Describe your worst bonk!

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Scott & Don

Nearly all of us have hit the wall before. Here’s your chance to talk about it, and how you may or may not have broken through that bonk. Share your story in the comment section of this post! A winner will be selected from the entries.

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  • In July I ran the Resurrection Pass 50 as my first ever ultra. This is somewhat of a unique event in that the first 38 miles are on a remote trail and are completely unsupported. When I reached the mile 38 aid station, I was feeling surprisingly good, and especially happy to take my hydration pack off and switch to a waist pack. Things had been going really well up until this point, but here’s where I made my big mistake – I was feeling so good, re-energized from getting the pack off my shoulders, telling myself that it’s “only” 7 miles to the next aid station, that I hardly brought anything with me. I had a drop bag full of goodies that I thought I might want at this point, and I barely touched any of it.

    Miles 38-41 went by quickly, as I was ticking off some relatively fast miles on a flat gravel road. Then came THE HILL. Miles 41-45 are all climbing to the final aid station at the top of the hill. The first mile or so I was still doing ok, but after that I was really feeling myself losing energy and slowing down. Before long, I was in full-on death march mode. My vision was getting blurry and I was weaving all over the place. I drank what little water I had left and knew that I was going to have to drag myself to the top of this hill before I’d get anything else to eat or drink. I was moving very slowly at this point, struggling to put one foot in front of the other. I just kept reminding myself “keep moving forward”, “relentless forward progress”.

    When I finally reached the top of the hill, I was able to get some Mountain Dew and half a Payday in me, and things turned around pretty quickly. I headed back down the hill towards the finish line, now with much more of a spring in my step!

    After finishing, a buddy that I had run part of the race with relayed this story to me. He was a bit behind me heading up the last big hill, and apparently was hurting even more than I was. At one point he saw me stopped on the side of the road, and came over to talk to me and see if I was doing ok. It took him a few moments to realize I wasn’t there and he was actually talking to a tree! We’ll be giving him a hard time about that one for a while 🙂

  • Before i tell this story i need to give tou some info on the day running up to the bonk. first of all i hate chinese food, to the point that my friends wanted Chinese for lunch before our workout. so i refused to eat anything(first mistake)My bonk story is no from a run or a race. I was actually about halfway thru basic law enforcment training and we were working out in an old Army Reserves basket ball court. It was unbelievably hot and humid. The workout was to do 40 push ups, run a lap do 40 sit ups, run a lap do 40 stair climes, run a lap. Then do it over ,but the next time around you would take five off. I was the most fit out of the class, so in my mind I had to do way more than everybody else(second mistake). I started with 70 of each exersise. After an hour of non stop busting my butt and drowning in sweat it was time to stretch and I was not doing so good I didn’t know what was going on. I was walking like I was drunk and all I knew was that I wanted to puke. I stumbled across the gym floor to the door, as I stood there stooped over one of the instructors asked what was wrong. I just said “I’m gonna puke”. To make things worse he just responded save the big chunks for me. I can’t remember what I said next or how I got 20 yards down the sidewalk. The next thing I remember Is waking up staring into the black distance, thinking I was blind. A short time later my vison sort of came back and found myself being carried by my cohorts back to the school. Luckily there were EMS already on capus( at least they were dressed like EMS, I think they were students). But I’m not complaining. They got me back on my feet.

  • First marathon ever. I was 23 years old and thought I was a hotshot. No training. No fueling. I didn’t even know what a bonk was. 20 miles in, I hit the wall…hard. And if I had known what a DNF was, i would have had my first that day. Fortunately, I didn’t and kept shuffling my feet for the last 6.2 miles, for another grueling 2 hours and 20 minutes. I finished in 5:20 and stopped running for 7 years.

  • 109 mile Tour de Tucson bike ride. 80 miles in, going out way to hard, I suddenly became very depressed, my world grew small and dark and felt like crying. I was only able to keep going by latching on the to the back of a tandem and focusing on their back tire. For what seemed like an hour, I saw nothing but that tire until suddenly, an aid station came up. First item I saw was brownies. I ate approximately 6 of them. The last 15 miles were awesome. I could feel the energy flowing through my legs and I finished. Brownies, to this day are my superfood. I know. it’s a biking story. Luckily, I found Tailwind early in my running career!

