(pic: Team Bliss - Tim Englund, me, Allison Moore and Glenn Tachiyama at the Acropolis)
I am still processing the Spartathlon race. It was the toughest one I've done so far. Of course, I need to go back next year...and will. I've got unfinished business.
I look at pictures and see the abrupt transformation of my emotions. Somewhere in there I came to realize I wasn't going to make it. I was yet short of the Badwater 135 miles, so it wasn't the distance itself. My ankle hurt after the long downhill off Sangas pass but my stride looks good in one picture after that. I knew that there was another 30k of downhill to the finish and I dreaded that because of the ankle. But FEAR of the course down the road shouldn't have stopped me...
Hm, like I said I'm still processing.
The ankle is better; the swelling is nearly gone. The bruising is fading too. It still hurts but only vaguely. I stepped down hard on it yesterday and it reminded me that it is yet recovering. With some ankle rehab, which I am good at, it will recover. I am itching to run but am resisting the urge.
A final thank you is due to AdventureCORPS and Drymax. You guys helped get me as far as I could go! I am happy to report that I had no blisters, not even a hot spot on my feet. There was some chafing anteriorly on the ankle but that was directly due to the brace. I constantly got small pebbles in my shoes because the brace widened the space between my shoe (which we cut out) and my ankle. I dumped out half the mountain trail from my shoe when I stopped. Even that didn't cause any blisters with my Drymax socks. Yep, I'm a believer! See for yourself - these are my feet immediately post race. (Sorry about the schmutz on the bottoms of my feet - I was too tired to care!) :)
So, here are Glenn's excellent pictures.
John Price's pictures.
And my pictures too.
PS - THANK YOU everybody for all your encouragement and positive thoughts here on my blog. I guarantee it helped to fuel me before and during the race. You guys ROCK!
PSS - Here's a blurb about Sangas Pass from the Spartathlon website. What they forgot to mention was that the climb was on loose rocks - big round rolling rocks that just rolled away under your feet (and sometimes hands too!). I can still hear the rolling rocks, especially as they rolled off the trail and down the mountainside into the dark abyss. I couldn't look; I could only climb. I chuckled. Crazy. It's why we do these things!
Anyway, the website says:
After Lyrkia..."Leaving the aroma of coffee and souvlaki behind, the runner follows the road, which winds steeply upwards, quickly leaving civilisation behind. In the next 13 km the runner will climb some 960 meters (3,150 ft) to reach the head of the Sangas Pass on the flank of the Artemission range. The goals are Kaperelli village (154.1 km) then checkpoint 47 at Mountain Base (159.3 Km).
Reaching the top of Sangas is no mean feat and great care must be taken on the treacherous twisting path. From the summit (1,100 m - 3,608 ft) there is a plunge down a zigzag dirt track to the village of Sangas (164.3 km) in Arcadia when the route again joins the paved road for the often-necessary fast sprint to checkpoint 52 at Nestani (172 km)."