Thursday, March 6, 2014

Self doubt starts already

I need to catch up with my event recaps for Rocky Raccoon, Mercedes and the Last Chance runs and since I like pictures it will have to wait till I have a little more time to load them onto my computer. This weekend my friend Heather is doing her first double marathon weekend!! Actually she typically does one marathon a year but did Last Chance with me 2 weeks ago so it's an exciting time!! She will also qualify for marathon maniacs! Im getting excited about this weekend as both courses look to have some great climbing-yes Im excited about climbing since I will have a ton of it in less then a month at the Zion 100 in Zion National Park. Now being that that event is less then a month away I have started picking apart my training, comparing it to last years training that wasnt super consistent for Umstead 100 and having all this self doubt come over me. Being a bad winter here I did miss a lot of my week day runs and last weekend missed my long back to back as I took the Ohio Conceal and Carry class and that took over 13 hours away! This weekend and next weekend are both double marathon weekends and then I start to back down....I laugh at the words back down cause I havent put the miles in that I had wanted. My January miles were 38 miles less then last year which however my Feb miles were 37 miles more then last Feb.....now neither last year nor this year have the miles in that I had planned either! I do know that a 100 is so mental but I also know my knee, my foot and some other issues all will play a big role in my success come April 4-5. I still don't know which shoes I am most comfortable in, I'm not sure which pack I want to bring and I just ordered one from ultimate direction because it has a place for the trekking poles. My nathans that has a place for trekking poles just didnt cut it and I know I dont want them jumping around in the back of the pack in the ultraspire pack-all this uncertainty adds to the self doubt that has already started. I need to start thinking about how many drop bags what time I expect to be there to know what to put in them and all that- My mind and body then starts to jump back to last year and I did the same thing before Umstead, this time the only difference is I know how bad it hurts and I am starting to remember the pain but mostly I remember the after pain. I also start to think about the time I will be out there and I think more about that then the mileage I have to cover. I will GET to see two amazing sunrises and one sunset while out west which is my favorite place to be. I have never been to Zion so this will even be better. When Im out west looking at the gorgeous mountains and landscape all I can do is just smile. So I just will tell myself for the next couple weeks you GET TO SMILE FOR 34 HOURS!!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

First Podcast Released!!!

How cool is that.....I met Matt Johnson when we both got out RCAA Adult running coaching certification in Dayton last year and I'd kept in touch.  He has had a very very successful podcast called Runner Academy for years and has been nominated for the top heath related podcast as well. I had asked him if he had thought about going in another direction to those that are not elite and how myself as well as others that I have worked with whether training for running, just fitness, members of my gym over the past 12 years who do get intimated by those that run a 2:05 marathon compared to some of us running a 2:05 half marathon. It's hard to feel like a runner and some are so discouraged because they allow those in the running community to feel like less of a runner if they are not running a certain pace etc. After a couple months of consideration and other request he felt it was a great idea and he would do TWO podcast now. Matt does a wonderful job with his interviews and love spreading the love of running with all audiences. Here is a link to my podcast debute

/http://runneracademy.com/er006-jennifer-hatcher/

Jennifer Hatcher is a single mother from Portsmith, Ohio that came from finding herself at 244 pounds and smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day to a dramatic transformation of now completing 100 mile runs, a marathon maniac, fitness club owner, coach and inspiration to others.

From her first experiences with endurance sports in triathlon she has since found her place in marathon and ultra running having accomplished many years worth of races for most in a span of just two years.

After being told she needed a new knee by 3 separate doctors and that she would never run again, she has ran five 50 milers, over 38 marathons including 31 in different states, the Umstead 100 mile race and more.

This year she has more marathons on her agenda and is planning on running the Zion 100 in Utah.

For many runners completing back to back marathons in a weekend is a big accomplishment – Jenn likes to call it Saturday and Sunday.