  • Reading about all the different venues for The North Face Endurance Challenges, I concluded that Bear Mountain NY seemed to be the nastiest and most challenging they offer. I backpacked through there on The AppalachianTrail so I was familiar with the terrain and knew it was a beautiful place so I put the Bear Mountain 50k on my calendar for 2012.

    Just before approaching the start, I was feeling in need of something to eat so I sucked down a gel from the food tent. The guy with the microphone said “go” and off we went toward the fog-shrouded mountains of Harriman State Park. My first couple miles felt uncoordinated and in need of a warm up, but that’s pretty normal for me. By the time we neared the first of the aid stations, my legs felt like they were still in bed. Was I bonking at the start? Could I get through this? I had nothing. I chomped some Power Bar Gel Blasts for caffeine and had a PBJ sandwich and an orange slice when I arrived at the aid station. Janice gave me a cold FRS out of the cooler in the Jeep, I took a gulp, told her I had nothing in my legs and took off with the pack.

    Here I was running a 50k on notoriously difficult terrain that climbs 5,000′ over the course and I felt like crap. DNF really isn’t something I consider ever, but today I thought about it more than once. The majority of the big climbs are in the first half of the course so I just concentrated on getting up and over them and making it to the next aid station. Leaving the Silver Mine aid station we were on single track through thickets of Blue Berry Bushes. I mentioned to the runner ahead of me that in a couple months the berries would be ripe and this area would be full of bears enjoying them. He simply nodded and then I noticed that he may be feeling about as grand as I was. He and I and another guy spent the rest of the run “leap frogging” along. At the top of a big climb along a ridge at about mile 16 I somehow had separated from my two running partners and before I knew it I was on my butt on the trail holding a bleeding elbow. Yes, I had caught a toe on something and took a sweet tumble on some rocks. As I collected myself to go again my buddies passed me and we exchanged grunts. My elbow hurt a bit and a tiny little cut was dumping tons of blood down my arm. I was told it looked “totally legit” and “bad ass”. Knowing drama doesn’t get you to the finish line, I just kept going. Suddenly I realized I was feeling the best I had felt all day. Sweet! Maybe the second half of this thing wasn’t going to suck like the first half had.

    Seeing places I remembered from backpacking was cool, we did actually use portions of The Appalachian Trail. We passed by The William Brien Shelter where I had taken kingkrawler’s photo. There were hikers tented there from the night before. I’m sure they were amused by a bunch of runners passing by before the morning fog had lifted. We ran through Tiorati Circle where I refueled from the vending machines after tenting at Finger Board Shelter. Toddling along on the trail enjoying my new found energy unfortunately went out the window when I started to get stomach cramps and I was jolted back to the reality that Bear Mountain was kicking my butt. The pain in my stomach was unlike anything I could remember and i was praying the next aid station had a Porto-John. The course was retracing some trail and returning through the aid station at The Anthony Wayne Rec Center Parking Lot. Janice was there of course and my new best friend Porto-John was too. Paid John a visit, I stole a kiss from my crew and caught up to one of my companions and a young guy going up the long hill out of the aid station.

    So Janice collected what was left of me at the finish line and before I knew it the Goretex water bottle I got at the finish was full of Yuengling Lager. I gobbled down the post-race meal with a couple low fat chocolate milks and another beer, excellent way to end a long day on the trail.

    About 10 days prior to this event I developed a sore right knee so my typical training taper wasn’t typical. I had more rest than I’ve ever had prior to a long run. My pre-race nutrition wasn’t stellar either. Not sure what I screwed up food-wise, but it resulted in me feeling ready to quit from the gun. Glad I didn’t and I wouldn’t trade the day for anything. Actually talking with other runners as I struggled along helped immensely. The biggest thing that always keeps me in a race is arriving at an aid station in the middle of nowhere to find Janice encouraging me, snapping photos, refilling my Nathan’s hydration bag and putting up with my whining.

    Bear Mountain is a beautiful place, I highly recommend this event. If you’re not a trail runner, just go visit Bear Mountain, the trails that crisscross the mountains there are gorgeous.

  • My first, and worst, bonk was an absolutely miserable experience. It’s almost embarrassing to share, given the accomplishments of so many strong runners on this site and the relatively short run I experienced it on. Alas, I am an average runner that chooses to run long.

