EPIC DAY 4 / THE LONG MARCH AWAITS
June 14, 2012
What a rollercoaster. I could write an entire essay on todays action if I had a little more time. But here goes my 15 mins. We started Leg 4 with a very steep climb to Shiptons Arch. I was wrong yesterdays camp was at 7500 so we got north of 8000ft on the climb. Altitude again made it difficult to sleep last night. Knowing we had a long day in front of us we paced ourselves appropriately. And I must say it was magnificient. I was so blown away by the view I didnt care how much time I wasted taking photos. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Hope it doesnt become an overly commercialized tourist destination in a few years.
After descending out of the canyon the race was on. And it was a monster. For the next six miles all we did was climb and descend steep ridges and lengthy mountain passes. Again the terrain was very steep, very technical and the footing was awful. I fell time and time again. Often on my rear, many times on my shoulder and a few times face first. As did many of the other competitors I saw out there. On the way up your feet would slide out from under you and you were on all fours. On the way down you simply couldnt keep your footing so you just slid down many of the declines on your bum. That is if you didnt trip or stub your toe first. Must say those nice leisurely 20 mile training runs around the Charles in Boston are useless out here. Physically Ive taken quite a beating in this race. Maybe not quite as bad as Australia but close. The coolest part of the course was runnning several ridgelines that couldnt be more than 1.5 or 2 feet wide with severe dropoffs on each side. Scary and happy to have not taken a major plunge. But the vistas overlooking the valleys, towns and mountains in the distance were fantastic. Felt almost like running in the clouds.
Around mile 7 about two miles from the checkpoint I took a bad step and rolled my left ankle hard. I immediately went to the ground in pain. I sat there with my shoe off for about five minutes trying to shake it off and got very upset in the process as fellow competitors passed me. I got back up and started limping on one foot while I shouted obscenities into the air. I thought my race could be over at that point. When I finally made it to CP2 I was furious. I demanded 800mg of IBs immediately and then very bluntly told the volunteers to get me fired up at all costs. Tell me how big a wimp I was being, etc. They even gave me a couple blows to the chest. It was comical. But it also got me going again. By the time I left that checkpoint the adrenaline was flowing full force and I was running with anger. The pain in the ankle slowly started subsiding. Partially from the drugs but mostly from the adrenaline rush. If your reading Eichhorn it was kind of like our Yardsale moment.
The next 7 miles I went on a terror flying past four competitors like they were standing still. We had a long slow descent through a riverbed till the next checkpoint and finally had some runable terrain. I made the most of it cranking on pure adrenaline with goosebumps on my arms and and no thoughts in my head. Just pure flow. The legs felt like they did day 1 again. That 45 minute stretch might end up being the highlight of this race for me. Every once in a while you get in one of those zones where you feel invincible and its a special feeling. I barreled into CP3 on top of the world.
Unfortunately that ended quickly as we had about 10 river crossing immediately after. The water was ice cold and by the time I got through them the legs felt like bricks again and I came off that high. The last seven miles were a slug and I started getting a little delirious and dehydrated out there. I swear I saw two snakes but then realized one was a hose and one was a curled stick. Ended up finishing the day in 7th place to go with a 3rd, 6th and 8th. Gotta say Im very happy with the way things have gone so far...especially considering my lack of altitude training and technical running skills.
On the lighter side its getting pretty filthy around camp. Our tent smells like a combination of B.O., canned salmon, parmesian cheese and muscle rub. Its not pretty. Ive been in the same clothes all week and just feel gross. Funniest moment of the week so far happened this morning when my tentmate Jeff got up and in his morning daze grabbed his hanging compression shorts and left the tent to put them on. When he returned he immediately commented on how nice and comfortable they felt. Then we realized they were Sarah Lords shorts. She was mortified having to put them on after Jeff worked em in. Cant stress just how nasty that is. Another day in the desert.
Now that were through the worst of the technical stuff Im pumped. Tomorrow is the long stage. Its approximately 50 miles and mostly flat which should help the runners not the climbers. My goal for tonight...get the ankle taped, eat as much food as I can, take as many IBs as I can, avoid renal failure and go out tomorrow and put up an effort that I can be proud of looking back 10 years from now.
Mary/Jamie/Dianne and all MAGIC Families - cant thank you enough for all the support and the personal stories. Helps so much to hear from you. There will be a story posted on the RTP site under features on the MAGIC Foundation in the next day.
Horvath - well said brother. Thx for the shot. Send my best to the fam and tell Luci I said hi!
Pops - great sports update. I was in serious need. Always come through in the clutch.
Ford - If something happens tomorrow...remember...he would have wanted it this way....
Steveo/Maxine - glad things are cranking in upstate...looking forward to my trip west end of the month
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