In this episode Jenn and I discuss:

How she draws inspiration from others, and you can too
The choice to make excuses, or the choice to look at the big picture and find ways to achieve what you want
Her advice in what you need to do to get started to make your own transformation
How to overcome the frustrations of initially getting into a running habit
Her thoughts on progressing to distances, events and experiences that are new to you and the fear that can accompany them
What is working for her in running ultras and back to back marathons almost every weekend
Her strategy of using races and events to avoid succumbing to other distractions
Running without cartilage in her knee
How she overcame a painful IT Band issue 45 miles into her 100 mile event that stopped her in her tracks
What hurts more: child birth or the aftermath of a 100 mile run

Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon

Oh My......I don't even know where to begin for this weekend and event so let's just start from the beginning. I flew out of Dayton which is a little farther drive to the airport then Cincinnati or Columbus but I have to go by the least expensive ways to travel in order to go to so many events.  Haley and her husband Kurt were at the airport to pick me up, I was starving but there was an hour time difference so the lunch place wasnt opening until 11am- it was only an hour away so we took their things to Haley's cousins who has a place there and then got to the Po Boy place just before it opened. YUMMMY!! After we ate I got checked into my hotel and we headed down to the French Quarter and then onto the expo. This was going to be Haley's first "official" pacing event too! very exciting. The line at Cafe De Monde was so long we decided we would get some beignets another time.  Took the trolly car to dinner but the place we were going to had sold and was only open for lunch right now so we headed to another place, the trolly cars were nowhere in site! They were doing some repairs on the track so we had to hop off the trolly onto a bus then back on a trolly, instead of waiting we just started walking. We got to a restaurant that had amazing sliders! Got back to the room chilled a bit and got to bed.

My friend David from the UK was running with a group of his friends and dropped me a special edition UF BUFF to wear, his organization is sponsored by Buff so that cool. Haley had to be there really early due to pacing so they parked at my hotel she headed down and a little after 6am I met Kurt and he and I walked to the start.  Arrived in time to meet up with David and his group and some other marathon maniacs and had our group photo. Off we went, the day was very very dreary, light misty rains super foggy and about 60 degrees.
At times you couldnt see too far ahead of you from the fog.The course consisted of an out and back one way then an out and back towards the french quarter. Aid stations were only a couple miles apart and super early in the race was the first beer station, I decided to pass on the first one as the size of those beers intimidated me and heck it was only 7:20am? I had thought on the second out and back when we pass my Cafe De Monde I would stop during the race and grab a bag to go, as we passed the line was semi long and the weather was so moist I decided I didnt want the sticky white powdered sugar all over me. Soon after I got to the next station with beer I decided what the heck, Im in New Orleans so I grabbed a cup of beer and went on my way. A couple miles up the road was another beer station with jelloshots as well!! OK... let's do this again, so another beer and this time a jelloshot. I was also stopping at the stations that had JUST water and would have a sip or so of water so I wouldnt dehydrate too quickly. At this point it became super fun as I decided to run from beer station to beer station, they were not at every aid station though so I had that little sense of surprise wondering when they would pop up.  Up ahead I see a sign that says Beer Aid station so I know I'm coming on another, not only did this one have beer this one also had small martini's with olive and all!!!




 Of course I had both, I wasnt going to be rude to these folks that took the time out of their day to make martini's and offer us beer!  By now I am feeling good, laughing, giving high fives to other runners and the maniacs, I spot Elvis so had a selfie with Elvis, posting photos on Facebook and then I decided my goal for this run was to try to finish sober ha! I hadnt run the course before and even though it was 2 out and backs wasnt for sure if we would pass the same aid station but I was hoping we would!! I was ready for another martini. I never saw the jello shots again but did run into the martini station and a couple more beer stations. I think the total count was about 8 cups of beers, 2 martinis and a jello shot all in 4:51! So much fun...Now to wait on Haley and try to find Kurt- but first my free beer at the end also! I couldnt get ahold of Kurt and finally Haley had messaged and said she had lost most that were in her group and had to slow down a tad so she could finish in the time she was pacing, you dont wanna be too early and you dont wanna be late you wanna hit your pacing time as close as possible so that you can get another gig.  She said Kurt was messaging me and was dancing somewhere ha. We all finally found each other and took the bus back to the start and went for food and shower and ready to go out for the evening.