    I woke up late for my Saturday trail run and decided to save my precious gem of a run for the evening, when the temp would drop and I could REALLY enjoy it. It was the end of August and St. Louis had had a very hot summer. So, logically, I headed out the door to my YMCA and lifted, heavy, for an hour. I had a great lifting workout, really pushing myself and working up a sweat. Feeling motivated, I headed home and spent the next 2-3 hours working in my yard, digging out some overgrown areas, planting my fall garden, mowing, etc. By this point, I’d probably lost a pound of bodyweight due to sweat, but completely ignored hydrating; these were trivial tasks, not necessary to listen to my body.

    After hosing myself down, I decided it was time to hit the trail. I grabbed my new water belt (a 1/2 liter bottle with water, ½ liter bottle with Gatorade), a couple gels and drove to the trail. The trail was an out and back, 7 miles one way with some decent climbs for the Midwest. My energy was low the entire time and I noticed I’d drank most of my water and Gatorade when, a mile away from the turn-around point, my legs started to cramp. “Don’t you do that, c’mon, we’re just a mile away.” I was determined to finish the full trail and adopted a “walk the hills, run the flats” mentality. From that point on my body was a slow-motion train wreck. “Walk the hills” turned into a “walk/run” compromise (mile 10) that turned into a 2 mile death march back to my car (miles 12-14). Gels didn’t help. The water was gone. I just wanted to be home, sitting down. My only hope was to force my tired, cored legs to carry me back.

    When I finally got back to the car after the most grueling 14 miles I’ve ever run, I chugged the backup water I’d brought, ate a handful of almonds and crawled into the driver’s seat, heading for home. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.

    After I got home, I ate a light dinner (stomach still upset) and headed straight for bed, hoping to ‘sleep it off.’ I woke up that night at midnight, full body cramp. I slowly unclenched myself, drank some more water and attempted to go back to sleep. Sleep was only a short term solution. At 2am, I woke up with a HORRIBLE headache, the kind you experience after you first discover sweet wine tastes like juice AND gets you drunk. That kind of headache. For the next 6 hours, I was in a state of never ending nausea, not keeping down anything I drank/ate. Finally, at around 8am, I had a small bowl of the most magical oatmeal I’ve ever had and was able to go back to sleep.

    Needless to say, it was a humbling experience.

  • First bonk! My first bonk was probably my worst, but definitely hasn’t been my last. Slow learner I guess. Back to the Bonk: First marathon – PF Changs Rock n Roll Arizona. I trained well and was pretty confident I could Boston Qualify right out of the gate. Age 40, so needed a 3:20. My week spot was nutrition planning. I had oatmeal and a banana for breakfast, felt great. At the starting line I noticed runners around me had any ware between 4 and 12 gels with them. They asked where I was carrying mine. Easy, I had none. I didn’t use them in training and knew the “Nothing new on race day” slogan well. Off I went. I felt great until the 20 mile mark. I was getting a little fatigued and thought I would try some “sports drink stuff” they offered at the race. Again, I was unaware that all sport drinks are not the same. The one I tried, Accela-somthing, didn’t agree with my stomach at all. Feeling bad, but still ahead of the 3:20 pacer, I kept pushing. Mile 25, last water stop, I grabbed another drink. Next thing I know I was “talking to my friend Ralph.” I luckily made it to the side of a road and found a good bush. But, as I was finishing up “my conversation with Ralph,” my legs cramped, just as the pacer ran by. OH NO!! I tried to recover and ran hard, but ended up coming in at 3:22. Two lousy minutes short! Not a happy day.

  • We had new mats! New mats at the dojo, and my Sensei asked me to come in and help figure out how to put them in, seeing as I had done all the measurements.

    I was to meet him at 3pm on a Monday afternoon in Vancouver. Of course, I lived 4 cities away in Port Coquitlam for a total distance of 26 km. “I’m going to run to the dojo to help place the new mats,” I joyously said to my wife. She gave me a sideways glance and said, “Okay, call me if you need a ride . . .” Was that a chuckle I heard?

