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The Short Version:

The long version is below.


It was a warm and sunny morning on March 28, 2004. The Runner had been waiting since 7 am for the start of the race. The race director gives out the final race instructions. The runners that were gathered were all in a good mood. Most were doing the relay but a select few were going to push their bodies and try the full 50K. The Runner stands there starting to get nervous waiting for the gun to go. Has he run enough, can he go this far.

The gun goes off and the small pack of runners head down the trail. The Runner settles into a rhythm that he thinks is the right pace. Until he gets through the first lap he won t really know. He wanders through the trails and the shade of the trees, reminding himself to slow down. Since he doesn t know who is running the relay and who is going solo he can only run his own race. He watches several of the runners take off but reminds himself to slow down. The course is made up of winding trails through the Guana Park so the view is always changing. The Runner catches another man running and finds out that he is running the whole thing also. They chat for a few minutes about running and the Runner listens to the other runner s descriptions of running a 50 mile race and a 100 mile race. Finally they both drop into silence and run along the trails.

The Runner wonders if he is going to fast, to slow, can he keep up with the guy that has run a 50 mile race and a 100 mile race? He puts those thoughts out of his head and concentrates on clearing the roots and trail debris as he weaves his way through the course. He hits the first water stop, grabs 2 glasses of water and takes those and one pack of GU. The other runner keeps going without stopping for water. In less than a minute he is on his way. About 10 minutes later he emerges from the woods and he is back on the road where they started. As he works his way to the turn around point he looks at his time of 1:10 and realizes that he is on target.

The Runner stops at the turn around drinks some Gatorade and heads back onto the course for lap 2. As he heads down the road more of the runners emerge from the woods and they all offer each other encouragement. Soon the Runner is by himself again. He feels like he is just moving along on an easy training run. He guesses all of his training miles have paid off. As he runs through the trails again he catches up with the other runner who has competed in other Ultra s. They run along in silence for a little while and then the other runner slows down. The Runner heads off maintaining what he thinks is a steady pace. He comes up on a new water stop, grabs 2 glasses of water and heads off again. Since he is alone all he can do is just run and concentrate on not falling down. The Runner catches up with a one of the women running the relay and she offers him encouragement and he wishes her good luck.

The time is ticking off and the Runner is just moving his feet and pounding out the miles on the trails. He comes up on the original water stop, grabs more water and takes another GU. Again in under a minute he is on his way. In another 10 15 minutes he is back on the main road heading to the turn around. The Runner looks up and sees that his time is now 2:20. He feels good. He drinks more Gatorade, and heads back down the trail. 30 minutes into this lap he begins to feel it. The fatigue of running for almost 3 hours is catching up with him. The next thing he knows he is now on his hands and knees. Somehow he has caught a root and went down. No damage is done but it messes up his rhythm. After taking a few seconds to try and knock the dirt off he starts running. He can feel it now. The tiredness in his legs that he felt at his December marathon is coming on. Will he get through it? The runner starts to pick out landmarks from the previous loops that he must run to before he will allow himself to walk. As he hits each landmark he picks a new one. Are the trails getting longer? Is he getting that much slower? He grabs his water at the first water stop, pours one over his head and heads off again. He concentrates on making it to the next water stop before walking. He is surveying the ground to make sure he doesn t trip again. Finally he hits the second water stop. He drinks his 2 cups, decides to grab a third and heads off again. He hasn t seen anyone since the start of the 3rd loop when a relay runner who was just starting his first lap passed him.

The Runner continues on and when he looks up he sees his running friend that offered to join him for the final loop coming back along the trail looking for him. His friend drops into the Runner s pace and tells the Runner that he looks good. They head back out of the woods and out into the sun again. The Runner is thankful that he is almost done. Only 1 lap to go. How is he doing in the overall he wonders. As his friend asks if he needs anything special the Runner just says no and works up to the turn around again. He looks at the clock and sees that he is at 3:34. He drinks more Gatorade. The people at the turn around offer him pretzels or anything to eat. The Runner turns it down. He doesn t want to add any thing else to his stomach since he didn t want to upset his stomach.

