Then, there was the infamous missed baton handoff during the first run through the rotation, during which I was.......elsewhere. Doing something. Something that was not waiting at the tent to receive the baton from my teammate. Nick and I discuss. Meanwhile, Mad Dog Mike eats potato chips to fuel up for his lap. Let the record state that I was NOT doing my hair. That should be plain to anyone who views this clip.
Here's my teammate Julie, who was also our default team captain, passing off to Sara. This is sort of the story of our team. Members randomly wound up with certain jobs, and everyone just kind of ran with whatever they got without question. I knew everyone but Sara (with whom I had been chatting on our team's Facebook group page, along with everyone else) coming into the race and sort of expected this would be the case, but it was great that it did play out that way.
One thing that I do regret a little is not taking my camera or the iPod out and around the actual trail loops on the Monitor and Merrimac Trails. What can I say-I was pretty focused on racing all-out on my day laps, and we were just kind of letting the day unfold as it may for the in-between-laps portions. That said, I did get some shots of the campground, and the La Sal Mountains off in the distance.
Making an awkward segueway from the serene and peaceful to the just plain silly, there was another product besides Kick Ass Sinus joining the all-namer team around camp. This is a product that is used for...well....Nick describes it as problems that arise from....swass. Or...swenis. I wouldn't know firsthand about that second item so I'll just take his word for it. Raise your hand if you know who Bjorn Borg is, and keep your hand in the air if you think Mike bears more than a passing resemblance in this photo (I did not take the one of Mike....I think it was from either Julie or Shannon)
Our camp was made up of an assortment of cars, tents, campers, and best of all, Shannon's Van Of Awesomeness. She and her husband (a top area triathlete, ultrarunner and artist-check out his work here, very talented guy. Grand Junction locals should recognize several of his landscape oil paintings) recently acquired it, and it wound up being pretty useful over the weekend. I was able to nap on the bench in there during overnight drizzles, and it brought back fun memories of my grandparents coming to visit in their VW Bus/camper, and letting me sleep in the narrow "upstairs" sleeping area, which was also a feature of Shannon's van. One of my favorite parts of the van was the "nature scene" on the wood paneling inside the door...1970's and 80's decor in all of its glory. She is also working on curtains for the van out of old race shirts. I've seen quilts of old race shirts but never curtains. They should add even more character to the joint.
I mentioned Melody Fairchild being at this event in the prior blog. She still holds the course record at the High School National Cross Country championships, and was a two-time winner there. I warmed my hands around the fire next to her at 2am waiting to start laps, and she was as unassuming and friendly as they come. At some point during the weekend, Jen was monkeying with my camera, took a random test shot and happened to get one of Melody, pictured in the middle in green and black. It's great that she's still running, and doing her running camps for talented high school girls (teaching healthy body image and good nutrition, which I love. Great article on here on her struggles since high school and subsequent comeback).
There were other colorful characters as well. I can say, without a doubt, that this is the first and only time I've encountered a runner wearing a kilt and Vibram Five Fingers. It took me awhile to figure out that the kilt was being shared by his teammates, and donned by whichever runner was out for a lap. Little bit of an "ew" factor there to me with sharing a sweaty kilt, but hey, to each his own.
This just amused me. One of our camp dogs, locked in a staredown with his lifeless opponent.
Finally, a shot of my teammates, minus Shannon who was out running a lap for the team at the time. These guys were smiling throughout the event, and I never heard a complaint from anyone even though several of them were dealing with injury and illness issues. They really made it a pleasure.
That just about covers it. Dirt. Slick rock. Mud. Coughing. Sweating. Falling. Laughing. Smiling. Running. Living. This is what it's all about.