I left off with the nasty Gravel experience. By this time, it was about 3:30am. I did not get pictures of my second leg, which sucks, but that’s ok. I was so distracted by the freezing cold and the darkness I didn’t care.
It was 40-45 degrees at 4:00am when I was getting ready to run. I’d been sitting in the van for a few hours now dropping off our runners at each exchange. I kept thinking that it would be pre-dawn when I ran but it wasn’t. Daryl went to the Exchange point with me to keep track of the clipboard and enter James’s time. I was so cold. And I was immediately wishing I’d brought my winter running gear. I hadn’t anticipated how cold it would be for my run.
I honestly don’t even remember seeing James or getting the wrist band. I just remember taking off and running in the middle of nowhere, in complete darkness. I could see the moon (which looked amazing) and the stars and about 2 feet in front of me. My headlamp worked pretty well but this wasn’t anything I’d experienced before. I had never run at night and I knew that in my training I should at least attempt it, but I didn’t.
I wish I could say I loved my second Leg like I LOVED my first. Leg 12 was awesome. In every way possible. Leg 24? Not as awesome but I still ran it pretty fast.
First, I did not have the right running socks on. I needed my winter ones. I could NOT feel my toes at all. Seriously, not at all. I tried to wiggle them when I ran to get the blood circulating through them. I was mentally trying to remember how long it takes for frostbite to set in and did I have enough time to finish the run before that?
I kept running and looking at the ground in front of me. There were no shoulders to run on so I ran on the road. Sometimes the middle of the lane. The pavement was grooved in places or really old and had crevices. I almost rolled my ankle twice but caught myself. Luckily. I paid attention to the pavement in front of me and tried to anticipate where to step so I didn’t fall or hurt myself. Not only that, I had to pay attention to oncoming traffic.
I passed a few people, a few very fast runners passed me. I was trying to focus on completing my run.
I was so cold. And my body was starting to hurt. I told myself this was less than 5 miles. I could easily do 5 miles. No problem! But when you’re running in the dark and don’t know where you are or where you are going, it turns into the Never-ending Run.
I kept telling myself “Just one more mile” “one more mile.”
There were a few pockets of fog and mist that I was running through…which ironically is probably by the town I ran in is called Mist, Oregon. 🙂 When it was really foggy it was more difficult to see and the light from my headlamp bounced back at me instead of lighting my path. That was a weird sensation too.
The vans weren’t moving on the road. That worried me a little too. What if I beat the van to the Exchange? I did NOT want to wait around in the cold. A volunteer directing traffic told me I was almost there–thankfully. I kept going, proud of myself for not walking. About half way through my run I could also feel my toes again, so that was good. What wasn’t good? I was sweaty and damp and that was a gross feeling when it’s 40 degrees out.
My pace stayed steady. I noticed that other runners were burning themselves out: running fast, passing me, then having to stop to walk for a few minutes. Then I’d pass them, a few minutes later they’d start running again and pass me again. My knees were hurting (specifically my right knee) and my ankle was really starting to hurt a lot at this point.
I was almost to the Exchange and could still see all the vans stopped on the road, moving an inch and then stopping. As I approached the Exchange point, I saw Janell and Leslie. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Van #1 WAS here. Now where was Terry?
I was supposed to tag Terry (Runner #1 in Van #1) and the Race Official announced my Team number a few times in the speaker. “Team 210!” Nothing. I started yelling “Terry!” Nothing! I had seen this happening at the last Exchange where teammates weren’t meeting up with each other and the runner was just standing there waiting. After about 30 seconds, Terry appeared out of nowhere and said something encouraging to me (No idea what that is now) and then took off. I wished him luck and met up with Leslie and Janell.
Second Leg’s Stats:
Distance: 4.92 miles
Calories Burned: 543
We were now in the area with no cell service. It was going to be chaotic and impossible to coordinate with Van #1. We’d spent almost 20 hours in the van so far.
Janell mentioned that another one of the runners had collapsed during Leg 24. She said it was like her legs gave out and she fell into a ditch. I had seen the ambulance on the road but I hadn’t seen that happen. I guess they picked up the runner that had fallen and she couldn’t stand up. 🙁
We had to hurry up and get to the area where we could rest for a few hours so I just hopped into the van and we left. I did not stretch. 🙁 And I knew I was going to regret it. I tried to get out of my sweaty, cold clothes into warm clothes. Then I grabbed my pillow and passed out. I was exhausted.
I slept for about 35 minutes. When I woke up, I woke up to this:
Dawn was just breaking and the fog was so thick I could barely see the runners. Our van was almost silent. Janell and Heather and James were asleep. Daryl was driving and Allen was talking to him softly. I was groggy and could feel my body locking up. The runners outside were still running, their legs carrying them through this journey that possibly their mind was struggling with; some runners were walking–but they were still moving. That was good. I was starting to see a lot of limping at this stage of the game.