Monday, August 24, 2009
The Rain was still falling when we awake. We talked about how we woke up every couple of hours because it was just so bloody hot. We sat and talked about packing up camp or waiting for a bit to see if the weather would break, but in the end we figured with 10 miles ahead of us we'd be better of moving on sooner rather then later. We break camp and put on our pack covers for the first time. As Dustin hoists his pack i start laughing uncontrollably. His green pack cover and turned his overnight pack into a turtle shell which we dubbed for the rest of the trip as Donatello. I'm still giggling about his cover when we reach the Gorge 1/2 mile down the trail.
After a short jaunt up the trail from the gorge we reach a long road section. I'm sure it isn't too bad in the right conditions but with the rain pouring down the lack of tree cover wasn't welcome. The rolling stone lined roads and sprawling farms lands boosted my spirits a bit. I felt like i was in the heart of Vermont running the VT50 and/or the VT100. After a long climb we reached Silver Lake, a perfect spot for lunch, had it not been raining and humid. The trail soon turned from the familiar hard packed dirt to an old logging road. The rain was starting to break and we were both happy to be off the road and away from vehicles again. We marched on quietly until we were both startled to a halt by a turkey, who was equally as shocked to see us. As it crashed off into the brush we turned and caught our first glimpse of Child's Bog. With all of the rain we've gotten this summer the "bog" as it was described was filled to the brim and it looked almost more like a reservoir then anything. The trail passes to it's south below the dam, which gave us an amazingly perfect horizontal view straight across the water.
The sun, now fully exposed in a beautiful blue sky was heating up the woods. The trail still wet from the rain and the humidity in the air almost stifling at times. We talk about how great it's going to be when we get to Nelson(the small town that marks the half way point), and how hopefully they'll be a little convenience store there. As we come out of the woods we are greeted with another long stretch of back country road. As we march down this long dirt road i turn around for some random reason. I still couldn't tell you why. Back about 200' up the road a doe and two fauns march out of the woods and then back up the hill. Dustin looks at me like i had 2 heads. "how the hell did you know they were there?" Wish i knew, suppose it would be a good 6th sense to have if i was a hunter. At the bottom of the hill we reach pavement for the first time in two days. It means we had reached the small town of Nelson. A short jaunt up the asphalt, passed the ancient gazebo and we reached the town center, where we met two other hikers.
They must have overheard us talking as we walked over because one said, "nope, no store, i could have really gone for a coke too." I laugh and said that i was saying the same thing all morning. Tom and John were a couple of older guys that were heading southbound and on the third day of their thru-hike . With the 4 of us laying all of our gear over the mailboxes and parking stalls it must have looked like a yard sale to an untrained eye. As we eat lunch we get the scoop on what lies ahead and fill them in on the rest of their day. We are warned of the beaver pond crossing that is about mid calf deep and the exact words describing the rest was "rolling terrain." Sounds like a breeze right? We wish them safe travels and head out of town, after about 1/2 a mile we reached the pond. Dustin, took off his boots, as he had taken advantage of our lunch break and had dried out his boots to the best of his ability. My shoes were beyond drying so i marched right on thru and snapped a photo
With another 4 miles beyond the crossing and the guys saying "rolling terrain" we figured we'd be at camp in an hour tops. Be able to dry out the rest of our gear and enjoy the afternoon. Well, here's the thing, in one direction "rolling terrain" means what it sounds like, in another it means, long steady climb with a few short dips. We climbed for what seemed like an hour, with 50lbs of weight on your back, soaked shoes, and a water filled trail making ever step up seem like five. Then it hit us, a climb that dwarfed all of the climbs leading up to this point. A long dirt road that you couldn't even see the top of, looming in front of us. The sun beating down on this dry road as we consult the map. Yep, straight up it! and we've still got 2 miles to go. Dustin mumbles, "rolling terrain my ass," under his breath and we put our heads down and marched up. This thankfully was the last real climb of the afternoon. Once over the top we were on what seemed to be snowmobile trails right up to camp. And what a welcome sight that was, our hips and shoulders starting to feel the effects of two day and 20 miles of trail. With another shelter to ourselves we dumped our packs as fast as we could, set up shop and started hanging out whatever we could to get things dry. We spoke of how awesome tomorrow is going to be with the vistas, the blueberries and the non-official half way point of the trek behind us. Never mind the store that we knew was in Washington where we could get a taste of some food that didn't need boiling water. The site register had a Sodoku book and cards so we were able to entertain ourselves while our food cooked. I was curious why so many entries in the log book had mentioned critters until the sun went below the tree line. From what we could tell in the spots between the wall joists and the roof joists a few families of rodents had made home. It was a bit unnerving at first, but the munching and scurrying above your head soon became white noise. With no rain, and a clear sky we were treated to a fantastic nights rest. Good thing too, 14 miles, 3 summits and a lot of trail started first thing in the morning.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
This all started when I was informed that my buddy Dustin and his wife want to thru-hike the long trail next year when she gets out of college. After some discussions I determined that neither of them had really thought much about the actual details of said trip. i.e. gear, and the training required to take on a 30 day trek through the wilderness of our home state. After I suggested that they perhaps start smaller, i.e. the Greenway we laid out a plan and on Wednesday July 29th, it began.
