Pineland Farms, part three

I ran with my new trail guide, Linda, for the rest of the first loop of 25 kilometers. At first I worried about keeping up with her, but the conversation distracted me from my pacing, and I realized that I was doing fine.

As I neared the end of the first loop, I thought I was still feeling pretty good for having run over 15 miles. But it had been three hours, and I still had at least that much more to run. As I reached the starting point, I veered off the course to find my drop bag. My socks and shoes were soaked with mud from running through massive mud puddles in the fields, and I had to change. I put on some dry Balegas, laced up my muddy shoes, and grabbed a fresh bottle. I was starting the second loop, and there was no turning back now. I was going to finish this race.

I lost Linda in the transition, so I put my headphones on and listened to some music for a while. I usually like to save my music for later in a longer race to pump me up, but this time it just felt too distracting, so I turned it off. I continued to run the downhills, walk the uphills, and push forward.

My body began to ache, and I became pretty tired. I tried eating some real food at the aid stations (something I never do in races), and my stomach was not amused. At some point I had to stop and take my shoe off to remove a tiny rock that was irritating my aching foot. I trudged on, walking more and running less, but just as determined as ever to get my cowbell.

My stomach settled again by mile 26, and I began to run a bit more. I was through the worst of the hills, and was able to run downhill for a lot of the remaining course. In fact, mile 28 was one of my faster miles of the race. I was shocked that I could still run at all at that point in the race.

Eventually, I reached the finish, received my holy cowbell, and finally had the physical proof of a secret I had known for years: that I am an ultra marathoner.


A running chick said…
WOOT! Way to go, Sue!