by Matt Gray
Mile 23: The sun beats down on us at 75 degrees and I realize that most of my training took place in sub-50 temperatures, not this kind of weather. The floppy brimmed hat protects my skin from the solar beams, but the heat intensifies with every lap. I feel a tightness in my quads that I don't remember experiencing in training runs.
Daniel and I pass by each other on the half mile turnaround that makes up a portion of the course (this out and back becomes the most grueling component of the race). We exchange hellos and a few words of encouragement, but for the most part we are each struggling along in our own zone. Marathoners call this point "the wall." With 27 miles left, I'm pretty sure I've hit a mountain range.
Though Daniel and I ran together for the first 20 miles of the race, I'm taking longer breaks to exchange shoes and figure out what's going on with my body. Daniel is getting farther and farther ahead of me. I let him go. I need my own head space, my own jogging pace, my own battle with my mind. He needs the same. None-the-less, I miss him.
Lesson 1: When running fifty miles, you do not necessarily run alone, but you must run your own 50 miles.