As we chowed down our lunch at the intersection of the Dublin trail another hiker greeted us with a thick accent. Noticing our packs he commented, "you must be the two headed northbound on the greenway." After talking a bit with him he mentioned he had done it a few times and that he thought it was very underutilized. Fine by us, this was more of a journey away from people anyways. Dustin asked the guy if his accent was a New Zealand accent to which the guy prompted corrected to Australian. It made me laugh thinking about how Paul at the MMT 100 was so adamant about not being Australian and now this fellow was so adamant about not being New Zealand. Two counties separated by so little, with such a distaste for one another. We made our way down the Dublin trail with little effort, sliding and falling a few times, but with the sun beating us down the treeline was welcomed.
The fire road climb up to the Spiltior shelter was rough, the heat and humidity scorching down upon us. This summer here in NH being almost non-existent really hadn't acclimated either of us to this weather. We stopped and rested at the bottom of the hill and had to stop several times to dunk our heads in the rushing streams nearby. We joked about how we were sweating like "real men" should on a daily basis. The thing i noticed was that neither of us had gone to the bathroom yet today. With my history of not peeing during ultra's that couldn't have been a good sign, luckily today the hiking gods were on our side and neither of us had any dehydration symptoms. With the threat of an afternoon shower looming in the backs of our heads we pushed on fairly quickly to the shelter and arrived comfortably at 3:30. After looking at the map and reading the guidebook we see that there is a nice spot to pump fresh water from about a 1/4 of a mile down the trail. We shed our packs for the first time in 6-7 hours and laugh at how quickly we knock out the 1/4 a mile without them.
As we restocked our water you could feel the temperature shift, the storm we were warned of was closing in. We hustled back to camp, set up shop and started to cook our meals. As i scoped out a good branch to hang our food from Dustin worked on setting up his Jet Boil. What a surprise he had when melting plastic starting pouring down on the stump tabletop. Followed by a loud, "OH NO,....OH NOOOOO!" Apparently Step 11 of the instructions told you to remove the top AND BOTTOM plastic lids from the main pot. In his exhausted state, the bottom lid had slipped Dustin's mind and he had melted it almost instantly upon starting the stove. As the thunder approached we got our food all cooked and each took a shelter trail log and read for the next hour, sharing the ones that were the most hilarious and getting tips on what tomorrow section would bring from the prior southbound hikers. It's odd being out in the woods with no technology and living strictly by how you feel and what surrounds you. With the thunderstorms essentially blackening the sky and the rain pouring down confining us to the shelter we found ourselves crashed out by 5:30. The ping of the rain lulling us to sleep.
Off to The Crider Shelter tomorrow. Hopefully the rain breaks by morning.
Quotes of the day:
"Glisteny" & "Nom Nom Nom"
Friday, August 7, 2009
This has to be the hardest race report I have written. Something about trying to encapsulate a failed event was out of my comfort zone. But after staring at the reminder sticky note and looking at the lonely draft document for the last few months, here goes.
Rik, Loni, John and I drove down together to the Skyline resort early Friday morning. All packed into my Subaru with a trailer full of camping and ultra gear. The trip went smoothly through 6 states when we ran into a 2 mile traffic jam in Pennsylvania. A truck driver who had called ahead on his CB said it was a motorcycle accident. And when the ambulances were called off Rik exclaimed, “Well, must be a fatality, that’s the only time I’ve seen them call of ambulances before.” His logic was there, but the reminder that death was near wasn’t the most comforting. As the pack started moving again a fellow in a truck next to us had noticed one of the bearings on my trailer was about to bust. So we promptly pulled off the highway and accessed the damage. I had said the night before that I wanted all of my tools to do this if needed. Sadly the bearing had seized to the axel so Rik and Loni headed into town while John oversaw my work. When they returned with the bearing puller it took me all of 10 minutes and we were back on the highway, continuing our journey south.
