Alright, so last night I left off at midnight of Day 10 and my brother was laying on concrete loopy and sick with 9 hours left of his 24HR race.
Day 11 begins right there! He sees a member of the medical team because some volunteer practically begged him to promise her that he would. The guy put pressure on his stomach and moved him around in a variety of positions and did thinks my mind didn’t correlate to a stomach problem… They gave him a ginger tablet and sent him on his way. James laid down for a little more time and finally, something just snapped into place mentally for him. He got up and said toodle-loo (not literally… but essentially) just after 1230am. He’s 67 miles in… ready for more.
I decided it would be a good time to chill in the car for a bit before going back to check on him. 130 is when I decided to go see how he’s doing and when I walked over to the course, my timing was perfect because there he came! He looked amazing compared the other hours I had seen him. I didn’t even say anything, I just did the thumbs-up and thumbs-down back and forth gauge thing and he responded with a thumbs up. Good enough for me.
I headed back to the car because it’s drizzly at this point and kinda chilly with the breeze off of Lake Erie. I set my alarm for 230 and looked forward to my catnap. I woke up a bit later on my own accord and felt oddly rested for it being less than an hour… I looked at the time and HOLY SHITBALLS it’s 430. How the hell did that happen?! I mean I was sitting on my phone so did I turn it off!? I wrap myself in a blankey and head down to the course. I steal a glance at the board waiting on him to appear and discover he’s run something like 26 miles since I looked at the board before he headed out at 1230! HURRAYYYYYYYYY!
I watch with fascination the homeless man that is sitting at a picnic table going through newspapers and enjoying the coffee that the race staff told him he could have. He was going through the newspapers and smiling. He was such a happy man. If that didn’t illustrate his lack of sanity, what happened next drew a barn wall sized mural of it out for me. The wind snagged the piece of newspaper he was looking at and I jumped up to rescue it before it went into the puddle, failed, and then awkwardly returned the page to him wet. He came over to us (Rachel was sitting beside me while we waited for James to come around) and started talking about how Siri could just read it to him on his android after he scanned it as he held up an empty iPhone case. He continued for a few more moments asking where I’m from and telling me he’s “heard of Alabama” and then told me that he went to New Orleans once and saw a sign that said “stay out of the water. Gators are here” and thought it was silly that he couldn’t get in the water and came back to Ohio. Eventually, my brother came back around so Rachel and I went to go check on him and the man went back to his smiling at newspapers.
James was doing well, he was clearly tired but doing really well. My mind was blown. I’ve never seen him so far down in the mental game of overcoming sickness… he wanted to quit. He was frustrated that he was doing so well and then just got his ass kicked by his stomach. Then he rallied… He used the cover of darkness and the drizzling rain to his advantage and dug deep.
Meanwhile, my husband continues to sleep soundly. Finally, I decide to wake him up just before 8 since he has had plenty of sleep by this point… 9 hours or so. Nice little quiet area underneath a willow tree with the gentle sounds of the waves hitting the rocks to soothe him… Nice setup 🙂
Paul joins me at the start/finish line and I fill him in on the things he has missed. Before long, they sound some weird alarm and everyone has completed their race. There was breakfast complete with chocolate milk, delicious muffins, fresh fruit, eggs, sausage… James ate while he awaited awards.
HE WOUND UP BEING 6TH MALE OVERALL AND 10TH OVERALL PERSON WITH 113miles! ❤ ❤ In-freakin-credible with the struggles that he endured. I could go on and on about how incredible his race was, but I’ll refrain.
I would like to share some other stories… like the 13 year old girl who asked to participate in this race for her birthday present and has never run more than 10 miles……… she completed 57. FIFTY FREAKIN SEVEN. Or how about the second place overall person that was so run down and out of whack that he needed assistance getting around and collecting things, but he still had an incredible smile as they handed him his 2nd overall award male… I am actually the one that made sure he got his belt buckle. It was important to me. Or how about the multiple older males in their sixties and seventies knocking down 100 miles in that time… or the woman that has a horrific looking limp as she runs but managed 2nd overall female and 9th overall. and my faaaaaavorite athlete out there (aside from my brother, duhhhh)
This absolutely adorable and sweet man is 86 years old and he accomplished approximately 38 miles while he was out there. Amazing.
I was so inspired by the folks running and supporting that I completely forgot the misery of the 50k and was suddenly wishing I had done this event.
EQUALLY as amazing as what my brother did is what Rachel, his wife, does. To gently urge him to eat… to keep on top of water and Gatorade and GU and electrolyte tablets and ibuprofen… She has it down to a science and it’s impressive.
We hunt down a Jersey Mike’s for a very early lunch together before we go our separate ways and Epic Road Trip carries Paul and I to our next destination near Pittsburgh, PA where his brother lives. I was greeted by a 7 month old male wolf and fell in love instantly. After introductions and bonding, David and Heather took Paul and I to BRGR for dinner where I had some of the most incredible cheat food ever. Fried mushrooms, pickles, and zucchini as an appetizer… Paul ordered an Irish spiked shake that tasted like butterscotch and deliciousness. I created my own burger (in a lettuce wrap) with avocado, fried egg, bacon, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, and provolone cheese. Mmmmmmmmmm. We also had a side of Cajun tots and they were incredible. Then it was time to watch some of the Steelers game at a local sports bar. I was scraping the bottom of the energy barrel but did the best I could to be peppy. The night ended with Paul hugging a large pumpkin from the sports bar because they said they didn’t care that we took one. So naturally, it had to be the largest one…
There you have it. Day 11 is wrapped up in a neat little bow. I know this is a long post… I know I am a wordy person, but I truly did my best to minimize my amazement words… failed, so I minimized the rest of the day 😉
Think about a time you witnessed something that just blew your mind or melted your heart… SHARE your story with me ❤