Oh what a day!!! The morning started with Chris dropping me off at the start and running the first few miles with me. It was cold, but I do much better in the cold than heat so I was excited. I knew that I had a long day ahead of me so I was trying to keep it very easy but the first couple miles were faster than I'd hoped. Eventually, I settled into a good pace and flow but then the overhydration started hitting me and I kept having to stop to pee. I peed 7 times in the first 50k! I picked up my second pacer, Russ, around mile 16.5 and it was awesome. It felt like so many other adventures we've shared, just running and chatting. I started tracking milestones while with Russ - 1/3 of the way done, longest run since September, marathon, 1/2 way done and 50k. We also made a friendly over/under bet as to how many vehicles would pass us on the road with the mileage of the day (57) being the o/u. We ran well and I was still feeling good at this point but Russ' section was probably the most difficult of the miles that I ran with pacers due to the punchy climbs, ice and snow. Russ even went down on the ice during this section. Just before mile 32, Russ tapped out and I was joined by my cousin Adam. I was starting to feel the miles more and knowing that I still had almost a marathon to go was a little overwhelming. The "washboards" in the road and the traffic picked up a lot on this section. I started questioning taking the "under" in my bet with Russ but Adam did a great job of helping me find the best line in the road to avoid all of the obstacles. I was surprised at an intersection to see Melissa, Rachel and Roger who were kind enough to cheer me through! That gave me a nice boost for a few miles but once it wore off, the miles really began to drag. I was still holding pace but it felt like time was standing still and my goal remained a long way out. 2/3 of the way done though, just keep grinding. I always knew it wasn't going to be easy and this is where my day will be made or lost. I wasn't about to let myself or my incredible support system down. Everyone deserves my best and that's what I plan to give. Adam finished his pacing duties at mile 43 and brought me in right on my "A goal" split to the minute. I was also still on my nutrition AND hydration plan at this point but my stomach was starting to revolt. I was excited to get to Dave because he was my last pacer and most of his section was downhill to the finish. He was also the current FKT holder so it meant the world to me that he was there to help me try to beat HIS record! The first 2 miles of his section was some pretty good climbs up to the lookouts and they SUCKED all the remaining life out of me! However, once we crested the final climb, we could see forever and the views were incredible! We were more than 3/4 of the way there and it was all downhill now! I did some quick math (with foggy ultra brain) and knew that we would need to make good time on the downhill if I wanted a shot of breaking 8 hours. I asked Dave to target 7:15pace and he did an incredible job. He understood that my tired legs would need a few miles to find some turnover so he started at 7:30 and then kept slowly giving it more gas. He was able to feel my ability to keep up and slowly dropped us down to around 7 flat pace. My stomach did not appreciate this but my legs were hanging in there. Dave and I talked and I made the decision to stick to liquids for the last 10 miles. We were getting close, had gravity on our side and I couldn't afford time to stop to puke or go to the restroom at this point. I was quiet and focused but we were making progress and I could feel the end approaching. We did math again at mile 5 and knew that we were on pace if we just kept doing what we were doing. However, Dave pushed me to continue to press in case my mileage/math was off, I fell, needed to stop, etc. He was absolutely right and I loved his foresight and drive. I tucked in behind Dave and let him tow me down the last several miles at sub 7' pace. Adam met us with about half a mile to go and we flew through the maze of tourists in Garden of the Gods towards the finish! I caught a glimpse of the paved road below and started getting emotional. I bolted across the finish and to the other side of the road to ensure that the "Strava tax" didn't cost me an FKT. We did it! Not only were we done and successfully beat Dave's previous FKT but we had broken the 8 hour barrier! 7:54!!! We hugged, rejoiced and took pictures. I got out my phone to make sure that everything would upload ok and we made our way back to the truck. Cell service was spotty but eventually the activity uploaded and it was official. We celebrated with #davetime at the truck and my body began to shut down. We all laughed at my expense and Dave and Adam helped me get my shoes off and get dressed in some warm, dry clothes. This was one of those days when somehow everything goes to plan. That doesn't happen often and I'll take it with gratitude and pride. I couldn't have asked for a better day. Although we did get passed by 64 cars so I lost the bet to Russ...
7h 54m 44s