 Kurt had some schoolwork to do so Haley and I headed on to Bourbon Street, stopped for a Hand Grednade and started walking around, it was super sweet so we headed to Cafe De Monde to get our beignets. Love them!!! After that I switched to beer and we headed to Pat Obriens till Kurt came on down.  We hung out a bit and he was ready to eat again so we all walked down to a nice italian type restaurant and I had some more beer while he ate. I think by then we went ahead and head to Cats Meow- beers for 3 for 1 when we got there so hey had to go for it! Then I was in the mood for shots so I ordered us all those car bomb thingy's....now I was ready to sing. I had messaged Doug another maniac to come on down and shortly after he and Eddie showed up. After my second song we all headed back to Pat Obriens but Doug didnt make it, instead we picked up 2 guys with their marathon shirts on and just another random non runner.  Conversation was hilarious as the non runner was like I can run a mile or 2 and he runs that FAST!! But I cant imagine being able to go that far. I think by the end of the evening he was convinced if he wanted to do it he really could. They headed back to the hotel they were staying at that night and I was still having a hurricane that came from somewhere and singing with the dueling pianos. I ended up at another table with a couple girls and guys and they were buying me shots and more drinks and then realized I needed to get a cab and get back to the room so I could get to the  airport the next morning.
When I woke up wow, I hadnt had that kind of hangover in a long time and looking thru the pictures on my phone reminded me of the movie the Hangover...there was a selfie of myself and a police man who helped get me a cab and told them where I was staying? A picture of myself with the random strangers I decided to stay with that were buying me shots and drinks, my bag was completely packed and ready when I woke as well.  Haley and Kurt picked me up and we headed to a breakfast place, Kurt was feeling just as I was and neither of us could eat. I made it to Atlanta and there I was finally able to have food and got greasy 5 Guys and that help tremendously! The flight was delayed about 30 minutes and I was think uggg that means we wont land till after 9pm then I will still be almost 3 hours getting home after that, I talked it over in my head that I prolly would just get a hotel in Dayton since I was so tired and still not 100% but then they made an announcement! They needed folks to give up their seats for a $300 voucher as well as a night in a hotel and we would fly out at 10:30am!! Heck yes sign me up....Perfect ending to a super fun short run cation!!!










Monday, February 10, 2014

Key West Half Marathon

Had a 12 hour event scheduled for this weekend but back in October the race company cancelled it due to lack of participants, I felt that was a little premature since many dont sign up till it's closer but I guess they couldnt take any chances in losing money so they cancelled.
 My best friend Erin and her husband recently got a new place in key largo and I hadnt even visited their other places they had during the past couple years. Now they decided they were sold on the place and found the house they wanted for keeps. I decided this would be a great time to go visit and Key West was having a half marathon this weekend so I talked Erin into doing that with me. She is a very fit lady but just hadnt been run training and in reality to feel good after even 13.1 miles you do need some run training- I told her I had no worries about any pace that lets do this together and have lots of shenanigans along the ways!! This was gonna be hard for her I knew since she is a competitive person but I also knew she had done 2 pervious half's with not much training but a HECK of a lot more then she had been able to for this one.
The run cation started a couple days before the run and we did a yoga class at her local yoga studio, it was a tough class and actually comical for me as I have no coordination but felt ok because Erin doesnt either ha. The next day we took the kayaks out into the ocean and into the mangroves, we had packed a lunch and just had a wonderful day!! It was really really weird for me to go a whole week, (including travel time) and only doing one run and that run being a half! But I will tell you know that was the best week I've had in a long long time! So relaxing and refreshing and just girl time and girl and guy time when She and Dave and I would go to dinner and hang out.
We started with a run walk planned pace and then just decided to play! So we stopped for any and all photo ops along the way and just really enjoyed the beautiful sunny day and each others company. I have only been to Key West once with my son years and years ago as we stopped their during a cruise, I just remember renting a cool looking golf cart thing and seeing Hemingway's house and stuff like that. Here we got to run by all these places. The course was an out and back and we got to run by the southern most point of the US which was another cool photo op. The am started a little chilly but that didnt last long-Even though temps were maybe in the 60's that hot sun does get hot!! When we finish there was all the free booze you could or wanted to drink! But...since we had to drive back to key largo eventually that day we settled on a bloody mary and I had a couple beers. We went to eat at a great Irish pub then went to the beach and just relaxed!! Actually was so hot just laying there in the sun and we got fried!!! Was a super day with a super friend!
Erin's house sits right on the ocean and the next day for a recovery and another relaxing day we took the paddle boards out for a couple hours.  We say a couple small rays and then one really large one. I didnt get to see any sharks but a nurse shark was under her board. It is very common for her to see them, rays and turtles on a daily basis.
Now it was time to go back to reality and to the cold, when I arrived home it was SNOW!
PS remember I suck at tyring to figure out how to put pictures on here correctly!! And my ADHD doesnt allow me to stick to a subject without jumping to the next :)







Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mississippi Blues/First Light Double Marathon weekened 1-11 thru 1-12-14




This run-cation started out terrible, I should have known the entire weekend was gonna be shit! Got to the airport to fly out and landed in Atlanta- due to the fog they had to downsize the plane and the only flight I was going to be able to get on was one at 8:50pm! Packet pickup was over at 7 and in order for another to get your packet they need it to be notarized or special prior arrangements needed to be made for early morning pick up. UGGGGG Now Im gonna be sitting for 10 hour in the airport not knowing if Im gonna be able to even get my packet. My friend David called and said he was 2 hours from me and would come pick me up then drive me to Jackson which was another 5 hours....OMG there was no way I would allow him to do that but the offer just floored me!! What a friend!  There are 2 flights before the 8:50pm one but 32 folks were booted and where my connection was so close Im one of the lucky last ones so Im stuck on the latest flight.  I decide to do standby for the 2:15 and then after that I can standby for the 4:15- In the meantime my friend Shawn calls and suggest I find a closer airport and he was already in Jackson and would come pick me up.....so the closest was 70 miles however it didnt leave till 9:25pm....the next closest was 117 miles and it was leaving in 20 min....so we switch that....he is on his way to packet pickup and I ask him to please call if there is an issue with getting mine I can text them permission email verbally give it over the phone or just let me know the special arrangement can be made for race morning. I said if I dont answer Im in the air.  I didnt hear from him so I assumed all was well and Im sitting on the plane to leave to a different town and he was going to be heading up to pick me up after he got his packet. The doors dont close on the plane and a couple different employees come on and discuss something with the pilot, then the announcement is made, we are sorry there is a mechanical problem and we will be delayed atleast an hour......so now I dont need this flight at the 2 hour drive to get me then the 2 hour drive back wont get me to jackson in time so I may as well get back on the flight to Jackson.  I had to check my bags as I boarded also however in the rush of trying to get to the ticket booth, talking with shawn who could not get my packet and being sure he didnt leave I left it there. I get to the ticket counter and by now I'm having a total stress breakdown....she says yes the plane is boarding now but she was referring to a different plane so I had to explain, no I need to get back to Jackson and I really really need to be there for my run packet before they close at 7pm as Im flying to do a run there and one the next day in Alabama.....thats when I realize my luggage is still on the plane.....oh snap...Im at gate 37 and the plane is gate 49.....so I said oh my gosh my luggage is still on that plane...so I took off running for it while she tried to get me back to Jackson....when I arrive at the gate it's locked yet people are standing around and they said start pounding on the door! So I did haha. Finally someone arrives and I said I need my luggage as Im trying to get on my original flight....I grabbed it and off I ran again. By now its way past my 2:15 standby flight and its 4:25 but she is awesome she got me on the 4:15 flight! Yes its 4:25 and its a 4:15 flight but it was too delayed till 5:00!!!! Dont know if she felt sorry for me cause i was having a hard time just speaking words or if others took different flights etc.  This one finally left around 5:30 and I think it was right around 6 ish when we landed due to the hour time difference. Shawn and Alex were outside and picked me up and we immediately went to packet pick up....Our hotel was perfect, walking distance to the start and the weather was perfect! Ran into several friends that morning as well as Cathy and Troy who were doing their 199th in Mississippi and their 200th marathon on Sunday! This course was

