From Chapter 19 UTMB at Last (after mile 50 in the Alps between Italy and Switzerland)
From there it was an upward climb in the fast-approaching dark, up toward Grand Col Ferret-the peak where Italy ends and Switzerland begins. As I went ever so slowly up this climb, I passed multiple people throwing up on the side of the trail, like we were in the midst of battle together. It was getting quite windy and cold out at this high elevation and I was still desperately craving sleep. After hours of climbing, I could see men in thick orange parka jackets at the top of Grand Col Ferret with a lighted tent next to them. My confused mind wanted the tent to be an aid station. However, when I reached the men, they merely checked my bib and waved me along. No rest for the weary here.
As I started the descent into Switzerland, my back was starting to feel fatigued from wearing my backpack for so long.I couldn't jog down without feeling like my lower back could seize up at any given moment. I know I had left the previous station within minutes of the cutoff and I didn't have time to spare. But I was so weary. I had to shift my thoughts to what I needed to do to survive. It wasn't about the event at this point. I thought to myself." If I just needed to simply survive getting myself miles and miles through this terrain right now, what would I need to do?" It was clear to me that the answer to that question was to rest. So right then and there on the side of the mountain in the dark, I took off my pack and used it as a pillow on the side of the trail in the tall flowing grass. I could feel my body decompress and release stress as I lay there, knowing my UTMB dream could be coming to an end soon due to timing out. I heard a few passing runners checking on me and realizing I was just resting. After about 15 minutes had passed without any true sleep but some much needed rest, I geared back up and got back to moving.
Somehow , my body took full advantage of that hillside nap because, as I was descending from there, I started to feel better, both my legs and my back. I was able to run again with relative comfort and was able to move forward consistently. Miraculously, when I finally arrived at the next aid station several miles later, I had forty-five minutes until the time cut-off! That was a such a huge relief, I can't even describe it.
"Steven-A Runner's Life" is my first book and was inspired by being able to attend many of Steven's race events with my husband,Jay, and recording our experiences in my journal.
This book includes several of Steven's own blog posts, posted on the Art of Trail@wordpress.com
These posts explain his motivation for trail running and his experiences at many of his races. Also it includes his discipline where he used a special diet, to avoid stomach cramps, and training habits that could be helpful to anyone involved in ultrarunning or ultra sports. (According to Wikipedia, an ultramarathon, also called ultra distance or ultra running, is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length, which is 26.2 miles.
In the last two years of Steven's training for the Ultra trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix France, he bought and began renovating a cabin in Oregon.
This book shows with muti-tasking, discipline and many prayers that all things are possible. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed reliving our experiences.