I ran a 50k yesterday. I'm kind of on a roll with them, having also run one in November and one in December and having dropped out of one in January because my toes were getting dangerously cold.
It had a 7 hour time limit. Actually, you could finish later than 7 hours and they would still give you a medal and list you in the results as a finisher, but they don't publish your finishing time, which is an odd way of doing things, but what can I say?
It's a 3 out-and-back loop course. Basically you run north, from 63rd St. beach up to just short of McCormick Place, and then back to 63rd St. beach, along the Lakefront Trail, which has great views of the city and the lake, zero vehicular traffic, and lots of wind when it's windy, which it was yesterday.
Going north was going into the wind, and it was cold and rough all day. Going south was very pleasant by comparison, with the wind at your back. You definitely picked up speed.
It has snowed/rained/blown overnight, and the race began with a bumpy covering of ice on a lot of the asphalt trail. Fortunately, I had brought along a pair of running shoes with machine screws screwed into the soles, so that the hex heads stuck out and gave me traction. I only wore them on the first loop of the course. As the sun rose in the sky, it started melting the ice, and on the second loop I switched shoes.
I had signed up sort of last minute, and I wasn't sure I was going to run the whole course. With these loop courses, you can drop out very conveniently. I thought maybe I would drop out after 2 loops, which would be about 21 miles of running, which would be a good training run, since I hadn't run that distance since December. I decided to wait and see how I felt after 2 loops. Would I really feel like doing a third?
I took breaks between the loops, potty breaks, go to the car and warm up and drink Pedialyte breaks, which ran to about 10 minutes each. But I decided that I was going to go for the 3rd loop. As is frequently the case, my math abilities were not functioning well after running a long time, and I actually thought I had more time than I really did, if I wanted to come in under the 7 hour mark.
At the final turnaround, sipping Gatorade and chewing on a corn chip, I struck up a conversation with another runner who had been running about the same speed as me. We had been taking turns over who was in the lead, since at this point we were both alternating running and some walking too. He said he wasn't going to make the 7 hour cutoff. But I told him I though we would. And we did. We crossed the finish line together. I don't have the exact time at the moment, but somewhere around 6:49, I think.
And that's the peculiar tale
of how we soldiered on and did not fail.
Update: Well, his name is Mun Kang, and he is 6 years older than I am, and we both finished at 6:52:58.