Luke put a cup of warm potato soup in my hands, but I was shivering so hard against the mounting cold that I could barely drink it. What I got down though was perhaps the best thing, in terms of food, that’s ever happened to me…. the kind of blissful taste sensation one can only experience when you’ve been primarily consuming gels and chews and sports drinks for the previous 15 hours.
He took off to grab my drop bag and to begin to attend to our needs. We had agreed that I needed to take the time to get some solid food down. I’d been nauseous for a long, long time and I absolutely had to get my caloric intake back up.
I continued to shiver more and more intensely. I somehow managed to wrangle an extra layer of merino wool out of my pack and onto my person, but that fumbling and bumbling effort produced no noticeable change.
Luke was back now, asking me to help him screw the lids on my flasks, but my shaking hands just couldn’t quite do it. Seeing I was of no use, he somehow made it work. I’m still not sure how…
I watched across the fire and noticed that elite runner Timmy Olson was wrapped in a blanket, his face glowed with all of the relief of one who was ending his evening early. And there was Jenn Shelton (of Born to Run fame), dressed for camping, talking loud and telling stories. While she was wearing a parka, she also seemed to have been warmed enough by the Sombra Mezcal in her veins that she had become impervious to the cold.
My shivering moved from “intense” to “violent” as my head grew foggy and I thought I was going to puke from all of the shaking. I tried to sip some more potato soup, but it had already cooled off too much to be palatable. I sipped a bit more anyway… Need. More. Calories.
An ATV had pulled up to take those who were dropping out back down the mountain, and Timmy left an empty chair close by the fire… I made my way over to it to try and warm up, but it wasn’t working. Even the fire seemed powerless against this clear, cold night.
I looked around at the other runners huddling around the fire, all cold and exhausted and miserable. Many (most?) were clearly not going on. I didn’t want to go on.
I’ve never been so cold. I’ve never shivered and shaken so horribly.
I could just end it now. Take that ATV back down the mountain when it returned…