    So I grab my Camelback with water, a banana and I’m off. My path was designed to be fun, throw in some hills, a bit of road, and as many back roads and city trails as possible. I leave Port Coquitlam and head along the Traboulay Trail, very flat and very inviting, which kicks up my pace from the get-go. My GPS beeps and I’m clipping along at 4:30 / km (a 7:15 mile). Cool, 4 km in, and I feel great. I scoot off the trail and hit some road and a couple of long lights that have me antsy. Turn green dammit! Beep, the walk signal beckons and I sprint off the line, the grand and majestic Burnaby Mountain in the not so far distance. I’ve skipped out of the city of Port Coquitlam, through Coquitlam and Port Moody and am heading toward Burnaby. Up the hill I go. Hmm, I should walk this, it’s pretty steep. I’m about 10 km in and am under an hour . . . feeling good. A quick descent, a coyote in the distance and some light trails at the base of the mountain has me skipping along rocks and roots like Peter Pan.

    Rounding the base of the mountain, I take a powerline route and pop half a banana. My minimalist Merrell’s and light and springy and have carried me many kilometers with little complaint. Another sip of (non-electrolyte) water from the hydration bladder and a steady ascent along the south side of Burnaby mountain. Hmm, I don’t recall these paths being so up and down. Civilization surrounds me and I question whether I should hit the flat roads or continue through the “urbanized” back country. Another sip and a dry sucking noise comes from the hydration bladder. GPS signals 19 km in and no more water. No problem, only 6 or 7 km to go . . .

    Once again, surrounded by houses and neighbourhood paths as I head toward the Burnaby/Vancouver boundary. Feeling slow . . . my eyes burn . . . the sweat is not sweating anymore . . . why can’t I catch that lady walking towards the bus stop? Am I running or walking? My legs suddenly feel like they are tied to the mountain behind me with grabbing tendrils of molasses laden string. There is crystallized salt on my face and crusted to my nose and eyelids. Who put this hill here? Why did I take this route . . . there’s only 3 km to go and I have a hill that is laughing at me. If I can get to the park, I’m home free . . . Then, the knives come out. They stab into my quadriceps with reckless abandon. No, not reckless abandon, but rhythmical reliability. Each step a cue to slice muscle fiber and fire nerves like glass. Yes, that’s what my legs have become, glass . . . cracking and breaking with each step forward.

    I round the corner and check my watch . . . the dojo sits ahead of me. I’m too early, I have to wait half an hour for my Sensei to show up. I need food, badly. I stroll into a Chinese restaurant that has a name I can’t pronounce and slump into a booth. The waiter, a young Asian pop kid with hair straight from an Anime cartoon comes over and gives me tea. Sweet tea. “You want some food?” he asks innocently. I stare at a TV screen on the wall where some Chinese talk show host is interviewing an actress in a minnie mouse outfit. “I need some chicken . . . and rice. Something with chicken and rice. And chocolate. Maybe chocolate milk,” I say with labored breath. “Umm, sure. Chicken curry okay for you? House specialty.” I nod approvingly as the guy in the booth beside me looks at my white compression gear, salt glittered face and death stare at the TV. Curry and hot chocolate land in front of me. Hmm, I think I understand what they’re saying. Phone rings. “How was your run?” “Think I need a ride home.”

  • one of my worst bonks happened on a 50k race this summer. things were going great as they always do before you fall apart, then it happened. was starting to fell tired and beat up with about 3 miles left and fallen over the trail was a large maply tree. to close to the ground to go under so I climbed over. this is where my problems started. as i stradled the tree my fatigued legs cramped up and dangling and I could not move them anywhere. I sat on that log with one leg on each side, with no ability to get off the log and move forward. finally after about 4-5 min i more or less rolled off the log and then tried to hobble down the trail. as I was on the log no other races came past but within seconds of getting on my feet again another runner came by, she ( yes I was now getting chicked in the race) did not notice my log situation and with only a short distance to the finish said “come on were almost there lets run it in together”. great idea I thought and not wanting to get chicked I thought I would give it a try. that lasted about 50 feet before i was hobbling along to the finish where a beer awaited me!

  • Well I’m a huge rookie, hah. The only time I ever really “Hit the wall” was on a 14 mile training run. At about an hour thirty I started to feel really sick to my stomach, light headed, faint, you know the drill. I managed to get back to my car (I was close luckily) and laid back in my seat for a half hour. Felt good enough to drive home but I kept feeling pretty terrible until the next morning. Fortunately for me I had been listening through all your old podcasts and knew what was happening to me. I never went out without proper food and water after that.

