Dr Horton said, at the newbie's  meeting  last Friday night, that we  
would make mistakes.   He was right.  Horton recommended that we start  
at the back of the crowd and that was certainly my intention.  I lined  
up about 2 minutes before the race started and honestly thought  that  
I was among the back of the pack.  Apparently, the crowd grew, "  
behind me".  Once the race started, imagine my surprise when everyone  
around me ran all the way up that first hill. (fast).  I'd read all  
the previous race report warnings about that first hill and the  
bottleneck,  but I didn't heed the advice. I was determined to keep  
up.  That was my first mistake.

I've been dealing with painful plantar fascitis and knew it could  
affect my performance.  Sure enough, a couple of miles in, I took my  
first fall.  A polite runner behind me offered his hand.  I took it,  
dusted the dirt and leaves  from my tights and started running again.   
There was after all a  3:45 cut off to make.  The first cut off was my  
main concern, but the fatigue I was already aware of  had me worried.   
I knew about the 2nd cut off, but had not given it much thought. I  
knew I if I could make the first cut off, then I'd be home free.  Just  
before I reached the first aid station, a friend of mine caught up  
with me.  I was shocked because I knew I should have started behind  
him not ahead of him.

I took another fall about a mile after the first aid station.  I just  
didn't see the root... that is until it was 2 inches from my face.   
Every time I fell, it took  a little more wind out of my sail and the   
pain in my foot worsened.  Except for one more fall, I managed to stay  
upright until the turn around.  I had to push hard to make the first  
cut off but I did  it with only had 5 minutes to spare.  As I grabbed  
food and drink I asked someone that looked informed, (whatever that  
is), "where and when was the next cut off"?  I was told it was the  
next aid station at 12:00.  Finally, I knew I could pace my-self  
straight to the finish line.  I made the next aid station at 11:30.    
'Woo Hoo" 30 minutes early.  Plus, I had been traveling at a  
comfortable pace.  I knew I would  finish this race and take home the  
Patagonia.  I love Patagonia!

I calculated the times I should arrive at each of the aid stations, in  
order to make the 8 hour finish.  I counted down the miles as I  
approached the second aid station around 12:35. By this time my  
Plantar F. was screaming at me. It was mile 24. One of the very nice  
race workers, informed me that I missed the 12:15 cut off.  They were  
packing up and offered me a ride back to the 4H Camp. I was shocked  
because  I had asked at the turn around and was told the wrong time  
and the wrong aid station.   Dr. Horton talked about the cut offs last  
night at the race briefing.  He said we HAD to make the cut offs!  NO  
EXCEPTIONS!!!  I believed him. There was really no excuse, I had all  
the information but did not read it carefully enough.  I should have  
known, BEFORE the race. That was my second mistake.

Although, the race worker offered me a ride, I knew I had to complete  
the distance on foot.  I must admit that I walked much of the last 8  
miles.  Partially because there wasn't a clock to beat anymore, but  
mostly because of my PF.  Running had become extremely painful. When I  
reached the finish line at 8:35, there were no cheering crowds, no  
time clock, no Dr Horton, no food  and oh yes, no Patagonia.  Instead,  
I was greeted  with a warm embrace by my husband and children.  Eric,  
my husband, told me how proud he was that I finished the distance.   
Ahh, life was good again.

Yes, I did the distance, but the battle is far from over.  I WILL  
return to Holiday Lake. I have a score to settle. There is a time  
clock to beat and Patagonia to earn.  First, I must get this foot  
healed, but mostly, I must train better and smarter. I had the  
privilege to see all the faster and fitter runners as they flew past  
me on their way back to the finish line. They  were encouraging with  
their comments and it was my honor to share the same beautiful trail  
with them.

Vickie Fogleman