Going into this race I had no idea how my body would react to a long distance walk. I still have significant nerve damage in my right leg and random muscle spasms so while I mentally wanted to do well, I wasn't sure my body would be on board with that.
I filled my minivan with local running friends who were also doing the race and we all drove up to Annapolis together. In retrospect we should have left a little earlier because we got to the race with no time to spare. I was pinning on my bib during the pre-race brief and hardly had time to put down my drop bag before lining up to start. The race seems to get bigger every year, but it also gets better every year too. This year we had chip timing for the first time so we didn't have to check in with a volunteer after every loop and every logistical aspect of the race was so smooth and organized.
|Sweet swag (nasty diet beer not included)|
I was so rushed to get to the start that I didn't have time to focus on trying to find a blog reader friend who was also walking the race and I ended up starting with my next door neighbor. She was running it but this was her first time doing an event longer than a half marathon, so she wanted an easy pace so she jogged the same speed as my walking. Walking with someone who was running ended up being really motivating for me to walk faster so we kept a really good pace for the first three loops (12 miles). After seeing the times for those loops (less than an hour each for a 4.1 mile loop) I started doing Race Math in my head. I never do math except during races, but when I race, I must do math.
I realized that if I kept the same quick walking pace for the remainder of the race, I could have a shot at a 25 mile distance finish. Once I came to that realization, all I could think about was how much I wanted to get to 25 miles. I haven't done a race in a long time and I forgot how freaking bullheaded and stubborn I can be. Do you know who didn't forget? Alyssa. When everyone was putting in guesses for my distance for the race, she was one of the only ones who guessed a longer distance. I asked her why and she said that she did some math and factored in my stubbornness and competitive inner Race Bitch and that's how she came up with her number. I guess all of those ultras that she ran with me gave her a little edge in the betting game.
By the time I hit mile 18-ish (I wasn't wearing a Garmin so that's a guess) my legs started to yell at me. My feet were screaming at me and every time I walked down a hill, as I could fill my blisters hitting the front of my shoes. I didn't really care though because my back felt fine and I was in my stubborn zone and refused to slow down or take a break because I knew I didn't have any time to spare. It's sad really because the aid station was awesome. I stopped just long enough to refill my Gatorade bottle and the aid station workers were so wonderful. You know how when you were a kid and you went over to a friend's house and their mom was just awesome and offered you snacks and drinks and tried to do anything to make you feel comfortable? Somehow they found those women to staff the aid station at this race. At one point, someone was filling up my Gatorade bottle for me, another was getting a cup of ice to add to my bottle, and another was putting a cold towel on my neck. Endless Summer is still the leader in my book for best aid stations! If that's not enough to encourage you to sign up for next year's race, then just consider this: at some point during the race (maybe even more than once if you're lucky!), you will see this:
|Both the Race Director and eye candy|
It got really hot by the end of the race. It was humid all day, but at least in the morning it was overcast. I started passing more people once noon hit (I actually ended up going further than 25 other people!). It was a lot easier to stay cool with just walking and I also didn't have any issues with chafing. The primary irritants for me were the growing blisters on my feet and the muscles in my leg screaming "WTF are you DOING to us?" I figured if I just didn't think about it, then I could keep pushing the pace and make my goal of 25 miles.
At the end, I was walking with a normally super fast runner who gave birth just seven weeks ago. I was a little concerned that at some point her uterus would just fall out onto the path and I'd have to help her carry it back, but she held it in and she was a damn fast walker. She helped me push it until the end and before I knew it, the air horn sounded and the race was over. I had a flag with my bib number on it to mark where I ended and just the simple act of crouching down to put that in the ground made my legs scream at me. That's a mark of a good race.
So, how far did I end up going? Did I make my ridiculous made up mental goal of 25 miles?
But I came pretty damn close. My official results are 24.97 miles.
I bet everyone who bet like 15 miles feels pretty stupid now, huh? I'm just kidding, that was a totally reasonable bet and I wasn't even sure I could make it ten miles until I started.
*Edited because I can't math on drugs*
The winner of the $100 with a guess of 26.9 miles, (26.9-24.97=1.93), is Alyssa!
The second place winner of $50 with a guess of 23 miles (24.97-23=1.97) is whoever guessed under the name of "Friends of the Marines"!
The randomly selected winner of $25 is Erika Blaska!
If you won, please contact me via email (kara975 at gmail.com) so I can give you the money! If I don't hear from you within 72 hours, I will donate your winnings to the Semper Fi Fund.
I want to thank everyone for making this fundraiser so successful! Currently I have raised $4,850 for the Semper Fi Fund and that's amazing. It was great to participate in this race that benefited the Semper Fi Fund along side other Semper Fi Fund athletes.
|No, that dude did not run in a kilt.|
As far as how I'm feeling post-six hour walk, well...everything hurts and walking is awful and stupid.
My back is a little sore, but it feels the same level of sore as I would just being on my feet all day. The actual walking part didn't seem to irritate it. I felt like crap on Sunday morning but that was mostly due to starting a nerve pain medication (I went to the doctor on Thursday) and it has some pretty gnarly side effects until your body acclimates to it. I had nearly constant muscle spasms in my calf and hip area during the walk but that's not abnormal either. Life is pain.
If you lived close to Maryland, would you ever run this race? Have I talked you into it?
|Out for a six hour stroll|