My second race at the UltraCentric in Grapevine, Texas. Last year I Walked my first Ultra here. The twelve hour. That race lead me to believe I could do a Centurion Walk. I have returned to see how much gain in fitness I have earned since my Centurion race in June.
Because of the flood damage in Texas last spring this years UltraCentric was moved to a .51 mile road course at Silver Lake Marina. I heard some grumbling about the short course. Not from me. My upcoming race in Australia this April is on a 400 meter track. That is Short. The new course was flat and paved. Perfect. The weather was cold and VERY windy. Gusts up to 45 mph all day Saturday. The only thing you can control in a race is your own training. You can’t control the course, the weather, the other racers. There is no use getting yourself worked up into a frenzy over things out of your control. With that mindset I raced. No pressure. Just line up and see how far my mind and legs could go.
My goal was to walk every mile between 12:30 and 13:00 minutes. Looking for a 12:51 Average for 24 hours. I started out even better than that 28 miles the first 6 hours in high wind. I was surprised that I only did 26 miles the second 6 hours. 54 miles at the turn. The night had North Texas first hard freeze of the season. I was getting much slower. I think the wind, cold and a sinus infection I am fighting took a toll. At 15 hours I was in trouble. Just no get up and go. So I forced myself into a 9 hour Death march. It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. First my wife told me I was leaning left. Then Marsha White told me the same thing. When the sun came up Sunday morning the shadow confirmed it. Leaning put extra pressure on my left knee. It hurt bad. The miles added up so slowly. The hours crawled by even slower than I was walking. I felt rough. Every mile I entertained the thought of quitting. For over six hours I wanted to quit. It was The great personal battle in my mind. With three hours left I need 11 miles. I started counting down 21 more laps 20 more laps….I reached down into places I didn’t know I had. In the last three miles I drank a two liter Mountain Dew. I would have let someone shoot me in the butt with a BB gun if I thought it would help. As cruel punishment I did an extra lap I didn’t need. But hey, I did it. I didn’t quit. I perservered. I found a toughness I didn’t know I had. That is how it should be if you walk 100 miles in 24 hours. 100.744 miles with about 12 minutes to spare. Fifth Place out of 30 racers. The only walker. First Place in my age group. This race has changed how I look at Centurion events. I still want five World Centurion badges. Double Centurions Richard McChesney and John Kilmartin told me no 100 miler is easy and each has its own unique challenge. A BIG shout out to my Sweet Darling Wife. I never got out of the car after the awards ceremony, because I couldn’t. She had to pack everything at the hotel. Carry it all down. Load the car. Drive home. Has waited on me hand and foot since we got home. All while shaking her head in silence. Thank you Bren.