|That's me approaching the TATUR aid station on the out portion. Photo by TATUR.|
|Soaking my feet for a moment coming back at TATUR station. Again, photo by TATUR.|
|Tom "Slow" Lane (white shirt/red hat) and Stephen O'Neal (blue shirt)|
It was then I realized that my legs no longer felt sore. They had moved on to numb. Which in a way was good. My mind didn't have to fight that demon of pain any longer. Now I simply had to focus on pace and actually moving my legs. It was as if I had lost an ever so slight amount of motor control. I stuck with the game plan of power hiking the climbs and doing my best going down. Before the next AS I caught up with Todd and another runner (one that got lost with us earlier) also fell in with us. We slogged over the last couple of peaks but I nearly lost visual of them on the final descent. At the final AS run by TATUR I quickly filled my bottles, grabbed some Pringles and a couple of Fig Newtons and headed out. I was determined to not lose these two guys. For one reason I thought it would help me keep pace and another was to hopefully not get off course again. Safety in numbers I guess. At least I wouldn't be lost alone. I managed to keep them in sight and coming out of the trees and back onto the gravel road they had a quarter mile of more on me. I knew at this point that not only would I finish but I would come in under my expected time. I also knew that I could push it and hurt for the next 2.5 miles back to the finish. And I knew there was cold beer there. I stopped to empty my bottles (less weight) and put my head down. I ran about an 8:30 min/mile pace on those roads passing them and reaching the end in 6h38m. At the finish was a group of runners, most of whom I did not know, to cheer me home. After a quick sit down break and a change of clothes, I grabbed my beer and joined them to cheer in more finishers. Pay it forward.
|NWA GOATS (L to R) Me, Shannon McFarland, Jody Lingbeck, Ryan "Gandolf" Holler, Tom "Slow" Lane and our driver, Stephen O'Neal (4th place overall) pose post race in front of the Big Fork Community Center.|
|Ryan "Gandolf" Holler, always light and smooth.|
|Aaron "Bulldog" Denson looking strong.|
01/10/2012: I just tried a test jog at the house this morning. No dice. My right leg (quad/calf) nearly buckled. So I will scrap the plans for a run and opt instead for a hike around the art trail out at Crystal Bridges Museum.
|Shannon McFarland having fun.|
01/20/2012: The week following ABF I somehow managed about 35 miles. But it was ugly. Legs were dead, no pop at all even on short runs. I threw down 18 miles of hardtop yesterday and 10 miles of trail today and finally feel my legs are back. Just in time for the RR50 taper.
|Jody "Mama GOAT" Lingbeck, always smiling.|
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All race photos on this post are courtesy of TATUR Russell Bennett.
|Brandon BG Gardner (L) and Mike Rush (R) in the white singlets|