Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dear William (77 months)

Dear William,
Today you are 77 months old.

The big stories this month were snow, more snow, Star Wars, and Christmas.

Snow shoes were necessary.

We braved the elements to go see Episode VII as soon as school got out for Winter Break.
It was excellent.

You were very excited for Christmas.

You had a tough time sleeping on Christmas Eve.

We stayed at home for Christmas this year.  There was a full moon and snow on the ground.

You loved waking up at home on Christmas morning and opening your gifts!

The X-Wing costume was the thing you had asked me for, and you looked adorable in it.
You gave me a Rey and BB-8 doll, because you said you thought I needed something to play with.  Thank you, William.  I love it.  It was very sweet of you to think of me.

I made us a fancy vegan dinner of "roast beast" and roasted vegetables.  And stuffing and mashed potatoes.  And gravy.  And pineapple for our fruit.  And peppermint brownies for our dessert.  It was very good.

Lego Rey and her speeder in the background.

So much for a relaxing Christmas at home.  Just two days afterwards, we packed up and hit the road for Arizona.

We finally got in to Arches National Park.

Utah is rad.

We also got to see the Grand Canyon, I think.  It was hard to say, because of all the tourists.  But one of them was nice and took a picture of us.

You are wild and precious.

Arizona wasn't as warm as we'd been hoping (it was, in fact, frigid), but unlike Mommy, you didn't complain.

Mommy and Daddy both ran 24 hour races, on different days but on the same track.  You helped cheer us on.

You were there with me early in the morning when I crossed the finishing mat with 100.78 miles.  Both of us were crying, but for different reasons.  Thank you, William, for coming to Arizona for Across The Years.

On our way back home, we visited the Painted Desert.

Arizona is rad.

Then we got another snow storm in Colorado.  Mommy is so tired of this winter.  So tired, and so very, very cold.

You don't mind the cold as much.  You had your first hockey lesson.  You were so brave.  I have never been prouder of you for trying so hard.

For reasons I will never be able to comprehend, you and your father continue to enjoy the snow.

You two did this for hours.

The next morning you said, "Mama, you get in the sleigh, and I'll pull you!"

I took you to Hughes Stadium, and we made our own "bunny slope" on the big sledding hill.  You had so. much. fun.

This month you were brave about tasting some Brussel's sprouts, but it turned out you really don't like them.

Something you found you do like, though, is building circuits.

I'm not really sure what this is.  You got it for Christmas.
William, you are the best kid on this earth, and don't ever forget that.

Love always,

Saturday, January 9, 2016

December 2015 Mileage and Year in Review

December 2015 was very much unlike the last, when I was chasing a mileage goal and running around in the dark like a pre-dawn zombie. It was a good thing I wasn't down to the wire, because we got a snow storm on Thanksgiving that has made putting in big miles an ankle-busting, time consuming challenge ever since.  I hit 1500 for the year sometime early in the month, and then ran very little to taper for Across The Years.

This picture Rob took of me, crossing the 100 mile mark at Across The Years (walking and wearing my winter coat), pretty much sums up the entire year:

I still have absolutely no idea how I did it.

228.78 miles for December.  1681.56 miles for the year.  The last week of December (102 miles) was my highest ever mileage week; the entire month was my highest ever mileage month, and 2015 was my highest ever mileage year.  Not sure, just yet, what 2016 will bring.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Across The Years: Part 2

If you want to know the background, you can read about the lead-up to the race here and my experience at Rob's race here.  You can also listen to us discuss the race on Ultra Ordinary Running Podcast.

After Rob finished 112.33 miles at Across The Years on December 30th, it was hard to say who was more of a wreck: him or me.

I got him some vegan scrambled eggs (!) from a nice volunteer (thank you, Aravaipa Running, for having so much amazing vegan food), and he ate them in the warming tent. Then Will and I helped him over to the locker rooms where he took kind of a lukewarm shower.

Rob slept for a couple of hours, and by the time he woke up, I had made a reservation at a Motel 6 in Phoenix. I absolutely couldn't handle the thought of one more night camping out in the cold.  The cold had prevented me from sleeping for two nights now, and if I had any chance of making it through my own race, I desperately needed some rest and warmth.

Motel 6 was like a palace. We all got hot showers and a comfortable bed.  Rob was in a lot of pain but remarkably lucid, considering the 112 miles he had just covered.  I put in my ear plugs and slept through a freight train that went by at some point in the night.

