Another photo of the Atlantic Ocean from an Airbnb, but this time at an angle. What you can’t see is all of the storm damage. We weren’t able to use the pool (because it crumbled into the ocean). And we weren’t able to access the beach, either (Myke informed me; I was in no condition to walk). Not that we were going to. But this photo was taken after the race.
I don’t wanna go into too much detail, but I did create this website just for this type of thing, so forgive me if I indulge myself in telling some details. Not like any more than twenty five people are reading this anyway (you’re all important). As of now, I have no good race photos of myself. There were a few race day photos on the race’s Facebook page that I was in, but definitely not the subject of. So, Atlantic Ocean photo it is. Am I backtracking?
Morning of the race, I woke up at three am and first thing, made the Maurten 320 drink, while simultaneously… too many details.
I watched the weather forecast for the week prior to the race and saw that I’d probably have to slow down and take it easy from around ten-thirty am to about five pm, reason being is the feels like was supposed to be eighty degrees in that stretch of time. So, I did what I had been doing for six months of training, and I attempted to adapt to the conditions (actual beginning of race events begin with the next sentence). I went out at my normal eleven to twelve minute pace, and stayed smooth through mile sixteen, where I met my crew for the first time, for real. The for fake first time was at mile 7. That was a warm-up lap. I saw them again at the marathon mark (got there in about 5:15), and I’d been holding pretty steady at the twelve-fifteen to twelve-thirty range before then. It was warm at that point. We were past all the huge mansions, and onto the nature preserve I think (my only focus was running, who knows what I saw). From mile 26 (okay I’ll start using the numbers) to mile 36, I was still mostly in the 12s, but those miles were close being low 13s. For this entire time so far, I felt pretty good. No low points. My hip flexors gave me trouble all day and night, but that was something I was able to deal with, and almost shrug off. Like, it hurt, but not enough to get in the way at all. And my right big toe was a problem the whole day. Actually, it’s more of a problem now. But so go my toes. It’s not a surprise. Working up to the 50 mile mark, I was steady in the low 13s besides meeting the crew once more. I hit the 50 mile mark close to 11 hours, which scared the shit out of me, because it meant I had a lot of work to do. I was uneasy going slow and holding back in the heat of the day, but I was about to see if the strategy worked because the sun was going down.
I feel like the second 50 was a different race for me. The idea that I would quit never really entered my mind, but the thought that I would be over 24 hours again was front and center, like demanding all of my attention. From mile 51 to mile 75, I kept it under 15 minute miles (besides miles where I met my crew), and most of those miles were well under 15 minute per. Myke started pacing me somewhere in there, starting around 7:30 pm, and went 13 miles with me. He got me through what was probably my lowest point in the race. I couldn’t go very fast when I could go, and I couldn’t go very often. But we were talking and just having fun. The easiest way to sum up my race, at a definitely awkward point in the narrative, is to say that I never walked a full mile. Anyway, I was hurting tremendously during the later miles, specifically when I would start to run after walking. From mile 75 to 85, I was super solid in the twelves and low thirteens. I could not believe I was able to get my legs to “run” (think more hobble) at this late stage in the race. These miles are the ones that saved my race goal. From mile 85 to mile 100, the splits are sporadic with no mile under 13 minute pace. Myke paced me again from mile 92 to the end, and we had to work to get to the finish line in time, but we enjoyed it (I was tired as f*&@) when we could tell it was not only in reach, but was going to happen. At around the 97 mile mark, Taynisha texted Myke that if we kept our pace where it was, we would finish in the top 30. So that was something to kind of fight for. It felt like I started moving pretty fast, but we were doing 15 minute miles. And of course, I did the obligatory sprint finish, which is really 100 meters of 10 minute pace, and kind of embarrassing when you think about how everyone knows you weren’t running that way for very long. Otherwise, you would have been at the finish line way sooner. But still, you do it.
My goal was to finish under 24 hours. I did it in 23:37. I’m rounding up a few tenths of a second. Honestly, it’s not too close for my comfort. I’m fine with it. I said before the race, anything under 24, even if it’s 23:59.59, would be okay. And it is. I’m good. I finished in the dark.
There is no way I could possibly have done this without you, Taynisha and Myke. I know it was hard for all of us but I love the time we spent together and I will always remember it. I won’t ask either of you (Myke, you volunteered) to do this again (I’m saying this now) for a long time. Thank you both.
Bye for now. (Maybe there are some typos. I’ll fix them later.)