Jun 032011

by Jeremy Bonnett


Initial 3.5 loop:

So we started off fresh, and full of vigor chatting away for the first 3.5 mile loop at a pace quicker than I had down on paper, but one that I knew was going to happen due to excitement and camaraderie. My plan was 9:30 average to get under 8 hours. Jamie, Chuck, John and a few others ran around 8:34’s.

First loop:

This loop I ran a bit with Jamie and Chuck in the beginning before Chuck went ahead and Jamie fertilized the woods, then 5 or so miles with John O’Conner. John decided to explore the portable fertilizer station at the Yurt, and then I ran alone. I cruised on through for the next couple of miles and then realized my right hip was hurting. I tried not to pay attention to it, focused on the gorgeous day, leaves swaying in the wind, breathed in to it with each step… but it was talkin’ to me. Through the aid station again and on to Oak Hill I noticed Chuck in front with a healthy group. I stayed back and did not want to get sucked in to their pace but eventually found myself running with Chuck off and on. That lap was somewhere around 9’s. Not too bad for negative splits but…

Second loop:

This lap I wanted to take it easy and really have something for the final lap. My right hip was still hurting and I had to punch it while running to give myself a “moving massage,” that and a quick stretch seemed to help enough. I met up with Chuck again and we ran together for a while at what he called a relaxed pace but I felt was quick. I later learned that he was having asthma issues and we were running more like 10:30’s. Felt way faster. I heard Chuck stop and talk with someone briefly and I was alone again. I walked a bunch of the hills to save myself for the end and made quick transitions at the aid stations. Oak Hill was it’s usual bear and I felt well enough but noticed my hands swelling a bit, an uncomfortable amount of chaffing, and a few hot-spots on the feet. I knew this meant too much sodium and that I was gaining weight causing some issues. Luckily my girlfriend Alison, as my pit-crew was doing an amazing job getting me what I needed, when I needed it and reading me quite well. This loop averaged somewhere around 10:15ish.

Third loop:

James Demer joined me for my pacer. This was super exciting as I’d never had a pacer before and it was James’ first time pacing. We ran conservatively as if on a training run and caught-up on the last few weeks of life. James had asked Alison if he could “push me” today and she told him absolutely. We talked about a general game-plan and cruised through a few miles. I never realized how effective a pacer could be. James was incredible. He started to realize we were going too slow for a sub 8 finish and began his mission. We’d see someone ahead and he’d say “OK, see those two people, this is what’s gonna happen, we’re going to reach them before the field.” And we would. We’d get to a hill and he’d say “you’re not here to hike, you’re here to run!” So we’d run. The few hills we did walk he’d say “walking doesn’t mean resting, pace! pace! pace!” “We’re not going to walk this hill but there’s one coming up where you can walk.” And we’d run up half of it. At one point after looking at his watch he said, “OK Jeremy you’re going to dig deep, to the bottom of an ice-cold well, dig deep.” And I bathed.

We reached the Oak Hill section and we both realized after running 10:36’s that it did not look good. James went in to overdrive, and after a quick run-by Alison with a fresh coconut water we were off, to hell. The math did not work in my head. The elapsed time was somewhere around 7:12. I had less than 52 minutes to finish 5 miles. It was possible, but at the rate I was going I’d have to somehow speed up. Enter Captain motivation. All I could do was focus on him 10 feet in front of me, and do everything he did. We ran almost every hill, and ran explosively downhill. I took a digger on a flat section after catching my left shoelace on something and rolling in to a ditch, grunted with full-body pain and agony and was off again. The shoe remained untied for at least three miles as I chanted, I came here to do this, I can do this, keep going. James’ mantra’s blurred, “come-on Jeremy, you’ve got this!” “dig-deep,” “you’ll be proud of yourself.”

The last baby hill in the field and my legs said “you’re done!” I felt them buckle and could not believe it. As I crossed the road I though I was going to fall. James broke off, and I entered the grove, at about 50 feet from the finish, I collapsed. Crawling for a few feet I remembered the marathon video I’d seen with two women battling for a finish crawling and sprawling the last few yards. No way. I forced myself up and swung my arms like a Spider Monkey twelve hours in to Mardi-Gras for forward movement. Reached the finish, and collapsed. Done. Ian, Ryan and Alison picked me up and walked me over to the aid station with my cousin Jeff Hansen and administered hydration, ice, shade, and sweaty man comments. Don’t remember ever having an experience like that, or giving more than that. Good times, can’t wait to do it again.

efficiency: Too much sodium. Led to minor blisters, and a bunch of bloody chaffing. A bit too much sugar from bars, GU’s and gels.

distance: 50
duration: 7:55:30
pace: 9:31

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