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brain decay at the orange curtain 100k

i shoulda gotten some sleep… too late now. one mile into the race. it’s good to have this lady behind me, her headlamp is lighting my way. so jay said three underpasses… did he mention a tunnel? i can use these as markers… no, no music yet; it’s still dark. i need to focus. i can’t see the guys ahead anymore… this must be the tunnel… what now… left or right? pathetic to get lost in such course. here comes the lady… oh, right. of course… keep following the river… this ain’t gonna be so bad. 10k… 10k’s are easy. i can do ten of them in a row… after this first one i’ll put the music on. a flashlight? turnaround. now i know the bridges. tunnel, underpass, side underpass… side underpass, underpass, tunnel…

ground control to major tom: take your protein pills and put your helmet on“… two to go. this will make it easy. lap one… i should devise a system… the headbands… the four are moved one by one to my left wrist… then they are moved back to the right wrist… that’s eight. then i move two back to the left wrist and i have two on each wrist, and i’m done! will i lose track of which wrist i’m taking from… moving to… ok, the two reds are first. then the brown one. yellow is last… i’ll know by the color pattern which wrist is which. perfect. cool. 1:13… not bad… i’ll keep it up…

in a trance, while the lonely mingle with circumstance? i’ve got something to tell you, you make it show let me come over, i know you know when you dance i can really love“… very simple… just keep going. i’m getting into the zone already. where can i find a bathroom… shoot! locked. get back on course… they’ll probably be unlocked later, it’s too early still… succeed caps… two per hour. i’ll be fine. red bull at 50k… no no no just focus on the here and now. litter. not good. why do people litter? wonder if this is for sewage and drainage… did i ever open yesterday’s mail! ah… bathroom… finally.

for these enlightened aliens leave permanent imprinted information on the psyche of those chosen humans“… there’s that purple detergent jug again… wow, she’s going so fast! do i…? again? it says rest stop… that’s close to the tunnel? or have i’ve been thru it yet? i should be good for a while. i’ll try the honey stinger now… hmm, good gel… water… one more sip. it is a sewer alright. pew! joy… is that the turnaround underpass? which one did i go under last? wait, i get water at the other aid station, this is the gatorade one… or is it…? shit, it’s getting pretty hot! yellow. what do i smell… horses? horses. why does it have to be so hot?

speak to me of summer, long winters longer than time can remember, the setting up of other roads, to travel on in old accustomed ways. i still remember the talks by the water“… yeah, bathroom. again. ha! there’s it is… the giant penis! underpass? bathroom #3? oh, gas station. alright. wait, what direction am i going? pain. do i have my car key? walmart trucks… triple l truck… hole on the fence… oh, aid station. was it always green? pain. it was blue at first, and now it’s green. not likely… oh, please, now my chondromalacia will flare up? oh, there’s that guy again. wait… it’s not here… i wish i were that fast. red? ha, red bull! i’m halfway… i’m beat… ibuprofen, it’s gotta work. watch out, there’s that crack again.

best laid plans come apart at the seams shatter my dreams. sometimes i feel like screaming, close my eyes it’s times like this my head goes down“… yeah… i never returned his cd… at least i’m already an official finisher for the 50k… what kind of relationship was that, anyway? pain. we were dephased, as always… life is funny. here we go. giant penis again. am i in between the first two bridges? i mean, the last two. pain. didn’t i just smell the horses? holy crap! did i just sit on this filthy toilet? no, there’s the tunnel. have i taken a lethal dose of caffeine? after the green playground. of course. well, i guess i’ll never know now. those were good years, though. still, how could i ever keep his cd?

my mind knows what it wants but my body just drags me down and my world is something you canโ€™t see but itโ€™s still very real to me“… this is lame. i’m walking. fence, detergent jug, crack, horses, giant penis, bathroom, playground. underpass, water stop. my nose is dripping. horses, walmart trucks. i can’t stand… the pain… gas station, track, tunnel. pain. did i turn off the coffee maker? i’m tripping. whoa, bicycle! an inch closer and i would have fallen in the channel. thanks! should i just call it a day? i’m at 74k… bummer, i’m reduced to a 3.5mph walk… what was breakfast? maybe i should have bought the other pack? i like blue.

so tear me open and pour me out there’s things inside that scream and shout and the pain still hates me so hold me until it sleeps“… pain. what’s going on… what was i thinking? water, electrolytes. ibuprofen, gel. pain. no, i can’t quit. i will get my headlamp at the end of this lap. then two more laps… pain. i can do that… my legs… can’t… obey… i don’t wanna quit. just… move… the water moves… i wanna go on… move… step forward… maybe… trees look funny… why is…? where…? do i…? shit, i’m close now! there is jay. i will tell him. i’m done. my mind wants to go on… my body… won’t respond anymore. “this is it for me”.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Darrell February 20, 2007, 5:04 am

    Nattie, I love this post. I can only imagine how the mind must wander on a run like this.

  • Jessica Deline February 20, 2007, 11:26 am

    Amazing post about what goes on in a persons mind during an ultra – especially such a repetative one!

  • angie's pink fuzzy February 20, 2007, 7:30 pm

    whoa, intense, i got goosebumps. cool post.

  • Charlie Nickell February 20, 2007, 9:58 pm

    OK, so pretty much you were thinking the same stuff you think of everyday. Got that. However, is the big penis part of the horse deal or something else?

  • Greg February 20, 2007, 10:13 pm

    Absolutely Faulkneresque.
    Love it.

  • ~nattie~ February 20, 2007, 11:16 pm

    hey charlie, didn’t know you knew me that well. as for the giant penis, it was graffiti on the asphalt. don’t remember the mile marker, even after seeing it 16 times.

  • olga February 21, 2007, 9:59 pm

    Hey, good job on a race, and awesome thinking too!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • OCRunnerGirl February 21, 2007, 10:06 pm

    Awesome post Nattie! I got goosebumps too. Our minds go crazy on those long runs. I haven’t run as far as you but can totally relate to the repetitive talk in your head. Thanks for sharing!

  • Alice in Wonderbread March 6, 2007, 8:01 pm

    This is a great post, and a wonderful peice of literature to boot. I just adore it.

  • Dmitri February 17, 2008, 9:31 pm

    Super-belated comment (2/17/08):
    Nattie, we missed you in Cerritos yesterday. Your race recap is very true – this is exactly how it felt (except only for the big penis graffiti – it is gone I guess) – I am just glad I did not read it before the race or I would either DNFed or DNSed it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Carlo June 29, 2008, 1:01 pm

    good Job! ๐Ÿ™‚

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