Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dancing Gummy Bears & Fuzzy Furry Ewoks

I saw a dancing gummy bear. No, not just one, hundreds. I trudged on. Fuzzy furry Ewoks where hanging in the trees, saying encouraging words. This was not surprising as the race was in western Washington. I was near 6 hours and 40 miles into the 50-mile race. I had felt fantastic up to this point, being sure to drink copious amounts of water to ensure that I was well hydrated. My glycogen stores were well padded as i had been eating around 250 calories per hour. But then i started seeing those dancing gummy bears. The overcast humid day was quiet; interrupted only by the squawks from birds and the occasional yelp from a loan Ewok or other forest creature. Their home, dark and inviting, covered in thick underbrush, moss, and pine needles, intensified the muggy silence.

Rich jumped in the race to help pace me at mile 37. He had had to run 15 miles just to get there. We ran along and suddenly i saw the dancing gummy bears. My vision was blurred, giving an array of pixilated yet keenly unfocused dots. I could barely make out the trail as I forced myself forward, trying not to pass out. All i could see was those dancing gummy bears, and pixilated dots. In the previous mile, I drank my entire 20 oz of water and now all i wanted was more water and maybe a gummy bear too. The next aid station was a mile ahead; I could smell it. I raced down, still seeing dots, and the intermittent dancing gummy bear.

Soon hydrated i raced again. I welcomed the sight of the gummy bears yet they were in hibernation. I still felt horrendous, yet invigorated welcoming the last 5 miles. I race on past dancing gummy bears, monstrous hills, and unseen barriers. I crossed the line in second place in 7 hours 46 minutes 36 seconds. The race was difficult but overcome with steadfast perseverance and Rich fellowship. Thank you Rich! I could not have raced well without your help.

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