Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Living in Darkness. The Grindstone 100

Once again I was entombed in the blackness. My pacer Kiran and I had just finally crested the top of an arduous climb called Crawford mountain and into the cold embrace of a very blustery north wind. It was a little after 10 pm Saturday night and the rain had finally subsided for a bit. The second night had fallen upon us. I was pretty much reduced to a moaning shuffle from here on in as each foot fall would bring me to winch as I envisioned the detached layers of skin shifting like tectonic plates on the bottoms of my macerated feet. As we shuffled along my demons shuffled along with us in the inky blackness just outside my peripheral vision. They had made their presence known, I knew they were there waiting for the right moment. I thought of dropping at the next aid station, Dry Branch Gap mile 87. I was fighting that decision. "Yes, yes I'll drop!" I thought. "But no no no I can't, I have come all this way!" I did a quick assessment on my systems and I determined that I was not injured in any way and my stomach was in good shape so then I asked myself again "How can you drop if you are ok?" I had no legitimate reason to drop. Our pace was painfully slow. My legs long since blown from the muddy and slick seven mile descent on the Wild Oak Trail down into North River Gap. My brain was in a fog and simple thoughts were becoming harder to process. My eyelids were finally succumbing to the weight of two nights of running. Then it hit me! I need to sleep. Yes I would do what I always said I would never do. Just 20 minutes or maybe 30. I will sleep at Dry Branch aid station but I won't tell Kiran until we get there. I will beg the volunteers to let me sleep. We stumbled into the Dry Branch aid station a little before 11 pm I sat down in front of a warm campfire head back and eyes shut. Lights out.

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rainand back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
-Robert Frost