Mike had my lights all ready to go at the Fire Tower. I had some soup, got some more to go, and Mike introduced me to Christian. Christian had just signed up for the Burning River 100 for his first 100 (and first ultra!)and had just driven up from Columbus to spectate. Of course, Mike had chatted him up and asked if I minded if Christian paced with us over to the Covered Bridge. Hey,fine with me. The more pacers the merrier.
When we got to the Covered Bridge, I had the podiatrist treat my blisters. I had one on the side of each heel, and the podiatry student seemed to spend a long time working on them. I really expected just some tape wrapped around them, but they popped them, and cleaned them. We must have spent some time there because Mike was a little anxious to get me out of there. While I sat, I ate soup and drank Coke.
It was a bit tough getting out of the chair. Not mentally, just physicially, that stop had locked up my quads a bit. However, I knew we had the big climb up the hill and that would help.
We were now pushing the cut off for the Hickory Ridge Aid Station. We did lots of walking, a little shuffling. It was tough on me because I knew exactly where I was, and how far to HR. I know Mike was frustrated because he didn't know how far to HR. I noticed the foliage change as we got close and Mike grabbed my water bottles to go ahead. He asked me if I needed anything besides water earlier, and I said no, so he instructed me that we were just to blow through HR, give them my number and go on. Like I said before, I do take directions very well out on the trail. Every time Mike said try to run I did. (Now, it may not have looked like a run!!)
I think we hit HR with a five minute cushion due to watches not being all that coordinated which was fine. We headed back out toward Campground A, and I finally stopped to pee. I had been wanting to for some time, and couldn't afford the stop. In fact, I must have finally gotten rehydrated, because I was peeing every two miles it seemed (after not being able to for the first 18 hours of the race!).
I noticed my light was getting dim, and looked for the batteries I picked up at the Covered Bridge Aid Station. Well, it turned out they were not there. In the business at CB, they must have gotten stashed back in the drop bag. Again, that was my fault for not checking through all my stuff before leaving. I did not let it upset me, because really, what could I do about it? It ended up being a non-issue, because my light was still sufficient, and I had two pacers with lights with me.
While mentally I was still with it, most of the time, my quads were getting very tight. Mohican is a very hilly course. The downhills were becoming quite painful to descend. And the last two miles to Campground A are downhill, I think I was just tiptoing down through there. When we got to the bottom, Mike asked if I could run a 10 minute mile. I think I said something like, "well, I could." And I'm not sure if I vocalized the rest of the statement, which was, maybe not tonight!
Mike kept talking and trying to keep me going. I know he was terribly frustrated to get me moving. I felt bad for him, but I could not communicate that at the time. And I was moving, but not at a good speed!
We hit the new section of trail toward the Grist Mill. I didn't look at my watch because I didn't want to know. I got to the Grist Mill and looked at the Aid Station Captain and asked how I did. He said I was right at cut off. I dropped my waist pack and ran off across the wooden bridge for the0.7 mile loop up the side of the hill. As I got to the stairs, I saw my light was even more dim. So I turned and hollered at Mike "I need a better light than this!!!" Poor Mike, he just ran over and handed me his light, and I went on.
This actually is the funny part. Mike and Christian, not knowing the course out here, thought I was going to the restroom. I head out of the course, wondering why they aren't going with me, but figure since it's less than one mile, they were letting me do it by myself. Mike and Christian started eating at the aid station, waiting for me, then finally asked a volunteer if the bathrooms were in the direction I headed. The volunteer said no, that was the course!! So Mike and Christan ran uphill to catch back up with me.
There was a 12 minute allotment to run the 0.7 mile loop here. I had run it earlier in the day in 11 minutes. So I was pretty sure I was not going to make the time cutoff. But I wasn't going to NOT attempt it. They could time me out of the race I wasn't going to stop without running the little loop. (This little loop is probably the most unpopular section of this race.)
When we got back down, I looked at the Aid Station Captain and asked how I did. He looked at his watch and said I didn't make it.
I'm a happy little DNFer aren't I? Mike, me, and Christian at 75.6 miles.