''O'' for the O Trail and for Old unpublished Bradbury Breaker Race Report
OOOOOOOooooooooooh, I should be so happy I am the proud owner and wearer of a Bada$$ hoodie, but why didn't I feel happy. Could it be I didn't feel Bada$$. I didn't fall and get bumped and bruised in any of the races? I for some reason felt I don't know what. It's taken me awhile to come full circle, but everything finally comes around.
The Bradbury Breaker fell on 9/11 this year. A few days before the race, the company I work for published some stories from associates who were working in our New York office on the 30th Floor of the North Tower 1 of The World Trade Center on 9/11. One in particular really made an impression on me. I've never met anyone who was actually there, his story was incredible. He described how he stood there holding the door and taking a head count and a sweep of the floor to make sure everyone was out. As he got to the 27th Floor he stopped and was asked to wait with a coworker and another coworker who was a quadriplegic in a wheelchair who were told by security to stay put and they would come get them. He wrote, ''nobody knew what was going on and we just thought it was a fire drill...I was happy to help.'' After receiving a frantic call from his wife who was watching CNN pleading with him to get out, he had to make a decision. He offered to carry his coworker down with the help of the other coworker. But because security told them to stay put they wouldn't leave. He had to let them know he was leaving. Shortly after getting out the building, as he was walking away, he turned around and saw the building collapse. As I finished his story, I reached out to him via our company IM and thanked him for sharing his story. I silently vowed I was going to run my race in tribute of this man.
Before the series started, George let me know he would run this race with me due to my fear of the ''O'' Trail. He had Virgil Crest coming up and was just fine to run with me. I really felt safe and secure and wasn't nervous at all. I was pleased when Ian took a few moments of silence in tribute to 9/11 before the race. I appreciated having the time to focus on my 9/11 survivor. We were soon off and we jumped in at my usual back of the pack and it felt great running. We seemed to move along and the twists and turns felt fun. I continued to have fun and felt great throughout. And then, ''O''. The first few ups and downs were great. At some point, Kate popped on by and then she was gone and then were we lost, we were seeing people, I heard Linda yell and then we saw or heard no one. Oh wait, there's Natasha, what????? Seeing her strained face and she was walking was shocking, she had been lost for an hour or so, horrors! Were we going the right way, had we circled the same taped area 2, 3 times? I whined. Poor George. He said something at the end like, ''usually I'm following someone''...This made me chuckle..because I'm usually never following anyone. :)
Although I was a few minutes faster than in the past, I felt defeated by the ''O'' and frankly not Bad at all. I kind of felt like I let my 9/11 survivor down by whining.
Still searching from my feelings of defeat of the ''O'' Trail, my thoughts shifted to Cortland, NY a few weeks later. George was running the Virgil Crest 100. Ian and Emma were also running. Adventures!!
I played spectator and planned to do some miles with George. The plan was to meet him after his first 50 and provide another set of eyes for night running. The glow sticks can get a bit memerizing at night. VC used reflective tapes which were better than glow sticks and as the race director described enviromentally friendly as they can be reused. George came into the 50 mile point later than expected and he was a tad worked up due to some extra miles he did through direction of a volunteer. I could tell he was at a low and did my best to run with him but most of all to get his thoughts shifted away from the mix up. I told him how Val had a bad fall at Bradbury that day. He asked if she hurt herself and what happened. I also filled him in on TM Nation and how everyone was following the run. I told him about Ryan's funny posts and everyone else's support and comments. I think this really helped him work through things. We got to an aid station and I was looking forward to going up the ''hill'', although typical George style, he was worried about me getting back to the start area to get to my car, so I could get some sleep and as he said, ''pick up the pieces in the morning.'' He sent me off with some kind relay runners who were heading back. As I left him, he was stuffing his foot into Inov's with a great grip, but really not the best width for his beat up feet. I was sad to leave thinking about him running by himself. Although he took great pains to ensure I had good directions getting to and from the hotel, I took a wrong turn back to the hotel and drove up and down 81 hoping no drunk drivers were out. I finally figured out how to get back, although I felt like the town sign for Marathon, VT was mocking me in a wierd way
I headed back the next day and it's hard to describe how inspirational and emotional it was to see Emma and Ian finish. The end of the run is both toture for the finishers and for spectators. There's tons of anxiety waiting for a runner to pop out of the woods and then to loop around the lake to the finish. I could barely take pictures of Ian and Emma as I was chocking back tears.
As I waited for George, it started to really heat up, the temps were maybe in the 80's. I somehow got in my head, they were shutting down the aid stations and he would have no water. Of course this wasn't the case. I paced, I moved my chair to about 10 different locations, took to standing on the picnic table for an ariel view and was even getting special delivery updates from the kind computer timing guy and a kind woman volunteer. I FB'd a special friend and told her I think I was going to die waiting. Thanks special friend for your encouraging words, I didn't die waiting. I finally saw him coming from the woods and he was on the final loop around the lake. I yelled and yelled that he had it and he got into get it done mode and finished! I was so happy and quite surprised he didn't look as beat up as I imagined. Note to self..''gotta have faith.''
So my full circle is, I'm really not a Bada$$. I realized this when I was talking to some home schooled kids out doing a science project in our neighborhood and felt the need to fold my arms to cover the Bada$$ on my hoodie. Maybe the ''O'' will always terrify me. I know I'll always cry when I see others accomplish an amazing challenge. I'll also continue to think ridiculous things when George is out there. And I'll always be humbled by stories of folks who are really Bada$$. But how can you not love it, trail running rocks! It's always filled with adventure and fun. It's about being in the moment and most of the time for me, surviving the challenge whatever it may be. I guess maybe, I'm a little Bada$$.