They Massanutten skyline was impressive to say the least after the essentially zero elevation for the previous 6 hours of driving. The ranch was as described to me on the drive down, “Disney-ish.” The 4 of us grabbed our race packets, set up camp, and enjoyed a (at least for me) very apprehensive dinner.
I awoke to a miserable stench. It would have appeared that the sites they gave us were on top of a septic field of some sort. The smell was unbearable and the 3 of us hustled to get our gear together and up the hill to the start. Rik and I shuffle back and forth somewhere in the middle of the pack, while John was off chatting up a few of his ultra buddies. I watched the large ticker count slowly down to the 5:00:00 AM start. With a kiss from Loni and a brief, GO! We were off down the road. The first 2.4 miles are on rolling pavement until we get to the Buzzard Head Trail. Rik and I take it nice and easy on the small climbs and descents. At the trailhead I quickly filled up my water bottle with what tasted much like hose water from a hose that had been sitting out in the sun for a week. It was wretched, and the time I had lost filling my bottles with the wretched water let Rik get out of my sights on the single track climb. I run/hike for a bit with a woman from Canada that states “unless home renovation is training, I shouldn’t even be here.” I catch Carl at the first look out. Carl is a runner that I know from years and years ago at the VT100. I guess in the heat of the day Carl had a pack of lady horse washers wash him down to cool off, and in the process, got him the nickname that I’ve known him since, horseman. The views are amazing from the top of Buzzard. The sun was rising; it couldn’t have been a more peaceful beautiful spot. Through the fog you could see a stream way below. Little did I know, I would have to run through said stream 50 miles later in the race.
The rocky single track terrain turns into Jeep and then gravel access road which makes running seem possible again. Good thing because I glanced at my watch and I was WAY too close to the cut off this early in the race. I run for a bit with Terry from upstate New York. Now when John had ran this race last year he was near a guy that said “this sucks, that sucks.” I had overheard Terry utter the word “sucks” oh probably 10 times in the mile I was running with him. It was kind of funny. I pondered for the next few miles if it was the same guy.
I got into the aid station ahead of Rik. Apparently I had passed him a ½ a mile prior when he was on a pit stop. We were 19 min ahead of the cut off. Ditched our lights, topped off our waters and were off
The stretch from Shawl to Veach was a lot like the VT100. Miles and miles of rolling roads, very run-able, this was good, because the reaper was right behind us and it wasn’t even 9am yet. Rik and I run with Marty the Doctor from Cincinnati & Paul from New Zealand. They helped pass the time greatly as we ran the road. The best statement had to be from Paul who said, “Australia is a great place, except for the Australians.” We arrive at the ever famous Veach aid station 28 minutes ahead of the cut off and grab breakfast.
Leaving Veach we head back onto single track trail and climb to the top of the ridge. Pancake rolled into a burrito with egg inside in one hand, the same method of creation but with sausage in the other. I was starving! Rik asks Marty about tightness in chest, swelling, shortness of breath, and feeling of impending doom (symptoms of cardiac arrest.) Marty responds with “you’re at Massanutten!”
Once I worked the sausage out of my system I felt ok. A light mist had started to fall which brought the humidity down a bit as we climb to the next ridge. The views were again spectacular and I was enjoying the ride a now increasing 34 min ahead of cut off.
Milford to Habron stretch was a nice rocky ridge trail. We knock the section out quickly and roll into Habron. I pack my water bottles full of ice while Rik tells the former runners (twins I guess) that he’s brought the next of kin to sacrifice. The sun has come out and the temps are rising, I tell Rik we need to grab some watermelon and go! While Rik settles in running with Caroline, a woman that trains with Karl Camp, I run ahead at my own pace feeling good as if my body was finally waking up. I catch up with a Brian from North Carolina and we talk back and forth for a bit, which helped the miles tick by. The long decent that I was warned about at the last aid station was no joke. “A quad killer,” one runner said as he screamed past me.
