Monday, September 1, 2014

Iron Mountain part I

Paul, Natasha, and me
 


I just wanted to sit down along side of the trail and weep. Well not really cry... I wasn't sad or anything. And I'm not sure my body could have even produced any tears. Maybe I wanted to feel sorry for myself. Or give in. "These hills will never end!" my mind would scream. I kept telling it to shut up. Literally out loud I'd repeat "shut up mind".  You will have your say later but right now you are an impediment to the task at hand. I need my body and spirit to be unfettered by this negativity.

But I could cry tears of joy now when I think of all the wonderful, wonderful people who spent hours and hours of their day at the numerous aid stations on the course. God Bless you all. Especially the group of young girls I passed by twice who yelled and screamed and cheered like mad whenever one of us fatigued, thirsty, nauseous, battle weary runners approached thru the dense forest. When I started cramping bad later in that little dreamy mountain top meadow I ate some of the trail mix you helped me to make and as if by divine magic the pain backed off and I could run again...

I kept looking for nymphs and flute boys up ahead on the trails... (which secretly amused me)

For the young man puking his guts out in the middle of the woods I hope you made it back in one piece...

It can be a cruel sport. Minutes later I ate some more food stashed in a pocket and sipped on water as I could still hear his remonstrances back down the nettlesome trail. I never found that 2nd salt tablet in any of my three pockets. Despite looking several times. But am grateful for the one I did swallow. And for the best freeze pop I've ever had in my life.

I briefly feared being attacked by a swarm of bees somewhere along the never ending climb up a fire service road 30 some miles in. Never saw a bee but I sure heard them back up the mountain. One big strange, buzzing drone.

I'd like to remember how I thought about oh so many people I'm blessed to know in this world of ours... but truth be told I really didn't much during the race. Mostly I concentrated on the next step. Or when the trail was less rocky, rooty, and down right rugged I worked out math equations in my head... time elapsed and distance to the next aid station... in conjunction with the time to beat the cutoff to finish. Or shared encouraging exchanges with fellow runners I met on the course (and oh the joy when the foursome of us finally got to the FS 90 aid station at mile 43).  But you were all with me in my heart. This is the type of journey one cannot do alone.

Maybe the most valuable lesson learned out there was delivered by a voice deep inside of me that kept whispering "keep moving forward."  Even if its just inches at a time.


Fans of mine at Cedar Cove