Buoyed by yesterday’s great run I was looking forward to today. I was still my usual grumpy self at 4am, rueing the fact that I “have” to get up and today run two marathons in the name of “personal challenge” or whatever it is. I managed to keep a lid on it as I started the usual slog through Reynoldsville in the night and onto a highway where I now get the feeling the cars do not want us.
My pace had improved on yesterday yet again, I was not quite believing the numbers as it felt quite easy. I had to stop a fair bit to eat and assumed that I would lose a lot of time but it wasn’t the case. My optimistic expectation for a 52 mile day nowadays is 13 hours.
Serge ran past me around 10 miles in to say that today we pass the 100 marathon point, at 43 miles. That got me thinking that we were not too far from the 99th marathon at 17 miles and as soon as I got there I thought about running the 100th marathon of the race.
Shortly before that though I had my first sobbing moment for quite some time. I have been getting a few supportive emails from Bob Brown (winner of the trans USA 2004 race) and I had to ask him “Does the feeling of achieving this ever wear off?” He replied that it never wears off and that confirmed what I always thought but still gave an emotional response. I am going to feel pretty good about all this for a long time after, makes those 4am starts worth it.
I am also touched by the messages and comments that I get on my blog, facebook, email and text. I’ve read so many nice messages and have forgotten who has sent what but when I am done (possibly after doing some sleeping) I am going to go through all of them and thank everyone who has left kind things. I read them every morning and they really do help.
Around half way Luca and his wife D’lyn (Got the name and the apostrophe : ) ) came to join me and I had the company of Luca while I ran again. It was really nice just chatting about anything and everything while enjoying some really beautiful rolling hills of Ohio.
While chatting we both nearly shat ourselves when a bee came out from a bush and made a funny grunting sound at us. It was really weird how we both just jumped into the air because of a bee. At least it wasn’t just me.
There was a 5 minute heavy rain downpour just before the 100 marathon point and as if it were designed by a genius race director there was a McDonalds exactly at that point. What a way to celebrate?
Today just seemed to slip by without much effort at all, the new shoes, lack of injuries, Luca and D’lyn and cooler weather all helped with that. It got quite hilly towards the end and I walked some but finished in a very pleasing time of under 12 hours, over an hour quicker than I usually give myself.
The end was the usual set up of chairs outside a motel with the organisers, some runners and crew just assembled outside. Luca gave me a Columbus IPA which was a treat, really nice beer. Markus was there and later Phillipe and Koshita. We all chatted about the stage and the race generally while drinking beer (as I ordered McDonalds room service). Anneke came out as she always does to give her really warm and enthusiastically Dutch sounding “CONGRATULATIONS”. That is such a wonderful sound to hear at the end of each day, the moment that is the furthest point possible from having to do any running again. I only have 12 of these moments left (and I suspect the last one might be different). I am going to miss these moments. I might not want this to end.