What's gone before and before before...
Somewhere in the 2 and a half mile stretch from the turn around back to the Dumont aid station I went through my longest run ever. It was remarkable, I even commented to my little video camera about it. I was feeling pretty good, but my stomach was starting to grumble at me. Nothing serious, but it felt full and didn't care to stop feeling full.
Back at Dumont, I thought some carbonated beverage might help and I drank some coke and ginger ale to see if that might help. I hit my drop bag for a couple more gels and Clif Bloks, turned down a beer offer and headed back onto the trail.
Charles Danforth and I had been pretty close entering this aid station, but I lost him somewhere just before it and I wouldn't see him again for quite a while. I figured he was visiting with his family and that's when it really hit me that my wife and son weren't going to see me finish. I got really pretty choked up, but the moment passed.
Initially it didn't register, but then I was like: Hey aren't you Chris? While he was simultaneously re-introducing himself and saying that he thought he had recognized me eariler. We would run together for pretty much the rest of the race.
The stomach issue was becoming a real problem, and I was starting to suffer from micro-cramps in my legs. I had no desire to drink and eating was out of the question. I got to aid station number 6 and declared myself perplexed and an aid volunteer commented on the salt crusting my cheeks, suggested SCaps, some melon and a turkey wrap. Initially, I thought the turkey wrap was the all time worst idea ever presented to me, but right then Charles shows back up and said that I should really give it a try. I was sure he was ahead of me, but it turned out the other way around. I accepted the roll and headed back out onto the trail.
I would take a bite of the wrap and a mouthful of water to soften it up. Eventually I got almost the entire thing down. I was starting to feel better too, but was still worried about the cramping. I had a vial of Advil and Endurolytes. Probably a half hour after the SCaps, I took 4 Endurolyte capsules. This worked. By the time I got to the Long Lake aid station, I was feeling good again. My rough patch officially over.
Chris, Charles and I ran in a fairly loose line until we got to the Long Lake Aid station, where I stopped to fill my water bottles and eat a pretzel. I headed out, and very quickly realized I was forgetting something. Keys and phone were in my drop bag. I turned around retraced 100 meters and found my bag sitting in the sun. I opened it up and upon grabbing my keys and phone, I literally scalded my hand and they ended up on the ground. I was more than a little surprised, but upon reflection quickly realized that what I had done was effectively leave them on the dashboard of a car in the hot sun. I picked up the phone and tried to open it, but it was stuck. I was fairly certain that the thing was dead. I hoped that the same wouldn't be the case for the keys. Oh well, they got stuffed into my fanny pack and I headed back out onto the trail with my fingers crossed.
This section from aid station #7 until the Mount Werner station is remote and the race director made it clear that rescue would be difficult if one found oneself in serious difficulty. I was not having problems, but as I traversed this section I came across 2 people who were.
One gentleman had been unable to keep anything down since the Dumont Aid station -15 miles back, and another person who had been in difficulty since just after the turn. I offered them both water, gels or Bloks, but they both declined. I don't know if they finished, but I was really struck with the stubbornness of people who undertake this kind of thing. I don't think that kind of stubbornness is in me, but I don't really think this race really tested me either.
I caught back up to Chris somewhere on this second to last section, and I think he was experiencing a bit of a rough patch. We motored along together for a mile or two until he declared that he was holding me back and pulled off. I wasn't really troubled by our pace, but thought perhaps a fairly cheerful guy could be pretty annoying if you're suffering so I went on alone.
Upon reaching Mt. Werner, there was Charles again. Dude was truly my nemesis on this day. At this point I was feeling tremendous. I didn't really take much time at the aid station, I simply topped up on Succeed and got motoring on the descent.
I started flying. I pushed the pace into the mid 7's and passed a whole bunch of people. I was feeling good. Suddenly, my blisters from Imogene let go. The one on my left heel splattered seemingly all over and the one on my right heel was torturing me. I started questioning my own sanity and slowed down a bit. It was rapidly getting warmer as I descended the mountain and I walked a bit in the shade and had a drink. I got passed back by one of the people I had passed higher up on the climb. Then the wheels came off. I remembered I wanted to finish with a smile. So the 7's turned into 12s and 13s. No worries.
Charles came by along with several other people. I wanted to finish alone so I waited until there was a good gap and jogged it out. My Mom and her dog were at the finish as was Fred Abramowitz with a pint glass and a hand shake. Charles quickly greeted me at the finish and said that he couldn't get beat by a rookie. Chris came in just a couple of minutes after I did and I went over and thanked him for the time we spent on course.
Anyway, this was really remarkable. Somehow I had finished. My official finish time was 11 hours 27 minutes and change. I negatively split the course and I met all of my race goals: Finish, Smile, go under 12 hours. Had I not gotten behind on electrolytes and water, I might have been close to 11 hours, but that goal will have to wait for another year.
I believe the ultrabug has bitten and I've been infected.
Thanks for reading.