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The Short: Race start: 5:30am<br>
DNF at mile 46.4 (checkpoint 3) at approx 12 hours.<br><br>
The Long: We (my 2 running partners and I) left CT to drive to western PA at 9:30 am friday. We went to the pre race dinner at the Pasta Shoppe. We were there early and got to meet some VERY nice people, including the race director and his family who were all volunteering at the event. We sat with a couple who were running this for their anniversary, and 2 runners who had never before entered a race AT ALL!! (both of whom I got to see finish!!) We then followed the directions to the campsite to find out we had gone the wrong way on the PA TPKE and had to go about 35 miles in the wrong direction to get to the first exit to turn around. So we didn't get to the camp until 9:30. Late night.<br><br>
Woke up at 4 am and packed up to head to the start. The weather was very heavy humid air but no real rain. Race went off and we started our trek upwards!! The goal was to stay together, but it was only 54 mins before my running partner took off. Thankfully there was a pack who stayed together for a while and kept company up the LONG hills. A very nice married couple running the first and second leg for their relay team but decided to run both the 1st and 2nd leg together. And a couple other runners. I felt confident in the first 9 miles which looked to be the most difficult and still feel I ran them well. I saw our one poor crew member (she was crewing for both of us) at mile 11, and it was good to see a friendly face from home. (I have not had crew before). She switched off my water bottle and off I went, no time wasted. I started to have some trouble breathing around mile 13 and knew by mile 14 I really needed my inhaler, between the bad breathing and the humidity, my ears were clogged, so I took the 2 advil I had hoping it might unclog my ears. Luckily my great crew gal had my inhaler with her at mile 19. With that and some perpetum I was again on my way, I ate some clif shot bloks there too.<br><br>
Let me stop here to say that so far the trail was exactly what I had expected. There were significant uphills and downhills and lots of stone steps up and down. The roots, rocks and vines were all expected. And I still felt pretty good.<br><br>
I left mile 19 (checkpoint 1) feeling happy with my progress so far. And I think maybe feeling a little too confident in my trail skills. In the state forest I run in there are similar aspect of trail, of course not the elevation, but the rocks, roots, stairs etc. I moved forward taking the up hills at a fast walk and the downhills easy and running a fair pace on the more level parts. Just before the mile 26 there were some of those downhill stone steps and I was feeling good so I took them on like I do at home and misjudged my depth. I slipped off and bumped down the rest of them. I stopped myself by slamming my heel into the ground and jamming up my left leg. When I looked down, my right kneecap had partially subluxed which happens sometimes, a bit of extension and a tap and it was back in place. But slamming the left heel killed me. I had already been dealing with PF and this sent it screaming in pain. The "I want to vomit" kind of pain. I though it would work it self out so I got up and kept on moving but could no longer eat anything for fear of really vomitting.<br><br>
There was alot of walking after this. I could get into a jog but I could not get my heel down for a normal running pattern and it was awkward. I got to the next aide station and my crew gal was there with some perpetum and food which I could not eat. I told her about the fall and she asked if I wanted an ice pack at the next aide station. I said no but I probably should have said yes. And she asked " What do you need?" I told her, " I need you to tell me to keep moving." Which she did and on I went.<br><br>
At the next aide station which I think was checkpoint 2 mile 32, I really wanted some caffine so I drank some coke and part of a starbucks frappichino (which I have decided it the best race drink EVER) and ate some m+m's. No crew at this one because she needed to keep moving for our other runner again.<br><br>
Mile 32 to 46 is really difficult to describe. The trail itself was beautiful and difficult. I did not expect the sharp dips and climbs that kept coming up as mostly the return runners had stated that after the first 19 miles or so the trails was " really runnable". The day had turned out perfect although somewhat warm for people who are used to running in the dark part of the early morning. The tree cover provided shade and lots of cool spots. I did more walking than running at this point and recall a couple of times that bridges that shouldn't wobble looked wobbly. I think although I drank more liquid than I am used to I was still somewhat dehydrated. (as proven by the fact that I peed before the race at 4:30 am and I did not have to go again unil 1 am the next day). by mile 40 I was weighing the options, do I walk 70 miles to finish and call it a year? Do I stop? Will I be able to recover quicker if I stop now?? It all went through my head and those of you I have read your reports when you have not finished, I can only imagine that all the similar reasonings went through your heads.<br><br>
So by the time I came up to the 46.4mile checkpoint 3 I knew I was done. (And yes Hippo it does bruise the pride to hand in your race number.)<br><br>
Luckily, my favorite crew gal was there and off to the car we went, proceeded to the 4th checkpoint to meet our other runner who was completely shot but kept on moving and although the last 13 miles took him 5 and a half hours, he finished!! Crew gal left at the last checkpoint to run the last leg with him so I went to the finish alone to wait for them. One of the 2 brothers that started this crazy race does the timing every year so I hung out with him and got to hand out the trophies for a while which was a fun job. His brother stands at the top of the hill 2 miles out and radios when the runners are coming down. With 2 and a half hours until the cutoff of 22 hours, there were still 36 runners working their way into the finish!!<br><br>
I will be back and hopfully next year, that hill and I are not finished. I will train differently. I'd like to go out there and run the last 24 so I know exactly what to expect. I will train on stairs, actual stairs, as there were MANY!! I will find harder trail. I WILL learn how to eat and what to eat, while running. I will not have other goals (ie Boston qualifing). I will run some other 50K's and possibly 50 milers for training. I will definitely bring at least one crew and thair own car just for me, if for nothing more than to know I am going to see their face at each stop! I will wear my ipod for distraction, when there is no company. (it's legal, I asked) There are lots of long lone miles out there.
 

