We finished our second leg at about 9:00 am and headed to Mellisa's parents' house in Kamas to rest for a few hours. After a shower, a pancake, and 2 hours sleep, I was feeling much better. Some of the others, however, had misbehaving intestines, as often happens during races like this. None of us were feeling at our best, but the end was in sight; only one run to go.
My last run was scheduled as 5.5 miles down the steep mountain terrain through Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort, for a descent of over 2,000 feet. However, that morning, we received a text from the race officials stating that, "due to an unforeseen obstruction," (which turned out to be snow) my leg was to be increased by 1.5 miles, to make it 7 miles. Once again, my sweet teammates offered to help me with this addition; they would each take half a mile for me. But I knew that in order for me to feel proud of my performance, I would have to make it on my own.
Let's rewind three years. The Wasatch Back Relay was held in 2007 during a major heat wave. I ran my first leg during the afternoon when the temperature reached 104 degrees. Afterwards, I looked like this:
During the last leg of a difficult relay for everyone on my team, I gave up the ghost. I stopped to walk and couldn't make myself start running again. I only had about 2 miles to go, but those 2 miles seemed unattainable. I was physically and mentally weak, and I just gave up. Enter Blake (aka Donatello):
He stepped up and started running for me while I climbed in the van to drink some lukewarm gatorade. I was hot, tired, and miserable, but I felt ultimately defeated, not by the heat and the miles, but by my own weakness. I ended up running my last mile on my own, but never really forgave myself for allowing Blake to run for me, even after sending him a set of old school He-Man DVDs in thanks.
Fast forward back to this year. I took the baton and began my last leg: a 7 mile, "very hard" run. The first 200 yards were uphill, and then the descent began. As I began the climb up that very first hill, I almost literally ran into Blake! He was wearing a volunteer shirt.
And then I knew that I had come full circle. I was about to run 1.5 miles longer than I had anticipated, three years after Blake had run a mile for me. He was here, on leg #35, to give me his blessing. He thought he had volunteered at this time during the race because it was a convenient time of day for him, or because the location was good, or because all of the other volunteer shifts had been taken. But no. It was no coincidence. Karma, baby. The universe is now in order.
My triumphant finish:
The Duodecad at the finish line: