Tuesday, May 10, 2011

American Odyssey Redux - Part II - Everyone Needs Beef Jerky

“My car feels like an empty mansion when I drive it alone now,” my friend e-mailed me. “Needs 4 or 5 people and a bunch of bags of random food.”

How true it is.

There’s a scene in Michael Crichton’s book Travels when he encounters a family who’d just come down from Kilimanjaro, the same hike he’d planned to make the next day.  "Why don't you ask them about it?" his girlfriend says.

So he does.  As the conversation struggles forward he notes, "As they spoke, the dull look never left their eyes.  I couldn't tell if they were tired, or disappointed, or if something odd had happened that they weren't talking about...I was disturbed by the flat intonation, the inward manner....Finally the wife said, 'It was good. It was a good climb.'"

That’s how Mrs. Onthebusrunning and I felt at our local Mexican restaurant just hours after ending our 200ish mile journey from Gettysburg to D.C. So many combating appetites battling: sleep, thirst, hunger, hygiene.
Tired, bearded, happy to be done.

Of course, it didn’t start this way.

Full of life and full of real food, we huddled around the crowded starting line in the parking lot of the Wyndham Gettysburg. Our team shivered with the scores of other runners as the wind blew ominous clouds overhead, the kind that had you not known any better, you’d swear it was fall.

We cheered the countdown on in our olive green shirts with the shadowy figure of our inspiration stenciled on the front: The Most Interesting Man in the World for the Most Interesting Team in the World.

The vans were stacked thanks to a generous donation from MOM’s grocery store and everyone’s favorite running Jamaican, Rohan. We had enough apples, oranges and bananas to feed a small country let alone a van of hungry runners.

The seconds ticked down and the race director with a microphone bellowed, "Goooooo!"  And the first steps of our journey began.  Here's what happened along the way:
Rohan makes us the Most Interesting Team

- Van 2 had six hours to kill before they ran so they scoured Gettysburg for beards to look like The Most Interesting Man in the World...what they got were Abraham Lincoln beards.

- The Rohan Show - Rohan getting on top of the car.  Rohan getting yelled at for being on top of the car.  Rohan running away from the van. Rohan interviewing with the local press. Rohan riding an aluminum horse. Rohan crowing out the window about "Alien sex." Rohan tearing it up on the course!

- Tagging other vans with our Most Interesting Man in the World quotes...even though the grammar was questionable.

- Ebo taking his shirt off.

- Fantasizing about beef jerky.  Eating beef jerky at 6:00 in the morning.  Eating beef jerky all the time.
Ride it...my pony!

- Rachel getting hollered at as she passed through her first of back-to-back night legs.  BA!

- Rachel realizing that she and coconut water do not mix.

- Karen gutting out her last leg in the dawn on the C&O canal after falling twice before reaching the half way point.

- Finding out that @Sarahfindingfit ran down Bloody Lane with a burned out headlamp

- Rachel and Rohan walking into a coffee shop by the MARC train station in Maryland and getting asked if they were, "Part of the doins' down at the station."

- When given the choice between salami sandwiches and peanut butter, salami is the first to go.

Sound asleep at the finish.
- Ebo ran 30 miles collectively instead of 20; 26 of them without a shirt.

- It's easy to fall asleep in the sun along the D.C. waterfront after two beers, two hot dogs, a polish sausage, a chicken breast, and one hour of sleep in the last 33.

Trying to explain these "fun" experiences to non-runners at work, it usually gets met with a blank stare.  And when I know I've lost them, I stop.

“How was it?” I get asked.

"It was good.  It was a good run."

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