Looking back, I can't believe I ran for over 13 hours. OK,
maybe I didn't ACTUALLY run for all that time but I was moving
about 95% of it and barely made the cut off. I thought I had
plenty of time to spare since I thought I had an hour more than
I thought. So imagine my surprise when I can across thinking
I had almost an hour and a half to spare when in truth, I had
less than a half hour before I would fail to receive an official
time. Would that have depressed me? A little but what does an
official time get you: simply the knowledge that you got an
official time. It's not like I got money or a record deal or
The time I spent on this course was wonderful. I mean, other
than the fact that I was running forever, the scenery was spectacular
and over such a long distance, the terrain and weather were
significantly varied. On a grand scale, it was 25 miles up hill
with the assent going damn near straight up the last couple
of miles, and then the return trip was (not to insult your intelligence)
Starting out, I stayed with Gary and had mixed feelings
about staying with him. He walked more than I wanted to at first
and while I thought that really hurt my time, I have to believe
than a faster time toward the start would have burned more energy
which I desperately needed at the end. So without knowing it,
staying back with Gary probably guaranteed my accomplishment
of finishing. This didn't stop me from abandoning him at about
the 10 mile mark because I'm, well, you know, an ass.
After that, I never saw Gary until the finish line. I was
alone with my thoughts (and Sarah MacLachlan in my ears) for
the rest of the day. Didn't feel too chatty which is more than
I can say for one runner who obviously had too many power gels.
Different people react to physical and mental hardship in different
ways. I'm quiet but if you ever run these things, you run into
the chatter who rambles in incoherent babbling until you have
to fake a leg cramp, speed up, or stab them in the throat with
a piece of jagged rock. You know, whatever works for ya.
There is an option at one of the cut-off points to downgrade
if you don't feel you will make the other cut-offs in the allotted
times. Gary took such an option and the checkpoint for this
was at the base of the final assent of the halfway mark. So
I passed it going up and then coming back down. It was then
that I learned that Gary had downgraded which was a relief since
I was a bit worried about him after I left him for dead.
For most of the race, I was just worried about the next
cut off. Only three things existed for me about a third of the
way into this race.
One; the next aid station. This little oasis played heavily
in the thoughts of the ultra runner. For me, I rested at each
one so it was simply bunny hopping to the next one as a goal.
(I didn't actually bunny hop because that would look dumb).
Two: Cut off times/points. There were three of these (the
last one being the finish line) and if you missed them, you
were out of the race. So along with the next aid station, these
were never far from my mind. I was in a state of constant worry
about these especially toward the end when all my effort would
have been for not if I missed these times.
Three: finishing. On the way back, the downhills and rocky
terrain almost begged for a twisted ankle. I have the ankles
of a newborn to begin with so this part was particularly scary
for me. My imagination (exhaustion-induced?) kept having me
roll one of my butter-like ankles and then the circus would
have dropped the tent and left town for this hombre. My manliness
would have been put to a severe test if a rescue was involved
in the final chapter of this race for me.
Luckily, I made it somehow and was able to reap the rewards
of accomplishing such a feat. The fame, the glory, the money,
the chicks!! Well, OK, everyone still thought I was nuts, it
cost me 8 hours of gas money, two nights of hotel costs, and
entrance fees, and the only chick involved was my loving wife
who selfishly rubbed my broken body with aspercream for a week.
So much for the TANGIBLE rewards but oh, the intangibles!!!
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