So it goes

I’m huddled up in a sleeping bag in the back of the Toyota. And freezing.

I’m camping in an open field on the night before the race. It’s perfectly quiet. Absolute blackness. The stars at night really ARE big and bright deep in the heart of Texas. They really DO remind me of the one I love. Unless she slips beans in my chili.

Curled up in Mo’s sleeping bag, which is rated down to -400 degrees, I’m still shivering. I’m reading “Walden” on my iPhone. I wonder what Mr. Thoreau would think.

And then he tells me. He’s giving me a lecture about what a sissy I am. He theorizes that we feel cold only because we get used to wearing clothes. That if we stripped down and acclimated, we wouldn’t be compelled to bundle up. He presents the argument that civilization has made me weak; my inner animal can deal handily with the cold. I should need no shelter, no bulky clothes. Embrace nature. Suck it up, buttercup. That quote may not actually appear in the book.

What can I do? I am riddled with guilt. I look at Mo’s sleeping bag, and my sleeping bag, and my flannel shirt, and my Marmot jacket, and realize the answer.

I switch over to some Vonnegut short stories.

He writes about people who are 200 years old and all killing each other. They all seem pleasantly warm. I fall asleep happy, except for my nose, which is sticking out of the bag in a futile effort to breathe.

The next morning, it’s 34 degrees or so at the start of the race. I contemplate whether to start in my jacket, knowing that the temp will be in the low 60s by the end of the race, or just tough it out for the first hour.

I think of Mr. Thoreau’s words. I think of Mr. Vonnegut’s mustache.

In the end, a good mustache always wins. I run in the Marmot. I am warm. I am happy. The trail is beautiful, and nice people give me Oreos all along the way. It’s just like “The Wizard of Oz,” except I have black shoes. Man, I bet the Cowardly Lion costume was toasty warm.

All the same, I will avoid running at Walden Pond for a while …

walltreestrailbullriver bottomrock hoporeos

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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12 Responses to So it goes

  1. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for sharing the pictures, it is beautiful out there. Will you be running Hells Hills by any chance?

    • ilikemargarine says:

      Yeah, I was suprised at how great the trail was. never doubt Joe. And yes, I hope to be a total groupie this year and make all of his races.

      • Stephanie says:

        Ah, well I look forward to hopefully meeting you and Mo then! I will be at Hells Hills, all Capt’n Karls, Cactus Rose.. (because that would make for a great first 100 miler 😐 ), Wild Hare, and then will at least do Bandera and Rocky Raccoon next year as well. I suppose this also makes me a groupie.

      • ilikemargarine says:

        wow. yup, that qualifies you. Although from what I’ve read about Cactus Rose, taking that on as a first 100 would make you more of a nutcase. But in a good way.

  2. Amy says:

    Great report! Mind if I link to some of your fantastic pictures (with accreditation) in my race report?

    • ilikemargarine says:

      absolutely! but please feel free just to copy photos for your report. no need to credit or link. i’m a pretty public domain-ish kinda guy.

  3. Jenster! says:

    It makes me super happy that you had a good time…and even made friends with some new people. Maybe the next time I see you you’ll be an extrovert.

  4. Running Nole Fan says:

    Had I known there was gonna be steak on the trail, I would have joined you! Congrats!!

  5. dr pangloss says:

    Wait – you are given Oreos while running your race?
    “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

  6. SeniorRunner says:

    Yeah, I’d skip Walden Pond if I were you.

    It was still a delightful Eden when I visited in the late ’50s. But here’s a recent description:

    “Many visitors to Walden Pond today are shocked that the place is not the lonely, isolated, pristine beauty they believed it would be from Henry David Thoreau’s writings. They are appalled to find there is a busy roadway not far from its edge, a small trailer park across the street, parking for a fee, a giftshop, and — especially on summer and fall weekend days — throngs of people sunbathing, swimming, fishing, picnicking, running and walking.”

  7. Moose says:

    wow, brilliant pics. I never knew Texas was this nice!!! All the Texas we get in Italy is from that “Dallas” serier in the eighties. Enough said.

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