The Runner heads off for the final loop. As he gets back into the woods he begins to realize how tired he is. Before he knows it he is 4 hours into the run and he has now run longer than he ever has in his life. The Runner struggles to keep a steady pace. His running partner keeps on talking to help distract him. The Runner just keeps trying to find landmarks to keep himself from walking. He fights through different aches and pains in parts of his body that he didn t know existed. As his stomach begins to bother him he slows down. Once that passes he tries to pick up the pace. He continues to move forward one foot in front of the other. His running partner continues to encourage him, reminding him of all the miles he has put in, all the time on the roads alone, all the sweating and fighting to get him to this point. They finally hit the first water. The Runner takes his two cups of water again and they head off. They run along the trails just trying to get through each section. The Runner talks about his mental landmarks that he had been using to break up the course. Then the Runner goes down again. All he can do is get up look at his hands and start shuffling along. The race begins to drag. He wonders if he will ever finish. It seems like his landmarks aren t coming fast enough. His legs are tired, he is mentally tired. He continues to put one foot in front of the other. They talk about the long runs that have been done. The Runner begins to hate the race, wonders why he signed himself up for it. He says to himself that he won t do this race again. (Although he is pretty sure once he has recovered he will want to do it again). He wants to walk but he won t let himself. All he can think about is getting around the next bend in the trail without walking. He wonders where the next landmark is. It isn t coming fast enough. This race stinks. He makes another turn and runs on. Finally he comes on the last water stop. He takes one cup and starts walking. It is his first walk the whole course. His friend carries a second cup for him. Both cups are drained and the Runner picks up the pace again. He feels like he is running slower than a snail. He knows he is in the final stretch. 2 miles maybe less to go but time slows to a crawl. The Runner s friend continues to encourage him. They make their way along the trail and they see the sign for the final turn. The Runner begins to feel a little better. He comes out into the sun along the dirt path and tries to pick it up a little. He still feels like he is barely shuffling along.

As he gets closer to the finish he realizes he is going to miss his goal of 5 hours but he is going to finish his first Ultra! He crosses the line and just puts his hands on his knees. All he wants to do is rest and drink some fluids. He hears some words from the timekeeper but doesn t hear them all.

He asks his friend what was said. His friend tells him He said 1st Male Overall and 1st place overall, Eric Norris in a time of 5:04:31!!

The Runner just sighs, happy the race is over.

Will he do it again? Probably.

Will he go farther? Probably not.

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Day-um. That's all I can say about this'un.

Day-um.
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I've been waiting for this report.

HOT DAMN! Your very first ultra and you win the whole friggin' thing! I'd retire on top.

Seriously FB, I know it was an extremely tough training cycle for you. You worked your ass off and had a lot on your plate. To run a 50K is a huge thing. To win it is even better. Wow.

:banana:
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Totally freakin awesome!!
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Wow. The hard work paid off in dividends! Well done, great job!!!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Of all of the race reports I have looked forward to reading over the last 3 years at Kick, Cool Running, and Running Forums - none have made my jaw drop more than yours just did. I expected you to have a good race, but to see that you won the freaking thing is absolutely incredible. I am so happy for you.

Riff Raffers have been having some really good showings lately, but I think yours is now the gold standard.

Congratulations again. Awesome job.


I would have "2004 Guana River Ultra Trail Run 50 km Champion" tattooed on my ass by the end of the week.
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INCREDIBLE FLORIDABOILER & the 5:04:31!
I am in awe of what you have done and the hard work you put into this Ultra.
You did an incredible job and I know you must be proud!

1st Male Overall...1st Place overall Rocks!

1) :bowdown: I'm bowing down to you and this 50K!
2) :banana: Congrats on finishing!

3) :cry: You fell down and got up...you fell down and got up again. This brought me to tears.
4) :cheers: Celebrate! You deserve it!
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Most impressive. We've all been reading training reports and you've been through a hell of a lot. It's an amazing accomplishment. Congrats.
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Amazing and inspiring...my jaw is still on the floor after reading it.
Huge props on your accomplishment. :bowdown:
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Very cool! Welcome to the ranks of Ultra-runner.

How's the soreness? Personally, in the days that followed, I found marathons to hurt more then ultras.
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I don't know yet Kobyj. I will let you know tonight after I try and run 4 miles at lunch. I did survive coaching soccer though last night.
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Thanks to everyone for the PM's and the comments hear. I honestly couldn't word how mentally tired I was on the last half of the last loop. Thank goodness my friend Tom came out and ran with me. Just having him there was a huge help getting me through the woods. Now that it has sunk in and I made that signature change it is absolutely unreal that I actually won a real race.

Thanks again,

Eric

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Nice job FB. One of the best race reports ever

Congratulations
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simply amazing eric. all those training miles translates into a first freekin' place. in a 50 freekin' K. congratulations. :cheers:
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Infrickin'credible FB. Awesome report, awesome race. A truckload of dude points awarded here.
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