So I was struggling this week, trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do to continue my momentum after this marathon. It’s tempting to just sit on the couch and eat Cinnabon but I have a half in two weekends. And I’d rather not die at this half.
So Sean Flannery is a friend of our shop. Was running the Umstead 100-miler, and impulsively, as I do with races, I decided to pace him for his seventh lap of the 100-miler.
100. Miles. Y’all. This man was running 100 miles. So I took a little snooze yesterday evening, and woke up to pace him. And experienced one of the most incredible races and running communities I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.
I rolled out of bed after a full dinner after 11:00 pm to pace our friend. Can I do it?
Do I wear a trail shoe? Nah, decided at the last minute to go with the Brooks Ravenna. (Was later a good decision. The trails were packed. My only regret? No gators. So I ended up with shoes full of little pebbles).
Bondi band for the little dreads in the front that wouldn’t stay down…
Knuckle lights – the park was dark as heck!
And a hydration pack…between what we ran from the parking lot, to the end of the 12.5 mile loop, we did closer to 14 or 15 miles. Water was beyond essential.
Okay, so I paced the race, which means, that I ran a 12.5 mile loop with Sean, and two co-workers. I will say, I will probably never run an 100-miler, however, everyone should pace one of these. Firstly, the participants are phenom. Despite the fact that at the point where I entered, that some of the participants are trudging along, every time we passed folks? We heard the echos of “Good Job!” “Keep it up!”. Ultra Marathoners are so supportive of each other, it makes no sense. I’ve never experienced that before,
Second, the volunteers are killer. We came upon the Aid tent, where there were sandwiches, volunteer pacers ready to take our places, heat lamps to thaw our hands, cots to nap, candy to raise our blood sugars, and last but not least, Rubbermaids full of additional clothing to keep us warm. Around 3:30 am, when the temperature began to significantly drop, a volunteer noticed me shivering and offered me a jacket that kept me warm for the remainder of our lap. I will never forget that.
Third? The drive of the ultra-marathoners? Beyond what I can comprehend. And makes we want to work harder. Sean shuffled along, despite some significant pain, and continued on in his quest to get that belt buckle.
Between the support, the volunteers, and the drive, everyone should, at least, volunteer to pace one of these guys. As I jogged away from Sean to head to bed at 5:30, I prayed for him, his children, and his finish.
Pace one of these, and be inspired, guys.