looked like he was on deaths door, but any time I walked he would lap me and like the terminator he never quit coming. I was on the edge of quitting at this point. My dreams of 140 crushed, my spirit broken by wind and rain, and only the same windy lap over and over to look forward to. My beautiful bride would not let me quit. She said let’s just walk it out a little and see what happens, then let’s run a little and see what happens, and then many laps later I was back at it and looking forward again. Behind every good man is a better woman. It is very true in my case.
20ish hours Joe Windeknecht and Mike Burnett joined me for some laps. This gave me another big spirit boost which got through several more hours. Joe is a very good friend that just never lets a guy quit. He will always bring out the good and help you dig deep. His persistence and positive attitude are a blessing. Mike always cracks me up and I am very happy he chose to come back and use his talent of humor to take my mind off the difficulty I was facing.
23 hours in I called it at 118 miles official and 121 miles ran. I was tired, cold, and had the overall cinched. It was time for a warm restroom, whatever food I could handle, and as much beer as I could handle.
24 hours gives you a lot of time to think about why you are running an ultra. There is no one reason I guess. If I could bring it to one word it might be achievement, but it also might be community. Is it personal achievement or being part of something bigger where people strive to reach new heights as part of a community supporting each other in the great adventure? I think I might be to delirious to figure it out right now.
Popular posts from this blog
Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack followed by groan grumble grumble followed by a hand patting the night stand looking for the evil device pretending to be a duck at 4:00 AM Saturday morning. I think to myself 'why do I do this?'. With a cough and a sniffle I ease out of bed onto my feet padding lightly across the bedroom floor on tendinitis ravaged achilles. I hear Marcy stirring as I start downstairs to make some breakfast for us and start getting ready. A few minutes later Marcy joins me to eat some eggs and start packing our gear in the truck to head over to Vienna IL. She is coughing and hacking, the bonus gift from our recent trip. I am coughing and hacking because my beautiful bride is a giver....and gave me her cold. The clearing of mucus, filling of belly, and loosening of tendons brings a more positive attitude towards the day. The weather app on my phone confirms it's going to be a beautiful day for a race. I pull up the directions to the race and see it w
A year ago I decided to run the Run Under the Stars 10 hour race with Marcy and a group of runners from Cape Girardeau. I was coming off a long series of multiple races every month and had a knee that was really starting to bother me. In true Savage fashion I figured "why not?" and that "I can deal with anything for that long". It didn't turn out so well and I quit at 33.5 miles and about half way. This was my first DNF and I was in a very very very bad place. I ended up being an extremely grouchy (my wife's opinion) crew man. Since then I have been seeing that race in my dreams at night (for you Ray Stevens fans)! This year was going to be different. I have been training hard, feeling good, and on the 1 year mark of running on the ketogenic diet. I missed my 140 miles at the Aslinger 24 hour, but the weather just did not cooperate. The savage was screaming to be let loose! I starting hitting hills and trails again to build back some stren
It was a warm fall evening and 10 well trained professionals were gathered for a final meeting to sort gear and prepare for their upcoming mission...well, trained professionals might be a stretch. I had about 3 evenings of Spanish class and a little time on some phone apps. We were actually a diverse group of newbies and old hands sorting out 800 lbs of school supplies to transport to Guatemala along with our own gear. We got our sorting done, some serious prayer time, and left with our plan to travel and meet up at the airport in St Louis. During the week I had a little freak out on the the volcano hike portion of the trip. We were getting some sketchy information on availability of packs for the trip, but it was decided that all would be ok. Just in case bring one if you can. Saturday morning started with a 1:45 AM wake up and 2:30 departure. We met up with our fellow travelers and got our two 50 lb bags per person checked. We flew to Atlanta where we met up with two more