Fourth of July in River Forest
I am lightheaded. Floating on air somewhere between Squaw Valley and Auburn, California. Vaseline has proven useless. The blisters between my toes are bloody and rubbed Howard Stern raw. The water bottles attached to my waistbelt rattle and gurgle with each and every stride. A leak in one causes a constant spittle that oozes out of the top and drips from calf to ankle to trail.
My field of vision – my vision of life – has narrowed significantly in this, my third consecutive 25-mile running day. Yellow ribbons are my only link to the dusty trail, and they are up high, attached to overhanging tree limbs. Danger is down low, where ankle-snapping rocks and hidden tree roots lurk in the shadows. I try to balance my vision, to look high for ribbons and low for obstacles at the same time so as not to miss a turn. My synapses are at the ready and adrenaline is on call, standing at attention.
The real world simply does not exist in my mind at this point. Life is all too simple. Run a few strides, spot a ribbon, scan for danger, slurp some fluid.
The idea was to give some of the less ambitious in town (namely me) the chance to run the Western States 100 with a touch of sanity thrown in. Instead of doing the deed in 24 hours or less, instead of enrolling in Sleep Deprivation University, we invitees of the American Medical Joggers Association would camp out at night and have all of four days to finish the course.
Even with the luxuries of a tent and sleeping bag, you will have to navigate 100 miles of trails in four days, the only 100-mile training week of my seriously under-trained life. Work and cars and friends are replaced with a new focal point. The trail that stretches out to eternity in front of me is my only concern.
READ Fourth of July in River Forest on babbittville.com