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Sorry about the DNF movingon, but you did one heck of a job out there. Not sure how you ultra folks do it, but you're all amazing in my book. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Sorry to hear about the DNF, and you were so close too<br><br>
Hopefully you will go back and finish next year
 

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Well, my good friend Keith last night told me "you do not learn anything about a race that goes off smoothly, you only learn from the ones you crash and burn at"<br>
I cannot believe how dehydrated you were. You definitely need to work on food and drink for the future. How did you do at JFK? I have found at races where there is too much to think about (severe weather, very hard terrain, or in your case bad pain) i can easily forget about drinking. This was my pitfall at BRR last year.
 

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Ouch, how is your foot? Would you say that was the main trigger for the DNF -- pain in the foot which wouldn't let you eat? Both those things would seem like huge factors on their own. You did great keeping it together that long dealing with both.<br><br>
DNFing is never fun, but sometimes smart, and it sounds like you learned a lot and have already turned it into next year's race strategy!<br><br>
Oh, I agree about the frappuccino.
 

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awesome that you gave it a shot, and that you'll know how to handle it next year. LH scares me. DNF is better than DNT (did not try) anyday!
 

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merigayle -<br>
A genius inately know the best thing to do without experience<br>
A wise person can learn from seeing other peoples' mistakes<br>
A smart person learns from there own mistakes<br>
An idiot makes the same mistakes again and again<br><br>
I have never been a genius, but I have been all of the next 3.<br><br>
If one fails - One must learn to fail forward - To be better for the experience.<br><br>
Live - Laugh - Learn and move on -
 

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Super report, movingon!<br><br>
Your description of the trail brought back good memories for me. I was out there crewing or running at the last two LH Ultras. Yes, a beautiful part of the country and a gorgeous trail. Not to mention an outrageous endeavor. I missed being there and if it were not for Mohican, I would have been out there again this year.<br><br>
I think I know the area of your fall. On the way to Seven Springs there are quite a few small climbs, descents, and small stream crossings.<br><br>
The last 24 miles are lots like the first parts. You missed the darkness. The last 3 miles of the race coming off the ridge seem to take forever when the legs are shot.<br><br>
I admire your attitude. From the one time I met you, I knew you have a special determination and talent to run long. No doubt next time, without the marathon to distract, that you will conquer all the goals you set out to accomplish. Thanks for the great read. Recover well.<br><br>
~roots
 

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I'm in awe that you got as far as you did, especially with the knee thing. Great report, I enjoyed reading it and learned from it!
 
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