Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Orange Line: Sleep at Last!

After the hand off to the Green Line it was time to head for the hotel to catch some sleep. First we stopped at a gas station convenience store to get some supplies. What do you know they were having a sale on bottled water -- in sports bottles no less! We took a case. Now on to the hotel. Captain Erica had booked two different hotels. The "bad" one was near the current vehicle transition area (VTA), the other "good" one near the next VTA. Since we had to eventually drive to the next VTA (that is where the Green Line would hand off to us) we opted to go to the "good" hotel.

Did you know that six people running in sequence can go really far? Yes, this is a little known fact. The result was a much longer drive than we had anticipated to the hotel room all the while chewing up valuable sleep time. Once we finally arrived we discovered to our horror that $130 a night in NH buys a night at one of the worst dives I have ever seen! If you saw Erica's picture you have SOME idea, but it really does not do justice to the place. At this point though the Orange Line runners were so tired it hardly mattered. Some of us took showers and then we all collapsed one place or another. All except Rodger who decided the van looked more attractive. It WAS a close call.

As we were about to announce lights out a call from the Green Line came in. The news was not good. Health problems were running rampant and there was talk of runners have to bail out of their current leg. If that happened everybody would move up a leg in the rotation. Among other things that would have the Orange Line take over on leg 24 instead of 25. The immediate problem was that if we needed to arrive for the early leg we would have to cut our sleep time by well over an hour. First, we be running after just five runners. That in itself would have us on course over an hour earlier. Second, we would also need to drive further from the hotel to reach our new start. The leg 24 transition area was 8 miles about further away from us than the leg 25 transition area. Given how tired we were this was very bad news. The deal Erica and I struck was a compromise of sorts. They would call at 3:30am if we needed to head out early. If we did not get a call we would arrive at around 5:45am at the leg 25 exchange. With fear in our hearts we went to sleep. Given what I know now all I can say is that the effort put in by the Green Line was nothing short of heroic! At some point I hope a few more of them share their stories here.

There was no call. We left the hotel on schedule and headed up to the VTA. An amazing thing happened at this point: despite the lack of sleep, and physical exhaustion the Orange Line was psyched to run! I have no idea why or how but we were all high as a kite and ready to tear up the course.

At the VTA Kathy handed the wrist strap off to Rodger who took off in the dark. Fortunately, dawn was approaching as the light on the back of his vest immediately fell off! A bit of confusion later, Erica and I hooked up and I headed with her to the Green Line. We needed to get the vans together to transfer some items and I planned to lead them over to the Orange Line van. What can I say, the Green Line looked, well, green. :( They were exhausted and clearly physically distressed. I was sure they were miserable too. Amazingly though they all claimed that their spirits were high and that their enthusiasm remained strong. With a smile Ulli held up a now empty box of Imodium AD! You gotta love a group that can run, laugh, and all the while consume Imodium AD like it is hard candy! A little directing later the vans were together and the supplies transferred. Each van then headed its separate way. The Orange Line in search of Rodger, and the Green Line in search of the hotel.


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