Friday, June 25, 2010
Where's Ultraman? Boogie 2010
As I entered the main aid station at the church, 30 miles into the race, the ladies volunteering asked me how I was feeling and what did I need. I replied that I needed a good reason to keep running because right now I was not feeling very motivated . So Susan Dummar says, Where is Ultraman Joey? What are we going to call you now? I said I guess TRFKAU or The Runner Formerly Known As Ultraman.
Little did Susan know but that is exactly what I had been asking myself as I slowly dragged myself up 1.4 mile Bethel Church Hill for the 3rd time in the still, muggy, hot hours just after midnight. Things were not going as I had hoped and planned and now I was just slow, hot and tired and wishing I could just stop running , cool off ,have a cold drink and eat. I was looking for a good reason not to quit.
But then why was I here anyway? It has been over two years since the last time I have run over 50K. The last two 100 milers and a 24 hour run had all ended in DNF's and I was physically and mentally burned out on the sport and a long break was needed. During that break I achieved what I had wanted. I am now injury free, I've qualified for Boston, I've finished an Ironman and this January I ran a 50K Pr. And I was ready to once again be Ultraman Joey. Or was I? I'm hoping to go run 100 out West next summer, probably at Tahoe Rim with Jenn. What if I can't even finish another 50 miler? I drop out now and just go ahead and tell her to forget it? That I'm done with Ultra's?
As I slowly trudged up the hill, I kept asking myself why I should keep going. I certainly have nothing to prove to anyone but then it's never been for anyone but myself anyway. And that was the answer. I would go on because I am Ultraman Joey and I wanted to finish this thing for me. So, even before kidding around with Susan and Tammy and Ms. Wright at the aid station I was already committed to going on.
Susan told me to eat something while I sat to take a short break. I grabbed a cookie and she told me I needed to eat something more substantial next time through.( I found out later Jenn had told her to make me eat.) I am so lucky to have my wonderful Angels and Princesses to look out for me and encourage me.
So after a few minutes I stood up and headed out into the dark for lap 4. This would be the slowest and loneliest lap of the night. I ran the whole evening with out a light and it was very dark and remote most of the evening but that is the way I like to Boogie. It was a little strange but I actually felt better running than when I was taking walk breaks. I made it over to the dog pen aid station and sat for a few minutes kidding around with the helpers over there. It seemed like forever before I finally made it back around to the main aid station at mile 40.
I grabbed some baked potato and sat to try and eat it but as soon as I put it in my mouth I got a gag reflex so I spit it into the trash and said I guess I want be eating anything this last lap. I was able to take a gel with no problem though so I was still able to get in some calories. Just as I was about to leave, Laura The Trail Angel came in finishing first woman and 4th place overall. I went over and gave her a congratulatory hug and then headed out for my last lap.
And strangely enough I began to feel a little better on the last lap. I still took a short break at the dog pen again but then when I passed the church at mile 46 I just kept running on down the hill for the last time. As I made the last turn and started up the hill it began to get light as dawn was beginning to break. And finally it was over. there at the finish was one of the things that make this sport and especially this race so great. There greet me at the finish and checking to see if I needed anything were the race winner Jonathon Savage and Laura the womens winner along with Mike Walsh who had shared the ride down with me.
So how was it? Hot, humid, long and hard. But I found Ultraman Joey and I'm happy to report that he is alive and doing very well.