Well, we know how to keep an UltraRunner occupied for 12 hours, that's easy. Just tell them either:
1. Hey, Frank's training for his first 100 and he's never done an all-nighter. Who's in?
2. Hey, it's Frank's birthday on Thursday. Who's up for running his age (47) on Friday night?
Well, in this case BOTH 1 and 2 happen to collide so we had 7 of us crazies out there from 8PM on Friday until 7AM on Saturday.
In conclusion, it's easy to keep Ultrarunner's occupied for 12 hours, no trick there, but how do you keep 4 ultrarunners occupied for 1/2 hour in the middle of their run? For that you have to get a little more creative.
You could start by parking a truck next to the dumpster in a park just east of the middle of nowhere at Midnight. You could next alert the oncoming ultrarunners not to mind your dog because, although he barks a lot, he does not bite.
"Was she talking to us?"
"She must have been, there was no one else around."
"Anybody see her dog?"
"No, must have been in the truck."
Dan was the first to notice that something was a bit hinky. I guess when you are a fireman as long as he was you've been called out to service enough "situations" to know that things aren't always as they seem.
We refilled our bottles and took in a little nutrition and proceeded to exit the park, bringing us back by the lady we later named Ethel.
As we run by she asks, "Any of you happen to have a flashlight?"
Well, as it was midnight and we were running on the trails, and we all had our headlamps on and flashlight in our hands and lit, it was kind of hard to say, "Sorry, no" and keep on running. Though that would have been the better move.
Me, the most naive of the bunch offers up, "Sure what do you need?"
"Well, when I was putting my recycling in here earlier, I lost my wedding ring, I hoped you could help me find it."
"Lost your wedding ring, well, mi flashlight es su flashlight!"
So, BAM! she has enlisted the help of four ultrarunners and their lights for 1/2 an hour or so.
Well, A2 and I are busy scanning our lights all over the ground looking for this ring, Dan's actually training his light under the dumpster still looking for the aforementioned dog, and Frank has his light angled on the a pop-top, which he advises Ethel, "Hey, you can put that on your finger as your ring."
Ethel, she's pretty sharp, "I don't even no why I bother, that piece of sh*t husband won't get off the couch and put down the PlayStation!" Still, A2 and I search.
Then my light illuminates a reindeer antler hat one might wear to the office Christmas party. And not expecting to see that, I comment, "Look a pair of reindeer antlers."
"Hey, those are my lucky antlers." says Ethel. At which point Dan turns off his light.
Then Ethel proceeds to tell us as Paul Harvey (R.I.P.) may have said, The Rest of the Story.
See Ethel wasn't always a really heavy, really out of shape dumpster-diver (see, even though she claimed to be a the dumpster making a deposit, the hundreds of aluminum cans at her feet and the dumpteresqe scratches on her legs told us a dumpster withdrawal was the more likely scenario.) See when she lived in New Jersey, before she contracted Lyme's disease, the kind that dogs get, and her Veterinarian put her on chemotherapy, the kind they use on Lupus patience, she was an athlete. Before the chemo ballooned her to over 400 pounds, Ethel won a softball scholarship to medical school. (this is where Frank turned off his light) It was there, as an athlete that she put a bug in the ear of the International Olympic Committee to include women's ice hockey as an Olympic sport. It was at this point that I remember that I didn't want to be chopped up and stuffed into that dumpster (after all I was less than 24 hours from those chicken wings, lovingly prepared by my BLF). So, we wished her luck and I mentioned that we had someone waiting for us down the road, so we had to go. Ethel still needed light to find her ring, so Dr. Frank suggested that perhaps she could pull her truck around the other side of the dumpster and shine the headlights on the area. Sadly, Ethel replied, "I can't, I have bad luck." Personally, I figured the good luck from the antlers would have counteracted that, but I guess that wasn't the case.
I wish we could have helped more, but one can only do what one can do.
Oh, the run, it was great. Frank got in his 47 birthday miles. He also got to do his first overnight run, and is in fantastic shape leading up to Umstead, he will succeed in his 100 mile quest, of that I'm sure. Dan, led the way most of the night, and ran very well, and navigated the trails at night even better. Andy B proved again what a nice and patient guy he is by sticking with us, even though he was chomping at the bit to take off and get in "some real running." And me, well, I'm pleased as punch that I was able to be out there. My long run in the last 6 months had been 21 miles. I wasn't sure if I had the endurance, the toughness, nor a healthy enough foot to hang with those guys for 21 miles let alone 47, but I made it. And some of the old instincts and habits even kicked in. I struggled most of the night, but something happened around mile 33, I started feeling good. I had to hold back the last 14 miles, I really felt good, better than I had all night. It was almost like old times, except better, because I didn't know I would ever feel like that again.
I am also happy to report that my foot and legs feel great, even a day later.
Well, that' it, I'm headed back to Nobelton to look for that ring and get some more information on Medical school that offer softball scholarships.