Judy looked so strong and I knew she would have a great run. She kept saying that she may decide to run with us, but I kept telling her to take off and that I would stay with Rex. She ran her fastest 100 ever – super!
Rex was awesome – honest! He was upbeat and maintained a positive attitude throughout the whole run. I knew he would finish his first 100M in the beginning and I never doubted him throughout the whole darn thing. He had that HURT toughness about him. He really did have that look in his eyes (located above his huge lip). Our strategy was to go out slow and save something for the second half. I led for the first 25 miles because we didn’t want Rex to go out to fast. I’m very good at running slow. At mile 25, it was time to turn that wild gypsy stallion loose and let him run. And run he did. Rex led for the next 40 miles and thank goodness for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He was in control and managed the run. With me running behind him, Rex remained focused and maybe little nervous. Rex also met some new friends in the forest that made time go by, but made me feel a bit uncomfortable.
The hardest part of these 100 milers is the night. We hit the 62 mile aid station about an hour after dark and one of us was falling apart. We had a long aid station so I could fix some things. Rex led us out into the dark of the Wisconsin wilderness. He was determined, focused, and moving well. I recovered enough to take the lead about 5 miles out of the aid station. In the northern latitudes, distance expands at night. Four miles became 6 miles, it’s unique in this part of the world. It may have something to do with the curvature of the earth, but the aid stations were further than they were supposed to be. This geological anomaly was frustrating, but Rex stayed positive. We slowed down, but we still had plenty of time to finish. My job was to manage the time and do the trail math. Heck, if you throw in managing directions, that would be the trifecta of what I’m terrible at. Through the darkness and dangers of the Wisconsin wilderness, I could hear the soft breathing of my running partner. Actually, I thought it was nearby train. I’m guessing his heaving panting may have attracted some of his new friends earlier in the day and kept away wild animals at night. It was pretty cute and made me smile. Somewhere around mile 75, I got another treat. Rex ate a plant or kissed a tree or maybe bit his lip – I don’t recall all of the details – and his lower lip blew up big time. What a hoot! He didn’t have to do that for me, but he wanted to make me laugh. What a guy.
At the turnaround (81.5 mile mark), Rex convinced himself that we were falling behind in time. We were fine, but fear is a great motivator and we decided to go with it. The man may have been a little roughed up, but he was still strong. I put that pony in the lead and rode him all the way to the Hwy 12 aid station. Everybody wanted to see his lip and one guy wanted to touch it, but I put a stop to that. Rex discovered Mountain Dew and slammed at least 2 big cups and off we went. We had to cross the forest which kicked our booty on the way out. After battling the bird-like mosquitoes and allowing the MD to kick in, Rex just took off. He faked left, faked right, and did a complete 360 without missing a step. I was amazed. Later, he tripped and did a barrel row and back on his feet with stopping. Last time I got this much entertainment, there was a cover charge and a 2 drink minimum.
He could smell the barn and he was off and running. We had the chance to break 28 hours and after a brief discussion, we decided to go for it. Judy was waiting for us at the finishing line looking remarkably well rested and happy.
In all sincerity, it was a real joy to be with Rex finishing his 1st 100M. He was strong and tough and worked through more than his share of adversity. My hat’s off to you, partner. You did it, you really did it!