We returned to Camelback Ranch the next morning, and it was time to go.

"You looked nervous," Rob told me later.  I was nervous. And cold.

Since I'd never run 24 hours before and had no idea what I was doing, I'd asked Rob if he had any suggestions, what with it all fresh in his mind.  He said something like, "Start out slower than you think you need to go," that is, at a pace I could hold for a very long time, and, "Don't trash your quads in the first 8 hours because you will need to keep running during the night just to stay warm."

I didn't wear a watch (I don't have one that lasts that long) and relied on the screen at the start/finish line that tells you your pace and mileage every time you cross the timing mats.  I was going about 12:00-12:30 minute miles, and the effort felt easy.  I warmed up really quickly and ditched my jacket to reveal my Wonder Woman singlet underneath.  That turned out to be a real crowd pleaser.  There was a water-only aid station at the halfway point of the loop, and the guy who was volunteering there (I think Ron was his name) started cheering "Go Wonder Woman!" every single time I passed.  

While my effort was easy, my body and legs felt awkward at this pace.  I also knew that even at 12:30 miles, I was still going too fast.  Pace for 100 miles in 24 hours is 14:20, and 100 miles was not my goal.  Given my training, I thought 80 might be my upper limit.  But I didn't see how I could slow down any more.  

By about mile 5, I decided I was going to start walking the small section of each 1.05 mile loop that was asphalt. The rest of the path was dirt or crushed gravel.  I ran the dirt, actually at a slightly faster pace, once I started taking my walk breaks, but I instantly felt more comfortable.  Even at this early point in the race, my quads were starting to tighten.  During my walk breaks, I took giant, ungainly looking steps just to use different muscles.  It was probably inefficient and wasted energy to walk like that, but it helped saved my quads, and that was a very high priority for me.

Also by about mile 5, I started going through the aid station on every lap.  I took 2-3 orange slices each time I passed.  On some laps, I carried my bottle of water with me to keep drinking. On other laps, I left it at the tent.  I ate a whole Trail Butter packet (200 calories, 16 grams of fat) by the time I got to mile 8.  Nutrition wise, I felt pretty good.

The race wasn't super social for me in the early hours.  Many of the multi-day runners walked or ran in little groups; I was mostly on my own, but I was always in a constant stream of people.  I tried to cheer some for the multi-day runners as I went past them.  Emilio--a 6 day race participant-- had injured his knee and hobbled along in immense pain. He still had an unwavering smile, though.  I gave him an encouraging word whenever I could.  

Ed Ettinghausen, better known as The Jester, was also participating in the 6 day race.  He's a world record holder, a celebrity to me, and I didn't know how to talk to him.  It didn't matter-- he gave me a high five first, and from then on we said, "Nice job" or some kind of cheer most of the times that we met.  How can you not smile when you encounter a guy wearing a jester hat, running skirt, mismatched shoes, and ringing a cowbell?  This race was starting to become really fun.

I started taking more substantial food at the aid station as the hours wore on.  I ran a burrito mile.  I ate a chickpea sandwich.  I decided that whenever the volunteers brought out meal-type food, I would take it, even if I didn't want to eat it right then.  I could always leave it at the tent and take a few bites every mile.  This worked out really well for me.  Rob had relied almost exclusively on the Tailwind and Clif Shot Blocks we had brought from home, but I've never been able to stomach those.  I ate some of my own Trail Butters, but aside from that, the aid station food got me through the entire race.  I can't thank Aravaipa Running enough for providing so many wonderful vegan options.

Every 4 hours, we would switch directions on the course.  This was supposed to break up the monotony of running the same 1.05 mile loop, I guess.  Even though the time seemed to just fly by (I could hardly believe 4 hours had already passed at the first turn-around), my quads felt terrible by this point.  And I was honest to goodness sleepy. This is not where you want to be when you still have 20 hours to run.  I decided to take an Ibuprofen (I know, I know, you're not supposed to do that) and chew some caffeinated Run Gum.  This helped enormously.  Before I knew it, another 4 hours had passed and we were now 8 hours into the race.  I'd gone about 38 or 40 miles.  I wasn't even listening to music, and I felt fantastic.

