(G): The MOX 12-Hour Endurance Run has a little slogan: Enduring and Persevering. Let me tell you, they take it seriously. They discourage any kind of resting, stopping or lolly-gagging of any kind. They encourage you to use it all up and then maybe, if necessary, set yourself on fire if it leads to more enduring and persevering.
In theory, like when I am sitting on the sofa thinking about, I like their motto. When you’re out there living it sometimes you want to punch them in the face.
But you know what, it’s that kind of approach that gets the best out of you. At least it did for me on Saturday.
We started at 6 am and in case you are not normally awake at that hour on a Saturday, it’s dark!
Needless to say we got off to a slow start because we didn’t know the course, the headlamp only gives you so much expanse to see and well, it was 6 am and we’d slept in a tent in the rain all night.
But the sun did rise as they always promise it will and the headlamps were turned off, long sleeves were peeled off, and it was ON.
Swaggy J and I started the race together but as he is still recovering from a sprained ankle he was planning on mostly walking and running when he could. Turns out the fast-healer was able to run way more than he thought and instead of reaching his goal of 50K (31 miles), he did 40.44 miles!
After a few hours, we lost track of each other and I was just slow enough and he was just fast enough that we couldn’t connect in the nearly 3-mile loop.
But each time I came around to the start/finish line I knew if he wasn’t there he was still going strong.
It’s been a while since I did a race mostly alone and it was a good change for me. I had to be my own cheerleader. I had to be the one to push myself when it really started to hurt. I had to dig deep and find my own grit instead of borrowing someone else’s.
We’ve done 12-hour races before but I had forgotten how hard it is. It’s longer than most races and more intense than a 24-hour in that you have to really keep the foot on the gas the whole time.
I had to give myself little mental milestones to focus on so I could keep on task. First it was getting to daylight. Then it was getting to 1/3 of the way in. Then I focused on the 6-hour mark. Getting to the halfway point always feels like a great mental hurdle to have in the rearview mirror.
Then it got rough. My feet really started to hurt, my hip ached and lots of other body parts were protesting as well but they were much more mannerly about their complaints.
My solution to this was to find some angry music on my iPod, turn it up just loud enough that it drowned out my internal complaining but low enough that I could still hear people around me. That worked well for a good while and then, blissfully, I came to the 3-hour mark and I knew I would get to the finish. I know that sounds crazy but after 9 hours, three really seems feasible.
That’s not to say that there wouldn’t be suffering just the question of finishing was laid to rest barring any major implosion.
Unfortunately, around this time my left shin really started to cramp up and send a delightful shooting pain into my knee every time my left foot hit the ground so my running came mostly to an end. As did my hope of hitting 50 miles. Up to that point I’d had a nearly perfect race. The weather was great, I was on top of my nutrition and hydration, and while tired, I felt strong. This shin issue was a real disappointment but that’s how it goes.
Then mental salvation arrived when I came upon the start/finish line again with about an hour to go and there, waiting for me, was Swaggy J.
At this point in the race, they shorten the course so that you can still rack up miles but keep runners close as time is quickly ticking down. Swaggy and I got a couple more miles in together before we split up again until the finish.
Phew!! It was a full-on effort. We were both beat up, walking super slow as we dragged our gear to the car but we had endured and persevered and that tastes like victory on any day.
(L) Way to go G and Swaggy J. I would say that is a victory anyway you slice it. I am going to let G’s report stand alone this week because what could I possibly add that could measure up to this display of endurance and perseverance? You guys rocked the MOX!
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G