HOTS random update
we are here in a motel just short of the halfway mark.
we need to wait a while to get back on the road
as timing the movements of the cover crews can be a little tricky.
i saw nicole at the motel breakfast.
she looked amazingly fresh and strong.
especially considering her desperate plight last night.
she had gotten off course at the dam,
and descended to the hatchery instead of crossing over the top.
so, because of the horizontal proximity of the real route and where she was
the lines on her map were almost overlapping.
she could not go on from where she was,
but the course line seemed to go straight.
she could not see the real road a couple of hundred feet overhead!
problems are harder to work out
when you have not slept in 36 hours….
no one was close to render assistance,
and giving advice was limited,
because the runner is deaf!
none the less,
she worked it out,
got back on track
and arrived here last night
to get a room, wash clothes, charge electronics…
and sleep.
i swear that she looked as fresh this morning as the day we started.
while she was finishing breakfast another runner walked past.
and she was out of the door like a shot…
she had not seen another runner in over a day.
the tracking sheet gives you a deceptive picture of life on the road.
runners can go for whole days with someone within a mile in front and in back;
but never see a soul.
the road can be a lonely place.
when they do cross paths
it is like the last man on earth
finding someone else!
we drive past on our sweeps of the course,
and the runners never see us.
they are now denizens of an alternate universe.
we can see them still
but they are no longer a part of our world.
they are passed by a hundred cars an hour
but they are all alone.
and that was really what i was searching for words to describe.
it has only been 4 days since 83 hopeful runners got off the bus in frankfort.
if you asked one of the 68 or so surviving runners on the road
how long ago they got off that bus
they would stop and think…
and then a look of incredulity would spread across their face…
because to us involved in the race
(even the sweeps)
it seems like something that happened in a different lifetime.
a family?
a job?
we know those things exist.
but they seem more like something that you read about in a book
than something that is part of the real world.
that world exists in a different dimension.
this world.
the world of the road.
this is where they live now.
the first reality is pain.
your feet hurt.
that isnt a maybe
it is a certainty.
it isnt something that comes and goes.
it is a constant.
it eventually becomes something you dont even think about.,
just a background noise
like the insects singing at night.
the second reality is movement.
you must move to stay alive.
the grim reaper
the cutoff
whatever you call it,
it is always there.
close behind or far
it never stops moving.
you have to move
it permeates you.
it becomes another foundation of your existence
the pressure to keep moving.
runners report waking up for weeks after the race is over
with this urgent feeling that they need to put on their pack and go,
then they realize that it is over.
they are back in that other world.
there is the map.
the road.
the next turn.
the future reaches out in front of you
time and space are one thing.
over every hill
around every bend
there are new things to see.
food and fluids.
those are the center of existence.
when they are available you feast
when there is plenty you stock up.
but this is not home
with unlimited storage.
this is not home
with stores only a few minutes away.
you find those staples of life when you find them.
you carry what you can
but it does not last for long.
over the past three days
whole new skill sets have emerged.
the world has different boundaries
different rhythms.
different realities.
runners have either adapted to this life
or fled from it.
if you listen to the stories of the runners who quit
and the ones who finish
they are the same stories!
the only difference between those who drop out
and those who finish
is that they quit.
it is not a world for everyone
it is not a world that everyone wants to experience
it is not a world that everyone can handle.
but for those who do
it changes them forever.

Categories: HOTS