I managed to pack a race's worth of gear in my subcompact car. This is what a hatchback is all about, my friends.
In case the 12 gallons of water in the coolers wasn't enough, I grabbed an extra six gallons and added in another 5 gallons of soda. No one goes thirsty on my watch.
The wildlife themed blanky made for an excellent tablecloth. I always buy too much food and then eat it all myself the next day so it doesn't go to waste. A foolproof plan.
Hydration Station. It's a temptation without cessation. No obligation during your visitation. Gives me palpitations in all it's permutations. Gives you motivation for your liquidation after perspiration. (For God's sake, someone stop me!).
The sign says "Beware the Chair." I sat down for two minutes after 45 miles and had to walk bow-legged for five minutes thereafter due to cramping of the quads. And hams. And calves. And everything. Beware, indeed.
What? There's more behind the water cooler? Oh yes, my son. Much more. Enough liquid to last a lifetime.
Boo! I'm a mascot! I'm Ghosty McGhost of the clan McGhost! Booooooo-yeah.
The race hasn't started and I've already accumulated a pile of garbage. That's just how it goes in today's highly packaged modern society.
I capture Michelle taking a pic while Buddy regales Norm with a tale from the good ole' days.
Michelle felt the need to take many pictures.
Perhaps she was admiring my sick bay photo. This photo has seen three races already and shows no sign of slowing down!
Laura adds to the growing pile of bags. If that is her tent, I have it. If it's not hers, whose is it? Answer: mine until claimed.
Chris, Keith and the boys sign up for the race. Actually, it wasn't really much of a sign-up. Just put a check next to your name. Entirely unecessary, since I would know who is running when they wrote their times after completing laps, yet I made an announcement at least three times to make sure everyone had checked in. I am a creature of habit.
Buddy gives me a questioning look while Jeff looks on casually. He should be in a magazine ad for something. His presence and pose make me want to buy something. How about you?
Eighteen runners ready to go. It's going to be epic! (Definition of epic: 1.An extended narrative poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of a deity or demigod (heroic epic) or other legendary or traditional hero). Yup, that's us all right.
"Umm. Well, I guess I talked so long that the race started a few minutes ago. Soooo, 3-2-1 go!"
My camera can never cope with the high speed of such athletes as these. Away they go in a blur, a frenzy of speed, a cavalcade of fastness.
Bye! Have fun storming the castle! Bon voyage! Don't forget to write!
At this point, I suddenly remembered that I was running this race as well. Crap.
In honor of a speedster who got horribly lost last year (making a 15 mile race in to a 21 mile race), I made up these signs. God bless you, Jimmie Cochran, wherever you are. (Probably lost somewhere...).
The first sign that this is the wrong way to go. I represented it by using the word I hear most often from my wife.
The second sign, again said often by my wife.
If you are still running in this direction, I wash my hands of all responsibilities, and highly encourage you to return to road running. Try for "Turkey Trots" or "Santa Runs" for best results.
The long, straight and somewhat narrow leading up to the Four Corners aid station.
John and Lise Bigl running the Four Corners aid station. Food, water, helpful friends, and medical supplies. What more could you possibly ask for?
One of the signs on the Milford section of the trail. I just like taking pictures, I guess.
The three leaders are cruising! Chris and Keith would tie for second in the 50k. They were like at mile 18 when I hit mile 4. I mean, honestly...
50k winner and local ultrarunner David ran all hills to cinch the win.
Still smiling, but for how long?
Our first ever international competitor.
100 mile winner Justin is all smiles at this point of the game.
Norm is the only person I know who has completed the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning (four 100 milers in under four months). He finished like a month ago and now he's running a 50k! He still hasn't had enough running.
First female and 75 mile finisher Laura is another local ultrarunner.
Michelle hams it up for the camera. As the day went on, she got hammier and hammier.
Smiling, but with some concerns.
The tunnel under route 101. What awesome timing that I could capture this photographic moment.
Jeff crowds another runner out of the picture entirely. He is known for that sort of thing.
Those two hikers look pretty lame next to an ultrarunner.
Constant motion is the key to staying warm. That, and good gloves.
A surprise aid station at the Milford DPW. I like surprises, even when I am the supposed race director and have no idea what is going on.
Chris and Keith were so fast that by the time I got the camera ready, they were already far, far away.
David is already sporting an awesome knee injury. He said it only needed five stitches, but from the look of things I think he is just being modest.
Blurry runner, backgroud in perfect focus. Maybe my professional photographer pal is right about "point-and-click" cameras.
"Wapack and Back" race director Norm coming down Scabbard Mill Brook road from our much dreaded half-mile on route 13. Pavement pounds quads into brutal submission.