At the trail head there was a flour 4 mile mark with an arrow. 4 miles of long rolling pastures on hard packed dirt road. This is the kind of terrain I dread. The sun out in full blaze now, the humidity rolling off of the fields was Vermont in july-esk as we continue to descend into the river valley. I’m getting hot, scorching hot; I stop to dunk my head into a fast flowing culvert. It works to drop my temps and I’m able to jog a good distance into the crewed aid where Loni awaits. I rebuild a bit, an icy boost, watermelon, some food, checking my supplies in my drop bag and wait on Rik. A couple volunteering commented on our Team Robert shirts that made me all smiles. Just the boost that I needed to get out of there, looking back it was just I needed for this next climb. Now with a 46 min cushion to the cut off
Habron to Roosevelt
Warned of the long climb ahead I have Loni pack a 3rd hand held water bottle and extra GU’s. The 9.5 stretch is the longest unaided section of the course.
Rik, now hurting in the heat is forced to stop many times along the 1-2 mile climb.
Trying to choke down cantaloupe he’s falling behind me. While I’m not a strong runner, I do pride myself on my ability to hike. For having just run/hike/walked 25 miles I was feeling fresh as a daisy and I was staying ahead of my hydration, salt, and food intake. Things for me were as right as rain (pun fully intended). I even got to pose for a few photographers out on the trail.
After 3 more increasing longer rest breaks we make it atop the ridge. I’m getting antsy, part of me wants to push on, part of me knows Rik is suffering and I need to be here to keep him moving. I believe someone mentioned 85* with 90% humidity at the previous aid and in the exposed sections of the ridge I didn’t doubt it in the least. I’d run ahead, find a rock, sit down. I was starting to force Rik to drink and take salt every 30 minutes if not sooner. He’d complain, I’d give him a hard time and actually took out salt tabs and held that in front of him. TAKE THESE!
Somewhere on the ridge a fellow from Oakridge Tennessee with the nickname “sticks” from his walking sticks came past us and said we better get moving if we’re going to make the next cut off. He wasn’t too far off either. Our gap was now under 20 minutes. I jogged ahead yelling back if we’re really close I’ll come back to get you. I officially checked in 12 minutes ahead of the cut off. The sky’s had opened up in the 5 minutes coming into Roosevelt and I was soaked and getting cold. After new socks, and a warmer shirt, some food in my belly I felt like I could take on the world. Rik on the other hand kind of slogged through the aid station without much said. I caught up with him a bit further down the trail, already soaked through again.
Roosevelt to Gap Creek 1
I’m not exactly sure where the title gap creek is derived from, but the next 2 miles of trails could have been IN Gap Creek as far as I was concerned. We weren’t making good time; my heart was starting to get out of it. We had long periods of silences. The neat part of this section was that we got to run through the section that had burned a few years back causing the course to change. We got to run through the scorched graveyard of the woods. You could still smell the smoke with each footstep. Once at the top I trotted ahead again. I snapped out of my funk and was picking flowers along the way as an attempt to distract my mind from what I was doing and how far behind we were, and as a nice gesture for poor Loni’s who had been trying to keep track of us for probably somewhere around 12 hours at this point. I cruise into the aid station, rebuild a bit, wait again for Rik, who slowly trots in and then plops down in the chair. Bad news as far as I was concerned. I tried my best to get him out of there, knowing full well how close we were. Hell the reaper was there watching his watch.
