This was not a car-free adventure. In fact, it was a fairly fossil-fuel intensive adventure that involved flying to Billings, Montana, renting a car, and driving it down to Dayton, Wyoming and around the area to help support my friend who was running the Bighorn 100-mile trail race.
But it’s pretty cool to think that though we drove about 115 miles from the airport to the race (in about two hours), my friend then ran almost that much over the course of 35 hours of trail running.
(a bunch of folks ready to run 100 miles through the mountains!)
My job in all of this was to pace my friend, i.e. be support team: I met him at the turnaround aid station, 44 miles in, so that he’d have company running through the night (which I hear is a pretty demoralizing time when it’s dark and you’re tired and you’ve already run nearly 50 miles). He showed up around 11:25pm, earlier than I was expecting, and after he changed into fresh socks and ate some food we took off, me trying to provide the enthusiasm that keeps someone happy and running when they’re super tired. This usually involves me singing songs with silly made-up lyrics, chatting about anything and everything, and otherwise just trying to be upbeat and chipper, an infusion of energy and happiness intended to bolster someone else’s spirits. I like to think I am uniquely good at this kind of job, heh.
It also involves reminding my friend to eat and drink, plus watching the clock to make sure we’re keeping up a pace that beats the time cutoff, with gentle reminders that maybe we should go a little faster or stay a little less time at the next aid station.
(find the hidden trail runner! This was maybe 5:30am-ish, after it was light enough to turn off our headlamps but not quite fully sunrise)
(and then later, well after the sun had been up for a while, still running (and sometimes walking;) through the mountains:)
Anyway. The point of all of this is that while I was around all these folks attempting to run 100 miles in the 35 allotted hours, I decided that I am fully in awe of how far people can travel by their own feet — without any wheels. Heh. I mean, though I travel through the world via my own power all the time, a bicycle definitely makes things much easier than if just set out with my running shoes. As a pacer I only covered about 40 miles of the race, which was already hard, but so many of these people actually finished a full 100 miles of totally foot-driven travel, up and down the mountains. That’s so far!! And so much work! I’m very inspired by it all. Not inspired enough to sign up for my own 100-mile race (I’m pretty happy being support team in this, ha), but very much inspired that people can do it. And even still be able to walk the next day, albeit maybe with a slightly pained shuffle;)
So, that was a fun adventure of a different sort than I usually have, and it was great:)
And nice work to everyone who started the race, whether they finished or dropped out for whatever reason as they went. So strong. I am highly impressed.