This aid station gave me salmonella. Still, the price was right!
Justin is still happy. Actually, I never saw him unhappy, even when his headlamp didn't work and he was stumbling about in the dark. More on that later...
Thumbs up from our Canadian friend!
Laura is racking up the miles towards her win!
Just happy to be out here. Hey, it beats a day at work!
Michelle gets a little bit sillier than last time, but you ain't seen nothing yet, baby!
Sticking together to help the miles go by. That can either be blissful or agonizing, depending on the company. This seem to be the former.
Not feeling too good today. It's happened to all of us, brother!
Speeding along on the soft covering of wonderful leaves. Wonderful except when they hid rocks and roots, that is.
A lake. Water at its very finest.
One lap down, six to go (well, in theory). I vowed to take such a photo every time I returned here. So, naturally, this is the only such photo
Thumbs up as our two second place 50k finishers near the end of the line.
Walking from the aid station is a time-honored tradition.
Norm ran into another GAC'er. What are the odds?
Justin stops for a manly pose. He does it well.
No stopping for this speedster.
Or this one.
Michelle raises the bar yet again and is at her silliest yet. Can she outdo even this? We shall see!
Thumbs up, footloose, fancy-free, and stuff like that.
Droplets of rain in the stillness of this tranquil stream. Ahhh. I feel a Zen moment coming on.
Water bottles are full, and I hold up Justin again. He would have finished at least an hour sooner if I could have just tucked the camera away, but I am weak and selfish.
"I never have a crew so I have no race photos." Oh, really? That is an issue I would be more than happy to resolve!
Bringing out the trekking poles to navigate the rocks and roots.
This is way mad silly. Definitely her best yet, but is it her best ever?
Jeff is about to be run down like the dog he is. (Note: Jeff is not a dog, but that phrase is too good to pass up).
Justin enjoying some pavement. Exhaust, noise, bone-jarring asphalt. What could be better?
I went to check if I was getting a blister and found out that yes, I was. The only thing I could not figure out was why. (By the way, this is why I don't have nice things.)
As the afternoon passes by, the ghosts and jack-o-lanterns prepare to haunt the trail.
Scary, but it gets worse later on!
From the opposite direction. Maybe I shoud run more and shoot pics less, but I like to do both equally.
Buddy and Cindylou drained off a boggy section of trail with some impromptu engineering.
The scary ghost points the way. I was very lucky to get local spirits to volunteer at the race. That seance I attended sure paid off!
Even the pumpkin knows which way the race goes!
If she would slow down a bit, the camera could focus on her.
More pumpkin madness.
Another ghost points the way.
The Bigls have left after a good six hours out there. Now the Four Corners aid station is but five lonely bottles and first aid.
Michelle at her very silliest. I greatly regret I could not hold the camera steady. Must've been guffawing again.
Jeff decides a quick walk break is justified since he will end up being out there for over 26 hours.
Man, it sure is getting dark around here. Uh oh. I forgot that the sun sets early these days. It's going to be a long night...
A moody composition encompassing nightfall and the tube under route 101. What horror may lurk therein? Nothing as horrible as I, to be sure.
Justin stumbled around in the dark until he saw me coming. "Can I use your light to change my batteries" he asked. I think if I said "no" he would have said "no problem" and kept stumbling on. Good thing for him that I am not a total jerk.
A headlamp sighting. Who would have thought that taking a pic in the pitch dark without a flash would come out so poorly?
The reaper comes for thee!
This is what the reaper looked like with a headlamp. I admit to jumping and letting out a scream. I will not admit that it was a scream like a terrified schoolgirl. Nope. No admitting around here.
Ghost in the dark leads me onwards, towards the realm of the damned.
My shutter doesn't always open.
I take a well-focused pic of the jack-o-lantern with a tea light inside. Buddy gave me a lighter and I lit them as I went. Spend quite a while doing it, but it was totally worth it.
Another non-blurry pic.
The arrow pumpkins were particularly cool.
But this guy was my favorite. I imagine him saying "Ahhhhhhhh." What does he say to you?
Had to get a bright photo of him.
And another one in the dark. This is why these races take me so long to finish.
This one makes me dizzy.
Better, but I think after 50 miles of running I lacked the ability to keep my limbs from shaking.
Two pumpkins facing in opposing directions at the power lines, reminiscent of the Roman god Janus, god of gates, doors, portals and thresholds (not a powerful guy, as far as gods go).
What a thrill to see these guys while running in the night!
Jack Pumpkinhead is here for us in our time of need.
Glowlights in the tunnel, and the end of the race pics. Thanks for stopping by, and we'll see you again next year!