2015 SHITR by Scott Shaw – note my blog theme holds due to title of run!
The 2015 SHITR (Shivering Icy Trail Run) started up the “Mound” around the bench and back down the steps and then into the Lost Valley woods. Kevin and I made it up the stairs in good time, but when we descended the stairs there was no way I could keep up with him. When we started the stairs I was only 3 people behind him and when I finished the stairs he was an entire group in front of me. I was already huffing and puffing,but I managed to catch up. We got in a fast pace on the double-track, which was too fast for me to maintain so I told Kevin to go without me; he refused, but kept his pace. I felt like I wasoverheating, but didn’t want to stop, so I took off my hat and my gloves and unzipped my jacket. I slowly started to fall behind and started to lose sight of Kevin as the sun settled behind the horizon. As I entered the woods he was waiting for me. I told him to get going and stop waiting for me.
On single-track we cruised along, but I knew I could not hang with Kevin so again at around 3 or 4 miles in I told him to race his race and I would race mine. Kevin took off and the herd of headlamps in front of me disappeared. Now alone in the dark I tried to take a selfie and laughed when all I got was my headlamp, but I wasn’t going to stop running for anything. Just as I looked up I noticed the markers heading into the bush so I made an immediate left and started following the markers and rabbit trail to the cemetery. As I was heading down, the herd was heading up and I got to see that Kevin had made his way from the back of the herd to the middle. I knew he was going to make way better time without me. I made my way to the cemetery, read the sign, but not the tombstone, and made my way back up to the single-track.
I heard someone coming from behind and struck up a conversation with Pete from Team Noah. He gets to see me stumble and catch myself many times. I tell him that I am an extremely clumsy runner and a technical rider. I start slowing down after a while and tell him to pass. I tell him to tell Emily and the rest of his teammates, “Hi.” I also tell him that I will be ok since I have a teammate in front of me and teammates behind me. I keep running into the night.
I hit some double-track and I remember to drink, set a comfortable pace, and settle in for the long haul. I hear a runner catching up behind me. Their light keeps getting brighter and their steps louder, but it is taking a long time for them to overtake me, so I know our paces are close. I start going downhill as the runner passes me and I fall head first, somersault, land on my back pack, and roll to my feet in one fluid motion. I actually remember to pull my hands in and to not try to brace and save my hands completely. The runner stops to make sure I am ok, but I am already up running and tell her I am fine and repeat my previous conversation at how clumsy I am. We run together on the gravel and then make our way back to single-track.
On the single-track I stay just a few feet behind her and I am amazed at how sure footed she is. I keep rolling my ankles and I trip and nearly fall again. I definitely solidify my statement of how clumsy I am. During the rest of the run I only see her stumble a hand full of times. She says she is a little unsure of the course and I tell her that I am not worried since I have been spotting all the markings and if need be I have my compass on me and will find my way back to the start. We decide that since we are about the same speed and that we are all alone, that we will run the rest of the race together. We start climbing a hill and I think, “Well, if we are finishing this together we may as well exchange names.” So it was a little comical as we climb the single track trying to tell each other our names. I am hard of hearing and we are both breathing hard and she has trouble getting her name out and I can’t understand until she spells it; “R.U.T.H.” I stay behind Ruth studying her foot placement and searching the trees for markers so we don’t miss a turn. I notice we have different techniques to climbing hills and I feel like I can pass on a hill, but when the flats and downhills come there is no point because I can barely keep up. She tells me there were some guys peeing in the woods that caused her to miss the cemetery and I was supposed to remember the name of the place. I tell her it started with an “M” and Cemetery but can’t remember the name and that I didn’t know I was supposed to. She tells me we get a prize if we know it and I try my hardest to remember it.
We run at a consistent pace for many miles as my phone reads them off. They seem like they are ticking away nicely. We only have to walk one short steep uphill and continue our pace. I try to remember to drink and blow my water back into my camelback bladder. I am making some seriously strange noises blowing back into my hose and I think, “I wonder what Ruth thinks I am doing back here.” Later on I tell her what I have been doing when she tells me her water hose is frozen.
We hit the double-track and Ruth kicks it up a notch. I start having trouble keeping up. I know that without her I would be pacing slower and walking more hills. She is giving me a reason to try harder and I am glad she is with me. We actually start passing people and I am pretty happy until I notice that a tall guy is walking almost as fast as I am running so I speed it up some and get directly behind Ruth. We get to this incredibly nasty uphill and run as far as we can and then walk the rest of the way up. It was hard just to walk. We get to the top and make a left and take off running again. Somewhere at about 9-10 miles my hip started hurting from the fall and I told myself I had only a 5K left and I could hang in there. Now I don’t know how many miles we have left and my hip is killing me. We see a guy on the trail that knows Ruth and he says there is only one mile left. I can see the mound and the parking lot. Ruth and I grab hands, hold them up high, cross the finish line, and grab our prizes. We exchange information, I start shivering like crazy, and Kevin comes up and we take off for Mexican food and Margaritas. Kevin finished in slightly over 2 hours, Ruth and I finished in slightly over 2-1/2 hours.
At the restaurant I change into warm clothes, eat, drink, and have a great time with great friends and athletes, but that is an entire other story! Ahab.