May 292012

by Valerie Abradi –

Peaks 50 Miler – The Beginning

There has been a blank page staring at me for quite some time now.  Instead of writing, I get lost in my head thinking about the race, the epic adventure, the experience.  Yesterday was Erin/Blaine’s Jack-n-Jill for BGSC.  There was a pre-shower run fatass-style.  Dave, Mindy and I set out together a few minutes after the others.  Dave asked if we minded if he asked a few things about (or was it shared a few things about) Peaks.  I think Mindy and I nearly shouted in unison.  Please talk.  We all found that that’s what we’d been craving all week.  We wanted to talk about each part, relive it, share the other person’s living of it, not let it be done.  So it’s funny that I can’t seem to get started.

I’m going to refer you to Mindy’s Race Report, Chapter One for a pre-race account.  It’s the only part I’ve read so far so that it wouldn’t influence my account.  I thought that would make me get mine done sooner cause I’ve bee craving to read all the reports.  At least that’ll help me just dive in….

I managed to sleep some the night before.  Still, I was awake before the alarm.  It was a brisk morning, but the day was expected to be hot.  So, I planned to start out in my shorts and TM tee, but pair it with my sleeves and some gloves.  I don’t think I’ve said before how much I love my sleeves.  Rick gave them to me for Xmas.  I found them to be just the thing for days like this when with a cold start, but warming up quickly.  They are also good when you can’t decided between a heavy shirt or just a long sleeve shirt.  I’ve worn them several times under my long sleeves.

It was so great to meet up with all the TMs in the race parking lot – so much Monster strength and comaraderie 😀

Scout and Squirrel.  Ready.


Team Jeremy Arriving


The Amazing Alison


Zak and gIANt


Dave, ready to rock out his first 50


Peaking Trail Monsters

After some rambling pre-race instructions, we made our way to the start.  The hundred milers stayed on the farm side, while us 50 milers crossed the road for our first 40 miles.  I think Mindy and I were somewhere in the middle of the pack.  The course lead immediately up a hill lined with two pastures of highland cows.  Most runners took it easy heading up, just warming up after all.

The highland cows made me think of our Animal Loop

As we made our way through some fields, Mindy said something about feeling like we should hold back a bit, save ourselves for what was coming.  I’m glad she was there (of course!) to remind me.  I hate being in the crowd (yes, 70+ runners can feel like a crowd) and often just run faster to get past people, especially people that annoy me.  So, I pulled back a bit, but then couldn’t take the sloshy guy and ran a little harder.  I’m not sure exactly how far in, maybe 2 to 3 miles, I told Mindy I had to pee.  I was amazed by how many people we were ahead of.  Oh well, we reeled some back in.  I was started talking to this one woman about her hydration pack; I’d never seen one like it before.  It looked pretty streamlined, but like it didn’t hold much.  She said it only held 1.5 liters, but she didn’t want to slosh like, yup sloshy guy.  He was her boyfriend and just ahead.  I asked if he knew how to take the head space out.  I thought maybe I could help us all.  They were very nice, but I was glad to put some distance between us again.

Now and again, Mindy or I would say to the other look where we’re running!  What a beautiful state!  The first 8ish miles were through beautiful fields and on some dirt roads.





Then we headed off on the first hint of what was to come.  On the way out to what was a little out and back just to go up a hill and bushwack a bit, we crossed paths with Ian and Zak heading back.  It was such a fun boost.  Then came Chuck.  Part way up the hill we whooped as Dave came down, but I missed the photo op cause the Squirrel and I had our packs off to get our first food of the day.  It was also here that I lost my gloves, literally.

Go guys!


Big smile


The hill got steep and steeper.  It was long, but, again, just a hint of what was to come.  At the top of the climb, there was a short stretch of bushwacking.  It was kinda of fun, but a bit contrived.  Scout and Squirrel had done real bushwacking on the way to Triffittville.  Here, there was no chance of going astray; the long pick ribbons were plentiful.  It was just about pushing through.


