Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Old Dominion

100 Miles. It has a bit of a new meaning to me now. before last weekend, 100 miles meant about an hour and a half of driving. Or maybe a full weeks worth of heavy hiking. It meant a "century" when it comes to road biking, something a lot of bikers work hard to accomplish.

I hike. A lot. My two longest hiking adventures were the Foothills Trail, and the GA section of the Bartram Trail. The totals for those hikes combined is about 85 miles, or 7 days of hiking. I could drive to the University of Georgia from my home in Augusta, an hour-and-45-minute car ride, in 97 miles. you could drive the entire D.C. Beltway 1.5 times and not get 100 miles in. You could go from the Washington Mall, to downtown Baltimore and back in less than 100 miles! You see the point. 100 miles is a long way.

On June 4th, 68 brave souls put their toes on the starting line and bowed for prayer. It was 4 a.m. on the fairgrounds of the small town of Woodstock, VA. As soon as "Amen" was spoken, a gun fired into the air, and all 68 runners set out to take on a 100-mile course undulating through the Shenandoah Valley. Oh yeah, they only had 24 hours to do it. This was my second time playing the role of support crew for one of Greg's ultra-marathons. A few years ago I showed up to witness his first attempt at running the JFK 50-miler. 50 miles is so hard for someone like me to comprehend. Greg finished that race in a pretty impressive time. He crossed the line in just under 9 hours. 9 hours of running is something that I simply cannot wrap my head around.... 100!? 24 hours!?

Well, I could spell out all the details of the race in a line-by-line account of our 26-hour day. In reality, it can be summed up briefly. As race crew, we met Greg at 10 different designated locations throughout the race course. We made sure he had anything and everything he needed. And we tried to be sure he didn't sit down for too long. We did that 10 times. There was very little difference between each of the stops. I guess the most glaring difference was the fact that fewer and fewer runners were coming in and out of the rest stops as the day went on.

23 hours and 9 minutes after Greg started the race, he crossed the finish line. I'm still amazed. Being friends with Greg means being able to put up with, and dish out, a whole lot of smack talking. Its kinda the modus communique of our group of amigos. Unfortunately, when your friend runs 100 freakin' miles in one day, you have no choice but to succumb to the reality that he is the man (for a week or two, at least). So, just this once (and any other time he runs 50 or more miles), I'll admit it: "Greg, you just blew my mind. You're the man."