    PS. My first order of Tailwind is on it’s way to me now!

  • My first Marathon. I went out too fast and bonked about mile 18. I could run only a couple more miles before I began to cramp badly. The last 6 miles was a death march. I could not run more than a few yards at a time before my hamstrings would lock up painfully. I refused to quit though and made it to the finish in 4:08. About 5 minutes after I crossed the finish line, every muscle in my body cramped for 20 minutes before I could finally get enough fluid and electrolytes to make the cramps stop. It was the worst cramping I’ve ever had! Every muscle locked up, including the muscles in my arms, legs, hands, feet, abs and even my face. I hope I never experience anything like that again.

  • My most memorable bonk ever was not on a trail, but should still count for the PEK/Tailwind competition because it was a big bonk in a completely remote place and it nearly drove me to steal from a little beggar boy. Oh, gosh…. now as I picture it I am not sure that I should be making it public. But I want that Tailwind Nutrition!

    I was in the desert in the Middle East, Golan Heights area East of the Sea of Galilee; no food or drink, no money or ID, riding my bike in a (ouch) two-pieced swimsuit. An American woman traveling alone toward Syria (but should have been going the other way).

    There is not much space in this little box for all the details, so here’s the basics: Off-course for seven hours; temperature ~115; triathlon; wrong turn. Instead of riding South, around the Sea of Galilee, I got onto a road that went North, further into the desert toward Syria. By the time I got to a place where I felt safe, the first person I saw was that little boy, holding a box of cherries, begging for money. I was seriously sizing the kid up, with those mouth-watering cherries, wondering how morally reprehensible it would be to take him down.

    Give me that big box of Tailwind and I’ll tell you who ended up with the cherries…..

  • I’ve actually been pretty fortunate and haven’t had a real bonk during a race. I’m just a rookie though with only a couple half marathons and one 50k under my belt. But since I want to be eligible for the grand prize, here is my worst bonk story.

    My worst bonk was during my first 20 miler in preparation for my 50k. The trail I was running on is a 5 mile loop that has a lot of roots and a few hills but really isn’t too bad. I had stuff in my car so I’d stop each lap and take a gu and refill my water bottle. First lap was great and the second one was pretty good. Toward the end of the third lap the hills got bigger and there were more of them. I was walking a little bit more frequently but still had a decent pace going most of the time. I stopped at my car a final time and set off on my final lap and I knew it was going to be a struggle. My pace had slow down quite a bit and I was walking a lot more frequently. There were times when I would just stop running, it wasn’t a decision I made, my body just did it. It was a mental battle to run at all for the last three or four miles of the run. I eventually made it back around the loop, but much slower than all my other loops.

    Personally I blame the gnomes that are out there, they follow you on the course adding hills and roots and stumps to make each lap harder than the last.

  • 2003 NYC Marathon. Through a connection there was a dozen of family members (siblings, cousing, spouses, etc) that all ran the race together. I was newish to running and this was my second marathon. The temperature was unexpectedly hot reaching over 80 degrees (remember November in NY). Well I was feeling real good, hamming it up with the crowd, cruising along at a midpacker’s pace. I was running with my brother-in-law Adam and my cousin Mike. Mike and I were talking a fair amount of trash to each other.

    Between mile 15 and 16 is the Queensboro bridge which is about a 75 ft incline up and back down. Other than the Verazonos bridge at the beginning, it’s the biggest hill on the course (remember, road marathon). Well my road running is all on rolling hills and so I pushed it up and over the bridge weaving through quite a few other runners. And the crowd coming off the bridge, where at the time you took a left and looped back under the bridge, was electric. I got totally sucked in and was waving my hands to get them louder, etc etc, I was thinking that well, if I am going to drop Mike and Adam, this is where it is going to be.

    Well fast forward a few miles down First Avenue.. I was completely Toast. Zapped. Bonked, yes, very bonked. Mike and Adam were ahead of me. Adam finished some 20 minutes ahead and Mike 10. My wife jumped in with me to run from mile 25-26 with me and I was miserable. The course meanders through central park and it seemed like ever 200 yrds there was a sign reminding me that I had only covered 200yrds in what seemed like an hour. At the first one my wife said “wait, what? we only ran 200yrds?” I didn’t even have the energy to say anything but when she saw my gaze she quickly apologized and didn’t say another word about distance.