I changed out of my Wonder Woman singlet and when I saw Ron at the halfway point, I told him, "It's still me, Wonder Woman, I'm just going incognito for a while."  In this picture, Rob has put out some BBQ potato chips, and I remember my exact thought at this moment: "OOOOH! BBQ POTATO CHIPS!"
Rob kept telling me I needed to put on warmer clothes (I noticed all the spectators and a lot of the runners on the course were all bundled up), but I was still moving quickly enough to feel hot in short sleeves.  I hit 50 miles at around 9 hours and 58 minutes.  This is roughly the same time as my 50 mile PR at Bear Chase.  From here on out, it was uncharted territory.

It was dark out by now, and the first few laps after the sunset kind of threw me.  Most of the course had some light on it, but there would be a few random patches of 10 feet or so where it was just pitch black and you couldn't be sure if there was an obstacle in the way.  I ran a couple laps with this woman named Mary from Wisconsin, and she had knuckle lights, which were very helpful.  You could just turn those on for a second or two to reassure yourself, but keep them off the rest of the time when they were unnecessary.  I tried running a lap with my headlamp, but that seemed like overkill. It only took a couple of laps, though, and my eyes and mind adjusted.  This was the same loop I'd been running for more than 10 hours.  There were no rough patches.  Just trust your feet and keep moving forward.  I never felt the need for light again.

The timeline definitely gets very fuzzy in my mind by this point.  I think I kept roughly the same pace and hit 100K in around 12.5 or 13 hours.  I still felt good, and I was completely floored.  How on earth was I doing this? I am not the kind of person who can run a 13 hour 100K, even if it is on flat terrain.  By this point I wasn't even that far off of Rob's pace.

Omg, had I only known that Nick Clark mentioned me in a tweet.  **Mind blown**

I think I hit 70 miles around 11:30pm.  This was the first time I allowed myself to entertain the thought that I might possibly go 100.  Rob was outside the tent when I passed and asked if I needed anything.  "How fast do I need to run to go 30 miles in 9 and a half hours?" I asked him.  He said, "Let me work on that," and I kept going.

70 miles felt like a major milestone for me, and I knew I needed food because I hadn't eaten in a while.  I decided to stop at the aid station and take something real and substantial, then walk a lap while eating it.  A volunteer handed me a bowl of pasta with marinara sauce and a vegan meatball.  I kept moving, and ate, or tried to.  I saw Ed Ettinghausen again and gave him a cheer.

On the next lap around, Rob met me and said I needed to go about 19 or 20 minute laps for the rest of the race.  This was good news, because it meant mostly walking, but it also meant I couldn't just stop off in the warming tent and huddle for a few hours if I wanted to make 100.  I had to keep moving.  It was getting cold.  I put on more clothes.

I think there may have been a party at the start/finish area as the clock struck midnight (Rob said he heard kazoos), but I was at the halfway point at that moment.  And I was so happy to be there, because that's where Ron was.  We hugged each other and said Happy New Year.  He lit some sparklers and I took a dixie cup of coke.  I kept moving and as I rounded the corner, I saw fireworks over the darkened palm trees in the distance.  The course was really lively, and everybody out there became my best friend.

Things were definitely starting to hurt though.  My quads were the biggest concern.  I took another Ibuprofen and waited for it to kick in, but it never did.  No problem.  I did this thing that I picked up from Barbara Kingsolver's book, The Poisionwood Bible, when the characters are trying to survive a tragedy.  They've lost almost everything, and they make a list of their assets.  So I did the same.

  1. I am running at sea level (or close to it).  I live and train at high altitude.  Here, I've got oxygen.  ASSET.
  2. I came into this race semi-injured, but now, none of my injuries are bothering me.  ASSET.
  3. My quads hurt.  But this pain is nothing like childbirth. ASSET.
  4. I am slightly queasy.  But I am not nauseated and do not feel like I am in imminent danger of throwing up. ASSET.
I was slowing down a lot and slightly worried about my pace because I'd had a couple of very slow laps when I'd stopped to put on more clothes and even added my winter coat.  Plus, the colder it got, the ever more frequent I had to pee, which took time.  This was crazy, I'd already peed at least 4 times during the daylight hours, but now the urge to pee felt constant.  I guess I must have been hydrating well, but really, all I was doing was taking about a sip of water every lap.

