On November 12, PASS Security’s Kevin participated in an Ultra Marathon! PASS Security is so proud of Kevin’s achievement… Mostly because none of us would even try to run 50 miles! Below is his story.
About a year ago, my friend Kelly told me she was signing up to run the Tunnel Hill 50 Miler. She told me I should run it too. I said H*** no! For no other reason than I just don’t want to (the best reason there is really). She kept trying. I kept saying no. As more and more friends were signing up and trying to talk me into it… I started to wonder… Could I do it? Again, H*** no, I don’t want to. Then one night… in a moment of weakness (possibly with some liquid courage), I said I’m doing it! I instantly regretted it. But… accountability. I told others I was doing it. Peer pressure got me in. Peer pressure kept me in. My training sucked. 13 miles was the longest run I had done during the ‘training period’ and that’s really not enough. I thought if I went through with it, I’d surely die. But my friend Diana kept calling me out and wouldn’t let me back out. We were in this together. We were going to kick this 50 miles as a pair, or at least as much of it as we could.
Our friend Fred prepped us pretty well. We had a sit-down at Global Brew one night where we asked him all sorts of questions and he gave us his advice (since he did the 50 last year). He gave suggestions on what to wear, what to put in our drop bags, and plenty of other things. But mostly he gave us confidence.
The morning of the race, it was cold – so very cold. But Diana and I were dressed properly, and our excitement was high. We set out. Tried to keep a steady pace. We were feeling really good and needed to keep it that way. Diana was much better trained than I was, so she felt better than I did pretty much the entire time. My ankle hurt, and my knees were sore… like they always are. But I had a lot of back pain and my quads were feeling it. And I thought a couple of my toes might have fallen off. But my mental health was incredible. I felt strong.
I didn’t think of the run as a 50 mile run. No. Instead, I used runner’s math. I broke the race down into digestible portions. When’s the next aid station? 6 miles. 10 miles. 5 miles. 4 miles. 10 miles. However many it was, I just looked forward to seeing my drop boxes at the three key locations (Karnak, Vienna, and Tunnel Hill). We passed each of them twice. Knowing we only had to run 5-10 miles to the next stop made it so much better.
In addition to our drop boxes, there were supplied and manned aid stations. They were incredible! The volunteers were amazing and the food was perfect: mashed potatoes, PB&Js, chips, coffee, hot cocoa, soda, water, energy drinks, and plenty more. They were amazing and much appreciated.
We hit mile 25 at a little over 5 hours (I think) and we were feeling incredible. Hard to believe that we had already been running for that long and that we were already half way done with the challenge.
In the first 10 miles Diana and I told each other our entire life stories. Very entertaining. We made up a new song too… based on the Proclaimers… “And I will run five ze-ro miles and I will run five ze-ro more just to be that man that ran…” nope. We’re not doing 100. “And I will run five ze-ro miles and I will not run five ze-ro more.” Haha. Then we started singing about time. She was singing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” while I was singing “Tiiiiiiiiime is on my siiiiide. Yes it isssss.” We passed a couple while we were doing this, and the guy was hurting. He told Diana that if she didn’t stop signing, he was going to push her into the ravine. His wife said to ignore him and keep singing if she wanted. It was awesome. Of everyone we ran past, Diana and I were having the most fun.
There were two times when I was hurting, mentally. We hit Tunnel Hill the first time at about mile 36, had to run 2 miles further then 2 back to Tunnel Hill. Those 4 miles really sucked for some reason. But we got through it. Once Diana and I did our thing at that aid station we set out for the last 10. I knew Diana was feeling good. Hell, she looked like she just started running. lol. So, as she and I agreed… since she was feeling it, she set off to crush the last 10 miles… and boy did she! She was flying past so many people and ended up finishing in 11 hrs 36 min and change. Well under our 12 hour (initial) goal. So proud of her!
I, on the other hand, had a tough last 10. I felt good at first. At mile 41, I was at 10 hours. I thought hitting 12 for the 50 was no problem. But once the sun was all the way gone. Pitch black outside except for the glow from my headlamp and the shines from my fellow runners, my mental health took a hit. Miles 43 to 47 were the hardest for me. I needed the aid station and I misjudged how far it was. All I could think was, where the hell is that aid station. Then there it was… I hit the porta potty. Had a cup and a half of hot cocoa, some lays chips, something else I can’t remember… filled my water and asked the volunteer how much further I had… was it 4 miles to go? He said, no man… you only have 2.8. Two point eight! That’s less than 3 and that’s a piece of cake! Feeling strong, I set out to finish this thing.
I hurt, but I pushed as hard as my body would let me. I finally got to the last curve and I could see the lights of the tents at the finish line and I could see the red glow of the timer ticking away. I kept running. Then as I got to the timing mats and finish line, I could hear Diana call out her encouragement for me. I crossed the finish line… I got my belt buckle! That buckle! I kept walking trying to not fall over and Diana chased after me so she could direct me into the little building where there was heat. No seats, but plenty of floor. I was done! I completed 50 freaking miles in 12 hours 18 minutes and change! We completed 50 freaking miles!
I teased about not wanting to do this. I did consider backing out, but the peer pressure was perfect to keep me in. It was the encouragement I needed. I wanted to see if I could make my body do this insane thing and I did. I set a personal record in my distance with 50 miles. Saturday, I debuted as an Ultra Marathon Runner, and retired as an Ultra Marathon runner! I’m going to stick to half marathons and 5Ks for a while.
I love my Road Warrior family. You all have helped me accomplish so much.
I have to thank a lot of people for this. First and foremost, Kelly for planting this seed in my head and not giving up on trying to get me to do it. Fred for the coaching, support, and guidance. Regina for the encouragement (Fred and Regina conquered 100 miles with a sub-24 hour run!)Tom, Keith, Jeff & Leslie for being out there to support us during the run and at the aid stations. Most of all, I have to thank Diana for sticking with me for FORTY miles! I know she could have run faster, but she stayed with me and encouraged me while I was hurting. Making fun of me. Laughing at and with me. Being there to push me. Being a good friend and helping to keep me mentally strong. I would not have wanted to do that alone and I’m glad I didn’t.
This was an incredible challenge and I’m so glad that I did it. A physical feat I will always remember.
Thank you all for the support and encouragement along the way!!