The 2012 SweetH2O 50K Ultramarathon

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.  ~T.S. Eliot

Well, last Saturday was the big day!  It was the culmination of just over two years of hard work and training for Christian and I. We ran the the 2012 SweetH2O 50K Ultra-marathon.

It has been an amazing journey.  A few days before the race, I was looking back through my running log on DailyMile.com.  I found my 1st Daily Mile run post, dated April 14, 2010.  It reads:

Ran 1.9 miles in 25 minutes and 30 secondS.  Got my orthotics today!
Ran with my son…first run in over five years. I died twice.

Christian and I have come a long way since then, but one thing has not changed…we still have an uncontrollable urge to push each other to our limits.  We’ve run close to 1,300 miles together, in sub-freezing temperatures, and in 100+ degree heat indexes, 6 hour trail runs, endless mile repeats on the steepest portion of the Cooper River Bridge, and hundreds of laps around our neighborhood.  None of that was enough to prepare us for what last Saturday had in store for us.

It was an incredible experience, but I doubt anyone would want to read the detailed account of our 9 hour, 47 minute ordeal, so I won’t put it all down here, but I will give a few highlights.

The race was harder than I ever thought it could be.  It actually turned out to be about 33 miles long, based on several GPS reports, and the elevation climb/descent was over 7,000 ft!  There were several points where I thought I couldn’t go on, but the encouragement I received from my son, or from the cut-off runner (Graham Gallemore) or from many of the friends Christian and I made on the course that day, spurred me forward.  The ice bath for my legs and back that I got at the river crossings were also a huge help.  After the second crossing (at about mile 19-ish), I changed into a fresh pair of socks, and rested my legs for about 5 minutes or so, and again felt like I could go on.

The last 8-9 miles of the course were simply miserable.  Christian and I were exhausted, having spent more time on our feet on a single run than ever before.  We walked almost all of those 8 miles, just struggling to put one foot in front of the other.  We met several other runners during this time as well and took turns encouraging each other that we could finish.  The last mile or so Christian and I decided enough was enough, and we wanted to finish under 10 hours, so we started to run again.  Running in this case probably only described our posture, as I doubt we were actually moving any faster than when we walked, but we finally reached the finish line and both of us crossed on the run!

We found out later that Christian set the record for the youngest finisher in the six year history of the race: 13 years old.

It is, without a doubt, the hardest and most rewarding physical thing I have ever done, but I can’t take credit for it.  I would have never completed it without the help and encouragement of the volunteers, fellow runners and most of all, my son along the way.

Thanks to all of you for helping me become an ultra-marathoner!

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