I was struggling along at about 16 minute miles, walking more frequently, but still trying to run when I could.  I noticed that for an entire lap, there was a Canadian woman ahead of me who walked the whole time.  I caught up to the Canadian woman and we teamed up.  She was also trying to make 100 miles, and she'd gotten an ankle injury.  It hurt too bad to run, but she still could walk.  We power walked it together at about 17 minute pace for a couple of laps.  I felt better after that more extended walk break, and then put in a 15:40 minute mile.  That was the fastest I went for the rest of the race.

I'd closed in on 80 miles, which was the absolute upper limit of what I thought I'd be able to accomplish.  I can't remember the exact time, but I think there were at least 7 hours left to go.  A volunteer at the aid station handed me a piece of vegan French toast.  I think I tried to lean over the table and give her a hug.

People ask what you think about during a run, and in particular, a run as monotonous as 24 hours around a 1.05 mile loop.  In truth, for a lot of the time, I didn't really think about anything.  At midnight I thought of Angela and her daughter, who were running a 5K in Fruita.  I thought of my parents and friends.  I thought about Rob and Will.  I thought of the night I gave birth.  For a while I listened to music in the dark.  But after mile 80, mainly I did math.  What pace am I going? How fast was that last lap? Can I slow to 20 minute miles and still make it to 100 in how ever many hours are left?  My mind was so addled that I couldn't trust my own math.  What if I misjudged it?  I needed to keep pushing forward as much as I could.  The longer I could keep these 16-17 minute laps, the more of a buffer zone I gave myself. There were still 20 miles left to cover, and anything could happen.

It only got really, really hard starting around mile 88.  It was so dark, and had been dark for so long.  I was exhausted.  I took more and more caffeine.  I drank 2 cups of coffee at the aid station.  I kept trying to move forward, but my eyes wouldn't stay open. I slapped my cheeks.  I sang out loud.  The music on the iPod was annoying me, and the careful playlist I had made for this race hadn't gotten synced.  It was on my phone, but my phone had been sitting out in the cold all day and was frozen.  It wouldn't work.  

I felt like I was running through an earthquake.  The ground wouldn't stay still under my feet.  I couldn't see out of my left eye.  I had to pee so bad and went into a porta potty again.  The next thing I knew, my head was hitting the side of the wall.  I must have fallen asleep, inside the porta potty, even if for just a minute.  I felt disgusting.  This was a new low point in my life.  My sister would be horrified.  I was so cold.  Jesus Christ, this was hard.

At mile 97.5, I passed the tent again, and Rob was outside.  "Three more laps," Rob said, and I started sobbing. Why wouldn't the sun come up already? "I'm going to die," I told him.

With one lap left to go, Rob was waiting for me.  "Do you want me to come with you, or do you want to do this on your own?" he asked.  "Come with me," I said, and he grabbed a guest bib.

There it is, 100 miles.  These are the timing mats at the halfway point of the loop.  I still needed to make it back to the start/finish area.
We did it.  When we rounded the corner towards the finishing straight, Will was standing outside the tent, crying.  "I have to go potty," he said.  I knew the feeling.  

22 hours, 58 minutes, and 30 seconds after I'd started, I walked across the start/finish line with 100.78 miles.  Rob took Will to the porta potty.  I went into the warming tent and sat down for the first time in a very long time.  There was still an hour on the clock but, for me, this race was over.

Thanks for reading, thanks to Aravaipa Running for superb organization, and most of all, thanks to the amazing volunteers who kept us going all night long.

These are the Skechers Go Run Ultras that got me through 100.78 miles with no blisters.

I have absolutely no idea how I did this.

Across The Years: Part 1

When Rob first mentioned the idea of us doing Across the Years, I wasn't quite sure if he was serious.  Because the race spans 6 days, and because 24-hour runners can elect to race on any day of the event, his suggestion was that we could both do it, while trading off childcare.  Even as he said these words, I thought, this idea, it is horrible.

I didn't know what running for 24 hours would do to me (50 miles had been my longest/farthest run to date), but I suspected it would not do good things.  My recovery from ultras generally involves up to 12 hours of hard-core vomiting and the need, but refusal, to be hospitalized or at least administered an IV.

I told Rob if we were doing this, he'd have to go first.  We couldn't count on me being able to take care of Will after my race.  So Rob registered for December 29th, and I got the big dance-- December 31st.  The run that is actually across the years.

We road tripped to Phoenix right after Christmas, and in typical Ragfield fashion, stopped at Arches and the Grand Canyon on our way.

