When it takes you over 5 hours to do something, you think about a lot of stuff. Here are some thoughts I left out of my race report. (You know, because you we're dying to hear more.)
1. Huge omission from my race report: Mega-thanks and mad props to Ian and Erik for putting on an absolutely killer race. Everything about this race is top notch. Even if I wasn't running, I would go just for the atmosphere. From the crowd it draws to the aid stations to the post-race festivities, it's the best.
2. Beer: All races should have beer at the finish. And, post-race massage. If there was only a way tom combine the two.
3. Aid Stations: "Water? Gatorade?" "Can I get you anything?" "Do you need a refill?" "How are you?" I heard this every time I went through an aid station. All the volunteers were generally interested, enthusiastic, and happy to help. I appreciate their efforts as much as they clearly appreciated ours. (Special thanks to Carter for fetching me an S-Cap at the Yurt aid station last time through. And, to Jeff's wife Cacky for having that motherly, "Ryan, are you sure you're OK?" look and concern.)
4. Speaking of aid stations, I think I should have spent a little more time at them. As I've been reading race reports from my more experienced ultra running friends, I realized that, for the most part, they seemed to stop, regroup, refuel and rest a bit a couple of the aid stations. I get caught up in the "it's a race" mode, so I tend to keep moving. I'm afraid I'm going to lose too much time. Yes, I stopped and grabbed Gatorade, water, pretzels and Pringles at some of the aid stations, but it was always a bit of dine and dash. Perhaps if I had relaxed more and taken a little more time, it would have saved me time and energy in the long run. I think that was the only flaw in my fueling strategy. I didn't bonk and never felt hungry, so the combination Sustained Energy, Gatorade, GU and Shot Bloks on my person and the aforementioned additions from the aid stations was dead on.
5. My hands and feet were swollen. I looked down at one point and my fingers and realized they were quite puffy. My right foot, more so than my left, was moderately painful from getting squished inside my shoe. But, again, since I was in race mode, I didn't stop to fix it.
6. Has anyone seen the latest Prius ad? Gawd, that song is annoying! It was in my head for the first 8 miles or so. Thankfully, I was talking to Nate for a good portion of this stretch, so it wasn't constant. And, of course, it was Bon Jovi after I went through the halfway point. That song is also annoying, but anytime I pass halfway of any run, hike, ski or anything it comes into my head. Tommy and Gina are my constant companions, and, honestly, let me know I still have all m faculties. Yeah, I'm kind messed up.
7. Ultra runners are crazy, but a great group of people. When I was functional, I enjoyed chatting with everyone I ran with, ran by or that ran by me. Every one is so encouraging and supportive. But, crazy. I ran briefly with a woman who had run the Massanutten 100 Mile Race last weekend, and another 50 miler in April, and the Boston Marathon and a bunch of other things. Not to mention Katy and Chuck who both ran the Sugarloaf Marathon last weekend. These people amaze me, inspire me, and make me sick. Crazies. My body wouldn't let me do that.
8. Speaking of my body, I'm still sore.
9. Also speaking of my body, despite the gun show, some form of pushups/core work would really help.
10. And, a final note on my body, if you had asked me two years ago if I would ever run a 50k, I would have said no way. This whole not-injured, running rebirth thing has come a long way.
11. Back to all the crazy people. Everyone out there has a story, a reason, a motivation. I have my own, and I'm pretty proud of my race. I just hope my race report doesn't make anyone think that I'm tooting my own horn because I pushed through a little discomfort. People have overcome a heck of a lot more than I have or did on this one day. Now that I've done one of these things, I'm impressed by everyone who worked to just make it to the start line regardless of how or whether they finished or not.
There's probably more, but it's time to recover and move on to the next challenge. Actually, perhaps recovering is the next challenge. Then it's on to Mt. Washington in June. At least it's only 7.6 miles.