“You should take the money you would’ve used for the race, buy a bunch of beer and then, while drinking that beer, punch yourself in the nuts for 8 hours.” – Future Bee
That’s the advice I would give myself if I could go back in time. Honestly, that probably would’ve felt better than what I went through during the race. As a production, it was probably one of the top 3 events I’ve ever done and although I haven’t done that many different events, I’d say it’s hard to beat. Lots of repeat customers and the community was fun to be around. It has this amazing setup where you run a 5K loop ten times through Trinity Park in Fort Worth in the middle of a July night and every time you finish a lap, you’re crossing through a giant party where people are cheering you on and also getting drunk as hell. Basically, it’s the best event because they offer you so many chances to quit as you finish a lap. Nine chances to quit!
That said, it was some of the worst 8 hours of my life. There’s a time limit of eight (8) hours/480 minutes/28,800 seconds to finish 50K (31.068 miles, if you’re into that sort of thing). I used 28,716 seconds/478.6 minutes/7.98 hours to finish it. What can I say? I liked it so much I thought I’d maximize my time out there. I could not say that because that’s a lie.
I didn’t walk off the course or nothing but I sure as hell checked out of there mentally.
It was at the end of lap three and I’m run-walking my way to the finish line and I was absolutely fed up with the whole running thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like running, it’s relaxing and fun when it’s on my own terms but I don’t run enough to show that I really like it. Anyway, I was done with the event, thinking about how I was going to write about it and just generally going through some of the feelings I thought I’d have about it. Feet were hurting, muscles were starting to get tired and I was an absolute sweaty mess. I was checked out and ready to drink some beer! Mediocre reasons to quit but I was grasping at straws there. It was an…experience. Not one I would admit to wanting to feel again but I definitely love getting there.
So I crossed the finish line of lap three, all ready to quit, got back to the crew area (thanks ERIC) and kept thinking about quitting but all I did was change my shoes and I think I tossed my phone down then (or the next lap) and went back on out. Didn’t mention it to him that I was going to quit I don’t think. Night is fuzzy. So one of my favorite things is to bitch and moan about quitting (maybe just bitch and moan in general) and not follow through with it. Sometimes it feels good to just say and then go back and keep on fighting whatever it is you’re dealing with.
So lap four was getting over some tired feet and this is approaching three hours in and I hit The Wall. Previous post I was talking about being excited about hitting it and thinking I hadn’t hit it but yeah, apparently you can hit The Wall when GORUCKing. The only difference is when you’re at GORUCK, everything hurts and you’re pretty happy anyway to just be moving. Here it affected my desire to move at a pace faster than a slow walk/shuffle and I was like “well this is fucking horrible…yet awesome” because I got what I wanted. Most of this lap was “I’m going to quit when I get here…ok maybe over there” and so on and so forth until I crossed the finish line again.
Lap 5 was the same amount of “I hate all the things” but I know that if I were to quit, I’d just have to come back out next year and get some redemption and that didn’t sound appealing so I kept on moving. I kept moving because I thought I paid for it and I might as well be moving. So what if my feet hurt, my ass is cramping and I have tight calves/hamstrings/whatever. It’s not that bad. As I’m rounding the last half mile for lap five, I see some dude bent over and I asked if he was OK. He replied that he was dizzy and I saw it as a sign from the Run Gods to walk with this guy and make sure he didn’t keel over (if you know me it was just an excuse to walk) so we walked back and he made his way toward his crew (he was on lap six at the time and ended up doing nine laps). As I was finishing lap 5, the guy who won the 50K finished his race.
Lap 6, G catches up to/laps me and tells me I will finish and to quit being a bitch (that’s the gist of the message, not his actual words) and I tell him I’m done. He was like “uh anyway I’ll run your last lap with you.” Toward the middle of lap six, I saw someone walking and then throw up and I asked her if she was OK but she ignored me. OK, I’m used to chicks ignoring me. Then 30 steps later she vomited again and I asked if she needed help and that I would “run” to get her some help but she waved me off so I went on about my business. I cross the finish of lap six and see that I have about 3.5 hours to get four laps in and I got incredibly angry with myself.
I was angry because I was hoping I’d be so far behind I’d have no chance of finishing before the cutoff and could really quit but that wasn’t meant to be. I had a small chance so I had to give it a shot. I was trying to do the math in my head to see how much I could walk and how much I had to run but math is hard when you are that beat. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this but it’s the most annoying thing to have to deal with – when you try to sabotage yourself and you fail at that. So I took my first and only restroom break, ate one Gu (thanks Tommy) and I hauled ass away from there for my absolute fastest time (reality check: according to the lap tracker I went out for the fastest of my last five loops…by 2 seconds) and alternated running as far as I could and then walking for twenty left-count steps. When that got to be too much I’d pick a landmark and run to it and then walk some more. That was a more sustainable strategy and I was able to eke out some consistent loops over the last half of the course. I was trying my damnedest to put out all I could in the first three laps so I could walk my ass off at the end but that didn’t work out like I planned. After lap 7 I had half a pack of those energy jelly beans but I don’t know if that or the Gu helped me so much as the rage did.
I went in to refit for my last lap and I was pissed ’cause I had to do another lap. I chugged a bunch of water and G offered again to come out with me. I told him no because I got some pride left but he was adamant so I acquiesced and off we went. Nothing amazing happened here other than him trying to crack jokes and me not being in the mood to hear it. He doesn’t know it but I tried to run away from him so I didn’t have to hear his dumb jokes but I couldn’t keep up any semblance of a pace so I was resigned to hearing terrible jokes for the next 46 minutes. I tried like every 5 minutes to run away, too. No dice (thanks G!).
End result of that wall-o-text is that I finished. It wasn’t an amazing finish with dramatic, Chariots of Fire playing or anything awesome but there were a few people cheering and I was ready to walk but I was prompted to “run” across the finish line. I finished about 5 seconds before this other lady and I got second-to-last place and last overall male finisher. I don’t like to brag or say “oh I’ve done this and that” because 1) I haven’t done anything noteworthy and 2) nobody gives a shit but I have to say, this is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. To finish after I was ready to walk away 7 laps previous is a top 3 win for me this year.
Physically, I feel mostly OK a day later. The starting up of beginning to walk does hurt and after about 20 steps I’m able to move mostly normally. Recovery isn’t any different than my regular post-GORUCK and my appetite isn’t even turned up. What’s hilarious is that the first 90ish minutes I was like “oh man this isn’t that bad” and then the next 6.5 hours were spent hating life. It was totally awesome and I think everyone should do it. I’m proof positive anyone can go out there and run a 50K, trained or not. Ideally, you should train but if you don’t, just remember that it’s possible to finish.
Blurry to protect the eyes of the innocent