Night of the walking dead
This past weekend lots of stuff happened….
UROC was the “big dance”, the leader got lost and Roes won by default. I won’t get into my race report on this one, I’ll leave that up to Bryon Powell at Irunfar. He was there. I was at the Bear 100 crewing.
Mike Morton, a legend in his own right, remember him? He was the previous record holder at Western States when Scott Jurek broke the record. He almost broke Scott’s 24 hour run at Hinson Lake 24 hour this past weekend too. Sick run!
I had the pleasure to hang out at the Bear 100 crewing my wife Cheryl in her attempt to finish her second 100 miler. The Bear often gets a bad wrap in course marking, and this year it was good until some arsehole ATV’ers took the ribbons down for a section and brought them back to the aid station and said “here’s your trash”. They then proceeded up the trail to trash the trail with their gas, smoke and dust. They suck. Nick Pedatella lost an hour, but still won under 21 hours, a bunch more got lost in that same area until it was remarked quickly by race staff. Nice job remarking guys!
And now the real story behind what happens at the back of the pack:
I had the pleasure of crewing Cheryl at the Bear 100 cuz’ my back is a little jacked after Wasatch. It was a new experience for sure. Now I know what it’s like to “hurry up and wait” all day and all night. It’s brutal. No sleep, random food that the runner didn’t eat, and lots of standing around.
I call this the “night of the walking dead” because every runner after mile 60 was a zombie, moving through the darkness with sunken eyeys, like they’ve lost 20 lbs in a day. They stumble forward, slowly, but eventually will make it to the next aid station. It is absolutely amazing to see what runners at this point look like, and what their attitude is. Cheryl never even considered saying “I’m done, I want to drop”. That did not exist in her vocabulary. She was puking after mile 55, was not eating, was very sore, but she continued….on to the next one, then the next one, then the sun came up. Well, you get picture.
I rememmber well sitting in my truck at 330am expecting Cheryl to come down that dusty dirt road. I probably saw 25 zombies pass me while waiting. I was so cold sitting there, I started walking up the road to find her and her pacer, Tanae Nelson (sp?) (Luke Nelson’s wife). Finally there she was, in good spirits, but running on vapor. No food went down on that last section, only a small bit of a Luna Bar and a few Cheezits. Hmmmm, if I were a front runner I would quit right now and go home. Nope, no quitting here, just a short nap and out she went across the freezing Logan River. Amazing. And then more zombies kept coming down that road. Remember that old Michael Jackson video? 🙂
Every person I saw after this point (including myself) was a fried mess. A few guys/gals would jog in, but no faster than a walk. The Death March begins for these folks at mile 60, and it’s a long death march. Cheryl and others would sit at aid stations not wanting to go further, but they never say die, this is what makes ultrarunning so special, it’s not all about the fast guys/gals, it’s about getting it done. The back of the pack works ALOT harder than the front, that’s all I gotta say. And crewing is overrated! I was awake for almost 48 hours, then drove home from Bear Lake ( 3hours and a few Red Bulls got me home).
So, when any front runners out there want to drop cuz’ the belly hurts or you are puking, think of what’s behind you, it’s alot uglier, and those folks are alot tougher than you!
Needless to say again, it was an entertaining weekend for this goat. I got to run 4 miles, my back felt good, so now I’ve done 32 miles the past few days here in Little Cottonwood Canyon. I”m on the mend….again.