    At the end it’s the first and only even I probably should have gone to the medical tent for. I was humiliated but I learned a lot. Not only about respecting the distance and conditions (I was not ready for 80+) or running over my head. And yapping my mouth, either. My sister who finished in 5:06, 33 minutes after me ran her race, well within herself and was thrilled about it, and happy at the finish. It taught me a lot about what running can and should be. Suffering to put in a better time can take away from a slower but more rewarding time.

    And, as a final comment, my cousin Mike, who beat me, has sworn never to enter the same race I am in. Just so that he can always say that he has beat me every time we run together.

  • First Ultra
    Mendon Trail Run

    I ran my first Ultra just about a week ago and experienced my worst bonk to date. I have run several marathons and covered the marathon distance in training, and had experienced what I thought was a pretty bad bonk in my first marathon on my way to a 3:12 initiation into long distance running. Fast forward to last Saturday and I was greeted with a new benchmark to compare to.

    The course consisted of 5-10k loops with 1,100 feet of climb and descent each time around for a grand total of about 5,600 feet for a 50k. I had practiced on this course every single weekend and was looking for a finish in the top 5 (did I say I was competitive). I had my nutrition dialed in, supported by Tailwind of course and was ready to go. I was planning on running aroun 8:30 min/mile pace for the race and noticed that just a few minutes in that I was running aroun 8:00/mile. You would think that would be enough to slow me down, especially because I made this mistake in my first marathon and was telling myself to slow down. Alas, I kept going and quickly found myself in second place early on. I maintained this position through the first 3.5 loops before the wheels, axles, doors…everything fell off. I was brought to walking every single uphill, even those little five foot climbs that popped up every so often.

    By the time I finished the fourth loop, I fell from 2nd to 5th. My wife was at the aid station to greet me with my last bottle and walked with me for awhile. On this last last I foud my savior in the form of a nice woman in her mid-forties from norht of the border. She shared past stories of conquered 100 mile events, including her most recent event the HURT 100. I thought that I should probably toughen up after that comment. This woman carried me through this last loop and quickly learned about how special this ultra community really is.

    I summoned every last ounce of energy that I had left in the last mile to finish strong, or at least make it seem that way for a total time of 4:48:13, good enough for a 7th place finish. I have never felt so bad physically, so in that sense it was my worst bonk…but it was definitely worth it.

  • This was a mental bonk:

    Bartlett Park Ultras 50K 2011

    2009 – 9:36:26 – first ultra ever, temps close to 100 degrees!!
    2010 – 9:36:44 – temps in the low to mid 90’s
    2011 – 8:34:41 – temps in the low 80’s high of 86 degrees

    This race, as all of them now days, starts the night before. I work 2nd shift and get off work at 10:30 PM. I had to leave for Memphis at 3:30 AM. That means not much sleep!

    Chris, my husband made sure I got my butt in bed and he set his alarm for me to make sure I didn’t sleep through mine in the morning! Thank you Chris.

    We were blessed this year as the temperatures were suppose to be much cooler than in years past.
    This race starts with a small trail loop and then 4 loops on a 7 mile trail course. The trail is single track dirt, no elevation gains but millions of undulations, twists turns and some roots. On the first big loop a root was my undoing. I tripped on a root and went down hard. I twisted my right knee. I got up dusted off and continued running. It was difficult not to trip often because with my knee acting up I couldn’t pick up my foot enough to get over the roots.

    On loop 2 I stubbed my big toe of my left foot on a stump, hit it DEAD ON! I was afraid I broke it.
    I was getting down on myself and hating this race! The left leg hurt at the toe and the right at the knee, dang!
    I forgot to take some pain killer at the end of lap 2. I felt it during lap three. And I fell down again, this one hard too. My right shoulder hit the ground HARD! It was difficult to get up that time. I wanted to lay there and cry.

    I had talked to my brother the night before. He is going through some horribly awful crap right now. I wonder how he can keep his head above water. Well in that conversation he told me. He told me that stinking thinking isn’t his, it doesn’t come from him. So when that kind of thinking creeps in he prays. He asks for forgiveness, he tries to forgive and he counts his blessings (repentance, forgiveness and gratitude). If he can keep his mind in a place of gratitude then even though things still suck, his thinking will be clearer and he will deal with it better.

