...let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.
I started in the front in an effort to video the start with my Flip video. Other than that I had planned to slink back to a nice comfortable spot somewhere further back but that's not the way it worked out. I soon found myself running with the lead pack of 6 (counting myself) and a mile or 2 in heard the few guys in the pack behind us taunting... 'you guys are starting too fast'... and another saying 'we're going to catch you when you die'. It was all meant in jest and I thought it was pretty funny but I also took it as a reminder that I planned to be further back. I slowed my pace to join these guys since they sounded like they might be fun to run 30 miles with, but after a mile or so of slowing my pace, they weren't gaining any and I soon found myself running alone. I decided it would be more fun to run with people while I could so I sped up and caught the lead pack again. We all stayed together for maybe 5 miles when a few started to break away and I found myself running 5th/6th with David (a veteran of ultras who had just run the Hinson Lake 24hr run the weekend before). We chatted and hung together for a while until I had to 'water the bushes' and let him take off. I'm glad I didn't wait for pack behind us since nobody caught me by the time I got back to the trail and started running again.
Isaiah 40:31...those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
This 5 mile loop had some steeper climbs and more of them than the other loops. The Deep Step name comes from the road this loop crosses in 2 different places. I've developed a bit of a hate-hate relationship with road running in my second new-found life as a runner, so it was great that this was the only amount of asphalt we had to touch during the entire 33+ miles. The funny thing is this also proved to be my only real relief from the rolling hills that punished my knees. My knees have caused me a great deal of grief in the past couple years since I've started running again. The pain/discomfort was almost a thing of the past during the last few months, but I'm afraid going so hard on my three legs of the relay made the knee pain rear its ugly head again. This surfaced big time around mile 6 or 7 and was starting to be a killer with a bulk of the pain coming from my left knee.
I started this run the way I start almost any run... I thank God for giving me the ability to even take the first step and that I won't take that gift for granted. I pray for all of those who are disabled and don't have the ability to feel what its like to run and that maybe somehow/someday they will. A nice side effect of doing this is it helps put things into perspective, and at times when you are hurting like I was, you can still find room for being thankful. I was grateful for being able to run as far as I had and for even being able to feel the pain when there are so many others who might not have use of their legs.
Since misery loves company, it helped to have David along as we traded taking the lead and chatted about our running resumes and other random things. A runner passed us around mile 10 putting us in 5th/6th. Although I told myself I would still be stoked to finish top 10, I decided to try and go with this guy and told David I would probably see him in a few miles when he caught up.
I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.
Skinny & Brown Wave Loops | Miles 13.5-25 | Gain 814'
This is actually two loops run at once. We started the Skinny Loop and split off along the way to run Brown Wave (another 6mi total) with an aid station in the middle. We finished this stretch with the remaining portion of Skinny (around 6mi in total length) before returning to the common aid station. Around mile 8 or 9 I would have put the pain at a 5 out of 10. By now it was closer to an 8 on the pain scale (eventually a 10+) and it was hurting no matter the terrain or pace. I pushed through the pain alone in 4th place for 4 or 5 miles before I was passed by Jeff from Upstate SC. We chatted briefly and even though he looked strong and was moving fine, I decided to ride his coattails while I could. It took all I could do to stay with him and chat, but even though it hurt more, I think it helped to forget about my knee for a little while.
|2010 FATS 50k - Elevation Profile|
1 Corinthians 9:24-26
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. ...They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly...
Great Wall Loop (in reverse) | Miles 25-33.5 | Gain 647'
Shortly after starting this loop, I eclipsed the marathon mark around 4:18. Spirits were high knowing I was in second place, but the pain in the knee started resurfacing. It really was frustrating because I didn't feel like I was working too hard when I was running, but wasn't able to take advantage of the gradual downhill early in this loop like I had hoped. I knew there was a chance that I was in 2nd place, but it was also possible that the guy that took a wrong turn would be allowed to jump onto this loop at the other end and run it in the reverse order and pass me going the other way.
|Palmettos lining the trails|
I was wearing my Garmin watch and I had run this loop (in opposite direction 1st lap) so I should have had a good idea on how much of the race was left, but a mix of my mind being hazy/fuzzy and a mishap with my watch left me with no real clue of how much further I had to go. I had itched my back around mile 19 and accidentally paused my watch for almost exactly a mile when I noticed it and started it again. I knew the distance (.97mi) because I compared to Jeff at the time, but even simple math and the course being longer than it was supposed to be (33+ instead of 31) was enough to confuse me. I was told there was a water stop somewhere in the middle of the loop but felt like I had been running too far/long and soon started having doubts that I might have taken a wrong turn somehow. The oasis of a water jug in the middle of the woods soon appeared and I filled my empty (for too long) water bottle... poured a liberal amount over my head and body since I noticed I wasn't sweating anymore and took off with high hopes of only having 3.5-4mi left. This is when the dreaded happened... someone passed me but it wasn't from behind. The 'wrong turn' guy passed me going the opposite direction. Not good news considering this meant he had almost the same amount of distance left as I did and he looked strong/good passing by as I was walking with a support stick/cane at the time. I tried to stay motivated by breaking down the distances left telling myself... only a 5k left... then only 2 miles but I still couldn't talk my body into actually running all of the rest. It didn't help that the rolling hills continued and at this point they all gradually rolled higher as I gained elevation to get back towards the start/finish.
Total Time - 5:24 (9:41/mi pace)