Day 125… We’re Running!
|Running Early morning|
As daylight was breaking on the Sunday, I was out and running again with Jason. His friend and Spartan Race enthusiast Jay Jay came to watch and help out on the last day. Her timing could not have been better. It allowed me to crawl into the tent, not the pop-up on but the quiet one out in the field for about an hour before receiving a text from Joe Desena asking how the boys were doing, still no real sleep. I pulled myself out of the tent, the sun was now solidly rising and it was time to catch back up and run some more with Jason. Jay Jay had taken over for a few laps while I rested and to her I am forever grateful! This rest saved me and gave me the strength and mental clarity to push through the last couple of hours of the race.
We’re Running! Now this is truly a phrase only two people in the world will ever understand it’s full significance. But we were running. After a perfectly placed thermogenic, a natural icy hot and two hand warmers placed on a hip joint I was ready to start running again with Jason to the end. During my first ten miles during the evening my IT band had started to tighten up again so this time I took precautions to help keep it loose and me going. I came here to do a job and that job was to get “Uncle”Andy and Jason to finish their races.
At this point Andy was nearing the end of his race, in fact it took him just under 50 hours to complete the race. I ran the last lap with him and he was in just as good spirits as he had been at the start of the race. It was an honor to run the last lap with him and text Sloan is wife as we were finishing the race, and capture it on video and send it along instantly.
I joined Jason just as he was finishing his first of two marathons then I was by his side until the end. Over the next couple of hours of Jason’s second marathon, I can say “sh*t got real.” One can not imagine the places that the mind will take you after hours of running and biking and swimming. I tried to keep my cool and just shoved food and water in Jason’s face. Most of the laps were done in silence for their is really nothing to say but one foot in front of the other. The romance of the situation becomes lost, your brain shuts down, and the only thing left to do is put one foot in front of the other until the last lap is done. A strategically placed “we’re running” made Jason crack a smile but otherwise it was a lot of time to think.
For me the miles clicked by and lap after lap we settled into what we had to do. I pushed, I made him keep moving forward, as virtual daggers were impaling his legs. I watched the demons dance around in his head as we drudged forward, recognizing my own demons behind his facial expressions. This is where the job of a crew is not glamorous, fun, or even really enjoyable. Your job is to push someone and keep pushing them as they are in it fully, when their deepest insecurities have bubbled to the top. When we were in it I just pushed forward, looking back we went through some scary times, that many would have pulled Jason from the race. DNF was not an option in this race, he wasn’t dying so we pressed forward. A certain level of detachment comes over you as you literally see your best friend hunched over walking out those past memories.
|Jason and Jay Jay|
At some point the racer turns, Jason turned. The race transcended itself, it was no longer about catching the person in front of him, it turned into just finishing and accomplishing a goal he had dreamed of. As we entered the last couple of laps, I reminded him just how far he had come and the achievement he was completing. I remember saying as we rounded the last lap, “Let’s get this effing thing over with.” The last lap had an element of surrealism to it for I knew he had completed it, competitors along the way cheered him on and congratulated him. As we picked up the flag, and we jogged the last couple of meters into the finish, tears came down both of our faces. Jason for accomplishing this race and myself for watching my training partner accomplish something I had for months been telling him he could do, with him each time doubting me a little.
|Jay Jay helped make sense of this mess!|
As we crossed the finish line and the photos were taken, we found each other and hugged. There we were in the middle of the road in a hug which transcended just the race. As we stood there in an embrace, picture of the last couple of months of training flashed through my head, from the first time we met in person at the Death Race up until that moment were a sea of memories. Jason had done it and not only done it but finished 5th in his first Double Iron. As we never truly can this moment was hard to describe, it really just was.
|Debbie finishing her double,
we ran a lap together along the way.
After the race was over Jay Jay continued to be a saint and helped us unpack our campsites, break down the tents, and pack up my car. Jason and I found the closest hotel, ate massive amounts of food from places I never normally eat (Taco Bell). I took my first real shower since Wednesday and got in a bed for the first time since Wednesday night. The two things have never felt so good. I was clean and warm and was quickly asleep in my bed after staying up for over 60+ hours and having run myself about 40 miles.
Before I drifted fully off, I congratulated Jason again on his accomplishment and thought to myself, I just hope in my upcoming races I am able to live up to the athleticism and tenacity that Jason and the other competitors exhibited in my races coming up.