Tuesday, October 21, 2008

24 Hours of Boulder - Commencement

Greetings Readers

I was starting at the customary behind the main pack of runners, but I knew this time I was going to be in the back of the pack due to the nature of this event.

I did hope that I would have some, as my ex-co-worker would say, an “awesome” comeback from behind re-cap, but I knew that the beginning of my destiny was going to be just to survive the next 24 hours of my life.

I set and still hung onto the 1 hour and 20 minutes interval timer I set on my Ironman watch, since I saw that the one of the average lap time last year was 1:10 and that was during the rain that fell last year. With that in mind I was thinking that a 1 hour 20 minutes was a decent time to gauge myself against. And those 100 miles was attainable within 24 hours.

To begin - we runners had to do a small loop around the parking lot. I thought this was unusual, but then I thought this was done strictly for mileage. With that in mind I thought nothing more of it, except that we all had to run an extra 100 yards or so to run before actually checking in or to actually start the out and back of the 7.14 mile loop.

I had started perfect, in my mind; I enjoyed the beginning of the 24 hours of Boulder and made sure that I was keeping my pace. I had to remember that this was not a race. This was not a marathon. This was not going to be over in 5 hours. This was not something for me to try and be first or stage a come from behind moment.

Mentally, I had to remember I had 23 hours 58 minutes before the end of the 24 hours of Boulder. I also had to keep in mind that I was not going to fucking give up between the hours of 6:00 P.M. and 2:00 A.M. When I was doing my research of last year’s times I saw that most of the runners had given up between those hours of the day. I was determined not to be a statistic in that particular category I had defined for myself.

I did not introduce myself to anyone prior to the start of the 24 hours of Boulder nor did anyone introduce himself or herself to me. I was neither concerned about this nor worried about making “new” friends prior to the start of the 24 hours of Boulder. After all, I am proud to say and state for the record that I accomplish all events I do all by myself. I do not have a team player nor do I have someone to rely on. Yet, I do have my friends, co-workers and people I do not know hope, wish, pray and support me on my adventures of my athletic career.

I was not scared, but I was trembling prior to the start of the 24 hours of Boulder. After all, this was something entirely new to me and something that I have never done in my life. Theoretically, this was going to be a “walk in the park” since I did do all my research two weeks prior to the event. In my mind, the research is just another step in an event like this.

I think I ran in silence for about a mile until someone spoke to me. Before this I heard the talking among runners. To me, that was a waste of energy and breath. Something that I could not give up at the beginning of the 24 hours of Boulder. I made sure that I was not going to waste my energy talking to anyone. Yet, when that one runner made the effort to talk to me I was obliged to respond back. After all (I know Readers you are getting tired of the “After all” words, but that is all I can think of using), we had to be in each other’s company for the next 24 hours in Boulder, Colorado. I made small talk, but made sure that I was talking as least as possible and focusing on my breathing. I made sure that I was also paying attention to my pace as opposed to other runners around us.

However, I felt bad about this runner since he was sick. He was coughing and spitting and told me that he was sick, but there was nothing that I could say to comfort him.

Nor did the thought “It’s sucks to be you” as my old boss would say form on my lips. I had no right to think less of any of my fellow competitors in the 24 hours of Boulder. After all we all are there for the same reason and there should be no ill will to any fellow athlete. Or in the words of other people – There is no ill will to any fellow ultra-marathoner runners.

You Readers may be wondering, “Wow, did Mr. Charley say that he has no ill will?” Yes, I did. If I can compete with you or if you can compete with me then you have my most utmost respect. I know that may be hard to believe, but in any event that I deem “worthy” and you are there with me or I am there with you then I 100 % percent believe in both of us. I would never, ever wish you the worst, or fail. I am there to compete and “something” willing I will make sure that I make myself proud and I hope that you make yourself proud for doing something you thought you would never do.

I think, I was about two miles into the 24 hours of Boulder when I came to terms that I just paid $ 120.00 to run this event and this first lap was costing me $ 120.00 to run. Or from another point of view - I paid $ 120.00 to wear my number 322.

With that in mind I had to re-focus my thoughts on how many laps lay ahead and think on how many laps I had to do in order to make the $ 120.00 dollars I paid worth what I paid.

Flashback – “Certain Death” I heard this prior to the event and I was sort of worried what this meant. Was I going to be in danger on the course? Was this a joke? I did not know, but I did ask Julio if he heard this and he said yes since he competed in the 5230 tri earlier this year. Julio said to me “don’t worry. It is posted and you’ll see.”

Present - Well. I soon saw “certain death” and saw what it pertains to. And when I crossed the bridge over the canal there was no “certain death” present. Though I could see that early in the year that there could be “certain death” due to the spring snow melt in the Rocky Mountains.

Before reaching the canal of “certain death” I have to say the course was pretty level, with just a couple small ups and downs on the course. Yet, after the canal of “certain death” the terrain changed dramatically. The trail became smaller and there were some noticeable hills and rocks on the course.

Flashback 4 years ago – The Frozen Ass Trail Challenge – There were hills that were manageable the first lap, but after the first lap those hills became mountains and fucking sucked until I saw the last of them that January day at Chatfield Reservoir.

Present – I tried guessing where the turnaround point would be, but every time I turned the bend I could see the trail continuing on. I was getting a bit worried on how far 3.5 miles was from the start. There were only two stops on the racecourse – the start/finish line and the halfway point. Reid had mentioned at the start that the course was not marked for each mile.

Other than that we runners were on our own.

Halfway point. Finally. All runners were required to check in at the half waypoint. This was to make sure that everyone was running the full loop and not cheating. Yet. In this event there was no way that I could see that one could cheat. There was the boundary of the Boulder Reservoir, the Canal and then a barbed wire fence and the terrain.

In my mind, there was no way to cheat and I did not think that any one of runners would cheat in an event such as this. After all, this was 24 hours of our life that we are committing to the 24 hours of Boulder.

Once I started the second half of the loop this was the time to get serious. I knew the course and this was what going to define me as an Athlete, in my view.

Readers, I have to say that first lap was something very special, in my view. I was taking in something that I had no clue in what I had got myself into. I only dreamed and thought of what it might be like to compete in an event such as this.

I did “some” training prior to this event, but I knew that I did not do enough. Yet, that did not stop me from entering the event un-prepared. As I stated Readers, I was watching the weather forecast, but I was also making plans to run this event – regardless.

I had to prove that I could do this event to myself. I had nothing to prove to you Readers, unless you thought I did and for that I am truly sorry. I had to be honest and say that my soul was on the line and to retain my soul I had to make sure that I did this event and not use an excuse not to compete.

And the story continues…
P.S. The first picture on the blog post is the original newspaper article I saw and cut off to save for myself. Ever since then I have been looking forward to this event. And finally, I am able to share with you Readers - this is how I found out about the 24 Hours of Boulder and what got me interested in doing this event. I think the article is about three years old.

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete

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