gorgeous, some of the homes we went by were just amazing!  I met another maniac named David around mile 14 or so, he was born deaf but could hear a little bit and was good at lip reading, I knew my abcs still a little from my cousin being born deaf. He also went to Gallaudet University where my cousin had gone to college as well as King Jordan who was a professor and then the President, he is the one I helped this year at the JFK50. David and I stayed together the rest of the race, we decided we were gonna be under 5:00.
 I felt really good for this run and just went with it, typically I try to go for at 5:15-5:45 marathon when Im doing a double but finished this is like 4:51. After the finish I headed back to shower quickly then was going to return for food. Alex was getting close to finish but didnt wanna shower so Shawn and I headed back over to meet him at the food area, the Pizza was awesome!! They also had some beans and rice and each person got 3 beers!  Then we were off to Mobil Alabama- about a 3.5 hour drive but the weather was beautiful and the drive was pleasant. We got to the packet pickup here and decided to eat the free pasta dinner.....that wasnt too smart! Got back to the room again walking distance to the start/finish line!! Around 4ish am my tummy was killing me, rumbling and grumbling and I went to the bathroom and thought I would throw up but kept it in. Awoke at 6ish am to get ready for the race and about 6:20 the stomach really got me and I couldnt hold it in, food poisoning! I had the worse diarrhea and no medicine what so ever.  Shortly after I got a call from my friend Rob asking how I was feeling as he and some friends that also ate the pasta dinner all were sick as well, we then check ed FB and more folks asking if anyone and their families were sick on the marathon maniacs page. We went to the lobby and I did manage to eat a egg and bagel but didnt make it out of the lobby before having to go again, we walked to the start line and I had to stop while walking to try to keep things in, got their and the line was huge, everyone discussing and questioning are you sick, did you eat the meatsauce? Those stating their families stayed back at the hotel because they were sick.  How was i going to run without shitting myself!! All I could think about was NOT being on the cover of RUNNERS WORLD magazine as that person who had shit all down their legs at a run!! My legs everything felt amazing too!!! I took off at the start and was at a nice 10ish min mile, my goal was to go as fast as I could till it churned too much and go potty stop to potty stop. The potties were very close which was a blessing!! About a mile and half between them but the lines were long and there were only 2-3 potties per stop. Stop one, barely got there and the line took over 12 min but i couldnt have gone to the next one plus at this time I didnt know where the next one was! At the next stop the medic has some imodium  so I took 2. I tried to drink the water so I would dehydrate too bad. I was not alone as those all around were in the same situation as myself or they knew someone that was. I ran into my friend Bill and he said he was good but his wife was sick, He would pass me while I waited on the potty and then i would pass him when I was done, finally around mile 10ish I saw him again and oppps it had hit him late! Most people complained it started between 3am-6am. I found another aid station and the volunteer had some more imodium...two more!! Now we were on a stretch of roads that had some carryouts-so a couple pit stops I had to go to the gas station as I couldnt make it to the next aid station. The course really was pretty when we got into a park area and also some residential areas. I dont remember much about the first 14 miles as I just paid attention to getting to each aid station.  I believe it was finally
around mile 18 when the imodium kicked in and there was an aid station with real food, I couldnt eat but they had some peppermint so I grabbed a couple of them, they helped sooth things a little or atleast my mind. From mile 18-26.2 I picked up the pace again and didnt have to stop but maybe once or twice more and the only issues I had at this point was terrible stomach pains. I dont remember what mile but I finally saw Troy and Cathy who were doing their 200th and we ran and chatted for some time and Troy had been sick but Cathy didnt eat the meatsauce and was feeling fine. Yes they finished number 200!!! I came across the finish line around 5:29 which shocked me as I was so sick but my legs and all felt great and my goal was to run as fast as I could to each porta potty!! When I finished I waited a bit then tried the post race food but just couldnt do it. This was a well earned medal thats for sure!!
 The YMCA was suppose to be open for showers but were locked up when we went over...My flight wasnt leaving till 6:35 pm so I had a ton of time, Shawn and Alex dropped me at the airport, oh it was a regional airport with NOTHING inside but a greasy small grill with chips that expired the next week and 4 chairs at the bar area. I wanted a sub but I guess google showed a Jimmy Johns in the airport, but upon arrival I knew there was no way there was anything inside there! It was on airport road but 6 miles away. I was so ready for food now but there wasnt anything I could do I was stuck.  The lady was super nice and when she saw how close my connecting flight was in Atlanta she bumped me to an earlier flight out of Mobil, they also asked me to give up my seat in Atlanta and they would give me a $400 voucher as well as a hotel, I said if you can get me a hotel since I havent showered, havent eaten, have had food poisoning all day and still have a 2.5 hour drive home once we land at 11:35pm you bet I'll give up my seat....and so I did.  When I arrived in Atlanta I found FOOD and got to the gate as I had to wait till take off for the voucher etc as I was told. Once at the gate they said the flight is no longer sold out so they gave me a new seat,,,,,yes row 34 out of 36 and I gave up row 5....seriously....why even take my seat until you know you will need it??? Now i have to get off very last with a 2.5 hour drive home!! Not happy and by now the tummy issues have turned into terrible Gas! hahaha.....so I get on the plane and I find myself having to explain to the couple beside me and apologize in advance that I suffered food poisoning all day while running and now I have uncontrollable gas, now if my son was with me atleast I could blame him?  Landed fine and got my car and headed home, at this time I really felt sorry for the folks next to me as I was confined by myself in my car for 2.5 hours and it was too cold to roll the windows down!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 - Year In Review

