It was great hanging out w/ all the athletes. Even Mike Cox was there. He ran 2:22:04 at Chicago, now that is some wheels.
Taiwan was pretty interesting and the food was what I expected. Edible, but I ate just to have calories to burn.
Once there, it became clearly obvious the race would be one of major attrition. In a nut shell, you run up hill out and downhill back on 4 x 25k out/back. Oh, and you start at 9 AM when it's already in the 70's and the humidity in the 80's. Just for fun.
I ran what I thought was conservative for the first 25k in 1:52:30, or just over 7 minutes a mile. I mean, it's the freakin' World Championships; I had no idea that 8:00 pace would be outstanding.
It boiled down to one thing. My body could not process enough fluids to keep up with the out flow. At 35k I knew I was done and went into survivor mode. I was dehydrated, had a wicked side stitch (has only happened in my 100ks), a headache, and my left foot was slapping. Then, just for grins, I decided to start heaving to complete the pentathlon of ultra misfortunes.
I walked and struggled through the 50k at around 4:22 and for the first time considered dropping. First, I would venture out and see if a rally was possible. After practically walking for 2 miles, I started to run and it seemed less painful than walking. It was here that I knew I would finish the race.
By the last 25k there were only 3 US men left standing. I caught Bob Sweeney at about 77k and we both decided we would finish. We ran together off and on as we each dealt with out seperate demons. By 94k, Bob said his stomach was completely shot and he was walking it in. I finished in 10:24:33 and in 94th place overall. For whatever reason my name doesn't appear in the IAU results, but that's their problem and not mine.
I was determined to finish for several reasons:
1. I'm not flying to Taiwan on the USA team and getting a DNF by my name.
2. I made sure to tell several people before the race they would have to close the road for me to not finish. I had to back that smack up and it wasn't easy.
3. I'm a Badgerland Strider. There were 3 of us there and we kept each other going.
4. In total, it never got as bad as the end of the Kettle Moraine 100 miler in June. I had done it before so I couldn't sell myself out.
5. Chick's dig me.
The women kicked butt. What a classy group. Everyone out there from the US just provided tremendous support and encouragement. It would take a lot of time to go through the specific examples, but these people, including the other runners were genuinely concerned and it showed. Personally, Donna (my wife) was great as crew and Ann Heaslett and Roy Pirrung are perhaps two of the best ambassadors the State of Wisconsin has known. I am honored to call them friends and teammates.
Several long timers to the event called it the most difficult 100k World Cup ever. I think the 60% drop out rate might back that up. I always said the harder the better, but I am currently reevaluating my stance on this position.