It was early in the morning, colder than it should have been, and Brian and I were sniping at each other. It was going to be a very long day, with lots of miles and lots of events between, and I was excited. Or at least trying to be excited. Oh, who was I kidding? I was stoked, and I wasn’t going to let a grumpy hubby get me down.
It was the first time we were doing the Ultra Marathon. 55 miles. Sure we were do it via relay, but still, it was 55 miles.
Sunrise on the morning of the Ultra! We started at 6am. Those who were doing the Ultra solo started at 4am, and we were all doing the same route so we were able to run it together. Richard, the weather guy whom I adore, was running it solo and when we first got there, I think he had finished his first or second loop. We got there a little after 5am to set up our tailgate area, and saw him. I think it was his second loop.
ANYWAY – we set up the tailgate area complete with table and tent and WJXT banner then wandered around and checked in. We all got our shirts and then sat and waited for everyone else to show up.
Everette was our first runner, then Eric, Christi, Andrea, Tiffany, Me, Brian, Melanie, Christine, Everette again, then all of us joined in for the last lap. In what we expected to take 11 hours, we ended up finishing it in about 9 hours or so.
The route took us over three bridges: The Main Street bridge, the Acosta Bridge and the Train bridge. The train bridge is a PITA because it is raised, and then flat and then raised and then flat and then….it sucks. BUT three bridges is a huge feat.
I don’t know what time I did my first lap in, because I didn’t bring my watch with me, and I didn’t want to know. Mainly because I knew I was going
to be slower than the rest of the speedy people on our team, and I didn’t want to feel bad about myself. I might be slow, but I was running 5 miles. Just sayin. I felt okay for a good part of it, breathing was decent but it was hot out and my ankle hurt badly. It hurt going up, but not going down all the bridges. SUCKED. During our last lap I realized how slow I was when everyone was like “We’ll do a 10 – 12 minute mile!” and they took off. Huh. I looked at my watch and we were running just a little faster than 10:30 and I just couldn’t keep up. I was bummed. BUT – we all crossed together and that’s what mattered most.
After some photos and cheers and packing up, I realized that Richard still had one lap to go of his solo 55. OF COURSE we wanted to run it with him. There was no doubt. So Brian and I went and did the last lap with Richard. Brian kept up with him, and I did most of my miles with Richard’s wife Cyndi. She’s such a sweetheart, and is Richard’s number 1 cheerleader.
So all in all, Brian and I ran 15 miles. It wasn’t easy, and we hurt a lot that night, and the next day. For me it was mostly my ankle and my heels. I don’t know if that was because of my shoes or because I didn’t train and get prepared for 15 miles but I totally wanted to do it and I’m proud to say that I did. I even want to do it again! 15 seemed a lot easier than I thought. I also had some uncomfy chafing and pain going on that reminded me that cotton shorts was a BAD idea. Brian was sore in his ankle as well, and his knees. We have some work to do with our joints, I think. (for the record: I know I’ve been complaining about my ankle for a while now, and yes I’m going to get it checked. Soon. Maybe.)
All in all, it was a fun weekend with music, friends (both old and new) and lots of healthy exercise. I wouldn’t have changed a moment of it for the world. I’m grateful for the chance to have participating in this, and am excited to see how we do next year. I’m glad to have made some new friends, and am even more thrilled that while I was slower than the speedy runners, we all did this together. There is something to be said about true companionship and support from other runners that makes you realize just how special this sport really can be.
here are some awesome photos from the event!