Back at the Amee Farm for more madness. My spirits were low after my last two DNF's, and I didn't know if my ITB could handle a race of this magnitude. Like Dante, I was in the dark wood, assailed by beasts, and unable to find the straight path. Virgil was supposed to pace me, until he noticed the 13,000+ feet elevation gain. And then he was gone.
RD Andy Weinberg (left) lays down the law to a few soggy, glow-in-the-dark, all-height-categories-represented runners
We are off to a blurry start. Of course, the race began with a climb. I immediately jockeyed to last position with a slow and cautious walk. Leave the running to the skinny people, says I.
Besides, I have all the more time for photos if I am not moving at all.
There were some roads between heights. Is this what they would call a carriage road? Should I get my Barouche, or would a Jaunting car suffice? Perhaps I will avoid the whole mess and simply carry on with my penny-farthing bicycle.
"Oh, what's happening? What is it? I can't run anymore. I'm so sleepy. I have to rest for just a minute." -Dorothy, Wizard of Oz, in a field of poppies, poppies poppies!
One of many fine bridges in the race. I couldn't stop to take a photo of each and every one, since taking the camera out of its case burned precious blood sugar, of which I had far too little.
Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd. After this run, I felt like I had eaten Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast. Marmelade, I like marmelade...
On the flat parts, I believed I could fly, despite the obvious issues the laws of physics have with me remaining firmly attached to the ground. I state here and now as God is my witness, they will pay for this outrage.
A nice, little river in the woods. The sound of the stream sloshing surely is surreal. Wow, onomatopoeia and alliteration, all in one fell blow. Take that, stupid Freshman Composition professor. Didn't I tell you that you would rue the day?
Rocks, water, a bridge, the woods. These are a few of my favorite things (do-dooo-dum, do-dooo-dum).
Fine craftmanship. Sturdy, yet elegant. Functional, yet inspired. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 support beams.
More watery goodness. Alright, it is only about mile 13. I am ready to drop out. I am tired, and I just don't care if I finish this race or not. Next aid station, I am out.
Past that aid station. A cute girl jumped up and down while shouting my name after giving me a big hug. Curses. Foiled again.
CSI: Trail Patrol Unit. "It was just anudda day at the Trail Patrol precinct when dis dame walked inta my office. She had gams like ya read about and I could tell she was trouble. I like trouble." And then I woke up and realized I still had like 30 miles to go, all of them gam free. Crap.
I eat up precious minutes capturing nature. Now that I have it captured, I am holding it for ransom. Bring one million dollars in nickels to the corner of 22nd and broadway. Come alone. Carry it all in one bag. I don't even want the money, I just want to see you give it a try.
Sherpa John has a little fun with his trail marking along the dreaded Bloodroot mountain. I needed a laugh at this stage pretty badly. Thanks.
The smiley face makes everything ok.
Thankfully, I have reached the top of the mountain. I am ignoring the other mountain in the background 'cause I am all about denial.
There was a bit of mud here and there. I would have gotten more photos of it, but I was, as the poet said, "Hurtin' for certain". PS I thought the fallen tree on the right was a bear, and so it was. A bear made of wood, possibly escaped from Fangorn forest on Middle-Earth.
Dude, where's my foot?
I would have totally won this race if not for my need to obey the law.
These rocks are much bigger in person. I should know, since we had quite a lovely conversation.
Giant 'shrooms, man! Luckily, I was messed up plenty and had no need of them. Running brings it's own hallucinations. Illegal drugs make me laugh. They are for people who can't RUN!
The top of the final hill. I remembered this spot well from the snowshoe marathon. I also remembered the following 500 switchbacks to get back to the farm, especially since you keep running past the farm and then far away from it. Again and again and again.
The morning after. I honestly don't know how I finished that race. I wanted to drop at about mile 13. I was going to drop at mile 37. And 42. And 47. I blame the cute girl giving me hugs. Damn my masculine pride!
Although during the race I swore I would never run again, I am now stoked and confident for the Vermont 100. Of course, my finishing time of 16 hours, 10 minutes is nothing to brag about, but I think without the asinine 13,000+ feet of elevation gain I will not have to resort to the "death march" as much as I did here.
The farm on the morning after. The fog is pretty. I am ready to go home and perhaps take a shower, although I think first I will do some grocery shopping. Sure, I am caked in mud and smell like a military latrine, but some guys are like that all the time and they don't let it impede their living, man!
Keep? Throw away? The socks could easily be darned, if I had the slightest idea what darning is or how it is done. The sneakers have seen a thousand miles or so, so a quick rinse and back on the trails with them.
Victory! I was glad to see my Gang peeps also finish their races, and look forward to us getting together again at the Vermont 100.