The tributes for this years Hunger Games were assessed by the potential "sponsors" (aid station volunteers in charge of handing out indispensable sustenance to the runners) to see who would merit their favor in times of need:
|Davy Crockett. The man, the legend. 76 100 mile finishes to his name. 57 years of age and only getting tougher and uglier every year. Representing the monogamously challenged district of Utah, he was expected to deliver. And deliver he did.|
There was also 90 mile Tim. Tim McLean. I'm not going to write too much about Tim here because I can't find a single picture of him. It's as if his continual collapse at this competition has led him to erase any traces of his existence on the internet, so as not to remind himself of his inadequacy.
|Start of the 4th annual Hunger Games|
Panem was practically delirious with anticipation as the runners trotted off the start-line at a startingly brisk pace of 4 mile per hour ish. Bouts of running were interrupted with bouts of walking, etc. And so on and so on. Scott Martin was heard mumbling something about The Hobbit: There and Back again. Except that this was like: there and back, there and back, there.... and back, there and back, etc again. He also consulted with Jeremy Johnson about discovering ten vultures that were eyeing him. Jeremy told Scott this was not good. Not good at all.
|Camden House aid station|
|Antsy tributes, ready for the slaughter.|
|The creek crossing. Caused much angst amongst those runners who hadn't experience what the game makers threw at runners in the 2014 edition.|
|Shasta Bally. You know who has the CR for that, right? Right?|
The crowd was cheering for Davy Crockett. He ran hard from the word go, each time gapping the rest of the field early on each six mile lap. His intimidation tactics lost their edge later in the game though, as the other runners would eventually catch him on the trails. He began to deploy other tactics such as showing off his beautiful singing voice while trying to imitate Miley Cyrus, or whoever was playing on his iPod.
It was a beautiful day for running, but then, as usually happens at these things, the sun goes down, the 36 mile runners go home. And all you are left with is 12 crazy people turning on their flashlights and heading into the night. Just a few hours later and it was down to 7 men on the course. Things were thinning out fast. Finally Joe Palubeski, for all of his potential and energies put into the various shenanigans, realized that this was not his day to put it on the line and he called it a day at mile 60. Scott Martin eventually succumbed to the bad portents and his old man hip issues forced him to call it at mile 60 as well - exactly half of the 120 miles and course record that he had planned on. After this, Panem could finally concentrate on who the real men were: Davy Crockett, David Petersen, 90 mile Tim, and of course, Jeremy Johnson.
The rest of the night was, well, dark. There was more there and back again. More aid from those friendly sponsors, ramen noodle soup, quesadillas, grilled cheese, etc. The game maker did throw a curve-ball and offered chocolate milk at Oak Bottom campground. Jeremy was the only runner who partook. In fact, Mark had purchased a half gallon of the stuff, and Jeremy drank most of it. At some point (mile 76), 90 mile Tim finally admitted that something else had gone wrong for him, He had lost a toe nail or two, and foot blisters were making his night a living hell. He was done. That left three tortured souls out there on the course with the pride of their entire districts hanging on the line.
There and back again. When interviewed after the race, Jeremy Johnson had this to say about these miles:
"I was on autopilot for most of the night. A mini can of coke at every aid station was keeping me going. David was killing me on several laps during this time. My confidence was shaken and as we left Camden House aid station at mile 90, thoughts of quitting crept into my head. 96 miles started to sound like a pretty good day for me. It would represent the 24 hour mark in this event, and I knew the sun would be coming up to greet me for my penultimate lap. As I ran through the early morning darkness though, I came up on and passed Mr. Crockett, and then at the bottom of the hill around the two mile mark of the six mile stretch, passed yound David (I call him young because he seemed like a youthful soul to me, maybe in his twenties. Turned out he was a year older than me. Whatever). David had to take a pit-stop near the Gallic shrine. At this point I made it up in my head to go for it. I thought, if this is going to be my last lap, might as well give what I got. I accelerated down the road until I reached the lakeside trail. Knowing the topography and how the curvy ins-and-outs of the trail along the lake allowed for following runners to track the flashlight of the runner in front of them, I decided to turn my light off in an attempt to throw young David off of my tracks and not give him anything to aim for.
As the sun rose and gave me just enough illumination to see the rocks in front of me, I picked up my pace even more. Suddenly it seemed like I was flying. Just out for my usual morning run, cruising on some beautiful lakeside trail. I finished the lap strong and then waited for several minutes until young David shows up at Oak Bottom. As he crosses the line he immediately exclaims that the next lap will be his last! He wanted 102 miles so that he could officially cross the century mark and that was it for him. I asked him if he really just made that proclamation. Jokingly he returned with, well, maybe I just said that, lol. I don't know if my surge had anything to do with his decision making process or not, but suddenly things just got interesting. As we waited for Davy, I told Mark about my observations of Mr.Crockett. I thought he was playing the part of the the losing boxer in the championship fight. He was bruised and battered, bleeding from everywhere, hanging on to the ropes while the champion swung away at him. Soon the champion would tire himself out and just collapse on the mat while Davy claimed the victory. You see, at some point Davy put away his ipod and was only able to channel his pain through various grunts and vocal cues that, frankly, scared the daylights out of the rest of us. He was the vision of toughness. The man that would not give up the fight, nomatter what. I was just sure that this guy would never quit. As Davy crossed the line with about 5 minutes to spare, Mark breached the subject that one more lap would be 100 mile finish number 77 for him. Like usual he responded with a not to friendly grunt. He was in beast mode.
Anyways, we ran the next lap in the early morning light, which was nice. I finished a strong lap. Young David finished his lap and was immediately relieved to finally be done with the thing. Then came Davy across the line. I saw the first smile from him all day long, and he exclaimed: number 77...
I took my aid and then headed back to Oak Bottom for the final lap, knowing that that was it. Thank-goodness."
So that concludes the coverage of the 4th annual Hunger Games. Deep End(my kids always thought that was what I said when reading their stories to them)
Notes on the race:
- drank 20 oz of water per lap - about 2.81 gallons
- ate a whole bag of Cheetos (the big bag)
- ate half a bag of dark chocolate
- 5 oranges
- 15 bacon strips
- some old prunes
- a large amount of quesadillas, ramen soup, chicken soup, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
- almost half a gallon of chocolate milk
One pair of old Nike Tierra Kiger trail shoes did the trick.
Two shirts: Quicksilver racing jersey and then under-armor shirt
One pair of Injinjis.
One pair of brooks shorts.
The hot shower at the end rocked!