I listened to the voice recording of Vermont, and I have to figure out a way to post that, or file share or something. It tells an honest story. It is full of trials, but it does come to a happy finish.
The race wasn't just, Oh, he went out, he started too fast he took a few naps and he finished in 27 hours and 38 minutes.
There was more doubt and more quit in me than ever before. Guys, there was more doubt and more quit on that day than I thought there was in me. I always said, "I don't know if I'll finish, but I won't quit." Well, only 1/2 of that is true now, I just don't know.
I almost quit, not once but thrice. Sure, when I was running with Candi for 47 miles, I was fine, I was happy, and I was running well. Things started going poorly when she split off, but I figured they would get better after 70, I was wrong. They never did get better.
Here were the trouble spots:
At mile 70 I had been sitting on a rock on the side of the trail when one of the many filing past me asked, "Are you all right?" my reply, "I am sitting here hoping a Bear will come and eat me." I was serious. Death I figured was a graceful exit. Dying not only meant I didn't have to finish, it meant I didn't have to do this 3 more times!
Approaching mile 77 the West Winds aid station takes one to within 1/4 of a mile of the start finish, I was close, very close to just going to the start finish. If I could have figured out how to gracefully pull out of the Slam, I would have done it. Well, I realized I couldn't just quit, no story there. So, instead of making the left to the start finish I went right to the aid station.
At the aid station I sat in a chair with a blanket wrapped around me, wondering if it was worth it to try to get to Bills aid station at 88. I figured, if I don't have 5 hours from there, I may not be able to make it (I had abandoned my watch, it just made angry to be so far behind schedule.) Could it be possible for me to get timed out at a race that I've finished in less than 21 1/2 hours? Could I get beaten by the clock in a race I've been in the top 25 before? Yes, I decided it was possible. So, I sat in West Winds with a blanket over me drinking a little Coke, oh, eating was out of the question, my stomach was sour from the more than 20 Advil and Aleive combos I'd take to control the pain in my foot. I was in bad shape. If I feel asleep in that chair, the clock would get me and I'd get pulled, but isn't that the same as quitting? I mean I knew while I sat there I was in danger, so shouldn't I get up? Damn it! I did get up.
I was 1/4 mile down the road when I thought of going back.... I'm not going to make it, might as well go back, I mean I stopped and stood and contemplated, I almost went back.... well, maybe I'll catch a ride... From somewhere inside were the words don't quit. I kept going. I found a nice yard, I took a nap in the nice yard. I was so comfortable, some pain in the ass well meaning runner came along told me to get up we had less than 20 miles to go. Yeah, yeah, "I'm coming." It was just 2 or 3 minutes. I feel better, maybe I can finish.
Next hill, I can't do this. Screw it, I lie back down, this time I actually fall asleep, no runner wakes me up, a couple in a car. I wake up and see their back up lights on.
Mrs. Good Effingsamaratin asks, "You alright?"
"Yeah, just resting."
"Sure, you don't look so good."
"Would you tell me if you weren't"
"That's what I thought, I could here it in your voice."
"No, I'm ok."
The Samaritans left, but not before Mrs. EffingSamaratin gave me an idea. "Hey maybe I'm not alright, no one can fault me if I get pulled for a medical reason. That's smart quitting if I'm in danger, that's not wimpy. Now, I just have to get pulled.
I'm coming up the hill to Bills aid station at 88 miles. 88 miles isn't 12 miles to go right now. It's I've gone 88 miles and I'm wrecked. It's not 12 miles, it's 4 hours of torture. It's maybe I have it in me, maybe I don't. As I walk the hill I'm acutely aware that my heart is pounding. Is it dangerously fast, it may be. I'm out of breath, is it because my heart isn't supplying enough blood to my body, could I be in danger of passing out in the middle of nowhere? I vow to get check nine ways to Sunday at the aid station AND go promptly to the doctor when I return for a battery of tests on this obvious heart condition.
At Bills, first they check weight, "175" Ok, won't get pulled there, that's just where I started the race (race scales are always heavy, except the first aid station, it's always low). I sit down, no one is going to take my blood pressure. What? How can I get pulled if they don't know about my heart condition.
"Pardon me, sir, could you take my blood pressure?"
"Sure, come over here."
"138 over 89 a little high, but not bad"
"And My pulse? My heart has been racing coming up the hills and I've been very tired."
"Pulse is 89, not bad considering that hill you just climbed."
"You sure, I don't feel so good, if it's dangerous?"
"Look, you've got 12 miles to go and six hours to do it, get back out there!"
Talk about wanting to quit. I actually made this doctor put a cuff on me and take my blood pressure. That is NOT a can do attitude! There's your Andyman some tough guy! And that "Doctor" putting me in harms way like that! Not only did he kick me out of Bills, but he shoed everyone out, "Come on people, you've got plenty of time left, get out there and finish." I put my watch away when Candi and I parted ways, I had no idea how much time was left. For the first time since mile 47 I checked. I had 6 hours left. Damn it! I knew that I could make it 2 miles an hour, even with my bad heart, so off I went.
For the rest of the journey, there were more naps, but only the one - two minute variety, most on the trail itself so I would get up when a runner came upon me. There was no more thought of quitting or getting pulled, because for the first time I knew I would make it.
I was right, I made it with 2 1/2 hours to spare. My worst race ever, but under tough circumstances.
For now, there are 24 of us left in the slam, another 6 - 10 will drop at Leadville if the statistics hold. I may be one of them, I don't know anymore. But I'm done with quitting. I won't let those thought come into my head again. I've invested a lot into this.
My thanks to that pain in the @ss doctor who didn't tell me what I wanted to hear. My thanks to each of you who kicked me off the trail when I was napping in your way.
I cannot promise you that I will finish, but I will do all I can.
Sorry for the honesty and lack of humor, it's a true story, and I'm not Chase, I'm not the Professor, I'm not always funny. I'm just a guy, I get scared, I hurt, and sometimes I just want to go home.
Oh yeah, tail of the scale 171 and I'm no longer worried about that. I did figure out it's what's in me that counts, not how much weight is on me.