Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mosquito Send-off

On Friday the first, as the sun set and our team was ready to start our next section of the relay, we had to say goodbye to our new friends we had met at Silver Lake-the mosquitoes. We were waiting for the Silver Fox to run in and send EK off into the sunset, then they came out of no where. The swarming mass seemed to enjoy the fact that we had put repellent on, as they were on a different kind of sports adventure. We swatted at the bugs on each other, as we stood waiting at the exchange. We gave a short congratulations to the Silver Fox, who was then quickly surrounded by his adoring mosquito fans. 
So began the darkness.
We followed our runners with the van lights on, often leap frogging ahead or following directly behind so the runner could see what was in the road. Each of the runners faced a rutted, dusty road, and altogether ran about thirty-six miles in the dark.
 The van ride was interesting as EK began her run at my normal bedtime. She was first, and I was to run last. This is where our conversations became, less lucid and more "interesting?" I spent most of this time in the back of the van, attempting to sleep when I wasn't being used as ottoman. 
I wasn't quite conscious enough before the exchange, in that I realized needed to use the powder room  to freshen up right before it was my turn to run. The driver quickly drove me ahead, but our bionic runner made it to the exchange just as I had put on my lip gloss. So I hurried to meet her and out of the light of the giant spotlights into the dark. I quickly realized that I had left my headlamp in the van. I paused for a moment, but new that the ladies would follow shortly after. 
As I began my route on pavement near the Paulina Mountains, all that I could see were the lane lines and the stars above the tree line. 
One step after the other I began a gradual uphill, yet my teammates hadn't followed with the light. I ran a bit faster than normal those first five minutes. I also had a great time of reflection, in that, I had to trust whatever was my story in the road ahead. Was it a pothole? A mountain lion or other wild animal that would end my life's journey? 
I looked at the stars so far away, yet was comforted by knowing that whatever my "fate" on the run, I had to trust the Maker of those stars.
The ladies in the van did catch up to me, and so did the Hulagans. I didn't understand why their van was out there, as they didn't have a runner in sight. At one point their van pulled up ahead, seeming to wait for their runner, but as I passed, they cheered. I said thank you. Then I saw a different kind of moon.
I was taken aback by this tomfoolery, so much so I lost a bit of focus, reminding myself that I should try and find the humor of the situation rather than having my sensibilities offended. 
Shortly after this incident, my van checked in with me, and then said a Hulagan was behind me-fifteen yards. Before I knew it, she passed me going uphill. It seemed I never recovered from that non-celestial greeting.