Back down, we decided to add some water to our packs at the “aid station”, really two jugs of water.  It wasn’t at the mileage it was supposed to be.  We were pretty sure we’d be fine till the next aid station, but we didn’t know if we could count on it being there.  Talking to each other, two guys butted in telling us that you couldn’t expect the mileage to be exact, blah, blah, blah.  It wasn’t the last we’d see of those guys.

It wasn’t long before we were back on a dirt road headed to the Abba aid station.  A vehicle comes along side with a very welcomed sight; Francesca was looking for kisses.

Mindy and Francesca

About a mile later Alison and Francesca run us into the aid station where Rick and Pete are ready to take care of us.  We don’t require much at this point and are quickly off.  I guess this will have to be my first installment.  It’s past my bedtime.

Peaks 50 – Before Bloodroot

We were talking away heading out of the Abba aid station (dubbed so because of their penchant for blasting Abba tunes, though we did hear some Barry Manilow at one stop…I know!  Not my idea of aid, but other than that, they did a bang up job).  We had 13ish miles under our belt and felt pretty damn good.  Look at that stream, bet there’s lots of trout.  Pete would love that.  He’s so good at spotting the trout.  Look at where we get to run…yadda, yadda.  And then we see Ian and Zak again!  We got pumped all over again.  There id a slight little melancholy when we realized that would be the last of our sightings.  I looked at my Garmin to remember that it was at 13.8 that we saw them.

Feeling the TM energy

Very soon there after, the gradual up of the dirt road became a trail going more steeply up.  Oh, look.  We are gaining on Sloshy Guy and Girlfriend.  Did I forget to mention I made another pit stop where they had evidently gone by?  Sloshy Guy was really just Amazingly Noisy Guy.  I realized he didn’t just slosh, but also rattled.  I noticed one of his pockets of his hydration pack had what looked to be marbles in it.  I really wanted to ask what the hell he was carrying, but I’m sure I annoy other people in ways I don’t have a clue about.  Still, his marbles were gonna make me lose mine!  This was where we first started to get into real mud.  I was kind of expecting mud because of the inches of rain the week before, but had been fooled into thinking the course was dry.  Evidently the course had been much dryer last year; the Sloshies had run it then.  Of course the 50 had been separate from the other Ultras and held in June last year.  Ms Sloshy seemed not to enjoy mud so we picked her off.  It took slightly longer to pass Mr. Sloshy, but he regaled us with a marvelous rendition of “Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud” as we passed and added distance.   Really, they were a fine couple.  They were ultra runners from Toronto.  He owned a Portuguese Water Dog who picked out his gaitors.  All things I would normally approve of except for his noise issues.  That was the last we would see of them.

So, now there would be mud. Again, this was really just a hint of what was to come on the Bloodroot Loop.  We had another pretty impressive climb here and one small stretch where you actually had to pay attention to know just where the trail went.  Fun!  When the down hill started, I had to pull off and pee again.  I mentioned to Mindy that was 3 for me 0 for her.  Was she remembering to hydrate?  I think the answer was yes.  And, to be perfectly frank, those stats are probably pretty normal for our runs.

Yes!  Back to the dirt road.  Now it’d be slightly down all the way to Abba.  We were greeted by hi-fives and offers of beer and queries as to what we needed.  Thanks, but our crew was ready with all we needed.

18.75 down!

So, what do we need?  I think Mindy changed socks and shoes.  I changed a sock.  It had so much mud inside that I had probably 1/8 in. thick build up on the ball of my right foot.  I stuck with the Inov8 295s.  Pete questioned Mindy as to her fluid intake.  I tattled.  Emma noticed how little was gone from the Nathan Pack’s bladder.  Remember to drink at least a few sips after every mile.  Rick gave me a pbj, tied my shoes, and applied sunscreen.  Food?  I think I had a pbj.  That was about all I’d eaten beside a granola bar earlier.  Oh!  And some sea-salted dark chocolate covered almonds.  I decided I didn’t really like either of them during events.  I think they required too much to wash them down.  What did Mindy have?  Guess we’ll have to cross check her account 🙂  We learned that Chuck dropped.  I don’t know if it was the beer that enticed him or Alison’s offer of a ride.  Actually, I guess he hadn’t planned on the entire run and it was a convenient time to end.  I mentioned that a beer sounded good.  Emma said she had one for me.  Um, nah.  She offered again.  This time I said, yes, but for the next time we came through (approx. 19 miles later…or so we were told.  Distances were not what they were advertised as).