We arrived at Camelback Ranch on the afternoon before Rob's race, got our bib numbers, and set up our tent right along the course.  The parking lot was a bit far away, so it was kind of an ordeal to unload and carry all our excessive amount of gear.  We could have taken our station wagon/camper over to the separate RV area and camped there, but at the time it seemed like we wanted to be closer to the start/finish line, where most of the action was taking place.

The orange gray tents in the background are the ones you could rent from Aravaipa.  In the foreground: an actual tumbleweed.

The race was already underway when we arrived. All the 6 day runners had begun on December 27th, and there were some runners of other distances out there as well.  The tone was rather subdued. Most participants were walking or running at a very controlled pace (as you do when you're in it for the long haul), and none of the spectators or crew were cheering.  At first I thought it was because they didn't want to break the concentration of the participants (there were people out there trying to break various world records), and I felt like I needed to whisper or something.  Then I realized, it was a constant stream of people going by.  You'd lose your voice cheering for all of them, all day and all night long.  This was no typical ultra.

Prior to the race, I'd been dimly aware that Phoenix was experiencing some kind of cold snap, but it hadn't concerned me too much.  There was almost a foot of snow on the ground and it was 8 degrees when we left home.  Phoenix was bound to feel tropical.

Phoenix did not feel tropical.  As the sun set, Phoenix became freezing.  I've camped in 18F and snow  in Colorado before.  We have sleeping bags that are supposed to keep you warm even in temperatures as low as something like -20F.  But that night in Phoenix was miserable.  I couldn't get warm, no matter what I did.  My body shook.  My teeth chattered.  My toes felt like blocks of ice.  And all night long, there was the sound of the shuffling footsteps outside our tent as runners continued their never-ending laps around the 1.05 mile dirt path.  Footsteps that would be Rob's the next night, and mine two nights later.

I don't know how low the temperatures got that night (my phone weather app never registered below the high 30's), but there was a hard frost over everything the next morning, and my friend (whose husband is a meteorologist in the Phoenix area) had said it was supposed to get down to 22.

The sun rose, but didn't bring much warmth with it, and at 9am, Rob's race began.

It's showtime.

The 24-hour runners were the "sprinters" of the group, I could tell it was very hard for Rob to hold back.
Looking at his watch thinking, "Holy shit, I need to go slower, but I cannot possibly go any slower."
And so he didn't hold back.  He ran hard, circling around to our tent every 10 minutes, where Will and I mixed up 6-ounce gel flasks full of Tailwind for him.  I remained miserably cold, with my sleeping bag wrapped around me.

In the background, Ed Ettinghausen (The Jester), who was participating in the 6-day race

I finally made some coffee around 11am and started feeling one tiny iota better.

I'm sorry for the things I said when it was cold.

It was much warmer for the runners than the spectators, and Rob took off his shirt around noon.

Will put on a Star Wars costume and made friends with a grandfatherly gentleman named Frank, whose son was a real contender in the 6 day race.  Frank was doing the 6 day race himself, walking around 20 miles per day.  Frank readily admitted that he was no athlete, though.  He said he'd asked himself how on earth he was going to do this, and his solution was, I'm going to stop and talk to everybody I see.  So he stopped at our tent for a long time on each lap to talk to Will and me.

By around 4:40pm, or 7 hours and 40 minutes into the race, Rob was at mile 48.  Someone had mistaken him for Rob Krar at least once.  I can see why.

"Is that Rob Krar?"

I have to admit, I thought that what Rob was doing was crazy.  Not just the running 24 hours part of it.  But the extremely aggressive pace he was keeping up.  I wondered what on earth he was thinking.  I thought, he either really knows what he is doing, and is taking a huge gamble, or this is about to be a catastrophe.

He hit 50 miles just before 8 hours into the race, and for the first time all day he stopped.  In all honesty, he didn't look so good.

He foam rolled, put on some more clothes, and decided to walk a few laps.

I think mile 50 was a real turning point in Rob's race.  He went much more slowly after that and walked frequently.  Will and I even checked out some guest bibs just before sunset and walked a lap with him.

The problem was that the temperatures were getting so cold.  I couldn't even get myself together to make dinner for Will and me from the stash of supplies we had brought from home; I just managed to boil some water on the camp stove and make one of those pre-packaged camp meals (rice and beans). We were both too cold to feel much like eating anyway.  By 7pm, Will was ready for bed and wanted to crawl into his sleeping bag to keep warm for the night.  Bless his heart.  Unlike me, he never once complained about the cold.

