Scene: 8pm on Saturday night. My tent. I had just finished my second lap, and was huddling in my sleeping bag with MRE heaters at my feet, trying to get up the courage to get back out there again. It was cold. And miserable. And I was alone. WTM had set up the pit areas in a line about a mile long, and, while I had met dozens of fellow racers the night before, I had no idea where their tents were or if they were even in them. I had ran the first two laps on my own, not sticking with any particular person. While this was tolerable for the first lap due to the number of people out there, the second lap was only bearable thanks to the amazing Tom Keller that followed me, taking pictures, and encouraging me every step of the way.
But I was lonely, cold, and a bit depressed. My wetsuit and my shoes had frozen solid from being outside my tent for a half hour. And I was scared at the prospect of getting back out there for more laps. By myself.
Suddenly, I hear a familiar voice from outside my tent: "Amelia?" The tent unzips and Joel's head pokes through, wearing his infamous "I'm Joel" hat: "You ready to head back out there?" My body told me to stay snuggled up and warm in my tent, but I knew I was in this to compete. Hell yes, I'm ready to go back out there.*
|You've got something on your nose|
Together, we took probably the least sexy shower known to mankind both covered in 10+mm of neoprene (see left). The shower was a desperate attempt to dethaw before the final lap, in which I also proceeded to vomit on him (note to self: the orange FRS is not my friend. Note to everyone else: apologies if you used that shower afterwards). And all we could do was laugh at the absurdity of it all. It was a true suck, and one that could only be embraced together.
|Fifth and final lap as the sun rose|
And we crossed the finish line together, holding hands. The asshole still somehow managed to finish 3 seconds ahead of me according to official time. Figures. I can't describe the feeling at that moment. Did we actually just do that for 24 hours? Did we actually slog through sub-20 degree air temperatures and 40 degree water temps with the prize being...a kettlebell? Do I still have all my fingers and toes? Check, check and check. And I couldn't have done it without you, Joel.
*Note that I wasn't quite sure if I was ready to go back out there in the dark, in the woods, with the drunk-ass dude that tried to bite my nipples the night before. I should have brought my rape whistle.
**Shout out also goes out to Turtle, Joel's girlfriend, for letting me borrow her wetsuit which I proceeded to pee in about 20 times. I'll buy you a new one.