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Eye of the Tiger

October 28, 2009

First off...thanks again to everyone for the unreal support, both to me out here and in support of Luci Horvath and the MAGIC Foundation back home. And thanks Uncle Richie (in typical fashion) for taking the support up a notch for this most worthy cause. The size of this family is a force to be reckoned with and Im proud to be a part of it. I havent even received the most recent comments yet Ive already gotten something like 280 messages in the last few days. Its making a huge difference and I wouldnt be here without them.

Stage 4 update: Defining moment of the race. Once again last night I got zero sleep. Combination of the sleeping quarters and trying to shut your body down after these grueling days just isnt working for me. So late last night I sat out next to the campfire under the most gorgeous starlit sky for several hours focusing on the task Id be facing in the morning. Was I happy with what I had already accomplished or did I want to push for more? Just sat there thinking, pondering, strategizing, getting amped up. This was going to be moving day and after the first three stages theres much on the line (top ten, top American, winning my age bracket). I started getting so filled with adrenaline I was ready to hit the course at 4am. Just sitting there with a scowl on my face like an amateur fighter whose ready to knock gloves. For the first time in my life I developed the eye of the tiger and got the ultra focus. At that point I knew no matter what obstacles stood in front on me on this fourth consecutive marathon in four days that I would take them down. When the clock started I went out methodically with strength, determination and power, and with the exception of a few cameos, that scowl never left the entire day and I never picked my head up. Waiting patiently like a hunter I slowly started marking my prey, taking them down one by one. By the end I finished sixth beating a number of more talented, more experienced and faster runners. When I crossed the finish line I let out several patented University of Tennesse war cries alla Dave Gardner. It was on sure guts and focus that I came in this high again today...nothing else. It was my best athletic performance to date.

So back to reality - tomorrow lies the most grueling challenge of my life. Im going to learn what it really means to suffer and sacrifice. After banging out 100 miles the last four days in these conditions (yesterday was the hottest recorded temperature ever for this event at 120F air temperature) and battling dehydration, fatigue, severe weight loss/muscle deterioration, shin splints, open wound on neck, swollen left knee and several blisters we are now staring a 55 mile day in the face. Daunting. Guess the plan is again to go out slow and strong, try to cover some distance while its cooler in the morning, eat and rehydrate midday, then push on through the afternoon and all night till I get it done. No clue how long this thing is going to take, probably finish sometime in the middle of the night...but I will finish. Theres no room for doubt, theres no room for fear. Only the thoughts of all the MAGIC families and the unbelievable friends and family I have on here following this race on a daily basis. You all mean the world to me and I couldnt possibly feel any luckier than I do at this exact moment. To be blessed with so many people who care so much is a gift and its rare. My present back...in a few short days Ill be the one carrying the USA flag across the finish line in front of the ancient pyramids of Giza as the top American in the field.

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