And finally the conclusion of Mike’s adventure through the desert. I know many of you are wondering if he survives. Well, I hope so because he is going to be supporting my ass for the next year.
Continuing from where we left off last time, from the mouth of Mike…
And the Running with the Devil Half Marathon begins. The first 3.1 miles were enjoyable – believe it or not. I approached the first aid station feeling confident. I refilled my water bottle, grabbed a salty snack, and I was off. Over the next mile or so, my confidence began to wane. The next aid station was 2.7 miles away and I hoped my water would last that long. I made it to the station, refilled my bottle, grabbed a salty snack, soaked my bandanna and hat in water, and ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was then off once again, until I realized I had left my sunglasses at the aid station. Nothing could have been more frustrating than having to backtrack, especially on that course and in those conditions.
As I reached the turnaround point, I was really beginning to hurt. I pushed ahead for about another mile where I hit the aid station at mile 7.3. As I pulled out of that station, I faced a rather large uphill slog over the next few miles. I endured through the hill by mixing running with some fast walking/hiking. I finally got to the last aid station fully aware and confident that I would finish – even if I had to walk it out. I grabbed a banana, maybe another PB&J (I’m a little foggy here), refilled my bottle, and dunked my hat and bandanna in ice water. Only 3.1miles to go!
The final 3.1 were uneventful but incredibly tough. At mile 12, I got an unusual chill that told me to ‘take it easy’. I picked small goals like street signs and small bushes to reach. The soles of my feet were burning and sunblock was starting to irritate my eyes. The dry heat was doing a number on my lungs. I never thought I would have to pray for 110-degree winds – but then again I never thought I’d be in this situation. Never limit where running can take you goes through my mind again…
I finally crested the last remaining hill and made a feeble attempt at a ‘run’ for the finish. A group of gracious volunteers and faster runners greeted me with applause as I crossed the finish line. Oh, and a car nearly hit me as I approached the finish, but thanks to a loud yell from the race director, it missed me! DNF (did not finish) due to hit by car at mile 13.05 would not be cool…
This long story brings us to this, the post race “laboratory” results:
- Wicking Ability – EXCELLENT
- UV Protection – EXCELLENT (I’m Irish and I escaped unscathed from the blistering sun and 110+ degree heat)
- Breathability – EXCELLENT
- Odor Resistance – EXCELLENT (Especially considering 13.1 miles in the desert)
- Weight – FELT VERY LIGHTWEIGHT, DID NOT RETAIN MOISTURE
- Drying Time – IT SELF DRIED VERY QUICKLY FOLLOWING THE RUN
- Fit – EXCELLENT, LIKE A GLOVE
- Seams – NO CHAFFING, GREAT STITCHING
In closing (after this rather lengthy story), I would like to leave a few thoughts about this adventure. While I was running, I thought about everything that was against me that day – heat and hills I’m not used to, the course, limited crowd support, poor training leading into the race, and thoughts of my friends sitting poolside at the Hard Rock. Then I thought about what I had going for me – passion, attitude, heart, and wonderful support from family and friends.
This brings me to Atayne and the analogous nature of the two. Atayne will not fail even considering that we are up against monster corporations with a stronghold on the industry, tons of money, huge sponsorship and marketing budgets, mass distribution, and unlimited R&D budgets. Atayne will SUCCEED because Jeremy and I have the passion, heart, attitude, and emotional support necessary to make it a success. Jeremy is constantly saying, “If we do the right things, in the right way, people will support our company.” In my mind, that’s tough to argue. Running has taken me to the Mojave Desert and it will now take me to my dream of building a socially responsible business with my best friend that makes our families, friends, and extended running family proud. Bart’s nugget of advice rings loud and clear.