Savage 50 - Tunnel Hill 50 mile

     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 will not take as long as I thought to get there and we are able to ease up a little on our schedule.  The drive is not bad with 80's music and talk of Zoey, racing paces, goals, and runner friends just like every other married couple out there.
     We are early enough to get a good parking spot and get registered pretty quick.  A quick trip to the potty and we are back into the warm truck for final preparations.  Marcy works out her bottles and drop bags and I stuff my camelbak full of goodies. We see Frank, Louisea, and Brad have arrived.  The Cape Girardeau gang is all here! I get my bib on my new America shorts, grab our bags, and head over to the trail to claim our spot along the course.  We claim our spot and go into the warmth and a surprisingly short bathroom line inside the museum.  A few minutes later I hear the race director announce the start is close.  We strip off the extra jackets and track pants and I get a quick kiss from Marcy before we wish each other good luck and go to our spots. There is a group from the high school choir here to honor our country with the national anthem which is awesome! I of course get up front where few want to be and tow the line.  I'm there with a guy in a speedo, a muscle bound guy without a shirt that is in danger of poking my eye out, and small brown bear in running shorts standing on his back legs (or a hairy Indian guy with no clothes on).  Steve Durbin the director gives us a countdown and we are off!
     My goal was 7 hours or just under.  I started out holding a perfect pace, but started to feel my energy tanking around 12- 15 miles.  I was getting light headed and fuzzy and knew pretty quick that being off my normal diet the last few weeks was showing up.  There are not many options at this point so I switched to plan B which is eat everything I am carrying.  The boost from carbohydrate intake is almost immediate.   I quickly begin to gain some energy back and start taking in carbs at every aid station.  The food is helping and my energy levels are back up, but I definitely do not feel normal.  I ended up starting to slow down as I hit 19 miles.  It's funny how such a slight incline and light wind can seem so bad.  It became one foot in front of the other time and I tried to focus on maintaining pace and not letting my form drop.  I ran along enjoying my book on tape and the scenery I haven't seen since Bryan Kelpe's birthday run in January.  I make it through the tunnel to the most awesome aide station and then on to the longest couple miles ever to the turn around.  I swear that couple miles feels like 10!  I earlier mentioned a slight incline and light wind...shouldn't they be in my favor now?  I spend the next several miles wondering what happened to my downhill and tailwind.  Somewhere around 40 miles a fella named Don who was aiming for 16:40 on the 100 mile joined me.  We had some good discussions and chit chat with made the last few miles blow by.  I am very appreciative for that.  I did check on him later and saw he finished well under his goal!  Congrats Don!  I myself finished 7:37 and 6th place in the 50 mile.  I can't say I'm happy, but I also am not upset.  Racing is racing and I am rarely happy with my performance.  I usually come away thinking I could have done better if.........
     Marcy finished 8:42 and 7th place female, Brad finished just under 9 hours and 21st male beating his goal, and Frank finished just under 12 hours and set a new record.  I am not sure we are allowed to talk about that though. Amanda and Brad gave me some awesome coffee stouts while we hung out. Louisea took excellent care of me and Marcy when we came in with all kinds of pampering and food.  I will take Louisea and Amanda as crew any time! Thanks to all who volunteered.  I just can't help but feel truly blessed!






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