The guys gave us a good send off and we headed off into the meat of the course.  It was all we expected and much, much, much more.

Peaks 50 – Bloodroot Pre-Jurasic Park

I forgot to mention that I allowed Rick to spray me with bug repellent.  I specifically bought scentless cause, not only do I not like bug repellent, I’m super smell sensitive.  Our little taste of what the black flies were going to be made me relent.

We were in good spirits heading out.  It was a little disconcerting that we seemed to head steadily down for a good bit (looking at the garmin, it was actually about 1/2 mile down).  We knew that the climbs were to come and all that down meant that much more up.  I think I complained a bit about the scent of the scentless bug repellent.  Yeah, I’d forget about that quick enough when the climb started, but right then it was annoying.  Mindy had her cheat sheet of with inspirational quotes for us on one side and the supposed elevation profile with (hah!) the locations of the aid stations.  We pretty much knew the aid station locations couldn’t be trusted.  The location of the climbs couldn’t be trusted.  That there were hellaciously steep hills, um, yeah, confirmed.  The first climb seemed pretty steep and long, but. when it ended, we came to the longest, and steepest.  Holy. Holy. Holy shit!  Walking, my heart rate was probably uncountable.  When we had to stop for a sec, I waited for a rock cropping or something like it to have a place to stand without feeling like I was going to fall down the mountain.  Then came the down; Shit. Shit. Shit.  So steep that I couldn’t run???  It was hard to stay in control.  At the end of the very steepest down, Mindy’s stomach felt unsettled.  She wondered if it was the jostling of the down.  I know my abs started hurting.  They were being called into use more than on any previous run.

Somewhere in there, I’m not sure where, Mindy said she wasn’t feeling it or something to that effect.  Maybe she was struggling.  I didn’t mean to discount it, but I told her that she was fine.  That’s what you do.  You have a tough stretch in the middle somewhere and then you just keep getting stronger.  We’ve run so much, that I was sure of it.  I hope that she was able to say, “I just get stronger”, not, “she totally just blew my situation off.”  I do know that she really did take Emma’s instruction to heart; she was drinking frequently.  When we got to the couple jugs of water just stashed somewhere in the woods (yeah, that’s an aid station), I was surprised that she was lower on fluids than me.  We wondered how much we should allow ourselves to take.  How many people were behind us?  How much was our fair share?


I’m not sure where in all this that the mud started.  It seems like every time there was runnable ground, the mud said, “No!”  It was widespread, deep, and wanted to suck off shoes.  There was another problem; when one wasn’t running, whether it be from uphill, downhill, or mud, the black flies were flying directly into your eyes, ears, nose and mouth.  Or just biting.  So, I had a scent AND I had bugs.  It was hard to get them out of your eye and keep moving, but keeping moving was what we did.  It might not have been fast, but we moved.

It was in a long stretch of mud that we came up on a pair of runners.  They really tried to ignore us.  I think they were very into paying attention to each other.  Each time I thought we were going to overtake them, they’d run a bit to stay ahead.  Finally, the mud gave way to another hill and we passed them.  That was the last we’d see them.

It wasn’t the last runner we’d overtake.  We came across Superman.  He had on compression shorts with what looked like a Superman boxer brief (I just googled men’s underwear to see what they called that style (cut?)).  We passed him and, I thought, put some distance between us.  Then we were joined by Superman again.  I was slightly ahead.  He was closer to the Squirrel.  He was definitely struggling, but stayed with us for a while.  I don’t remember if it was a hill that finally put some distance between us, but Mindy just about rejoiced.  She said he grunting and groaning was really getting to her.

