Friday, November 1, 2013

179. Loss of Standards, Part 3

Hey everyone! Before I get to the storytelling, I have some news:

I have officially signed up to run an Ultra Marathon!

The 50k is part of the Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival in New Gloucester, Maine, on May 25th. I am also planning on doing a 50 mile race in Vermont next September, but I wanted to start with the 50k (a little over 31 miles). I have been running a lot since I ended the trail, but now I have something in particular to train for. I may include some info about the training as I go along if anything interesting happens! Mostly it's just a lot of long-distance running, pretending I'm being chased by a really really fat, slow T-Rex.

I started a team for the race: M3OWZ3BA! If you are a runner, or a hiker, and you feel like being bizonkers with me, then let me know if you'd like to be part of the team!


There was a day that it took our group 5 hours to hike 5 miles. The heat was so unbearable that we were all delusional and insane. I chronicled a bit of this day on this blog post here, (the little section about Dumptruck sitting down in a waterfall, and Whistle running headlong into Dumptruck's backpack) but I didn't get into the specifics of how truly nightmarish it was. For the most part we were just giggly and spent a lot of time staggering around. Just like good, healthy, athletic adults!

Overall that day we hiked 12.7 miles, but we did the first half of it between the hours of 5am and 8am. It was so brutally hot and buggy for the middle part of the day that we were genuinely concerned about our safety if we continued to hike. So we waited. And waited. But the heat did not abate. We were motivated to continue on, however, because Grim had hiked ahead to meet with a friend, we hadn't seen him in days, and we were planning on meeting him that evening in Kent, CT. 

Somewhere in the early afternoon we decided we could just go for it, but take it slow. We became increasingly hysterical as the day progressed, shuffling our feet and cackling madly. I have spent a while trying in vain to remember why our conversations were so funny. I remember the content perfectly well. However, in black-and-white type, none of it is humorous. It's just regular conversation. But we couldn't stop laughing anyway. We were like 12-year-old girls at a sleepover. A sleepover where instead of talking about boys and braiding hair, we decided to hike over mountains in a heat index above 100 degrees and almost 100% humidity. The effect is the same, as it turns out. If only my 12-year-old self had known! Ah, the heartache I would have been spared!

Near the end of the day, I got a burst of energy that sent me hiking ahead of Whistle and Dumptruck. The energy probably came from the part of my animal brain that was seeking shelter; the part of my brain that's supposed to kick in when there's an actively erupting volcano somewhere behind me and high-tailin' it is probably my best option. I had plenty of water and food, and I wasn't really in any danger. I just needed to reach my destination so that I wouldn't have to be moving in the heat anymore. My solution was just to move faster. This solution, in retrospect, is never a good one.

The last part of the day involved a steep descent that switchbacked over a cascade of loose bowling-ball sized rocks. My speed didn't slacken, in fact, it increased exponentially as heat exhaustion and bad judgment coalesced into me basically sprinting down the hill. I could see the road between the trees far below, and I wanted nothing more than to be at the bottom. I didn't slow down except for the moment when I tripped and launched forward with the speed needed for rockets to escape earth's gravitational pull. I hurtled forward, and in that moment, I happened to throw my hiking poles out in front of me. The tips of the poles jammed into the crevices of the rocks in front of me, and the handles of the poles smashed into my pelvis, stopping me like I had been rammed in the stomach by the shoulder of a football player. 

I stood there for a moment, wheezing and doubled over my hiking poles. I spent a little while mentally scolding myself along the lines of Clever Girl? No! Silly Girl! Rocket Girl! CLOBBER GIRL. Tangentially, Clobber Girl and Cleaver Girl are alternate identities bestowed upon me by Whistle. Clobber Girl is when I am flail-y and just as likely to injure myself as someone else. Cleaver Girl is for when the zombie apocalypse happens.

I righted myself and languidly made my way down the rest of the trail, like nothing had happened. Oh, don't mind me! Just out for a lovely afternoon stroll! 

About 100 feet from the road, resting against a tree, was a half-drank 2-liter bottle of Coca Cola. There was no trail angel note. There was no other food or drink evidence around. It was not a gift from the trail gods. It was trash, and it looked like it had been there for a few days. I looked at it longingly for a moment, but I drew the line at liquids.

I sat at the road crossing, sweating and drinking water. Whistle joined me a few moments later, near tears for relief. 

"Did you see that bottle of coke?" I croaked.

"Yes," she sighed. "I thought about it, but I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it."

10 minutes later, I looked up to the sound of Dumptruck making his way out of the forest. He emerged carrying a now, very empty, 2-liter bottle of coke.

"Did you drink that?!" I asked, shocked and impressed.

Dumptruck grinned.

"It was flat. And delicious."

Clever Girl

I'd love to give you a photo of this, but neither Dumptruck nor I took any photos this day because we were debilitated. 


  1. We all do our part to try and save the world in various ways...processing M&Ms and Coke makes a difference...small steps...

  2. I read your comment on my blog...I am definitely thinking about it. I am not sure I can run that far, but I'll give it a try. Surely I can work my way up to that far in 6months right?! :-) AND I would love an excuse to come up and see ya'll!