I stayed out of the tent (as my body temperature precipitously dropped) and watched for Rob to come past each lap.  It was just before 9pm when he reached 100km-- 62 miles.  He had slowed down a lot, but that was less than 12 hours into the race. For reference, it had taken him 16 hours to complete 100km at Never Summer last July, on ridiculously technical mountainous terrain.  What a difference.

I couldn't really sleep even when I went in the tent, and after my body temperature had dropped so much, I just couldn't get warm.  The only thing that seemed to help was when I was moving, accompanying Rob on a guest lap around the course.  It gave me the slimmest margin of hope that when it was time for me to do my own race, movement throughout the night might keep me warm.

It was an odd experience, trying to sleep in the frigid tent right along the race course.  All night long I could hear the constant parade of footsteps passing by on the gravel path.  A sense of doom grew in my stomach as I got colder and colder.  I kept touching Will's cheeks and was amazed that he felt warm.  As for me, I felt like I was trapped in a snowstorm on Mount Everest, awaiting rescue.  I didn't see how on earth I would be able to run my own race.

At some point in the night, I discovered I could use my phone to connect to the race website and track Rob's progress.  It helped me keep an idea of what pace he was going and when he might be back to the tent.  I tried to sleep for a couple of hours and then go back out again to check on him.  He was wearing his winter coat and moving fairly slowly.  For the first time, I began to doubt that he would make it to 100 miles.

My timeline and memory of the night is foggy, but maybe it was around 76 miles when I went back out to check on him again.  The water bottles and gels and other food we had outside the tent were all frozen. Rob looked miserable when he came by. He explained that the problem was, if he ran at all, his winter coat was too hot.  But if he walked, he was too cold.

I knew he needed some calories and fluid, and everything at our tent was frozen.  I walked with him to the aid station and they had vegetable broth in styrofoam cups.  I spoke loudly and more cheerfully than I felt.  "Why don't you take some broth, that will help you feel better!" I said.  He looked numbly at the broth, as though he couldn't compute.  He blinked.  Took a cup.  Moved resolutely on.

It was far too cold for me to stay outside so I went back to the tent and huddled in my sleeping back for a few hours.  I dozed a little, and when I woke and checked my phone again, Rob was at mile 96.  It was sometime between 4 and 5 in the morning.  Holy shit, he was going to pull this off.

My own mind was a wreck, and my body ached with cold.  Will still slept peacefully next to me.  I stayed in the tent for almost another hour and then went up to the start/finish line close to the time I expected him to arrive.

It was 5:45am, and they were playing "Hello" by Adele as Rob came across the timing mat to start his 100th mile.  I ugly cried so hard.  I absolutely couldn't believe it.  Rob's face was utterly expressionless.

Hello from the other side.

For the first time, it occurred to me that he might not stop at this point.  After all, there was still more than 3 hours on the clock, and there was nowhere to go to get warm.  He kept moving and said, "You stay until the job's done."  Well then.  His crazy eyes didn't seem to recognize me, but he was lucid enough to quote Brad Pitt from the movie Snatch.

I went back to the tent and stayed there, willing the sun to rise and for some warmth to creep into my bones.  I was so happy for Rob, but the cold and raw emotion of the night had completely wrecked me, and my mind went to a very bad place.  I didn't see how I would be able to run.

When Will woke up well after sunrise, he asked me if it was time for my race yet.  "No," I told him.  "It's tomorrow, but I don't think I'm going to do it.  I just want to go home."

"Oh, mommy," he said, from beneath the puffs of his -20 sleeping bag. "But it's your big day!"

That kid.

We assembled all our courage and emerged into the cold new day so we could use the porta potties and wait for Rob.  He crossed the start/finish mats with 111 miles and said, "One more lap."

Of all the things Rob has done in his life, I've felt like I've at least been able to relate to or understand them on some level, even if they were things I could never have accomplished myself.  But this.  How he had done this.  It was unfathomable.

He finished the day at 8:45 in the morning, with 112.33 miles.  He was in first place.

Thanks for reading.

There were still several more days of racing left, and on any of those days someone could accrue more mileage than Rob.  But here is a screen shot of the results for the moment that he was in first place.