We came to the (what was supposed to be)31 mile aid station.  The guys were great.  They offered so many things.  I took some coke.  Mindy discovered the Oreos and declaired them brilliant.  She convinced me to try them.  First I had to squeeze some filling out of them.  I’m not a double-stuffed fan.  In fact, I don’t usually take PBJs from aid stations cause they fill them too much.  Shit.  I’m fussy.  Mindy didn’t have any Nuun tablets.  I offered mine.  I only had Cola-flavored (I’m quite found of the flat, salty cola taste).  Mindy’s not a fan, but decided the electrolytes were more important than the flavor (later, just before returning to Abba) she’d ask if I’d be insulted if she dumped it.  They asked if we wanted PBJ, but we wanted to get going.  They offered one in a baggy.  Mindy took them up on it.  Hmmmm….Maybe this was where my stomach initially started having issues. Just before we pulled out, Superman came in.  Turns out his wife and kid were waiting.  She asked how he was feeling (doing?).  The response was, “terrible”.  I felt bad for him, but it was kind of ironic that he had declared himself Superman.  We were glad to get a good jump on him.

We kept wondering about hitting “Jurasic Park”.  The Dude (aka race director Andy) had promised a stretch that would make us think we were in J.P.  There’d be boulders as big as barns, huge flying creatures sweeping through, and flora that just said Jurasic Park.

Peaks 50 – Bloodroot Done

We head out from here at a pretty good clip.  There were some stretches of gentle up (probably would have described it differently pre-Peaks) and even some down all without mud.  It felt good to be able to have a longer stretch at a good pace.  We were wondering when we’d turn off onto the expected single track and the jungle(?) of Jurassic Park.  I think we passed some more people along here.  We’d done a little leap-frogging with the annoying guys we’d met at the first aid station (jug of water) that we’d deemed, um, annoying.  They made some attempts of humor with pickup lines.  My favorite was before the 31 mile aid station they were sort of complaining about it not being where it was supposed to.  Ha!  just 25 miles ago they were telling us how all the distances were just estimates and it wasn’t really important.  Hmmmm!

Finally, we found what was supposed to be the replica of J.P.  I am good at playing doodles, seeing things in clouds, picking out various animals in the patterns in our paneling, so I used my imagination a bit.  Well, those rocks are big (not barn-sized) and, if it were mid-June (when the race was previously held), the ferns would have been really big and green…but…There were definitely no big flying creatures.  Still, it was a beautiful stretch of a different ecosystem then on the other stretches.  Then we came to the next climb.  Well, this wasn’t different.  It just kept going up.  Being in the front and much taller than the Squirrel, I’d see the what we thought was the end turn into the next up first.  She’d know from my groan or language not to expect the peak.  Then I turned to say something.  Wow!  There was a spectacular view of a lake.


Then I turned to take the picture of our climb.  Mindy and I kinda laughed wondering if it would capture the steepness.  Nope.  But, no matter, the next turn revealed steeper that I didn’t even think to take the camera out on.  Oh, I guess there was the time I said to Mindy I was getting lightheaded.  She said lets stop a minute.  We weren’t stopped even that long.  I really didn’t feel comfortable standing on the steepness.  The end of the climb was almost immediately a down. I think it was here that we were passed by a guy.  He could run downs better.  At the bottom, I complained of my stomach.  Mindy thought it might have been the jostling down the hill.  No matter, it was time to run.  We found some speed again, thinking the we must be nearing Abba.  At 37 miles in we wondered how far till we actually arrived.  We wanted shoe changes, Nuun, and to have the guys greet us and to just be done with Bloodroot.  I felt my stomach getting unhappier, but was able to keep it in the background.  Oh!  Is that the sound of the road???  No.  Probably the river.  Then Mindy pointed out what sounded like traffic.  I was sure.  We thought we were almost there.  Wait.  The road the aid station was on would consider 3 cars an hour a lot of traffic.  Another river.  Finally we saw signs!!!  On the hill back up we saw Rick. Yay!!!!!

