What neither of us could pretend to ignore was the immediate opening of the rain clouds above us. It rained. Hard and relentlessly. It was coming down so hard and the rain drops were so big, it felt like we were in a hail storm. The dirt road was now a muddy, sloppy track, so much so that there was no way to ‘run’ through it as much as we were navigating the safest and least-deep trench. We passed a gentleman who had traveled from New Jersey to do this race, and he was not at all pleased with the conditions. “If this keeps up, I’m pulling from the race,” he muttered to us as we slopped on by him.
(In case you're wondering why they didn't offer me any of their water, the rules clearly state this is a self-supported race. Even if they would have offered, I would have refused unless I was in a state of emergency, which I wasn't. Plus I knew I could make it to the aid station without, as long as I was smart.)
It was just about 4pm. That was the time a week prior that I lost our family dog, Nessa. I had been carrying her collar with me all day. I was watching the clock, and at 4pm I stopped running and took a slow walk, talking to her as if she were still with me (and I know she is). That gave me a little boost and push to get back to the finish area of the first loop. As I came back, I was amazed at the time it had taken me: 11 hours and 45 minutes. I was averaging a seemingly-impossible 11:22 minutes per mile after 62 miles. I was hoping to do 13 minutes!
Coming up to the end of the first loop and start of the second, I saw Wendy along with a host of other friends. Brooke, Shawn, Brian, Ann, and Dave were all there. On my brief phone call with Wendy, she had mentioned Dave wanted to pace me for the second loop. So there they all were, cheering me on as I came in and crossed the timing mat for Loop 1.
- When you put in the training, and follow the plan, it’s almost certainly going to get you to your goal. Just make sure to do the first two: you won’t get to your goal without training and a plan.
- Friends are there when you need them. Sometimes they appear out of nowhere.
- Your brain is more powerful than your body. Always.