After running for what seemed like 10 miles, I finally got close to the finish. And... there was one problem... I didn't really know exactly where the finish was. I mean, there were lots of people around and people cheering, but I couldn't really figure out how to get OFF the course. As I got closer and closer, the crowd started cheering for me and at first I tried to yell out... "I'm just a pacer, I'm just a pacer!!" and then finally I just gave up trying to clarify and took the applause. Eventually I realized I was REALLY close to the finish line so I hopped off the course and then everyone was like.. NO NO NO, the finish line is over there. And I had to yell and explain. I'm just an effing pacer!
I walked over to the finish line and got the camera out and ready. It took me a minute to figure out how to turn it on, but thank god I figured it out just in time, cause Vandy Montana was RIGHT BEHIND ME.
I recorded him finishing, attempted a little post-race interview with him and got him a coke and went to his car to get our flip flops, etc. He made a phone call while I was gone and basked in the glory of finishing a 50 mile race.
He was so mellow and cool, that I tried to be, too. But it was hard for me to contain my excitement for him. He had just ran a 50 mile race and not just any race, but a freaking HARD one. With the way he was reacting you'd think he just finished an 18 mile training run or something. I mean, it was ridiculous. I wanted to jump up and down and scream and shout and he was just totally chill. No tears, no nothing.
I was really proud of him and really freaking glad that I didn't have to run the whole thing. I would have died. Seriously. It was clear to me, after seeing him for those last 17 miles that this is his forte. He has the mental stamina and the physical ability to power through pain. Whether he likes it or not... he was made to be an ultra runner.
Looking back now, it was an awesome experience for me. Sure, I didn't get to be Awesome Savior-Pacer, and I had to climb up a freaking mountain, and I'm pretty sure I'll have melanoma in about 10 years from the severe sunburn I got, but, I did really enjoy working at the aid station and most importantly, I loved that I got to share the awesome and inspiring experience of being a small part of one of your best friend's biggest accomplishments.
Congrats Vandy Montana!!!!!!