Swiping an idea from my friend Anita, here’s my Top 10 List of stuff from this past weekend’s Old Dominion Memorial 100-Miler.
10. Stopping to give directions to two young guys looking for an ATV trail, then seeing the shock on their faces when I answered their questions about “are you in a race or something” with “yeah, about 55 miles into a 100” and “we started at 5 a.m. and will probably be done around that time Sunday.” One kid said, “Dude, we think we’re crazy. We KNOW y’all are.”
9. Managing the seeming last-minute course change with a nod, a smile and a trip out to Fort Valley to drop one of our coolers. Went in thinking two 25-mile out-and-backs with nine aid stations per segment, only to find out at the Friday afternoon race brief that it was really three 16.67-mile out-and-backs with four aid stations. So instead of two up-and-overs of Woodstock Tower, we got three. No, the race Web site course info was never updated. Yes, the entrant list was. Some people at the pre-race knew about it because they had called beforehand. Look, it’s a 100-miler. Stuff is gonna happen. You gotta adapt.
8. injinji socks RULE! I wore the tetrasocks version of these glove-like wonders for the entire 100 miles of this paved road/gravel road course and got no real blisters. One tiny one on the back of my left heel. Stopped once to clean out my shoes. First race I have worn them in. Consider them an essential piece of equipment in the future.
7. An impromptu mixture of Red Bull and Lipton Green Tea with Citrus. That stuff is pure rocket fuel, and tasted yummy all three times I mixed it, even at midnight.
6. Twinkling stars in the nighttime sky as my buddy Bob and I power-hiked through the little burg of Detrick around midnight. Just me, a good friend and the gentle sounds of our footfalls on the pavement. Pretty peaceful.
5. Ice-cold rags at the Ballpark Aid Station. A true godsend during the heat of the day, and a reminder that simple pleasures often mean the most.
4. Equate chocolate meal-replacement drink held up great as the staple of my nutrition plan. Knocked down six cold cans of it throughout the day. Supplemented with a couple cups of chicken noodle broth, some Fritos, a little Gatorade now and then and the Red Bull/green tea combo. No drop-off in energy the whole time.
3. Hearing the melodious call of a single whippoorwill around 2 a.m. on the two-mile uphill climb out of Fort Valley. Even if I would have been having a rotten time, that would have snapped me out of it.
2. Dumping my chicken noodle broth into my hand-held bottle and bolting out of the 83-mile aid station after a 10-minute stop so I could move out with my new friend California Mike after Bob had decided that it’s just not much fun for him when the inadequate combo of his flashlight and lack of moon had reduced him to just walking. I would have been OK hiking in with Bob. On the other hand, helping Mike reach a first-100-mile-finish dream was pretty cool too.
1. The smile on Mike’s face when we crossed the finish line hand-in-hand at 23:42:53. You said you never would have broken 24 hours without me, Mike. Your legs. Your big heart. Thanks for letting me share the ride.