Sunday, June 28, 2015

Short Story from Pedernales Falls 60k

I could (should) be doing homework or preparing for my presentations for work tomorrow, but I have to share about the adventure I had early this morning.

About 29 miles into the Pedernales Falls 60k, my headlamp flashed three times, warning me that it was low on battery.  I realized at that point that I had my Petzel Nao set on the brightest setting, which is only good for 4 hours, instead of the dimmer setting, which lasts 8 hours.  I switched to the dimmer setting immediately, but wondered how long the light would hold out.  With the moon behind clouds and the dense tree cover around me, I knew that once my light was gone, I would have to slow down significantly in order not to lose the trail or hurt myself stumbling over the loose rocks and uneven terrain.

Although this negative situation was caused entirely by my own stupidity: a) using the wrong setting, b) accidentally leaving my fully charged spare battery still plugged into the wall in my apartment, c) not carrying my spare headlamp from my glove compartment, d) all of the above, it actually turned into a positive; from mile 29 on, I pushed myself to run much faster than I would have otherwise, in order that I could get as close to the finish line as possible before everything went black.  Of course I was praying fervently during this time that it would hold out, while feeling a peace that God would help me out somehow, even though I little deserved it.

As my light got dimmer and dimmer, it became challenging to hop over the technical terrain, and I took a fall, cutting my hand pretty good.  But I was able to make it to 1.5 miles from the finish line before my light blinked off.  I had run about 2 seconds in darkness, when I turned a corner and saw a guy (with a radiantly bright headlamp) standing in the middle of the trail, displaying a good amount of surprise at the ninja runner approaching him.  After convincing him I wasn't a hallucination, I told him my light had just died, and he immediately began running alongside me, lighting the way for both of us.  As it turns out, he'd been standing there trying to make himself puke, as he'd been fighting nausea most of the race.  I thanked him profusely for helping me out, and he thanked me for motivating him to run rather than puke and walk it in.  (He also said he felt like he had to either run me in, or give up his man card.  Whatever the motivation, I appreciated it!)  He asked how long my light had been out, and couldn't believe the incredible timing -- that it had lasted just until I got to him.  All I could say was, "God is good!"

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