Home » Blue Ridge Marathon » That Time A WWII Novel Made Me Panic During A Trail Race

That Time A WWII Novel Made Me Panic During A Trail Race

Mountain Junkies Frozen Toe 10K Trail Race

First race of 2018

You always know this one is going to suck.

You always sign up anyway. Because…it’s Mountain Junkies.

The weather hovered somewhere around 50 below zero. I’m estimating here. That’s what it felt like.

I had to sit in my car for 30 minutes after arriving so I could finish my audiobook, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, an historical fiction novel about the sinking of a German ship carrying thousands of refugees during World War II. I point this out because it not only explains why I failed to socialize with my friends prior to the race, but also because it will explain my behavior during the race, as well. It will make sense shortly. Trust me. Plus, read it. It’s an excellent book. But read Between Shades of Grey first. Again, trust.

Ok. When you start this race, you can’t feel the lower half of your body. Or the upper half. Or anything. You can’t feel anything, except perhaps the misery of poor life choices. So, for at least the first one and a half to two miles, you’re kind of relying on the Force to get you through the technical aspects of the trail.

For those of you saying, “The Force isn’t a real thing, Sunshine. It’s just some made up thing in Star Wars and Star Wars is a fictional film series,” I say…well, yeah, ok. That’s clearly true. Because at some point within those first two miles, there is a strong likelihood that you’re going to just go down. And you’re probably going to go down hard because you’ve been relying on the Force to get you through and you believed in it so fully that you just went fast as you can all in.

So, I fell. Hands out, superman, sprawling kind of fall. I may have offered up a strangled little howl of desperation. I’m gonna say that was simply my attempt to warn those behind me of whatever treacherous evil had clearly grabbed me and thrown me to the ground.

And this is where the audiobook comes in. Because the last thing I had listened to prior to starting the race was a story about desperate people trampling over one another to try to escape a sinking ship in the middle of the frigid sea, there was a moment where I panicked. Like, legit panicked and thought that if I didn’t scramble back to my feet quickly, I would be trampled to death.

In my panicked scrambling attempt to get up, I lost my footing even more and began sliding down the rather steep hill that the trail runs alongside. So, of course, I panicked more.

Amidst all of my panic, there were, in fact, several other runners trying to help me up. Because trail runners are pretty selfless people. They will always help. They will almost never trample. Bless their hearts, they didn’t realize that I was living in WWII Germany on a sinking ice-covered ship after being betrayed by the Force and at great risk of drowning if I wasn’t trampled to death first. So I was kind of half fighting them off and half grasping for a stable hand.

It all kind of went downhill from there. I mean, I finally got stabilized and finished the race, blah blah blah. But I ruined my favorite pair of running tights, reopened the scab from my fall on the same trail last weekend so that the fresh blood coagulated with the remaining fabric of the tights making removal so excruciating that I briefly considered just living in them forever, and ruptured the tendon in one of my metacarpals (according to my son’s full year of high school athletic training diagnosis).

Photo Credit: Jimmy Moore

However, in the end, I was able to celebrate with all of my badass Mountain Junkies and laugh about all of the falls, blood, vomiting, and general misery. We enjoyed the best post-race food with the best people after overcoming the best challenges. Because that’s what we love.

Photo Credit: Me. I did this.

Photo Credit: Marion Childress, leader of C&C Runners

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a bag of ice and Pacers basketball.


Just reading and writing and running and looking for my happy place.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: