He got there with only an hour to spare, thanks to directions from Google maps that got him within 20 minutes and then took him out in the boondocks someplace, causing him to have to retrace his steps back into Dahlonega. He will be forever grateful to the lady who just happened to be out for a walk and who pointed him in the right direction. He was dripping sweat all over everything as he set up his tent, changed into his running clothes, and then tried to tape his feet. The ground was soaked with dew so there was nothing else he could do but sit on the track as he rushed the tape job. The RD actually announced the start of the race as he was putting one of his shoes back on and cleaning up his mess!
Noel has told you all about the weather on the fist day. On the second day, he was begging for cloud cover and some wind. There was no relief from the direct sun and hot asphalt, not until late in the afternoon.
Some of the "greats" from his niche of the utlra-world were there, notably two recent winners of Vol State, Greg Armstrong and Joe Fejes. Greg logged just under 121 miles to win the 24-hr race.
He wanted 80 miles per day. He reached that goal on Day 1, and even 12 hours into Day 2 he was within a mile or two at the 6 and 12 hour marks, but the heat and humidity took their toll.
He learned that many, if not most, of the runners who sign up for 48 hours have no intention of actually sticking around that long. They do so so they have enough time to complete 100 miles (101 laps) and get their buckle, then they go home. He found himself in 2nd place at the end of 12 hours and wondered if the leader would be one of those people. He was! He was already working out the wording in his Facebook messages - how he would tell his friends on Facebook and elsewhere about his "victory." Then he looked at the runners who inherited 2nd and 3rd places. The best US multi-day runner of all time was only 5 miles behind him and showing no signs of quitting when he got his buckle. Plus, he had his wife (3rd place) along to keep him motivated.
His mood darkened considerably. He almost gave up. Why should he continue to battle the heat and humidity for 2nd place male and overall 3rd? Defeat felt certain. He decided "f*ck it" and took a rest. They did too
Later, when clouds finally moved in and his lead was down to only five miles, he decided he needed to actually sleep. He climbed in his oven of a tent, turned on this nifty little fan he had just bought, and crashed for nearly an hour. Upon waking up and finishing the loop, he discovered that they were still as far behind as they were when he went down. They appeared to be taking a break every time he did
Joe had asked him his goals on Day 1, and he told straight up, no game-playing or false information. He never thought to ask Joe his goals until the second afternoon. Joe told him that their goals were the same as his, 160 miles!
LDR talked to people as he made loop after loop, keeping track of how many laps they had to go to reach their buckle. He decided to keep moving until every one of them had accomplished their goal. He thought that maybe then he could sleep a while before tearing down camp and driving over two hours to his daughter's house. Thanks to Joe and his wife, he ended up doing this. As long as he had some kind of lead, however precarious, he wasn't going to call it quits.
End of story: Joe's wife developed some intense pain in her lower leg (shin splints?) and they took a long sleep the second night. LDR tried to sleep, but too much caffeine and vitamin B kept him from really going out, so he crawled back out into the night air and circled with the five or six other runners, mostly 12-hr peeps for most of the rest of the night. He ended up with 145.5 miles.
He enjoyed his all-too-brief chats with Noel, and even got to exchanged some greetings and words with Mr. Noel. Ladies, try not to be jealous, but LDR saw him running without his shirt on. Now he knows why Noel had all those kids
LDR doesn't feel like he beat Joe Fejes. Joe came to run with his wife, and stuck to that plan until the end, putting time with her ahead of winning yet another race. LDR's guess is that next time things will be much different.