Barkley Fall Classic #3 – the snooze

Crack of dawn before the cigarette is lit

I laid down on my back in the grass and looked up at the sky. Clouds floating by. I was tired. The pros and cons of continuing tossing around in my head. Then I let it go. I closed my eyes and snoozed for awhile. Laz could have his silly race. Today I made my own rules. Drifting in and out of sleep, runners trudging by me up Rat Jaw. Some asking if I was OK. Thumbs up. Just resting.

A few minutes earlier I witnessed someone blanking out, white faced and unresponsive, eyes rolling back into his skull. I slapped his face, asked him his name, tried to get his pulse. Another guy started blowing his whistle. Just as I was trying to remember CPR basics he snapped out. A minute later he continued on up the hill. You got to admire the pigheaded tenacity of some of us runners.

Mayhem grew around me as time drifted by. Runners wobbling. Emergency crew were walking up and down the hill helping people off the course. I overheard a couple a few yards away taking a break, talking about disappointment. So much training, so much hard work. And still not enough to finish the race. “I guess we’re just not good enough.” My heart sank a little. Bumping up against limits. Not easy.

I made sure to wait until the cutoff passed. I got up and brushed myself off. I still had to get off this hill in the middle of nowhere. I climbed, walked, then jogged the last 4 miles. I passed Laz sitting slumped in his chair. Ultra runner turned ultra race director. He had no energy left for his usual quips.

I made it in. The streak was dead. 2 full finishes and now 1 marathon. No regrets. Streaks like this are for bad-asses like Tony, Kathy and Leonard. I’m just a part time bad ass who likes to take naps.