Lot's adventures end kind of rough, that's just how adventure sometimes goes, but the Desert Rats Double Marathon was utterly doomed from the start.
Let me explain.
It all started last weekend when we cleaned our truck. Jenny ran the Desert Rats Marathon last year, and I embarrassingly admit that there was still some of that desert mud inside of our truck. We scrubbed the inside and outside of that truck like we were getting it ready for surgery.
Skipping ahead to Thursday night, we celebrated starting the weekend early with a delicious salmon dinner. I stuffed my face with fish, rice, vegetables, and grapefruit and strawberries for desert. But, as I crawled into bed my stomach felt overly full, all twisted up, and was making weird gurgling sounds. Ten minutes later I was in the bathroom throwing up. I felt much better! I figured I ate something a little weird, maybe it was the mold I thought I trimmed off the strawberries?
I didn't feel better for long. For the next six hours, I puked, a lot. I'd crawl out of bed to my large mixing bowl on the floor and clutch onto it with all my might as somehow I filled it up again and again. I tried with moderate success not to spill the bowl when my legs cramped mid-hurl.
Of course, Friday morning I felt awful. I didn't want to eat anything, but Jenny and I both assumed we were still driving to Fruita for the race. Jenny put in a strong WOTY performance packing up most of our stuff while I nibbled on oatmeal and watched The Muppets. Yes, I love The Muppets. My hope was that I'd rally from the little vomitfest fast and I'd still be able to get a good long run in the next day. You might be thinking to yourself, "Well that was stupidly wishful thinking, Gabe". You're right, but it gets worse.
|Spoiler alert: I made it to the start|
We started the 7ish hour drive to Fruita and the weather turned to crap pretty fast, as it often does driving in Wyoming. Part of I-80 just re-opened after a 70 car pile up the day before, and we made our way to Colorado. Jenny was graciously driving through the rain-snow mixture while I rested. As we went through a narrow canyon, suddenly the wet road turned to slush. Jenny lost control of the truck and we slid into the lane of the oncoming traffic. Panicked, Jenny just barely got us back in our lane, narrowly missing out on a head-on collision, But, we slid too far the other direction, and started to slide off the road. We slid through the mud with the rocks of the canyon walls inches from my passenger window. We started to turn sideways as we slid downhill and just when I thought we were going to roll, the truck stopped. I was able to use four wheel drive to get us back up on the road and somehow we escaped without a scratch. "Miracle" is not an overstatement.
Once we regained our composure, we rallied and drove through the rain down to Fruita. There we met our good friends Scott and Lindsay, who were going to be running the 50K as their first ultra marathon. They told us that the course was going to be re-routed because of overly muddy trails. Ugh. I tried to eat a little bit and get hydrated, but it was a battle I was still losing. Eternally optimistic, I hoped that with a good nice rest I could still have a decent race.
|Already miserable at merely mile 4|
I've had some tough runs before, but this was different. It just felt so pointless from the start, I knew I didn't really have it in me. My lack of energy, stomach pain, zero desire to eat, and all-time low motivation left me deflated. I debated quitting the entire time; it was the classic scenario of an angel on one shoulder, and a demon on the other. As I finally approached end of lap one (all 15 miles of it), I decided I was going to keep going. My daughter had been excited about this race for weeks, my friends were running, I just couldn't let them all down. I met Jenny and Ella, and I quickly changed my mind. The puke bug had bitten Ella too, and both of them were miserable. Goal #1 in these events is always to have fun, and make sure everyone around me is having fun. No one was having fun. So, after shedding a few pathetic tears, for the first time ever, I quit. But, the "fun" was just getting started.
Jenny took me and Ella back to the hotel, and then she went back to the race to crew for Scott and Lindsay. Rather than running, I spent the next two hours cleaning up vomit as Ella annihilated our hotel room. This illness wasn't from overly ripe strawberries, Ella definitely had the bug too, and it was a nasty one. We decided to head for home early before we were banned from that hotel forever.
|Scott as joyful as ever|
Ella slept sweetly for much of the drive home, only one small puking incident. But then Jenny's stomach started going into knots too. Going down a hill in Flaming Gorge Jenny ordered me to pull the truck over. I maybe braked a little hard, and stirred up Ella's stomach. Jenny hopped out and started heaving as Ella projectile vomited (I didn't know that really could happen) all the way to the front seat. God only knows where all that puke came from. I vainly tried to wipe it all up, but I'll admit I let Tayo lick a little bit of it up. As I observed this whole fiasco, I had to quietly laugh a little at the utter ridiculousness of it all.
We rallied again, got clean clothes on, and soldiered on through a classic South Pass blizzard to home.
The Desert Rats Double Marathon was a misadventure; nothing really went according to plan and fun was limited. However, I'm really thankful that we made home in one piece with spirits still intact. It's not a cliche to say it could have been a lot worse. And Scott and Lindsay crushed their first 50k's! (Update: Lindsay won the women's 50k race!)
However, I am pissed about the truck though, those puke stains aren't going to clean themselves... and I wasn't planning on cleaning it again for another year.