I plopped right into the chair.  Rick asked what I needed.  I think we tackled the shoe change first.  It took a bit of scraping to get the mud buildup off the soles of my feet.  Dry socks, mmmmm.  My old Inov8s went on a little snugly, by they felt dry and comforting.  Mindy hit the port-a-potty then did the shoe change thing too.  Next, food.  I tried to eat a PBJ.   Ugh.  My stomach was not having it.  Oh did I mention that we’d bought the peanut butter, jelly, and bread in the general store in town.  I don’t know if I didn’t look closely or if it was the only choice, but I’d gotten raspberry jam that had seeds.  Normally I get the seedless.  Every time I’d take a bite, I was sure someone let my sandwich touch the ground.  It had dirt in it.  Then there’d be the realization that it was seeds, but yuck.  OK, what does my stomach think it can keep in?  Coke tasted good.  I did drank about a 1/2 can.  My beer that Emma left me!  I drank about 1/2 of that.  Mindy replaced the cola-flavored Nuun with what see brought.  We both put various trail munchies into our packs.

It was time to get moving.  Oh, I also ditched my garmin for Rick’s to make sure we’d have one that didn’t die.  We were at right around 40.xx miles.  Now was the dirt road back to town and then a little teeny strip of paved back to the farm where we started.  Oh, those two wild and crazy guys ran by us.  I think that was all we’d see of them at least.  Then I needed to find a place in the bushes.  Figured, all the time in the real woods, just left a place with a port-a-potty and I have to go roadside.  I felt slightly better.

This is a good break spot.  Just some random things from Bloodroot that I didn’t include and really have no idea where to add it in so…Scout and Squirrel have logged lots of miles together.  Yet there are some things that have never happened.  Somewhere in Bloodroot, I announced to Mindy that I was going to fart.  And I did.  In fact, later I told her about an article I’d seen in some magazine about trail running.  They gave some terminology.  One was walkie-talkie.  It was defined as when one farts with each step.  Well….there was some walkie-talking going on.  Yikes!   Another thing was Mindy’s inspirational quote list.  We’d drag a few out here and there, but we added a great one that helped us several times.  I don’t think we’ll be putting it on paper and laminating it because it’s slightly mean.  Oh, and the Squirrel did exactly as I knew she would.  She got through her rough spot and was just gaining in strength as we went on.  I told her I see a 100 in her future.

Peaks 50 – the Last Miles

We came into the farm.  Immediately we were greeted by Team Crux:  Alison, Jeff, and Francesca.  We visited a bit, getting the scoop on Jeremy’s progress.  Alison tended to us.  Mindy and I both were treated to ice.  I put a huge chunk under my hat.  Ahhhh.  We thought the guys would be there already.  We needed our headlamps, just in case.  I think we both hoped to be done before dark.  It was so nice chatting, but we were almost ready to just go without them.  Alison produced a headlamp.  It was Emma’s.  She’d left it since I forgot one???  I didn’t forget one, but one headlamp was better than none.  I took it and we prepared to head out.  Just then we saw the guys heading in from the parking lot.  Phew!  We stuffed our lamps in our packs while Alison wiped our wrists and necks with a damp wipe.  I think I purred.  Mmmmm.   As we headed out, she told me to run with gratitude.  I was thankful for so much.  What great treatment!

We crossed a makeshift bridge to easily runnable trail.  I sort of regretted the order I wore my shoes.  This side was a bit more rooty and slippery.  While I thought my old shoes would feel better at the end, their 2000ish-mile soles were not the best for the trail.  A couple of miles in, we hit some mud.  The Squirrel thought it was only right the 100+ Ultra people got to play in the mud, too.  Then the climb started.  The trail reminded me of the Brad more.  Nice.  The climb started, but it was switch backs.  Scout and Squirrel we feeling a little smug.  This side was easy.  I’m shaking my head right now at the us that was.  The switchback turned into another long, long steep straight up the mountain stretch.  Wow.  I’m not sure where the nasty, near-the-edge-of-a-steep drop trail was.  It was mixed in somewhere.  I had to focus on the inside of the trail to not notice.


