Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Oconee 50K

As I ran around the lake heading towards the finish I could only be caught up in the moment of achievement.  My time pretty much sucked and I felt fat & out of shape.  However, I was running with my best friend under a deep blue Carolina sky and enjoying the moment.  I reached a milestone that few probably ever will.  There were times along the journey where dignity was all but shredded, but I stayed true to the course.  The world was right for those few minutes as I crossed the finish line.

70 Ultra Marathon Runs Completed In Exactly 5 Years.
(Click For List)

On May 3rd 2009 I ran my first ultra which was Terri Hayes' Buncombe 50K.  Since then the miles, friends and adventures that I've experienced have enriched my life more than I could have ever imagined.  Sure, there have been disappointments as well, but even those helped me grow as a person and runner.

I certainly don't intend to boast about this accomplishment, but at this point I need something positive to build off of.  Runners have certainly accomplished this before and in much grander fashion, but this was my personal running portrait that I painted.  I'm proud of it.

This was about my 40th 50K, but the first Sean Blanton race that I've ever ran.  Yes, Sean Blanton who I call "Blanton" because I knew him before he became the Run Bum.  The event itself featured a 50K and half marathon to choose from.  Us 50K runners were challenged by a 6:00 AM dark start which meant leaving my house around 3:30 AM.

Wayne and I had decided to treat this as a training run since neither of us where in condition to try and push the pace.  He was doped up on antibiotics and I was coming off 100 mile & 50 mile races over the last few weeks.  We decided to go out at a good pace and just see how long we could hold it.

That ended up being about 23 miles until we faced the gravel road of doom.  The course was an out and back and on the way to the turn around we flew down this long gravel road for several miles.  I knew it was going to be awful coming back.  It was.

I red lined my body climbing up the road ignoring the fatigue from the prior weeks where I had trashed my body mile after mile.  I had to say & do things that are better left for the trail itself, but Wayne was unfortunate enough to witness some of them.

“When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn't change. The devil changes you.”
Amanda Hocking, My Blood Approves

After finally climbing up the gravel road I was feeling too spent to eat but I forced down a cookie.  It was going to be a long nine miles to finish this race out, but thankfully the tough part was in the rear view mirror.

Weezy (Wayne) set the pace for most of the final stretch as many of the runners we had shared miles with before took off at a faster pace.  We shuffled down every hill and only managed to slowly run up a few as we were reduced to mostly walking.  Wayne took two nasty falls during this final stretch and I knew he was feeling bad because he rarely ever falls.

It was great to finally see the lake and run around it for the finish.  Blanton even joined in with us and ran through the finish.  The race was very well organized and the volunteers were helpful and supportive.  This was a beautiful course that I'm sure any runner would enjoy.

We decided to eat lunch at Taco Bell on the ride home.  As we are eating lunch he tells me to turn around and a 80 year old man is standing beside the both with his shorts on the floor around his ankle.  He just stood there for about 5 seconds before even realizing it!   That was a good send-off to end a great day of training in the mountains.

The Rock Creek Thunder Rock 100 Mile race is coming up in less than two weeks, but I'm nearly certain that I'll miss it.  I'm too emotionally, mentally, and physically beat up to face that challenge right now.  I'm looking forward to some rest and vacation to renew my body.


  1. You've done well finishing this one, Jason! Sean puts on some amazing events, and I plan to show up at his Helen Holiday Half for the second year in a row in the fall. Take it easy, because recovery is a part of training!

  2. Congrats on 5 years of ultras. Glad you got to run #70 with your best friend.