    Well, all of this went through my mind as I got up and started moving. I thought about Bruce, my twin from another mother, who broke his ankle 2 years ago and will never run again. The night before I had told him I would run it for him. We both ran that race together, first ultra for both of us. I thought of him. I’m raising supplies to send to Afghanistan for the Marine Corp Marathon Forward held there on Oct 30th of this year. I thought about them. They are in the crappiest places in the world. I can finish this stinking race! So all of that got me up and got me moving. I told myself I wasn’t going to even entertain quitting because those thoughts aren’t my thoughts, I can make them leave. So I got through that stinking lap.

    Lap 4, I remembered my pain killer and a 5 Hour Energy. That made the difference!!! When the pain killer kicked in I was able to pick my leg up a bit better. I ran most of this lap, only walking on the uphills. I was happy to see the aid station that one last time. The volunteers reminded me that I only had 5K left. I knew I was going to PR.

    With about 2 miles left I caught up to Mark aka Superman. He is has lost over 100 lbs and has parts of his back fused. He was running the 40 mile race, me the 50K, so I was almost done, he still had a ways to go. We ran and talked when we weren’t running. It was awesome to have some company.
    It felt great crossing that finish line this year!! I had overcome some challenges. I have a better understanding of pulling ones self back when you approach your breaking point. I understand the running for someone else. I used to think that was hogwash, but Bruce can’t run! that is heartbreaking! I can run, and I would quit???

    Gary Allen of The Great Cranberry Island fame posted this on his facebook page:
    Paula and Haile hold the world marathon records but you hold some world records too! I know for certain you hold the world record from your front door to the stop sign on the corner. I also know for certain you have a special training route and that record is all yours too! Great happens all the time and you are a big part of it!
    I needed this with all my heart and soul! This summer has been hard on this runner’s heart!

    I can’t give a list of things I have done wrong this year like I did last year. I didn’t make those mistakes. I don’t think I made any mistakes.

    I had Gu on me – didn’t have enough fuel last year.

    I am now using Ensure, which helps allot when I just can’t take another darn Gu!

    I’m now gluten-free, so I had a loaf of bread in my car. I got a slice of my gluten-free bread and took that with me to the aid station, added their PB& J and dang, we were good to go!!! I did get the fuel I needed.

    The cooler weather meant my feet weren’t soaked with my sweat. So I didn’t get any blisters and I kept all my toe nails!! I did change my socks half way through the race.

    One of the most amazing things about this race:
    After I came in, cooled off and cleaned up I joined some other runners in chairs at the finish line. We were cheering the people coming in. One lady came in from her very first ultra. The smile on her face was AMAZING!!! She is hooked!!! She was crying with joy, her family had balloons, cookies and flowers to celebrate with her! so amazing!!!

    I’m still a drag, I’m still a no drama bore, but something changed out there. I found I can dig deeper. I can totally change my thinking and just get it done. I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I had my brother and my twin to help me through it.

    Today, a day later, my left big toe is swelled and sore as can be. My right knee is tender and my right shoulder feels like I have been beat up. When I breath deep my ribs hurt. I do have a chiropractic appointment tomorrow early AM. Thank goodness!!

  • maybe this qualifies, maybe not. I ran a 20 mile race in May and ended up severely dehydrated and sick for most of the run. I had to stop and use the port-o-potties MULTIPLE times (come on!) and didn’t realize that dehydration was the root of my symptoms until much later. After being passed and passed and passed, and needing to stop so many times I felt completely defeated and crushed that I wasn’t going to make my time goal. To make matters worse, I was using the race as a training run for a marathon that I had coming up, and my mind went crazy thinking that I wasn’t going to be ready based on my poor performance at the 20 miler.
    Eventually I gained some strength (I have no idea how) and started passing people who had earlier passed me. I started feeling “good” and kept reminding myself that I was a competitor and a force to be reckon with!
    It worked well enough, I came within a minute of my time goal, sick as a dog and almost throwing up at the finish, but I did it! it was pretty awesome.
    It was one of my worst races to date, but overcoming the less than ideal race conditions made me that much stronger.

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