Meanwhile, I was feeling worse, stomach-wise, a lot worse.  A few times I told Mindy I had to walk.  I started having some dry heaves.  Ugh.  There was a shack at the top of the long climb.  It had some stuff inside.  We couldn’t decide if it was the aid station or if it was some runners’ drop bags.  At some point, I took out a Honey Stinger Waffle.  Though I was feeling sick, I was starving.  As soon as I took one bite, it was over. More heaves.  I caused us to walk when we shouldn’t have.  I couldn’t even think of running.  Every time I looked at the wafer, there would be more dry heaves.  I think if I had anything in my stomach, the heaving would have been the real deal.  I could tell Mindy was still feeling strong.  The way I felt, I thought I was going to have to walk the rest of the way back.  I hated that.  More, I hated that I was holding Mindy back.  Finally, I told her I wanted her to just go.  It took a bit of convincing, but I was adamant.  I felt bad enough without that guilt.


As she ran off, I wondered how long I’d be out there.  I looked at the waffle and faux-hurled again.  After a few hundred feet, I decided to ditch the waffle.  Instead, I just started sucking on the hydration pack.  It wasn’t too long before I realized I was feeling better.  More fluids.  I started running.  I could run fairly fast.  Shit.  Why didn’t I recognize dehydration?  More drinking, more running.  Then there was the Squirrel!!!  I caught her in mid-squat.  Oops.  Just a peein’.  I think she cheered or something.  I kept running by to give her some privacy.  Then it was Scout and Squirrel!  Yay!!!  And we were both running strong 😀

Somewhere on the mountain, we passed another person.  He looked down.  We were not.  We speculated on how long till we met up with the guys.  We’d asked them to meet us with 3 miles to go.  We had no idea how long this course really was.  Besides, how would the guys know when to head out?  Rick and Pete had offered to run the last 10 with us.  Both Mindy and I decided we’d rather have them greet us with a few miles to go.  Not the same switchbacks as up, but we found ourselves on very, very runnable down.  We heard voices.  The guys!  Amazingly, Pete’s GPS said 3 miles just when we met up.  Rick said he was so happy to see us running.  They didn’t have any idea what shape they’d find us in.  Maybe a mile later, we realized we’d better break out the headlamps.  The darkness fell quickly.

They told us we were going to have to do a tricky stretch before the bridge.  No kidding.  I can’t even begin to imagine the 100 mile people dealing with this stretch multiple times during the darkness.  It was on a bank, slick with mud, and pretty much bushwacking.  Rick went ahead to give us reports of what we were approaching.  I looked back.  Mindy and Pete were further back than I expected; Mindy had slipped in the mud and landed on her posterior.  I told Rick that I wanted Mindy to finish before me.  She was so strong through the day.  I was just ahead now cause that’s the order we run in.  Soon we were all together again.  We had to walk on the rocky (boulder-y) stretch near the river.  The skinny little bridge was harder to cross over 53 miles into the day.  Rick said he’d run ahead to get stuff ready for us.  What did we want?  I told him to get my cell phone and take a picture of us finishing*.  We smelled smoke.  We were close!

Mindy and I were running pretty good.  As we reached the hill back to the finish, we ran fast and faster.  Done!!!  The guy asked for my number.  30.  Shit, I meant 85.  Mindy said, 30.  The guy at the line, said that he put us down together 🙂  gIANt was there to give us a big hug.  He said he was so proud of us!!!  I knew he meant it.  I felt proud of us to have made Ian proud.  Happiness.  Tiredness.  Thoughts of Jeremy still out there.  People kept thinking I should eat.  NO.  I did get a Coke and a beer.  I looked at the food.  Yuck.  A woman asked me if I was getting ready to go back out?  NO!!!  She had just finished 40 out of the hundred and was afraid to go back out alone cause of coyotes.  I tried to assure her she’d be ok, but it would be scary out there alone even though no creatures were gonna get her.  She was afraid she was gonna be cut off anyway.

