It just feels like yesterday. I ran this race in 2010 and it was my second Ultra marathon then. I have come a long way. Last year, I only knew very few runners but this year was very different. I had so many friends including the RD Steve Durbin with whom I ran couple of Ultra Marathons.
Just got in time:
I thought I had registered for LBL 50mile along with my other races for this year but then I had my doubts. After Mt Cheaha 50K, I was skimming through my inbox for the Active Registration confirmation for this race. When i didn’t find one, I went through my transactions and it had no traces to LBL 50 Miles. Oops. I logged in Active and registered for the race immediately. The registration closed right after my registration and turns out that I was the last one to register. Else, I would have thrown myself at Steve’s mercy for my race entry :).
BIB : 497

I hate race day mornings:
Light House Landing, that’s where we stayed last year and this year too. My friend Bjorg and I reached the cabin late in the night. All my friends were already in lala land. We tried not to disturb and made least possible noise and devoured some lasagna and pasta which Kim got for us. I was in deep sleep as soon as I hit the sack. Before I knew it, it was 5am and everyone was getting ready. “Diane, should we really go and run this race, I mean, why can’t I just stay here and sleep and enjoy the rest of the day”, she said something (I won’t say it) that got me up on my feet. I hate race day mornings!!
It’s a big advantage for having the start line few yards from the cabin. The weather was perfect. Diane, Kim, Amanda, Bjorg, Caroline, Taylor, Boo and I lined up at the start line. I just got in time to say Hi to a few known faces and off we headed down the road welcomed by a gorgeous Sunrise. I hate for missing to say Hi to my friend Juli and Shanon though. On my way, I met Henry Cubero, a runner whom I met at LLTH 50K who kept me company for a while.
Nature’s call:
This was the first time. Around mile 6 I believe, nature called out to me really loud that I couldn’t say NO and couldn’t wait either. Made myself useful to the trail for the first time :). My friend Henry had passed me just when I joined back the trail. It was starting to get warm. My only goal for the day was to make it to the cut-off, just like last year, and second goal was to save myself from a DFL. The trail was really good except for a few muddy section. Having run the race last year, I could recall some of the sections especially the cell phone tower. It’s about 2 miles to the loop from there and just like that two laps passed by.
Running into a tree:
This is the first time. I ran out of water and was sweating like hell and I was starting to feel giddy. Somewhere along the way on a downhill I lost control and ran into a tree. Yeah, ran into a tree like a drunk, as if it wasn’t there. My left shoulder got hurt so bad but my ego was more hurt, why? because a runner caught me running into a tree. I got up as soon as possible and looked around to ensure no one saw me when a runner behind me hollered “Gotcha”. We just laughed about it and I continued with my run and a bleeding ego :). I suppose it would be too funny watch someone run into a tree though it hurts a lot. Guess what, I am not the only one. Later I found that there is a facebook page created for people who have ran into a tree at least once in their life time. Check this out. I filled up my bottle and ate lots of chips and couple of S-Caps at the next aid station and was feeling much better.
Sue (A friend of Henry), an awesome runner, kept me company during the second and third loop. I tried to keep her in sight most of the times. I also met Jonathan, a runner from Memphis and a friend of my friend Joshua Holmes, who kept me company until the end of third lap before he took off for his 60K finish. It was amazing listening to his running adventures and how soon he qualified and finished Boston Marathon. Good luck for your upcoming race Jonathan.
The not so good last loop:
1:12PM. I looked at the clock after finishing my third loop. Almost half hour ahead of the cut-off time. Last year, I barely made it with 3 minutes to spare. While I was refilling my bottle and crunching on some cookies and chips, I saw Emily just finishing her third loop. We spoke a few times on Facebook and an she is an awesome runner from Memphis. I tried to keep up with her but my stomach and shoulder started bothering me. My stomach was growling by now and it didn’t sound good. Threw up a couple of times and was feeling very sick. Decided to stick with coke for the rest of the race. It kinda helped. Fell down a couple more times during this lap though. Feet got buckled under the roots and barely escaped from busting my head. It was walk time. It was very warm by now. Poured a jug of water and drank another coke at the aid station. Cell phone tower came insight which means it’s just shy of two mile to the road and about 3 miles to the finish after.
Road to finish:
Familiar faces at the intersection. It was Mike (Bartlett Parks RD). Drank a cup of water and headed to run the out and back loop. Though this course is very scenic, I just wanted to get to the finish line and be done. One my way back, I met Miles McLeod. He was badly hurt and was limping because of a blister but yet he looked strong. Passed the aid station one more time, gulped some water and ran the long stretch. This road which seemed so short in the morning but looked like a never ending one now. My right knee took all the brunt from the fall and it started bothering me really bad but then finish line was almost in sight and I certainly didn’t wanted anyone to pass me.
Last year, I was fighting a battle on this course, given the rough weather conditions, my zero training, I was giving my every bit of energy to push myself to the finish line. The course brought back the good old memories from last year. The finish line was visible by now. Though my goal was not to DFL, I was so glad to see the clock ticking in 10:42:XX. I wanted to keep it in under 10:43 and sprinted to the finish line. Finished in 10:42:26.
Last year, as soon as I finished, the emotion was so overwhelming that I was crying like a baby at the finish line hugging my friend Diane. But not this year. Kim and Diane were at the finish line and Diane gave me a warm hug and told me “You aren’t going to cry this year, are you”, “Oh no way” was my reply. I was smiling pretty wide (Proof above).
Post Race Meet up:
I saw Miles LcLeod finish strong. He is a hero in my books. This guy has never run more than 10 miles and with all his injuries, he still kept on and finished it in great time. I also saw Jameelah, whom I ran with at Bartram Forest 100 miler, finish. Soon, my friend Bjorg ran across the finish line. Had a chat with Brad Alsop, another awesome runner from KY whom I met at LLTH 50K. We chatted a bit about the Vibrams and how they should make Vibrams to accommodate people with Morton’s toe. I’ll try to be there for Potowatomi trail run Brad.
Caroline, Diane, Bjorg and I headed to the Pattis settlement for dinner. I was still feeling very sick in my stomach though I ordered a cup of soup and their specialty 2” Pork chops. I was talking to Caroline while waiting for our food and she told me that she stumbled upon my last year’s LBL blog post which made her sig-up for the race this year. Those words truly made my day. The food arrived by chops went straight to the fridge. I could barely finish the soup but the fries were yummy. The next day morning, Bjorg surprised us with her specialty Norwegian style waffle which was so good. After clicking couple of pictures, it was time to head back home.
DSCF0178 DSCF0155 DSCF0179
It was a great weekend with some awesome group of runners. Met lots of friend and made many more and truly feel blessed for having finished this race. Steve, Volunteers, Photographers and everyone, thank you so much for putting together a great race yet again. We really appreciate that. Pictures look fantastic and so does the buckle :). See you next year, God willing!


Navin Sadarangani said...

Dude, this is splendid stuff man. No, i wasn't talking abt your run, but your other run - running into a tree. ha ha, just kidding. But it was good fun to talk to you and hear your reaction on how it felt when you slammed into! Great going overall brother. You don't seem to believe in the word 'rest' right. Hope you keep following your passion and do your dream runs one after the one. Happy for you man!

Tiger said...

Things that I have yet to do on a trail run - run into a tree, lol! Awesome race report and great finish, Naresh! Congratulations!

h said...

I really hope we cross paths again at a race sometime soon! (lol..I can't say "run together at a race" because I'm old and slow and you are not). BTW...I'm still dreaming of doing a 100 miler this year, how was the one in Georgia as a firsttimer?