Wow.....It's so surreal when I reflect on 2013.  My first event of the year was a 50 miler in beautiful St Croix Virgin Island....what a way to start the year!! I got to visit a friend whom was a couple years older then me in high school and hadnt seen her in 30 years. She lives in St Croix so she was awesome in helping make this trip so memorial. I look back at the numbers and at times it really makes me wanna send all the Doctors that told me after knee surgery from 2010 thru the middle of 2011 not to run again or I'd need a new knee a listing of what I did last year and the year before!! But this repost is looking back at 2013.  I finished 21 marathons 4 50k's 3 50 milers and my first 100 miler.  I met the most amazing people who I believe will remain life time friends. When I look at the relationship I have with so many of them it's hard to comprehend that we have known each other less then a year and it feels like a lifetime already!  I think the most memorial running event would have to be the Center of the Nations series.....started day one as mostly strangers and by day 5 most of us felt like family and stay in touch to this day.  The 100 miler was the most painful experience I have ever experienced, the nighttime after effects mostly....just the throbbing in the feet and legs, the blisters and restless leg and body unable to rest as any movement was dreadful. I was ready to find my next 100 within a couple days after though and signed up for Zion 100 which will be this April in Zion National Park Virgin, UT. Currently there is myself along with 4 other friends and several others have also expressed they are thinking about it!  I did 3 double marathons which is a marathon a day or 2 consecutive days, I did the Center of the nations which was 5 marathons in 5 states in 5 days and also did the Day of the Dead series which for me was 3 marathons in 3 days in 3 states and day 4 I did the 5K to finish the series due to the knee really swelling up.  I find myself shaking my head in disbelief when I finish some of these events that I feel like I did when I first started trying to run and would be lucky to get 3 miles done! I'm not fast and I'm not a snail either and when I finish a marathon or one a day for a couple days in a row and am walking around just fine afterwards I just find myself giggling at times and asking myself who the hell does this shit and how???? Then I answer myself if I can do it anyone can do it! It's just getting them step one the true desire and then step 2 helping them to believe they can!

On the family level my son finished his first year at the University of Cincinnati...where did the time go???  We had a blast when he came with me for the double weekend out in Utah and Idaho exploring the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and getting to visit a super friend from high school!
My father turned 70 years young on Thanksgiving day and as a surprise we had his brother, sister and their families all to my folks house for Thanksgiving/bday dinner! It was awesome! Typically a Thanksgiving at our place is my mom, dad, son, brother his wife and 2 girls,,,this year we had 31 people.

On a business level I find it hard to believe my gym has now been open for over 4 years which also means I have been out of the retail business for over 4 years! 17 years of that was plenty for me.  I also got certified as a Adult Running Coach with Road Runners Club of America.