We all grouped together talking about the course, our days, Jeremy, the course.  Bradbury  Mountain, (don’t listen Brad) we decided, was Bradbury Knoll.  I loved that so many of us shared the event.  It was epic.  Mindy later said something that I’ve repeated lots of times now.  I am so done with Pineland.  It’s true.  I think I might not be done with Peaks.

Then we all noticed flames out near the woods.  That smoke we had smelled was not camp.  I was really worried about the people still out there.  Why wasn’t anyone doing anything.  I a bit, someone did check.  Even though it appeared like an out of control fire.  Supposedly, someone was just burning trash.  At 9 on a Saturday night???  At least I could sort of not worry about the runners.

Soon I was freezing.  I didn’t want to leave the people.  I wanted to be there the next time Jeremy came through.  I wanted to hear everyone’s tail of their day.  I wanted to hear ours, relive it.  The chill was just too much.  I needed a hot shower.  Rick told me to take some food.  I said we could just buy something if I wanted it later.  Yeah?  The town pretty much closes at 9.  There’d be no other food.  Wisely, he grabbed a couple of bananas.  They ended up being my meal for the night.

*Unfortunately, my cell phone battery was dead.  No finish picture.  I should have given Rick my camera.

Peaks 50 – The next day

I don’t think I slept that night.  I flopped, propped, and put blankets on and off pretty much the entire time.  Nothing was terribly sore, just twitchy.  Rick and I decided to call it good so we could get down to see how Jeremy was doing.  I thought we might have missed everything.  Given that very little sleep happened, I felt badly that we didn’t stay down at the farm.

Alison working Jeremy’s foot

When we got there, Jeremy was in a chair with his feet up.  Yikes!  They looked like they belonged to a cadaver.  He looked so small and vulnerable.  I was worried.  Man, this part is harder to write about than our own run.  Then I reached my hand out to point at a particularly nasty toe.  ZZZZZtttttt!  Jeremy made a sharp zapping sound.  I jumped big.  He laughed and gave his impish smile.  I knew then that he was OK.  I said something about being amazing to be joke like that after 90 miles.  “Valerie, I’ve only done 80.”  Shit!  I felt so bad for:  1. not knowing what he’d run,  2.  for making him say “only” 80…ONLY 80???!!!!  and 3.  for making him say only 80 🙁

Still smiling


Ian and Emma


Alison’s canvas
Getting ready for the 9th lap

He decided to try to take a very brief nap.  It didn’t take.  Emma was getting prepped to go back out with him.  Not only had she already paced Ian on his last 10, she’d gotten up somewhere between 2 and 3 a.m. to pace Jeremy on his 8th lap.  Alison was packing Jeremy up.  I know I haven’t possibly written enough or eloquently enough about her crewing/care taking abilities.  I don’t know how such a free spirit can be so organized and focused.  Rick said she was amazing all day.  She’d be talking, but all the while prepping her area for Jeremy’s emergence from the woods.  She calmly took care of everything, including those ugly feet.  When she was sending Jeremy off for his 9th lap, I cried.  It was mostly for Jeremy’s epic battle.  He was on feet that most people wouldn’t be able to stand on, let alone run 20 more miles.  His body was shaking so badly from cold.  Alison wanted to give him some more clothing, but he said he’d be sweating hot as soon as the climb started.  He should know; he’d done it 8 times already.  I was honored to have witnessed it.  We watched him get smaller and disappear.  I’d have loved to watch him finish, but I needed to get home and pack.  I had to fly to Dallas the next day.  Ugh!


Ian, Zak, Rick and I headed to the general store for breakfast.  The breakfasts were very hardy.  I’d venture that most people don’t finish them.  No problems at our table!  We enjoyed telling our stories of the trail again and talking in awe of Jeremy’s journey.

I really didn’t want to leave, but Rick and I got in the car.  I wasn’t ready for it to end.  Check out the Squirrel’s account of Jeremy’s last lap.

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