BY DAVID WARDEN
Day 33 Splits
What a thrill it was to come back after 3 days (absolutely no connectivity where I was) and see James still going strong. His support team is just outstanding.
James is so close to the finish, and yet still so much is left to do. Sometimes, as I sit back and watch this unfold, it feels like the 505050 has unstoppable momentum, an inertia so large after 33 days that nothing can contain it. I too often take each day for granted, that he will simply finish. The truth is that this is a fight against entropy, against physical and mental decay.
So how can we say James is getting stronger? Because strength is relative to the challenge at hand. If strength is measured in absolute terms, only a select few could ever be considered "strong." James is getting stronger because the challenge is getting larger, and yet he meets that challenge day after day.
Medical issues are starting to accumulate. Well, "medical issues" is not the correct term, more like physical ailments that might become medical issues. I worry what another 5 days of this will bring, but then I recall what he has already overcome and if anyone can tough these issues out, it's James.
After a huge spike in elapsed time due to an exceptionally long bike on Day 30, James has had 3 straight days of decreasing times. His run today was the 10th fastest of the 505050. He specifically told me he "killed it" on the run this evening.
Maybe I put too much emphasis on this daily elapsed time chart (below), but it feels like the heartbeat of the 505050. When I see it start to creep up, I freak out. When I see it go down, I feel calm. The ramifications of an exceptionally long day have a cascading effect on James that is difficult to recover from. The benefits from those rare 13 hour days are significant.
James is still "negative splitting" the 505050, with the average elapsed time of the last 17 days faster than the first 16. Even if I strip out the 17 hour outlier on Day 8, he still is 10 minutes faster on average over the last 16 than the first 16.
In fact, check out the average elapsed time if we break the 33 days in four quarters.
First 8: 14:33:10
Second 8: 14:43:12
Third 8: 14:46:42
Last 9: 14:05:30
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the slightly more forgiving terrain of the East coast certainly has helped these numbers, but it is is still encouraging to see that James might be able to even get faster over the final 17 days.