Wearing my Team World Vision jersey, I joined fifty other runners at the 6 a.m. start. From the northern park on Elk Lake we followed a 10km, mostly flat, circular route counter clockwise that wound through woods and fields along the water's edge. I was to run this circuit eight times to complete the 50 miles. The path was still open to the public so as the day warmed we met up with local joggers, walkers and even some people on horse back. With fresh legs I ran the first 30 km in 3 hours. I thought since it would be cooler earlier in the day I would try to bank as many kilometers as I comfortably could.
The day did heat up around 11 a.m. and I wasn't prepared for it. When I headed out to tackle the 50km loop I didn't bring enough with me to stay hydrated. My muscles began to cramp. I had thoughts of dropping out, giving it serious consideration as my run turned into a shuffle as I headed towards the check in point back at Elk Lake to my aid station. A voice in my head told me to take some salt tablets and extra water first, before making a final decision to stop. I did that, and felt well enough to start off on the 6th loop, munching a Snickers bar. Within ten minutes I was back running again at a pace that helped me make up for lost time.
With three kilometers to go I whispered a prayer to finish in 10:55. A surge of energy came over me in the last 1/2 kilometer and I ran faster than I had in hours. The cheesecake from the night before was kicking in. As I rounded the corner heading toward the official timer's desk for the last time the digital clock read 10:55. Finishing a race never felt so good. I was surprised to find out that I placed 2nd in Men's Masters.