The Sweltering Summer 8 Hour lived up to it’s name… for maybe an hour and a half 🙂 In between we had overcast skies, a nice rain shower, and a pretty consistent breeze. This race was made for me to finally get my 50k in and I was READY! Well, as it turns out, not all of me was.
I was meticulous in my planning. I had my bottles prepared, I had enough food to feed a small army, I had my homemade ice bandana… you name it I was good. I even had my new BURCS Badass hat, which I really like. The night before we stayed in the “scenic” Berkshire Inn, a motel that on the outside gives off Bates Motel vibes but was actually quite nice. We were 2 minutes away from Clapp Park, so waking up Saturday morning and popping over was a breeze.
Rachel and I brought a shelter and chairs, figuring we would need it for the sun. Ultimately it was more useful to others needing to get out of the rain! Check in was a breeze and the swag bag had fun stuff. I picked up my “I got Clapp” bumper sticker and settled in for the start. The area filled up pretty quickly with over 100 runners doing the combined Marathon/8 hour start.
We got off a couple minutes after 7 and I felt good for the first couple hours. I was on pace for 35 miles which was way more than I intended but I knew I would slow down. There was a light misting early on which was good, and it stayed overcast until probably hour 5. Unfortunately my good feelings were not to last. About 3.5 hours in I suddenly had a spike ramming through my foot. My Tarsal Tunnel was flaring up big time and I was in agony.
I walked a couple laps and then sat for a while and iced it. I was still doing ok time wise and had a shot at the 50k, so I fueled up and got back out there. But it was pretty apparent this was not going to be my day. I got a few more miles in and honestly thought I was going to have to quit it hurt so bad. I sat down and iced again with very little intention of getting up. My wife was suffering too but she was hobbling through (and went on to walk 3.5 hours!!!).
I probably sat for 45 minutes in a funk. I was depressed, in a lot of pain, and I felt like the other runners were looking at my thinking “You wuss.” I know they weren’t, but I felt that way about myself. I was also seeing Marathon runners finishing, and I felt like a failure for not at least going that distance. I looked at the time and figured I could still make a marathon finish even with a lot of walking.
So I strapped on my big boy pants and got moving again. My first few steps were more like a stumble but I kept going. And eventually I did it… 74 laps (the official credit is 75, and my Garmin says 27.6 miles, so who knows…) and I finished the marathon distance. Rachel had staggered through a little more than a 50k, and we were both wiped. So we called it there with about a half hour left and got our medals.
This one will haunt me a bit. If I hadn’t had access to a chair and a shelter would I have just kept going on it? I don’t know… I don’t think I could have far enough. I have yet to earn the right to put a 50k sticker on my car, and that made me sad. None of my remaining races will offer that chance so it’s going to have to be a next year thing. And what do I do about my foot? It still hurts badly today (and I am going to lose my toenail on my big toe) but otherwise I actually feel really good. Legs are a bit stiff but nowhere near as bad as they were after Boston.
Calorie wise I made do with Tailwind, 2 UCAN bars, some salted potatos, a bit of coke, and a couple cookies. Once I lost my rythym I lost track of my nutrition and hydration strategy. My stomach was ok, just one quick bathroom break in there. No gear worn since I passed my stuff every .35 miles so no need to carry anything. All in all this should have been my perfect race, and it wasn’t.
I want to say a word about the organizers and volunteers… all absolutely the nicest people. The bottle drop where they would refill for you was just a great thing to have. I used that for my water, and must have had them fill my bottle 15 times. The food spread was great although I only nibbled a couple cookies, and the drinks were great too when I was flagging towards the end. Thanks so much to everyone who took the time.
I did run a marathon. So I can’t knock my effort. I just wish I hadn’t lost an hour to sitting and icing. If I’d stayed out there I might have made my 50k after all. I did get to wear this shirt after just to make my wife smile 🙂