The Equalizer 2006
The Equalizer experience for me was a personal best, even though I didn’t reach the magical number of 100 miles that I would like to achieve someday. My approach this time around was based on experiences from my first two attempts.
My primary objective was to make it through the night – On my first 24-hour event, that’s what I heard from several participants – the real event doesn’t start until the sun goes down. I didn’t understand how right they were. This time around, I was determined to stay patient and stay relaxed, not only to conserve energy, but to prevent injury – which force me to pull out of my second event early.
So…I stayed hydrated, I kept my toes lubed up with vaseline regularly to keep the blisters away for as long as possible, and I changed shoes to try to keep my feet fresh. In addition, I didn’t eat a lot of food in order to keep myself feeling light. Because the Equalizer featured a very cool evening, I made sure to stay warm – which is what forced a pullout on my first 24-hour attempt. I know I was carrying more weight around in the wee hours, but I kept my body temperature consistent. The only mistake during the day I think I made was drinking too much Accelerade. It has protein, and I think I was taking in too much. I backed off and just stuck mainly with water, Gu, and snack bars when I started feeling a little tired or hungry, and I seemed to come out of a slump.
So I made it into the night – late into the night, when many other participants had headed for home, their cars, or warm blankets in a chair next to the bike path. This was what I had set my mind to do. At 2:00 a.m. another runner was calling it quits, having achieved his goal. It was at this point that I was down to a walk because even jogging was no longer an option. My feet were hanging in there, I had decent energy, but by now there were only a few others on the loop. The cheering section had gone to the tents, and there was only an occasional car driving by. It got quiet and lonely.
I had heard previously that the sunrise would be a tremendous boost, but it wasn’t due for another 4 1/2 hours. Seriously, everything I had done had led up to this moment – this was where my race started – the mental race. I knew I was going to fall short of 100 miles, but I could still reach 80, which would be a personal best and I hoped would get me in the top ten.
I actually stopped around seven a.m. because I reached 80. But in that five hours I drew energy from self-pride that I had at least outlasted many other more experience runners. And there were the lap counters that helped a great deal. Each agonizing time I came around to complete another loop, they would clap and say, “Way to keep going.”
I ended up in 9th place, finished 4th in actual distance, and believe it was because I set my mind to getting into and through the night. I learned a little about myself, and feel lucky to have participated in the Equalizer.
Jay Bizarri – Sherrard, Illinois