Rik warns me of the climb we have ahead. He’s already dreading it while I’m ignorantly blissful. No idea what lied ahead, no worries, I can hike I figured. Well between my hiking ability and the fact that I was still semi rested from having a bit longer at the aid stations then I’m used to helped me up and over Jawbone with only a few water breaks to catch my breath. Rik, on the other hand, wasn’t in as good of spirits. Feeling kind of defeated I encourage him to try to pick up the pace a bit. Along the ridge we catch up with Brian again. He’s in a rough spot himself so I try to encourage him to run with us for as long as he can. It was at about here where we came to a vista on the ridge. I looked back at both guys and said “hey guys, do you think it’s bad when you can see lightning BELOW you?” It was no joke; there, in the valley below, was a storm that Zeus himself would have been proud of. As the clouds start to roll over the ridge we start to pick up the pace hearing the thunder approaching. The lightning getting closer, the thunder cracks getting louder, we’re now running perhaps 8 min/miles which is a shear miracle at this stage of the race after what we’ve been running for the last 12 hours. The trail off of the ridge nowhere as close as we had hoped it would be. We smell sulfur, we duck our heads, now in full sprint, but seriously, what good would it have done us. We were on a treeless rock ridgeline sprinting through 1-4” deep puddles. I’d never run so fast, so hunched over, and still manage to stay on my feet. I’ve run in fear before, from coyotes, from lose dogs, etc. but never have I run that fast from what I figured could have been death. As the worst of the storm seemed to fade, we finally reached the trail off of the ridgeline. Murphy’s Law I’d suppose, but upon reaching the trail head and catching another runner, he said he had hail where he was. The runner mentions we’ve got 30 minutes to reach the Visitors center that’s 2.8 miles from where we were. Rik tells me to go ahead and he’s going to drop. I felt sick to my stomach. We came all of this way. I had stayed back to keep you moving and now you’re going to drop? Not get pulled because we were slow, but just throw in the towel. Part of me felt a little cheated. Part of me knew that his heart wasn’t there. Looking back I’m surprised he didn’t drop earlier. Well either way I knew that I was going to have to run some of this pavement if I was to make it to the center in time. I made it, with 12 minutes to spare. So either the runner had his time and distance wrong, or I had just run the fastest 3 miles of my life, 45 miles into an ultra. Perhaps the running gods saved us from a worse fate as our slowness saved us from what was described to me as ¼” hail at the aid station.
Visitors Center-Bird Nob-Picnic Area
I grab my jacket, headlamp, and whatever food I could cram into my pockets and prepared for another long climb. I meet up with another runner that says he’s doing this for the first time himself and his buddies are already long gone. And he was just going to go until he ran out of time. We say we’ll run together for a bit, just to keep each other company as the field has spread pretty thin by this point. Unfortunately for that plan, like my father, hiking was not his forte’. Combined with the fact that a few of his friends were heading down Bird Nob as we climbed slowed him to a crawl and he was out of my sights less than 5 minutes after we said we’d stick together. It was getting darker and darker. Had I gone the right way? No matter how bright your headlamp was, the rain coming down and the fog limited your visibility that even if you FELT like running, you really couldn’t without going off the trail. We get to a barrier, I can’t see any markings, and I don’t see any glow sticks. I think I’m sunk, water supplies dwindling, cold, wet, and lost, in the middle of nowhere. I get pissed at myself and figure I couldn’t have missed the turn and run down this road. I’m glad I did, through the fog I could make out a moving light and maybe 2 minutes after I started to run I found myself at the top of bird knob having a nice cup of chicken soup. There’s another runner in there. He’s hard to recognize all bundled up in the dark. But as he’s leaving I notice it was Marty the doctor. So I hustle out of the station and we run together for a bit. Sticking together for the rest of the climb down and into the Picnic area, laughing about how he could never convince his kids to do this. And here I was, pushing on without my dad, in the dark, alone, on unfamiliar terrain. With the power of both of our lights we’re able to get off of bird knob only falling a few times. Not too bad I figure, after the climb up I figured I’d fall at least a half a dozen times on the way down between the mud and rocks. As we see the Picnic area we thank one another for being there on the last crazy stretch, stating that if either of us were alone we’d have never made it as fast. This was good because once again, I had less than 20 minutes to the cut off. The aid station was a mad house, people scrambling around, crews packed under this pavilion, volunteers scattered. I wanted to change my clothes a bit but Rik warned me not to and if I needed anything special they’d see me again in a couple of miles at Route 211. I sadly agree only taking some chicken soup and push on.
Down the road, and back onto the trails it’s dark. I’m lonely, feeling depressed. I see a light in the distance behind me. I start to wonder how long it’ll take him or her to catch and pass me. Turns out that wasn’t my biggest concern. I hear water roaring ahead of me. I figure we must cross over a culvert. No such luck, it appears the trail goes right through. Perfect! I’m going to be washed away only 1 mile from a road and die. It was about as Eeyore as it could get. I reluctantly splashed through and tried to trot for a bit, desperately trying to stay warm. I start thinking about how good it’ll be to get that water bottle of red bull, my mp3 player and lube my butt in under a mile. That thought faded fast when I approached a second water crossing, a deeper, faster running, wider water crossing. If there was anyone without shouting distance they would have heard the loudest F bomb a young man could muster after 57 painful miles.
