Going into JJ I had mixed feelings about my performance at the race.  I felt like I had trained sufficiently, but my weeks leading up I had low miles with my commitment to school.  Still, with all the names of my good and close friends on the entrants roster, I felt sure I would be able to have a good time.  I had 4 goals this race:

1. Break PR of 21:37

2. Break 24 hours

3. Finish

4. Win costume contest AKA Lt. Dangle

I succeeded with No. 3.  I started off the race, feeling good, with the goal of getting 13 miles in 1st 2 hours.  I got 11 miles, which was an early sign that I would not break my PR.  It was getting too warm.  I continued to run freely, and got a couple of miles in with my good friend Lorie Alexander.  She is running 50 50 milers this year in celebration of her 50th birthday.  What a stud! (She only did 100k, because she is running 100 miles next weekend, and felt really good at the 62 mile mark) I hit the 31 mile mark in 5:26, and was very pleased with my time.  However, my legs were pretty doggone tired, and loop 3 was not good.  It got up to 90*F, accompanied with hot wind and an oppressive sun.  I slowed, taking almost 4 hours to finish this loop.  Many people passed me, and I hit a very low point.  My legs were shot, my hip flexors had tightened up to excruciating levels.  I realized I had let the easy terrain pull me into a death trap, and now I was dying.  I finished loop 3 in 9:24, and turned my chip transponder in.  DNF.

I called my dad up, and let him in on the bad news.  He was pretty disappointed.  All my friends at the race were sad, & I felt horrible.  JJ looks like such an easy race, but it is a deceiving easy.  I thought about all my experience, and where I went wrong.  Anyhow, after being dropped for a couple hours, my close friend Alexa Dickerson showed up, finishing her 3rd loop.  She said some things that really meant a lot, and convinced me that I should continue running with her.  So I wrestled with the race staff, got my transponder back, and officially reentered the race.  Me and Alexa headed out, and I was now on my way to 100K!  This next section went well.  Alexa hit a huge high, was flying, and I was getting dragged along.  The evening time was wonderful, with the sun setting, the moon rising, and the temperature back down to a more reasonable level.  I was feeling a lot better, and Alexa’s pace was doing wonders for me.  When the sun set, and the moonlight lit the landscape, my mood changed with it.  It was so beautiful out, and I knew I would make it.  The evening time turned into nighttime, & the two of us started getting sleepy.  This is where Alexa started having the all too familiar affliction of zombie runner (isn’t there a store called that?).  We hit the 100K mark in 14:56, and got some caffeine in our systems.  I was feeling better, but the caffeine wasn’t doing it’s job for Alexa, who continued to slow down throughout the course.  I did my best to keep her excited about the finish, but I had a feeling she might not make it.  She also talked of sleeping for a while when we got to mile 77, and I knew I might have to go on alone.  When we finished loop 5, her mom got her into a makeshift bed, and she dozed off for 1/2 hour.  When we woke her up, extreme fatigue had overcome her body, and she could hardly move.  We were able to pick her up (after convincing her to finish) and get her walking again.  I was thankful for the time off, as I was getting hungry and really needed to get some calories in.  We set out with Alexa’s mom, albeit at a snail pace with the onset of many miles; but I knew Alexa would be excited about hitting the 80 mile mark.  I tried to us these marks to keep the excitement about the finish.  We hit the next aid station at 81 miles, with the excitement of less than 20 to go.  She continued to press onward, and I did my best to get her to run as much as possible.  We ran into Karsten Solheim, age 72 during this section.  He was doing very well, and looked as if he could finish in under 28 hours (he did).  The man brought an idea to my head “a well hydrated man holds the secrets of eternal youth.” This made me laugh a little, and I felt an urge to not let him catch up.  We continued to press on throughout the night.  The sound of javelinas freaked me out, and was happy I had good company.  Towards the end of this loop, the sun came up.  It was incredible.

Mile 92.4 arrived, and we only had 9 miles to go.  This is where me and Alexa split apart for the 1st time in 40 miles.  I knew she would finish, and with a can of Monster Energy in our bellies, it was go time.  I ran hard to the turn around point, averaging 12 minute miles on this uphill section.  With the remainder of the course I was completely focused on passing as many people as I possibly could.  Spending a mere 10 seconds at the aid station to fill my water bottle, I took off on the fast and easy Tonto Tank Trail.  A gal caught up with me on a bike, and informed me I was running at an 8 minute pace! So fast.  I ran harder and harder, with my lungs telling me I was running a 5K, and my legs feeling 10 times as bad.  Faster and faster to the finish, and I blazed into the finish in 27:20 minutes.  David James, the winner of the race, had only run his last 9 miles 40 seconds faster than I.  Alexa finished a little while later, and I was so happy to get her to her 1st 100 mile finish, in 28:21.  A great day of success and redemption.  Now back to large amounts of homework :^D


4 thoughts on “(sigh)

  1. Ben, Im so happy that you got back into the race with me. I guess neither of us would have finished if it werent for each other. You did the best job at pushing me on. said everything that i needed to hear. but awww i cant belive you thought i wasnt going to make it 😦 lol. I was just having the worst low ever. I did wanna quit, but in the back of my head I knew that somehow I would get it together and finish. I had such a fun time running with you though. That stretch from the mile 51 aid station to 56 where we were hauling ass was soooo much fun! But i think that I paid for it a few miles later lol. Thank you so much though Ben. My finish was because of you 🙂

  2. Ben,

    Congratulations on your amazing JJ100 miler! I was very puzzled when I saw you Sunday morning because you were so far ahead of me throughout the day on Saturday. This blog explains it.

    When you were hauling doing your 8 minute miles by me on the Pemberton & Tonto Trails, I thought I was about to be chased by a mountain lion, rattlesnake, gila monster or some other creature ready to gobble me up. Sadly I did not have the EPIC recovery you did:-( so sort of resigned myself to being some predators breakfast or snack.

    Rest up & Recovery well,

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