|Photo by Jeff Bartlett|
|Me, Tina, and Duke|
Normally I would start this race blog out with pre-race antics such as who farted at the house before we left, or I would describe 300 runners trying to enter the single track at the same time, or simply the amazing views, climbs and descents of the first 20+ miles…Not this blog. You see, my race really didn’t start until mile 34. Any seasoned 50K’er can eek out 34 miles. Ok hold on…let me set the stage a little better. The first 22 miles leads you out from Covenant College, around the edges of Lookout Mountain and back to the College. From there you begin a 28 mile lollipop; 12 miles to the 34/38 mile aid station, a four mile loop back to the aid station, then 12 miles back to the finish. Are you with me? So I come out of the woods onto a main road and take a left up a gravel road to the 34/38-aid station.
|Brandi-Photo by Jeff Bartlett|
On my way up I hear someone call my name, I look over and discern it is Luke Hough and his super-awesome-cool as crap wife Brandi. Brandi begins to cheer my name and spell it out letter by letter (for the record it is Cary, not Carey, Brandi). All I can do is look at them. I did not say a word. Why? Because I was about to have an emotional breakdown. I looked for my drop bag, which contained a luscious, smooth voluptuous, can of ginger ale. I sat and felt amazingly sick. I watched at a distance Luke preparing to leave for the 12-mile journey home. I then focused on Brandi thinking, “There is my ride back to the school”. I was contemplating quitting. I have never quit a race and here I was seriously trying to decide on my next steps. I was well below the cutoff times and had made it 34 friggin miles. I was surprised that I had not seen Dana and Tim.
|Tim and Dana-Photo by Jeff Bartlett|
I was able to surmise that they must be between 2-4 miles ahead of me, which was somewhat comforting. Was I really gonna quit with 16-miles to go? I stood up and began to walk into the woods. Emotions flooded me and I almost began to sob. Tears were ready and willing to flow but I was hurting to bad to cry. I begin the 4 mile loop convinced I can just walk. So walk I did. I thought about many of you reading this blog. One of you said, “failure is not an option”, another “you can do it”, and another, “You ain’t ever seen a girl take a poop?” Oh wait…that was the lady who went off-trail that I high-beamed with my headlamp at Georgia Jewel. Less I digress, I pressed on. Around 36.5 I began to run and felt good considering. I pressed and pressed and eventually made back to the aid station at 38 miles. I began sucking down my 2nd can of ginger ale and took some ribbing from Mr. Michael Scott himself. I remember thinking, “12 more miles”. Then I remembered how tough the 12 miles back were. As I began my trip back I prayed this prayer, “Lord let these four miles to the next aid station go by fast.” This girl in pigtails (who is a great trail runner) passes me and gains a sizeable lead on the road before entering the trails. As I enter the trails I figured it is a good time to eat my honey stinger waffle. As I open the package that redneck goes flying out and bounces on the dirt. “WHAT THE CRAP!!!” If you have ever had a honey stinger waffle you know why I was upset. So I did what anyone in my position would have done. I picked that honker up and ate it. God answered my prayer and the tornado-ravaged section went by quick. I hiked with purpose up the mountain to the ridge for a long slow descent at the top. All of a sudden Pig-tail Penny comes running by me. I looked at her and said, “Didn’t you already pass me?” (In a confused tone…). She said, “Yeah, I had to pee”. You gotta love trail runners. I finally make it back to the Lula Lake aid station with 42 miles down and 8 to go. I eat a bowl of soup, strap on my headlamp and pray again that the last 8 miles will go by fast. About 1.5 to 2 miles the darkness sets in. I am amazed that I am actually running. I am determined to finish as quickly as possible so I run and push through the inclines. We break out of the woods to a power line/logging road section. This meant we weren’t far off…after measuring on runningmap.com I found we were 2.77 miles to the finish, however at the time I thought we were about a mile from the end. All of a sudden there is Miss Pig Tails and 2 others. I passed them and kept waiting to hear Randy Whorton’s voice in the night air but it was not there. With about ¾ of a mile to go I could faintly hear the speakers. I pressed and climbed, climbed and pressed. Some lady was hot on my trail so I pushed. All of a sudden music fills the atmosphere but the end is nowhere in sight. I holler back, “Do you hear it?”
|Me with Michael Scotts Hookup|
Through the blackness we see Christmas lights, as we approach I realize they are lighting the path to the finish…music is blaring, I look back and it’s Pig-Tail Penny….BULL TO THE CRAP! I press determined not to let her pass me…she is hot on my tail, music blaring and there it is…(dramatic pause) the finish line…I did it. I freakin ran 50 miles with 6300 foot of climb. As I sat down Janice (my sexy wife) and Alex came over to me. It was all so surreal. Kris Whorton hugged and congratulated me. Michael Friggin Awesome Scott hooked me up with an awesome Smart Wool base layer shirt. As I walked toward the truck I got a little chocked up and tears came to my eyes. I did it…
|Luke- Photo by Jeff Bartlett|
|Dewayne-Photo by Jeff Bartlett|