The trail run is on. I have forgotten to mention that we are the Beauties and the Beasts team and each team has its own interesting name.
As the 4th runner on the team in the rotation, my first run is 3.1 miles and I have several hours to kill. So I do what I do best and that is look for more freebies to stash for my stockpile of energy drinks. Around 5:00 pm or so, I am off and out on the trail. This trail is the shortest but it is not easy. You go up single track hills and down single track hills and have a run through a wash. The trails are marked but somehow I am led astray. There are about four of us who are close together on the run as we come down a decline and head to a wash, the lead runner runs up the bank and on to a trail and we all follow. And we are now off course and half to backtrack once he realizes his mistake. With less then a mile to go, all three loops connect on a very difficult final half mile run to the exchange area. But I manage to make in a 9:54 pace for 3.11 miles. (Lanie has taken pictures of the typical trails)
I have completed my first loop and have handed off to Karen and I am ready for nightlife action in Camp Ragnar. So I go and check out the craft beer wagon. They have a choice of four craft beers on draft from places I have never heard of so I figure I should the stout and it was not so good. Karen finishes up and off goes Carolyn on her agreed upon 8.4 mile run. I go back and hangout at our campsite, much on a few of the many food items that Carolyn has brought and wait for the pasta feed.
We finally go to eat around 8:00 or so and we are turned away because we don’t have the mandatory tickets. I am not pleased and my temper rises to the top like somehow they would think that we drove all the way to McDowell Mountain just to eat pasta and a slab of bread. Ragnar staff had failed to supply us our food tickets but Lynn manages to obtain tickets for the team and finally we eat the pasta. While eating we are notified that Max has completed his run and is now at the first aid station after taking a tumble down a hill into a cactus and has a twisted ankle. Another setback for the Beauties and the Beasts team. Well Max says that he thinks he might be able to run but we will have to wait and see.
We head back to the camp for some rest but it is not much rest since the camp area is a beehive of activity with a buzzing sound of humans everywhere. My next run is scheduled to start around the estimated time of 12:15 a.m. or so and the moon has come up and it is beautiful but the temperature has plummeted.
I now head out on an adventure that I have no idea what it will bring. Immediately I become disoriented as leave the camp area and thinking that I have made a wrong turn I backtrack and walk around trying to determine where I’m going only to find out that I was on the right track all along. Off in the distance I can see some bobbing headlamps and I restart my journey. I run up this long climb and pass the only ones I see in front of me as most have already begun walking. I carry on and find myself all alone with nothing a head but an uneven trail. Eventually three elite runners pass me like I’m standing still (maybe I was standing still) and I am soon back to darkness. I have already caught myself from twisting my right ankle on three separate occasions as I stepped on to rocks that slid under my feet. I manage to get to the 4.9 mile water station and I fill up my bottle and continue on. What a beautiful run as the moon is up but I try to stay focused on my steps and my endurance. I haven’t run this far in 9 months and I am rapidly growing weary. A swift girl runs by me and tells me to keep up the good work and I can only laugh. Maybe it was a dream but that person is gone and I run through a mile long wash which wears me down but somehow I manage to finish in 11:31 mile pace and in at 2:00 a.m.
I am back in camp and there are bonfire type pits throwing out some heat and they have items for smores so I fix and eat three humongous helpings. Satisfied I head to the campsite to lay my weary body down in a sleeping bag. While laying there a hear this guy from another group lament his sad story about running and he states, “I can’t run 8.4 miles when I’m sober let alone drunk.” I can only smile. The worst is yet to come. Max wakes up and tells Carolyn he is unable to run as he has lots of pain, so Carolyn goes and runs another 8.4 miles in the darkness. Me I lay out and listen to the sounds of the evening–coyotes howling from far away and the constant sound of porta potty doors being slammed every few seconds. I have never heard anything like it. It is not musical it is awful. But I must have slept some as I am told that I snored on and off for a few hours. During my dreams I can hear the rock group Kansas singing “Carry On My Wayward Son”:
Though my eyes could see, I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think, I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I’m dreaming
I can hear them say
Carry on my wayward son
There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more
Kansas – Carry On My Wayward Son Lyrics | MetroLyrics Between Lynn and Carolyn it has been decided that Lynn will run a total of two more 8.4 loops to go along with her 3.1 run and Carolyn will do the 4.1+ mile loop to go with her two 8.4 mile loops. Lanie is going to run another 4.2 instead of her scheduled 3.1. Nicole and Cherise are going to tough it out. These poor girls have to be thinking what in the world did they get themselves into. Me I have my 4.1 to go and I am not looking forward to it. Lanie gets to see the sunrise and takes some nice pics while on her loop.
The sun is up and I head out in the mid morning hour and I manage to run the absolute toughest trail I have ever run. It has some severe inclines and I just breakdown and walk up as I can’t run up them. I am exhausted and I have to admit I walk. Even with the walk I complete the loop in an approximate 11:33 pace. I hand off to Karen and out she goes as photographed by Lanie. She heads out and Carolyn and I head back to pack up in preparation for the end.
Just writing about this journey has worn me out so the conclusion must wait.