Ok let’s jump back into this. Our story left off at Gypsum’s Rec Center, where my van was vainly trying to get some sleep.
Then it was like 3 or some other god-awful early time to wake up and run. Roger was off running and because Karinn’s knee hurt (remember we left her to run too much too soon), I agreed to take an extra run. I was going to run along side I-70, which is the highway that runs into the mountains, so all the skiers and boarders know this place very well. I was excited about running in the dark and maybe getting some kills in (where you pass another runner), since my team could use a confidence boost.
I ran as hard as I could but I was starting to get tired and my body was/is not used to running at all hours of the day. I managed to make it to the Exchange and got picked up just fine. We changed runners and then it was time for me to run my leg. Since it was dark and I wanted to pay attention to my surroundings, I decided to run without headphones but still have my music playing.
I hit that playlist- Geh Joggen/Go Jogging- and started a party on I-70! I had people running close behind me so that they could rock out. I know some running purists believe you should run sans music but I need it to keep me going and to distract me sometimes. Running can be a glorious sport to partake in; it can also be the most mundane action to repeat for stretches of time (left foot, right foot, repeat for 8 miles).
So I’m running in the dark, trying to focus my headlight to pick up suspicious movements and then I decide to switch off my headlamp and look up.
They look breathtaking from my view. It’s all pitch black with sparkles of stars in the sky. Those balls of gas, burning bright from many miles away, were a sight to see.
I finish my leg and we go to the next big exchange point. And again, we try to fall asleep again.
This time, we are at a middle school, parked on the side street because the lot is full. We all grab some corner of the van and pass out. We leave the side windows open because our van is starting to smell bad. Imagine five runners and their gear in an enclosed space. Throw in that none of us have showered since Friday morning before the race.
Where’s the Febreze when you need it?
We kinda became immune to the stench of each other but because you always smell yourself more than others, I knew I needed to shower. At this school, there were showers, but they were old school, one room showers. It could’ve been a great location for a 70’s porn or a horror film.
I grab my gear and prepare to get clean. I should say, I have no shame in my body. Even though it isn’t rock hard like Gisele Bündchen, my body isn’t horrible to look at. It’s pretty hot- I have womanly curves and enough self-esteem to hold my head up high. I stripped naked in a room full of strange women and went to the showers without hesitation. Other women were trying to cover themselves as best as they could, with their towels or the locker doors.
It shouldn’t matter but everyone looked at everyone else and starting sizing each other up. We all have the same body parts but us being women, we had to stare and scrutinize what we were seeing. A couple of girls picked at me- “Your boobs are so big, I bet you back hurts all the time right?” or “Geez, you have to wear two sports bras!”
I actually hear this from my girl friends a lot so it doesn’t bug me.
Now that I’ve filled your heads with visions of sweaty, naked lady runners in a shower, lets change gears and get back to the race. It’s Saturday morning now and I’m starting to get really hungry. We haven’t eaten much while running which has been great because I don’t need to #2 but I’m starving. I checked for breakfast and it was pancakes which would sit in my stomach for the rest of the day, so that was a no.
Kevin, another runner in our van, hurt his knee during his night run, so he couldn’t do his last 10.4 miles, so I volunteered. I was the only available runner- everyone else was out of commission. I got through about 1 mile and then my team picked me up. There was no way that I could do Kevin’s 10.4 and my last leg of 8.2 miles.
Stefanie went to run her last 3 miles in the sun, which decided to pound down on us. She came to a screeching halt at the Exchange. Literally. She screamed while rounding the corner to handoff to me.
Then the run was all in my hands. Me, the last runner for our team. I picked this leg without looking at the routes or mileage. I LOVE crossing the finish line for races. It makes all the hardship of getting to the finish line disappear.
I should’ve looked at this leg before I picked it though. This leg goes up a mountain, zig zagging up it the entire time, for 7 miles before going through the town center and zig zagging down where the ski lifts are to the big orange finish line.
I prayed multiple times so that I wouldn’t fall off the side of the mountain. I was on the side and it could’ve happened at any time. I was tired, delirious, hungry and wondering why I agreed to run this crazy ass race. Why don’t I think before I leap into something like this?
I concentrated on not falling, on left foot right foot and I got to the side to let others pass me. I wasn’t going to mess with their times just so I didn’t get “killed” so many times. I just wanted to finish.
I finally managed to make it down the mountain, up the road, through the town center and down the ski lifts. There were all the teams, waiting on their runners so they gave me high fives and built bridges to run through and they yelled “Great job, way to finish!”
It was amazing to see my team in one piece and happy- happy we all survived, happy to be done. We took some pictures and did a team dinner. It was wonderful to get to speak with everyone and so cool to speak with Corrine from Van#1 because she’s from Germany so we chatted auf Deutsch. Her man speaks German too so we said a few words too.
I am so proud of my team for pushing through injuries and staying positive. We were all strangers (except Roger, to me at least) and yet we came together during this race and rallied around each other. It was amazing and I am so happy that I was a part of it.