Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pokey's First Fifty-Miler !!!

Friday night was a big blur of seeing everyone, meeting some new people, and being a little nervous for my first 50. I was in luck, my two best friends come down to NC to help crew for me. It really would make a difference during the race.

The start of the race came way too soon. One minute we were laughing and joking, the next the gun went off. I started off walking and was quickly passed by many people. I walked a good portion of the first 3 miles, out to the airport spur, although my legs really wanted to run. After the 3 mile point, I started running the flats and downhill, saving the walking for the uphill. I made my way through the muggy morning and found myself at Aid Station 2. They were whipping up some wonderful PBJs and I had half a sandwich. I got out quickly and was moving well. Towards mile 9, I met up with two guys, one who was running his first 50. I quickly fell into pace with them and we continued our first loop.

I had discovered around mile 10 that my socks were getting holes in them and knew I needed to change them before I got a blister. As we came into mile 11 area, I saw a lot of friendly faces Meri, Down and Durty Slug, Ethel, Keith, John, Rob, and Carl to name a few. Down and Durty Slug told me that I was moving faster than I had thought, which was good, so I slowed it a bit. I came into the cabin area and my crew cheered me along. I yelled to them that I needed socks and the blister guards. I made my way up to the timing station, stopped into the aid station. I quickly made my way back to the cabin to change the socks and do some pre-blister care. I could feel a hot spot on my heel from the hole, so I wanted to take care of it as soon as possible. That done, I had some coke, got lots of encouragement from my friends and I was off!

I started out on loop two and caught up with the guys and we made out way out on the airport spur. I might mention that we didn’t even make it through our first loop before we were lapped by some of the leaders? It was really motivating and nice to get to see those frontrunners. We continued on a run the downhill and some of the flats, but call slope when it goes a little uphill. The loop was filled with good conversations and we made it to the aid station where I had some more PBJ, some bagels with cream cheese and some snickers.

The rest of the loop was uneventful and I felt pretty good coming into the start finish. I had a cheeseburger, went to the cabin and had some coke, and some encouragement. The girls were wonderful and had news that Down and Durty Slug was running well and looked strong. I started out on loop 3 and was moving at a good clip. The rain started during this loop, but it was warm and a light drizzle, so I didn’t grab my rain gear yet. The guys caught up to me on the airport spur and before I knew it, we were at aid Station 2. I had some more bagel, another burger, and some dew. Then off into uncharted water for me, more miles than my longest run was on the horizon. Much laughter and a good pace later, I was back at the start/finish, having a hot dog, getting a picture with Tiney Broken Hiney slug (Andrea) and then to the cabin. I changed my socks again, new shoes, and got on some night garb. Out for Loop 4

I caught up to Down and Durty Slug while he was coming out of the airport spur. He was moving fairly well, and seemed to be in good spirits. My group was slow going, but we were moving. Around mile 44 my mental wheels started to come off. I really felt like quitting and was thinking that the aid station had chairs I could sit in. I was having some serious motivation issues, which the guys tried to talk me out of. I was just exhausted and mentally shot. Every step took an iron will and I had to constantly fight the urge to stop and fall over.

During this time we come upon Down and Durty Slug, who was moving slow and was very hurt. He let us know he was dropping due to calf/it band issues at the aid station and for us to keep going. I expressed my total dislike of my situation at the time and pressed on. The sight of the aid station was somewhat of a boost, but the pizza and mountain dew was the real treat. The pizza was magic and a few minutes after wolfing it down I felt revitalized. We were still moving slow, but the end was near. At one of the water points, I stepped off to the side to water the plants. I felt something stinging on both of ankles, but figured it was mosquitoes and kept moving.

Before I knew it we were at the last water stop. I was so excited, I couldn’t believe I was really going to finish. I had several Kitkats and peanut butter cups and up the hill we went. We finally made it to the 11 mile marker and I was ready for the finish. The last 1.5 miles seemed to drag on forever and I was never happier than seeing the gate to turn into the final .5 mile stretch. I reached that point and started moving faster, the end was in sight. I told the guys I’d see them at the top and went through the deep mud. I mustered up everything I had and made a dash to the top of the hill. There were cheers, hugs, and it felt good. Scratch that, it felt great. I finished in 17:20 and some seconds. While it wasn’t the fastest time, I thought it was close enough to a crazy horse that I can still keep my Pokey slug name.

Oh and the “stinging” on my legs? Fire Ants, that’s right, got lit up by the fire ants.

Pokey Slug


Rob "Buckeye" Powell said...

Pokey Slug is the toughest Slug I know.

AJ Johnson said...

Great job Pokey, you rock! Wish I could have been there to see you run.

AJ Johnson

Carle said...

way to go Pokey! Tough couse, tough day. You got what it takes, to Slug away!

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