I have sifted through all of the memories and all of files of thoughts in my head, trying desperately to figure out a way to write about my experience volunteering at the Leadville 100 Mile Trail Run. For the past week I have known how I want to end this blog post. After a week of searching for words, for a story, I haven’t a clue how to begin it nor how to fill it with the necessary guts to make it a proper blog post. So I sat on it, like I usually do, and continued to think about it.
I thought about how I arrived to a beautiful sunset at 6/7 p.m. on Friday night. I thought about how there were so many boxes of food to unload from the trailer. I remember getting about 3 hours of sleep before waking up at 2:45 a.m. to prepare for the other volunteers arriving Saturday morning. If I think hard enough, I can still feel how frigid my inactive body felt for most of the weekend in the chilly air at 10,000 feet. I remember the goosebumps from the energy of the runners and the crews.
There are so many moments linked to the brief images of runners’ faces in my head, it would be impossible to fully describe my experience. I met so many amazing people, runners, pacers, and volunteers alike. Then it hit me, all of my memories from the race are stored as still pictures in my head. I travel through life, cropping it, and storing moments in the hard drive of my body as raw formatted images. So as much as I want to relay specific moments (because let’s face it, this could be as long as a thesis paper), I’m going to stick to the images I was fortunate enough capture.
The stories of the faces of Leadville:
What stories do you see?
And then came the finish line:
Even though my thrashed and sleep-deprived body was laden with a mere 6 – 7 hours of sleep over the weekend, I watched, captivated. Some crossed the finish line alone either because they were from a different country or did not have a crew; some crossed with pacers, their country’s flag, their children, their best friends. Some sprinted in while others walked; it was a mixed bag of first time finishers, returning racers, runners with multiple Leadville completions or were completing a Leadman and Leadwomen. After crossing that red, velvet-looking line, there were many who looked entirely beat, but accomplished. Some runners had no choice but to sport wobbly legs and others chose to complete 5 hand-clap push-ups, breast feed their baby, or lean on their wives weeping. The runner’s faces looked pale and famished. Their necks were adorned with medals, the women were handed flowers, and they made their way to the medical check in.
All in all, words don’t exist for this level of inspiration. I’m not sure what runner I’d be if I completed the Leadville, but I know that one day, it’s a goal brewing in the bottom of my heart and I desperately want to find out. …Perhaps next year.
If you’d like to see more photographs from the race, visit my photography album here.
© /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/