“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. ”
– Walt Disney
Day three rolled around and we were almost used to waking up to numerous tent puddles. The four of us popped awake and enthusiastically greeted the day, and by “popped awake and enthusiastically greeted the day” I mean groaned and cursed the notion of movement.
We snagged some breakfast and as the girls got ready, I could sense a curious mix of weariness and giddiness. Their legs were pummeled, bruised, swollen, and cut from all the miles behind, but they only had a few more to go!
The great thing about the third day was that there were a ton of friends running the half marathon. Laura, Megan, Lisa, Dana, Vanessa, and Bobby B were all ready to knock out those 13.1 miles. Thankfully, it started at 9 so we all had a chance to sleep in a bit and shake off the night. The crowd really began to swell as the 5K runners arrived. All races started at the same time. Soon it was time to goooooooooooo!
I’d like to highlight this particular part of the start picture, wherein Megan is clearly running with elbows interlocked with her new prospective boyfriends. We’ll call them HD and Jortsman.
From all accounts the race went well and everyone stayed more or less together the whole time. Jen and I began breaking down our campsite and Brian and Missy took totally broke down their camp. I wanted the girls to have a place to regroup after the run and would drop the tent later.
Someone has a fantastic video of everyone from the Loop finishing at once, but again I was there to catch my baby and finish out my crew duties by ensuring the 95 milers were ok. My eyes welled up as I was overcome with happiness when my wife crossed the line after three days of grueling trail miles. I tried to express how proud I was, but all I could really do was lock eyes and say, “You did it.”
That was enough, she understood.
She crumpled in my arms as the emotional weight of the last three days culminated in one instant. Her tenacious refusal to surrender had brought her to a place of triumph.
That third day Laura’s running proved to be too much for her shoes to handle. They flipped off the boss, packed up their $h!t and quit for good.
Lisa had the presence of mind to get a picture of the gang at the end of the race. Thank you Lisa, this photo represents the mood of the weekend perfectly.
When everyone had had a chance to get cleaned up and hoover copious calories, there was an awards ceremony, where we learned that out of the 42 runners who began the three day quest, only 23 had finished. There were many who ran one or two of the races, but I feel like these are the faces of people who understand an experience foreign to most of us. They dug into their souls to complete this series and emerged victorious. It was an honor to get to know many of them and to help Laura and Megan along the way. It always seems to be the toughest women who smile the widest.
Just like when we arrived, we had many hands helping to load our gear out and soon we were on the road. The next 7 hours went by in a string of games, laughs, “power” songs, and stories. We got lost in West Virgina, Jen and Laura almost got shot in a laundromat somewhere in Virginia, we pulled a harrowing mid-highway U-turn to catch a pic with Mo’s longtime boyfriend, and Hot-N-Ready pizza carried our spirits back to North Carolina.
Now it is a few days later and I am still feeling fuzzy about the whole weekend. The camping, the support, the laughs, the bonds, the adventures, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Here’s to living life, my friends. Put some color in your landscape, put some wind in your sails. Try crazy things because the real visceral experiences lie outside of your comfort zone.
I’ve met the most amazing people since entering the running world, and for that I am grateful.