Rik and Loni wait for me at Route 211, they laugh about how the previous runners through were bitching about the water crossings. I concurred with everything that was said. I grab what I need and quickly hustle out of the aid station saying I’ll see them back at Gap Creek in no time. 5 minutes up the trail. F me, I didn’t re-lube. My stride had already deteriorated to what could be described as a Cowboy after a long days ride. Strike 1. Oh well, what can you do, I’ll just turn on my mp3 player and hope that distracts me enough to get the next 7 miles. Wow those songs looped back quickly, where are the rest of my songs? Oh perfect, that’s right, I had intended on updating the playlist and copying everything back onto here, but failed to do so. Yeah, 7 miles, so anywhere from 1-3 hours time, I had the grand total of 6 songs, which if played on loop 3 times over, took me a grand total of 25 minutes to get through. Strike 2.
The climb is wearing on, the old logging road wasn’t too bad on the feet, and then the slick side sloped single track I’m sure would be a ball in daylight and on fresh legs. I go to take a swing from the freshly packed ice and red bull water bottle. WTF is that flavor? It tastes like coffee. I examine the bottle with my headlamp, no that’s red bull colored, what the hell is going on. I can’t drink it. It’s awful, I tried to drink it for a half a mile or so hoping it was an acquired taste like alcohol, but alas I couldn’t stomach it, so I helplessly poured it out, figuring it wasn’t worth the weight on my belt. (Strike 3)[I later found out Loni had started to pour coffee into the bottle before realizing what she had done, and then just topped it off with red bull stating, “Well, I couldn’t taste the difference.”]
I was a broken man. Then I turned a corner and was like, oh great, another stream crossing. Actually no, the trail didn’t cross. It ran UP this bloody stream. IN THE MIDDLE! I slosh ahead, tunnel vision starting to wear on me. I started not to care about my feet being wet or being in the stream. I was too tired to even be pissed about not getting my red bull fix when I really needed it. I looked at my watch, looked ahead at the trail. I sat on a rock, I cried. There was no way I could make the cut off. And even if I did, could I even push on? Do I even want to push on? I got out of the stream and onto the road. The road that Gap Creek was on! I figured I might have a chance to make it if I could jog a bit. So I did, for a few feet, but the rash had debilitated me to hardly what one could describe as a trot. I started to hallucinate. I was seeing things just outside of the light cone. WHAT WAS THAT? I started to freak myself out a bit. Looking at my watch obsessively, wondering if I could make it, battling back and forth with my demons telling me to just sit down and give up.
I see light ahead. I look at my watch. I’VE MADE IT! Wait, no, that’s just a party, that’s not the aid station. SOB! My spirits sink again. I plod on. Looking at my watch, and looking ahead on this dark lonely dirt road. I see the timer tick over 2:15 am, still no sign of the aid. I know my race is over, I’m depressed, disappointed, I stop and sit on a rock along the road and put my head in my hands. After a minute or two I stand up and walk the rest of the way into the aid station. I got there a measly 9 minutes after the cut off. Which was the icing on the cake; I didn’t miss it by an hour, or get lost, or get injured. I missed the cut off by ONLY 9 minutes! I was disappointed in my crew for not getting me that red bull or getting me out of the stations faster. I was disappointed that dad dropped and I was going it alone. But most of all I was so disappointed at me. Why couldn’t I have run that last stretch of road, or not have stopped there to pee, or do this or that. When the volunteer said “are you ready for your night to be over and to be in a warm bed” it almost made me sick. I responded “no, but I don’t think I have a choice now do I,” and reluctantly handed over my bib number and sat silently by the fire. After about 5 minutes of pondering I joined Loni and Rik in the car and after checking up to see that John was still pushing on we went back to camp and to sleep.
John managed to survive the Stonewall division and collect another buckle to add to his collection. As for Team Robert, we went home with our tails between our legs, wondering what the future held and knowing that Peak was just a few weeks away.
From the race Director post race:
“Fifteen years is a long time to remember, so it's hard to rank this weather. There have probably been more violent storms, hotter and colder temperatures, and a wetter course. But we don't remember a prior occasion with the mix of these bad things all at the same time that we received this year.
One hundred and seventy-three runners braved this weather and 101 finished. It was the fourth highest attrition rate in the history of the event.”
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
"I too, at times, have felt great hate for those who have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It's like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times. "
"It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way."
"But...the other wolf... ah! The littlest thing will send him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all of the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing."
"Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather ?"
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."
Stay tuned for so many race reports that I've outlined but never finished, photos and stories that I've taken/experienced but never shared, and ideally, a strong return to the ultra-running community this September at Pisgah and the VT50!