Again, I had a long time to wait before my last leg. At Exchange Point 19, I got out and wandered through the dark night to find the volunteer checking in runners.
It was Jens Bishop, a friend that had gone to pre-school through high school with me and now lives in Breckinridge. First Descents was helping man exchange points and had been short on volunteers. When I found out they needed more volunteers, I emailed everyone I knew in Colorado. Jens signed up to help. I visited with him for a few minutes, and then, cold and tired hopped back into the van for some more unsuccessful attempts at sleep.
As dawn crept in, we met up with van 1 to shuttle all of the night pacers back to Papa Smurfs car so that he could take them back to their cars. We went out to breakfast, but before we could go into the restaurant, I had to run over to some nearby bushes and puke again. I was really starting to get concerned about how much I was puking. For one reason, I hated to puke, and considering that I had not puked at all on chemo (sometimes I wanted to, but I was always able to work through it), this was kind of concerning. My second concern was that I still had 10 miles to run at an altitude of 6,000 feet.
We ordered breakfast and I picked at my food, simultaneously sipping water and soda. The other issue that concerned me was a cramp in my right ribs that I had since my first leg. After breakfast, we went to my final exchange point and I walked around the parking lot for a long time stretching, trying to work the cramp out of my ribs. It was not successful.
Lemondrop came into view and I headed out on my final leg.
The first part of the leg was really nice, I was running on a trail, had great views of the mountains and ranches, and it was very peaceful. The sun was shining and it was hot, but really it was pretty nice.
At the halfway mark, my van met me to refill my water bottle. I hadn't really drank anything since I had started running it. I stood with them for a couple minutes, drank some, they topped it off and then I was off again. At this point, my route switched completely to roads. There had been a mudslide and the rest of the trail was not usable. To sum it up, the last five miles were awful. The sun beat down on me, cars sped by and I was getting tired. I kept running (very slowly!), never seeing any other runners, and wondering when on earth I would find the exchange point.
I was at a busy intersection, the last race sign I had seen said to stay straight and not to turn. The sign at the intersection said to go right. I went right for a little, but then got worried and turned around to go straight. I heard shouting and looked around to see someone sprinting towards me. It was another runner from the Relay - the team of Marines, who was waiting at a gas station to refill his teammates water bottle. He got me back on the right course (I was supposed to go right). He also told me I was about a mile from the exchange point (best news I heard all day). Later on I went and found him at an exchange point and thanked him for saving me who knows how many unnecessary miles.
I kept running. I was really hot, so decided since it was only another mile, I would finish off my water bottle. I drank twice as much water on the second half as the first of this leg. I was beginning to think it was the longest mile of my life when Smurfette and Papa Smurf (her husband) showed up in their car. Smurfette refilled my water bottle and told me I was really close. She said the reason I hadn't seen any other runners was that the other teams (not all teams, but ones near us) had been picking up their runners and driving them in because it was so hot. What?!? Not cool.
I finished my leg. The ten miles took me 2 hours and 26 minutes, but I finished, and ran a total of 22.7 miles for my team. Marvel met me at the exchange point with a soda (thank you - no more puking) and I could finally relax a little.