Special Edition Blogs 2022
View All Posts 2022 From : Joshua Tebeau
24 June 2022 10:59 am (GMT+04:00) Baku, Tbilisi, Yerevan
I woke up and could hardly stand from a mixture of blistering and ankle swelling.
The atmosphere in the shelter (we slept in an abandoned building due to inclement weather) was quite a bit more chaotic than usual because all the races shared one roof. I got a few more hours of sleep so felt moderately fresher and was able to tune out the bustle and get myself prepped early enough to study the scores in the cybertent. I was placed 21st, with 30 minutes on either side of me and 20 and 22. This gave me good benchmarks for people to stay near in order to tread water and not continue dropping. It was the Long March, the longest day, nearly double the other days, and the one where placements shift the most.
I was surprised when everyone started quickly, albeit it made some sense since everyone slept a bit better than other nights. The opening section was several miles of aggressive uphill over trampled grass, on which I could warm up my legs and rip a quick pace without wrecking my legs. I passed racers 20 and 22 on the uphill, at which point, around mile 10, I faced a treacherous downhill. Racer 20 passed me and "Will to Death" by John Frusciante came on. On a whim, I started to stretch my legs a bit to see what I might be capable of. It was here, at mile 12, I realized that I might be able to run that day, and I started sobbing.
Within minutes I was comfortably at the paces that I had planned before the race, and although my ankle was hurting, the joy of running was more than enough compensation. I felt like a child who had just learned to walk, awkwardly ambling forward feeling shocked and determined.
I caught up to Julie around Mile 18, and she was really chugging along. We ran more or less within sight of each other until mile 27. I am so impressed by here toughness, shuffling at a constant pace, faster everyday. At mile 26, I started to cramp, and she passed me, and I mentioned to her that I might finish in just 11 hours and change if I maintain 17min/mile the rest of the way (a bit of a demoralized statement). She went "I only deal in kilometers" and flew forward at a much quicker pace. I held on behind her until the salt I ate hit my system and I could catch up. Around mile 28, I realized how little I had left, and I resolved to run the entire way in.
I don't think I've ever displayed as much courage as I did during that next stretch. After running 140+ miles over the past seven days and over a marathon that day, I shrugged off total joint swelling and exhaustion to put forth a time that I would be happy with any given weekend in Salt Lake. I dipped into my collection of private and special music that I don't share with others due to its importance to me and sobbed through catharsis and incredible pain. The final sprint was caught on camera by Jeff and I look forward to seeing it. I finished in 10 hours flat. Times are below: