…And then you finish, and you are smiling and the pain has melted away from the anesthesia that is the finish line; and you are running instead of shuffling and everyone sees just another entrant crossing the finish line. Maybe you look better than some of the shorter race runners, so people have to look at your bib to identify that you are a 100 miler. And they clap and cheer, but they don’t know. Maybe some of the ones who have done it can know, in a way, but each journey is different.
No one really knows what you have overcome, what you have come through. No one knows the thoughts you have thought, the prayers prayed, the deals made, the promises promised only to be forgotten upon finishing. No one knows about the steps counted, rocks kicked, songs sung, mantras chanted, tears shed, connections made. No one cares about the nausea and the blisters and the pain and the cramping. No one knows you have not touched a chair for a day and a half. No one knows that you ran for your dad – maybe he’s still alive and fighting, maybe he’s gone on and is proud of you from above. No one knows about your “issues.”
But you know. About not cracking. Or maybe about patching the cracks with duct tape and some dirt. Maybe you died and came back to life. And the feeling of DOING IT is like no other. To everyone else, it all boils down to a name and a time. A finish or a DNF. And you do finish, and it’s all over, and you think what was so hard about that? That’s the relief talking. Except that it WAS hard. Hard to hold it together for so many hours. Hard to not quit. Hard to keep going. Hard to keep pushing.
But it was worth it. The pride, the accomplishment, maybe a PR, knowing you gave it everything… all the little details that add up to one big success, making your family and friends proud, and giving your buckle away when it’s all said and done and saying I ran the last 17 miles for you, Dad…
Thank you Antelope Island, thank you Jim and Britta and all the others. Thank you Christine and Sam and Amy. Thank you for the opportunity and the memories.
For me, every race report comes out a little differently. I accept the words that come to me, and that’s how the race lives on. My running partner Amy and I paced each other through the first 50 miles in just over 12 hours. Super pacer Christine made miles 50-70 and 77-88 fly by. My other running partner Sam and I connected about mile 60 and stuck together through the end for 100 mile PRs for both of us. A lot of Good Things transpired to make this race come together, but the most poignant part of my 2013 Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 Mile race was running The Finish for my dad.