Goals for the year are to finish my 2nd 100 mile run and start concentrating on getting the 50 states plus DC done. If all goes as planned I will be finished in June of 2015 with Hawaii. June will be a hot month but I want my son and family to be able to celebrate this with me and this is the only Hawaii marathon or ultra that takes place when he is not in school. I decided to try to concentrate more on the states since I really am getting close and my knee gave me a few more frequent issues this year then last so another goal became to finish my 2nd 100 and all 50 states plus DC on my original knee....then after I finish those I can re evaluate my condition and decide how much more I can withstand....I think in a sick sort of way it would be fun to do all 50 states and DC on my original knee and then again on my new one :)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Huff 50K 2013


 Drove to Albion the afternoon before and went straight to packet pick-up. They let me get Shawn and Alex's as well so that made it nice. Went to the hotel ate my Jimmy Johns turkey sandwich and chilled while I waited for the boys to get there. Once they arrived they unpacked all their clothes they brought trying to decide what to wear, I was dying cause there were at least 10 different tops, pants, several shorts, long sleeves- enough for a couple weeks of runs! Knew it would be chilly start but would warm up fast as the sun was suppose to come out and temps expected in the high 40's! I first was gonna wear a short sleeve then just a long sleeve but when I got outside the wind was kinda chilly so I opted for short sleeve with my waffle warm jacket and lightweight buff.  Ran into a bunch of marathon maniacs before the start and met some folks in live person that I had only met online thru facebook and beginnertriathlete.com. Porta potty lines were long and not sure if thats why the race started about 10 min late but we didnt get off till about 8:20. Shawn, Alex and I started together and Shawn dropped us before we hit mile one and I thought Alex was right with me but got ahead of him around mile 2 I think.
The trails had some snow on much of them and I knew the second loop was gonna be a mud fest!  I never really worry about time but for some reason I wanted to see if I could PR here and beat last years time. For some reason I thought I was 7:03 last year so my mind kept telling me I wanted to be under 7:00 hours. The first loop was uneventful, I took my jacket off by mile 4 or 5 and it was a little chilly when the winds blew but really felt good! I met a couple new runners and had to cross a creek which was comical, I am terrible at creek crossing and am so cautious and I really didnt wanna just go thru it since it was just lap one and kinda cold, I see 3 large rocks to hop on and a small branch crossing to the left of it so I bend down almost crawling across while I am holding this small branch and carefully stepping on each rock, once I got across those that I held back started cheering for me! A few came upon me a few moments later patting me on the back saying you made it!!!  There was a photographer there so if that picture does justice to my fear I will add it to this recap when I find it. During the first loop I refilled my water bottle at each aid station and grabbed some pretzels or something quick and tried to not hang out too long, only had a couple potty stops throughout the entire course.  Around mile 10 or so of the first loop my mind was already playing with me and just bored so I did turn my iphone on airplane mode and turned on the itunes to allow some music to play out loud while I had it in my hand held.  I kept playing over in my head that I didnt feel like running anymore...then I would tell myself you didnt drive 5 plus hours to DNF and its your last event of the year and you dont ever DNF so whats wrong with you! I also would analyze if I would DNF then I wouldnt be celebrating my 50th "official" marathon/ultra at New Orleans with some friends. I say official due to the BoB 50 not giving me credit for 50 miles as they dont allow you to drop from what you sign up for, even if requested weeks in advance, and the MOX 12 Hour didnt give us a finish time since we didnt stay on the course for the entire 12 hours....even though we had no intentions of staying on the course for 12 hours we were looking for a 50K training day and dont think we could crawl 31 miles in 12 hours! But enough of that sour spot....so that what I mean when I say "official" those events that post finish times and results to the public are considered official.  Once I made the loop I felt a little refreshed, my iphone battery was getting low since I had forgotten my charger and I did decide to put on my new Jaybird and pull out my nano. Typically I dont like earphones in both my ears on a run as I like to hear people coming on me and the sounds of the outdoors but I needed something to keep my mind occupied besides the voices that stay in my head....I knew they would keep me company after the run while I had the long drive home.  