1 PAX was present at the Pound Gap aid station at 10:00pm Saturday for his next leg on the Cloudsplitter 100 miler. This is more or less what transpired (probably less since TYA had the Q, and YHC was barely lucid at the time).
YHC had a tough leg immediately prior. Suffice to say, GI issues led to a PAX who was low on energy and enthusiasm – particularly at the thought of having to venture back up a mountain at 10pm for what was estimated to be a 6 hour out-and-back. TYA recognized the state of the PAX and quickly swapped-out his jeans and sweatshirt for running gear and a headlamp. After setting up YHC with needed provisions and lighting (Tron Lives!), TYA slapped on his pacer-bib and said “Let’s go brother.”
Anyway, having only vague recollections of what occurred, this is YHC’s best attempt at listing what he experienced and observed over that 20 mile nighttime run with countless feet of elevation change:
The Tron vest received as many compliments from other runners as it did during the BRR. YHC heard some runner say “looks like Christmas is coming” in which YHC responded with a hearty(?) “Ho-Ho-Ho” (no, I wasn’t feeling very jolly at the time). At one point (or actually 2+), in response to an emergency situation, YHC had to pull a Stiffler’s-Mom, aka what Fudd had to do during the BRR. While headlamps were briefly turned off, Tron-vest was left in full glow (I trust Fudd would be proud). During one of those instances, TYA called out “dude, there’s another runner coming”….Given the emergency situation YHC cared little of that, but he respected TYA’s position as the Q and desire to maintain some level of decorum on the trail – so YHC sped up his efforts before said runner arrived.
When we arrived at the aid-station mid-way through the leg, TYA insisted the PAX take ample time for proper nourishment and hydration…simply put, the guy was on-top-of-it – as usual. It was at this time that YHC slowly began to improve. Making certain we were fully stocked for the return trip, we left the aid-station with campfire and tiki-lights glowing (ask TYA), and headed back into the gloom. As YHC was beginning feel his energy return, he felt compelled to point out to TYA the various places he had pulled a Stiffler’s mom during his prior leg. Observing TYA’s apparent disinterest on the topic, YHC dropped the subject and focused on following TYA who set the pace…and when I say pace, I mean TYA was THE pace setter…while I could barely keep up with him on the trip-out, the time and attention he gave at the aid-station really turned it around for me – which showed as he continued to challenge me on the way back. Throughout our return I also observed how TYA would say words of encouragement to other runners coming from the opposite direction (these were runners who were just getting started on their out-and-back). If I were to encapsulate it right there, the man is an inspiration to others. He jumped into a 20 mile midnight mountain run on a moments notice and made it look like a walk in the park…Respect.
Although this is a back-blast to acknowledge TYA’s outstanding Q, YHC would like to offer some other observations and FAQ’s gleaned from the remaining race:
– Yes trail shoes are a good idea, that is why they call them trail shoes. Had YHC used them perhaps that sharp rock would not have pierced the sole of his running shoe
– Is it possible to nod-off while you are running?…absolutely
– Give me the steepest up hill climb you got, over a steep downhill – covered in sharp rocks
– Unexpected things happen while running, including getting stung by a bee. It does, however, take one’s mind off of other aches and pains.
– When running through the woods alone in the dark, don’t worry about the wildlife…pay attention to where you are going and where you’ve been, and don’t panic if the trail markers suddenly all disappear (having been removed by a disgruntled land-owner).
– Pack plenty of TP, or at least know your plant-life (i.e. the poisonous from non-poisonous variety)
Lastly, yes in F3 we often say it is “you against you”, but it’s that 2nd F is that most powerful lynch-pin that gets you through it all.