I believe Coca Cola is the absolute best thing ever as it basically saved my ass at Way Too Cool. I would still be sitting at the top of Goat Hill, mile 26.3, even a week later (ok maybe not a week, but at least a few hours). So let’s just say, it got me another five miles, which I absolutely did not think I had in me.
Ok let me give you a bit of a background. First, Friday after working the morning, I met Sam and Will. Before we headed up to Cool, we grabbed a sandwich from our favorite little Grinder shop in Montclair. We did the basic things once getting to Auburn, picked up our numbers, checked into our rooms, and Sam and I did our typical routine of laying out our kits avec numbers. Then it was off to Tre Pazzi Trattoria for dinner. I don’t want to scare you of this place, but I am convinced if I ever do Cool again, I am not eating here. Last year they spilled a pitcher of water on me and this year I am uncertain if it was their food that made me sick or just sickness that made me sick…. But, on the positive side the food is decent.
Ok so I woke-up on Saturday after getting what I would call a pretty unspectacular night of sleep, but manageable. I rested in the car until I did a little pre-race jog and then it was time to race. I started out feeling quite comfortable and then around mile three I had a moment where I almost lost my breakfast. I tried not to worry about it and just kept going on enjoying the run. Around mile 8, the first loop was accomplished and I was right on pace, but then my poor GU just didn’t settle in my stomach. I am not really sure where I lost it, but somewhere between mile 8 and the Dead Truck Trail. I was trying my best not to focus on the energy expended or the continuing nauseous feeling in my tummy. Around mile 20, I knew I was bonking, bonking bad. All I could think about was just getting to the next aid station where I planned to call it a day. I don’t even know how I got up Goat Hill. I really needed to sit down --- I literally felt like I was on the verge of passing out.
So that brings me to the Cola, they sat me down at the aid station, told me I was going to finish this thing, and handed me two Dixie cups of Coke. I was kind of pissed that they were telling me I had to finish. Are you kidding? I denied that I would and just got angry enough inside until I said, fuck it, I just want to be done. So I stood up and continued the five miles to the finish. As I got to Hwy 49, I had a moment of thinking that maybe they’ll let me pull out. But, with 1.4 to go, I figured even walking it in would be better than DNFing. I did walk the hill, but I ran the rest of the way in. I thought I was going to have another hurling session at the finish, but luckily that beautiful scene didn’t manifest.
I made my way to the medical tent where I found Sam sipping on Coke and I was encouraged me to do the same. It ended up that Sam had a pretty identical day on those trails. Maybe it was the pasta sauce, a little bug, or just pure coincidence, but as I’ve learned you can drive yourself trying to find an answer. So, it wasn’t a great day and I would have loved to be out there racing with Tyler Stewart or Megan Laib or at the very least chasing them. But, so it goes, there are good days and there are not so good days. But the weather was nice, I got to the finish line, and other than my stomach, my body felt great. And in the words of my coach, Mark McManus, "We have a lot to look forward to."