Jill's Outta Flat Horn Lake
A friend of mine, Paula, once running her first marathon, said there are three things well-meaning spectators tend to holler out to a runner -- and if any one of said phrases is hollered, the runner has every right to pound said spectator into the ground.
The one phrase I won't send to Jill via mental telepathy is ALMOST DONE!
She made it past mile 75 and left Flat Horn Lake during the wee-hours. One more checkpoint left at mile 87 -- 13 miles from there to the finish. It's easy to look at distance alone and see that only a fourth remains; and it's easy to assume that distance only gets smaller. Those who have never set the challenge in front of themselves won't realize that while 3/4 of the physical distance has been covered, the majority of the ride still is still out there to conquer.
Now an endurance athlete needs to pull from her mental training. Leaving a checkpoint with 3/4 behind is exhilarating...until the reality of 25 miles remaining hits home. The body is tired, muscles have been strained, rest has been fitful, and 25 more miles to go means hours more in the saddle pushing that tired body forward. Mentally, that finish line isn't getting closer.
According to Paula, NOONE is allowed to say to an endurance athlete that she's almost done...unless the finish line is literally within sight. With cycling, perhaps one can say almost done once the miles left reach single digits.
So Jill, we're all still with you cheering from the sidelines even harder now. Thank goodness you've got people from all time zones watching your progress -- whether or not you knew it someone was sending positive thoughts your way all through your night.