THE ODDS (Debbie Does ALS)



Remember these girls? They look strong, right? Well, they are.

Yesterday these ladies faced a tough trail and one of this summer's hottest days and ran a 50K race.

The race started at 6:30 AM. There was some cloud cover (always a good thing) and even a little sprinkle, but it didn't stay that way. During the seven hours plus Lynne and Tam were out, the sun would occasionally peek out and, if there was no shade, would make it dreadfully hot. Cathy and I, after having a delightfully nutritious breakfast at the FasMart, made our way to the first crew station. Our runners came through right on schedule despite Tam having taken a tumble at mile two. She told me later it made her fear falling but, strong runner that she is, she moved past it and continued on. We met up again at the aid station at mile 16 and they still looked as fresh as daisies! The next stop was the turnaround at mile 20 -- they emerged from the protective cover of trees into a hot, brightly lit clearing. Finding some shade, they refueled, turned around, and headed back for the last 11 miles. Cathy and I hurried to the 24 mile mark, saw them again, then made our way to mile 26. Seeing them through this point, we headed to the finish. When they came out of the woods for the final time, and made their way across the field looking as beautiful as when they'd started, we all cheered. These are women I have long admired. The strength and determination they exhibited yesterday only added to the admiration.

Two items of note: First, it was somewhat difficult being at this race; as excited and enthusiastic as I was for my friends, there was a pang of sadness that I wasn't running it, too. Granted, I would never have run a distance race in August, but I really always wanted to run a 50K race. Anyway. I did not dwell on what I was not doing, instead I focused on being super cheerleader.

Second, though Cathy did not run the race she deserves a medal. Why? Because she had to face something more horrifying than a tough trail or a hot day, she faced the walrass.

My first trip to the restroom, at the FasMart, was uneventful. The second time I had to go, I tried to do so discreetly in the woods. The word unsuccessful does not even begin to describe how abysmal this attempt was. I tried the old "tying my shoe" pose but realized after mere NANOseconds that this wasn't going to work. I ceased any forward progress at this point, but then faced the daunting task of trying to stand. I was beginning to worry that I would be forever left in the woods in my kneeling position when finally I lurched forward at the proper angle and was able to get up. I stumbled out, my left leg scratched from the brambles, still needing to "go." The next opportunity wasn't until we had arrived at the turnaround point at mile 20, where there was a gloriously beautiful port-a-john. At mile 26, however, there were no facilities and I knew I was going to have difficulty. The warmer it became, the warmer I became, and the sweatier I got. When my skin is damp it is almost impossible to pull shorts or pants up over my hips and butt. I swallowed my pride and asked Cathy for help. She was wonderfully efficient in both the down-pulling and up-pulling processes, and didn't bat an eye at the large moon which shone brightly. By the end of the day my arms were tired enough (and I'd had a couple blueberry lagers) to warrant two additional requests, which were answered unflinchingly.

Lynne and Tam ran a tough race, and Cathy really went the distance.

They are forces to be reckoned with.

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