Well, where do I begin. As normal I was up before all (04:30) to eat and make sure my bag was packed. With all the normal morning routine done I woke Marie up with a cup of coffee at 05:00. With the car packed and ready to go we left a little after 05:30. By the time we arrived at Wakulla Springs around 06:10, the place was already a buzz with people. I quickly set up my aid station at my car and put on my shoes. With my aid station ready it was time to talk to some friend before the race. After talking to some friend and a wonderful prayer by Gary; we were off to the starting line.
There was no shotgun or fancy cannon like some races I have been to this year. Just Gary with a cell phone saying, "Gang be quiet because you are not going to have that much warning of the start...Go." And with that we started the race in the jungle, as some call it. This lap felt like it was over before it started. I reached the first aid station feeling really good running with Jeff for a little while before he drifted away ahead of me. Settling into my pace I started to talk to people as I came up by them. Talking seems to help some of the time go away. And I had some time to talk. Near the end of this lap I saw my lap counter David Yon. He looked me in the eyes and said something on the line of do well or I will miss a lap.
I picked up my first pacer of the day, Sean Hudson. We made small talk of and one. I just keep saying keep me on 8:30 unless I am taking one of my walk breaks. (I wanted to take 2 walk breaks a lap just to change my stride a little) Again the lap went by fast, but was well on pace.
Right off the start of this lap more people were joining my fight to finish. Mike Peymann joined up and we started talking about he party last night. He was saying that it was a blast. I was still keeping really good pace and had high hopes of a big PR.
Sean ended his turn pulling me around at the start of this lap. I remember people telling me that I looked great. I was feeling good as well. At this point when we started up the little hill on the long out and back, I started to feel my left hamstring start to get a little tight. I did not think anything of it because it went away within a few steps. I should have taken this a sign that I was not doing something right but I did not. I just asked for some Advil and kept moving. Near the end of the lap I picked up Tim and Olivia Yinger.
Mike M. set me off running in good hands with Tim and Olivia. I was as still moving good but I did have to had a few more walk breaks in. That hamstring pain was coming back and was staying longer. It was only on the heading to the aid station. But leaving that station I felt good and was still rolling. I think my pace dropped to 9 minute. But over all still in good shape. Near the end of the loop I saw Mike Martinez. He came up and said I thought I was going to have some time to walk around but I got in about 3 minutes ago. I smiled at him.
With 50K in the books; this race was going fast. I rolled my hamstrings at my car and continued on. I still was moving really good until I was about to the second turn around. I started to get light headed and my heart rate was getting high. I have had this happen before and I needed sugars and fast. The only problem was I had about 1 mile to the aid station. I felt like I was swaying back and forth. But Mike kept telling me to run if I fell over he would catch me. So I would run about 400 meters and walk some. Mike kept pushing me. It was what I told him to do the day before. We had quick talk on Friday about the race. I said Mike you have to make me run when I do not want to. I just need you to keep pushing. It is in my head, not my legs. I finished that lap, my slowest of the day.
Before Tim and Olivia left they gave me a paper towel full of food. All food that contained salt; stuff my body needed. I went from that station to my car and rolled my legs and took in some more fluids. But this time I took my bottle. By the time we got to the main road I was already feeling better. Running more and faster then the lap before. But by the time the next aid station arrived my bottle was empty. I filled it back up with more water and took a shot of Gatorade. Back on the road I, Mike pushing me along. Before I know it I was getting close the end of the lap.
The plan Move Forward. That is all I had to do. A few salty chips and some more water in my bottle and off we went. Mike and I, it was like a good Wednesday run only not 0500. That was all I had to do. But really all I wanted to do was stop and walk. Every time I tried to walk Mike would look at me and say not yet you have to get to that sign. Then we would get to that sign and he would again say well you dont want that person to see you walk so just a few more steps. He knew the more I ran the fast the ground would be covered. He shorten my walk breaks to 30 seconds just so I would walk less. Somehow Mike convinced me that the best thing to do was try to run faster. So there we are about 1/2 mile to go until the finish and you have me trying to sprint. I use the words try because it was not any faster then what I was going. And just 7 hours and 50 minutes after I started I was done. That is a about a 13 minute PR over last years time.
I should have eaten more at the beginning of the race. I was taking in a Boost drink every lap but I think my body could have used more salt then just that. I should have slowed down earlier in the race, but I was feeling really good.
To close I would like to thank Gary and Peg Griffin for putting on a great race. I will be back next year. Everyone that kept me company during this adventure: Sean, Mike P, Tim, Olivia, and Mike M. I could not have done this without you guys. I feel so happy to have great friends. To Marie thanks for seating in the cold to watch me run in circles, I owe you lots of coffee.