I hit the aid station the first time at 3:57. I fueled up on a Coke and made my way out on to my least favorite part of the course. My left hip and ankle were killing me. I couldn't cruise on the downhills because of the pain. I made it to the first set of bridges before the sharp left turn that would take me to the uphill portion of the loop. A runner named Dave passed me here and asked if I was doing all right. I told him something like I was just pooped. I contemplated quitting again. I thought that it would make more sense to walk back from here rather than start the difficult section and add more mileage. For some reason I kept going. With each step I took, I started getting pissed at the quitter in me and basically told the quitter to go "f"himself. I got a second adrenaline rush and was able to really cruise the harder part of Kilburn Loop at a good clip. I made it to the aid station at 5:00 even.
I fueled up again at the aid station and walked up to the parking lot while eating a double stuffed Oreo. Dave caught me again (I had passed him back in my adrenaline fueled push on the latter half of Kilburn). We chatted about the race and people we knew. He's from the Keene area and is good friends with Pat (Manny), who is friends with Boj. Kevin Bacon doesn't have shit on Boj - everyone knows him. He tried to convince me to roll with him up Davis, but I just didn't have the energy to stick to his pace. I soon found myself alone on Davis. I walk/limped up the hill for an eternity before I finally started descending. I was able to muster a run. Another runner caught me right before I made the sharp turn on the pre - Hubbard section. We exchanged "good jobs". Despite his quicker pace, he looked pretty haggard which was encouraging to know that everyone suffers in this race. I made my way up Hubbard. I actually (Nick Cash) caught someone on the mini-climb after the vista turn-off. She said she was walking it in from there - her legs had had enough. The climb up Hubbard wasn't as long as I was anticipating, but the muddy downs felt forever. I was starting to doubt that it would ever end when I saw the logging activity. I hit the turn and knew I was going to make it.
Long races must have been invented so people could get the feeling I had on Greg's road. I knew I had conquered a grueling course on a day when a few miles earlier, I was certain I wasn't going to finish. I got fired up when I saw everyone at Greg's house and maybe let my emotions flow into the crazy zone. I spiked my borrowed water bottle (Jonny's bottle and Greg's quick draw device) and high-fived everyone I could. I blitzed up the final hill while Gina drove by cheering and beeping. I don't know if I've ever felt better on the road section. I hammered. The finish was sweet. I didn't break 6 hours, but I got a 15 minute pr. I broke the line at 6:29:xx to the cheers of Gina, Dave, and the rest of the finish line crowd. It's three days later, and I'm still enjoying this race.
|Bringing it home|
|In the chute. Dave in red cheering.|
|Crooked, tired, and happy|