For this report we are going to do pictures first. But before that, here is the short version of my race. My mom drove down with me to cook burgers at the finish early Sunday morning and everything “pre-race” went smooth. I was having the best ultra race of my short career when suddenly around mile 25 I went off course and took a wrong left turn. After running several miles in the wrong direction and not being sure of where I was - I decided to just keep running and enjoy the beautiful day. I’m estimating that I ran about 44 miles in 10:00 hours and felt great afterwards.
Like I said before, I was having a great run. Very relaxed and feeling great and then I took a wrong turn. I was about 100 yards behind Tracie and she took the wrong turn to the left. I just blindly followed her which was STUPID! I’m amazed at the amount of stupid things I do during an ultra. I put a lot of thought into the layout of this race and felt confident about being able to follow it through the day. Terri (Race Director) did a great job of marking the course. I made the mistake so I had to live with it.
As stated earlier I made several small runs around the park looking for the correct turn because I realized that I was off course after about 4 miles from the wrong left turn. I felt myself getting frustrated and really upset so I decided to lay down on the trail and just relax for a minute. I laid down on some soft pine needles under the trees and looked up at the deep blue clear sky. The wind was blowing and the breeze felt heavenly. I just laid there relaxed for a minute and laughed at my mistake. At that point I decided to keep running around the perimeter of the park until dark and just make the best of the situation.
I went through three more aid stations and they all greeted me with cheers that I was in the lead! I hated to bust their bubbles (and mine), but I was far, far away from the lead. I told each aid station volunteer that I was off course and just out for a run at this point. They just laughed with me and encouraged me to keep going. One guy was trying to figure out how I could back track and make up the mileage, but we couldn’t figure out where I had been up to the current point.
I didn’t see anymore runners for the final three hours of the run and I enjoyed the solitude. After nine hours my legs were beginning to complain about the 80 miles that I had put on them this week. It was bitter-sweet to run the final mile into the finish. I would have much rather covered the entire course, but I’m proud of myself for making the best of the situation.
I love the pain & torture that comes from hours of running. It keeps me humble and reminds me of where I belong and how I should behave. Ultra running makes the simple pleasures in life such as clean water and soft chairs a supreme luxury. I’m the most blessed man in the world after a long run when someone hands me a plate of hot food and a cold cup of tea.
I didn’t run the race correctly and I screwed up, but I got exactly what I needed at Long Cane. Thanks again to Terri Hayes, my mom, and the many other volunteers who worked so hard to make us feel like kings & queens.