There were plenty of warnings from my now-ultra-runner brother that I chose not to heed. He told me to carry more water, and to carry more food. He warned me that we would be out for 3 or more hours and that this was a difficult (nay: ass-kicking) trail. But-- I am the older, wiser sister, am I not? Never mind that this brother of mine succeeded in quickly surpassing my athletic and intellectual abilities over the course of our lives together as siblings. Still, I chose to ignore his advice, carry only one measly water bottle, and no food. 5 hours into the run I was hurting. Every inch of my bones and every centimeter of muscle ached. I wanted to crawl. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be in a hammock. I wished for a raft or a hot air balloon to save me from my bad ideas. The previous night's Bison dinner was long gone, digested, burned up, ancient history. I was running on pure grit: creatinine, meatballs, rusty nails, salt. I was dehydrated and starving and we were out there... my connective tissue was sticking to itself like sand paper, and my brain was failing. This is because I am an idiot (a hungry and thirsty one) and I evidently need to learn my difficult lessons again and again. For me, its always the hard way.
Luckily, Faron's friend Chris, an amazing woman who paces accomplished ultra runners at Hardrock and Leadville and who has run the lion's share of hard ultras herself, was there for us, for me, and kept me alive with chocolate and water that she smartly carried the whole way. Luckily, my dear brother fed me Snickers bars and kept the carrot in front of my face with the promise of beer and salty foods waiting for us back in the van. While its easy to hate oneself for agreeing to run with more hardy and accomplished runners, this is how we advance. And without them, we wouldn't have someone to feed us chocolate when the dark times encroach.
Now, just 5 day later and I've managed to forget the searing pain. I ran Wildwood Trail in Portland's Forest Park on Tuesday, and today I ran the Cook's Ridge loop in Cape Perpetua with Ryan. Somehow, my legs still work. My bones aren't crumbling yet. And my appetite is greater than ever.
In case you aren't a runner, or don't understand why someone would do this to oneself, this little link should clear it up for you...