Things did get pretty muddy by lap 2 but it was fun, a couple slips with no falls and no slip that caused the body to stretch in ways it is not suppose to. I started chatting with a young girl who was doing her first 50K, she had done 2 marathons previously and had only been running about a year and was nice to chat with, we were following a group of 2 guy and there were 3 girls behind them and they turned wrong, I could tell something wasnt right when we went over a bridge as it didnt look familiar and there wasnt enough foot prints for this to be the correct trail, they realize about the same time and hollowed back if we see any pink ribbons, I started jogging back and saw where we went off and yelled back at them - yes we missed the hill! So up we go, I had gotten ahead of the gal I was chatting with as we had to back track some and then my mind was still wondering if I could beat last years time. I dont recall what mile it was but I saw a friend of mine in front of me and I couldnt figure out how he got there, I had passed him right from the start of the race and never once saw him come by me on the first loop? This was his 3rd year in a row for this event also and he lives close enough by so he knows the course. I approached him and asked where the heck did you pass me?? I would think I would notice those bright orange compression socks coming by plus we woulda spoke, he kinda just shook his head but this still was playing in my head thinking I was crazy- as I passed again and could tell he was struggling I looked back and said Surely this isnt your first lap is it and he did answer no. That played in my head the rest of the run on and off as I thought I lost it?  I put my jaybirds back on and cranked the tunes up, looking at my watch trying to analyze if I was gonna beat my time from last year which I thought was 7:03- (but afterwards I found it was 6:55!!!) When I got to the aid station where you get to ring the bell for good service I actually decided I would grab half of a hamburger, I was hungry and the cliff shots were too sweet and the pretzels and goldfish were not cutting it, I put some ketchup and mustard on it and folded the piece of bread over and off I went while eating my burger, rang the bell and down the hill I went.  Things got muddier and slipperier and a couple times I would try to jump into more leaves and grab tree to tree going downhill to try not fall and bust my ass. I made it!! With about 4 miles to go I was out of water and the unmanned aid station had some coolers there but they were drained...I knew I had a couple more miles till the last aid station and it was only about a mile from the finish so I started then playing the number games in my head as to what pace I would need to go to finish in under 7 hours. My watch was set up for overall pace not mile pace so I had no idea what my current pace was. My toe had a little blister and foot was hurting but anymore I look at it and tell myself I've felt better and I've felt worse- keep moving! My knee didnt give me any issues at all! I got to that last aid station and remembered they had the potatoes there the first time around to dip in salt but I didnt wanna waste the time, I wanted to beat last years finish!! I knew i need some water so I had my top opened and grabbed a cup and dumped it in while a volunteer dumped another and I said thats plenty to get me thru the finish. At this point we are close to the lake again and there is a small single track below the road and it is uneven and very very slippery and muddy, I had to take my time but stayed focused and ran thru as fast as I could, I saw Shawn at his car waiting and I said hey and slowed for a short second and said Im moving fast I think I can beat last years finish time, Im not sure where Alex is but I lost him only a couple miles into the run. I came towards the finish shoot and the clock read 6:48!!! Holy shit you did it! At that time I thought it was a 15 min PR but later found last years results and was only a 7 min PR....hey a PR is a PR!!! I got my medal and asked a guy to take my photo, didnt stay for the soup as I wanted to find the showers and start heading home so I wouldnt be much later then 10pm. Got to the car and told Shawn bye and apologized for not sticking around to see Alex finish but we had no idea where he was and I had an extra 100 miles to drive then they. Found the shower and was a little cold but felt good to get the mud and sweat off me before heading home. I had a super day and was glad I didnt bail-I actually had told Shawn and Alex on Friday that I may not drive over and do it, but I also knew if I didnt there was no way I woulda got the training miles in on my own at home. I am still very disappointed in my friend who told me later that he thinks he got off course at mile 11 (lap one) when he stepped off to go the bathroom in the woods and people were coming both directions-my mind cant help but say you had a garmin there were mile markers everywhere why didnt you turn around when you realized it, this is the 3rd year in a row for doing this course how could you get confused? and then I ask since you knew the first time around where you missed it which is the 3 mile loop why didnt you take that loop twice on your second lap to make it up? Instead you take a finish medal and accept and post your time?? Lost some respect for a fellow runner today- we run for ourselves so I thought...why would you say you finish something that you clearly didnt finish? I doubt our tombstones will read here lies such and such who completed blank amount of marathons/ultras in their lifetime.