There are two themes to this post: first about a lost runner coming back to civilization and her first day out of the “wildernes”, and second my first day out on the trail trying out my lungs.
Two runners got lost in the Cleveland National forest since Late Sunday. Both are said to be experienced ultarunners. The first runner returned to the trailhead on Wednesday morning after being separated from his partner and sister-in-law since early Sunday. The second runner was found by helecopter on Wednesday afternoon. This is the fist day out of the back country they can breathe easy. A team of people from the Ultrarunner community assisted in the search giving of their time to find one of their own. I am glad this came to a safe and positive outcome for the runners. But I question their preparedness in these mountains and their experience.
I know what it’s like to do these kinds of runs. You should know the terrain, trails and the physical dangers. When running with friends we keep tabs on one another. We signal each other to let each other know we are OK. We wait for them at critical trailheads. What drove these runners to separate and not keep tabs on each other…were they searching for water as one post intimates? Were they duke-ing it out on the trail to see who could last the longest in the oppresive heat? Don’t know although when the older runner is passed by the younger woman runner as he is throwing up as cited in her interview you wonder why they did not stick together at that point to ensure the safety of both.
Experience comes not only from the number of miles you put in and the races you have run but the time on feet in conditions that test your stamina, strength and judgment. Most critical in this circumstance in my opinion is judgment. Judgment to pace yourself, working as a team, knowing the trail and your bearings. There is much to learn from this this experience for these runners and I hope other runners and outdoor adventurers will take notice on what occurred here and take steps in their own passions to be prepared mentally and physically prepared for what mother nature decides to dish out.
On a related note today was the first day in a week I could actually fill my lungs to capacity without stabbing pains in the left side of my chest. Was was up early taking with Jeanne and decided to get out for a short hike and watch the sun rise. It was probably the slowest I have ever covered this section but it was nice to get out. Now I need to strengthen my muscles in my mid section and ensure all the blood pooled between my lungs and plural cavity gets absorbed. On the road to recovery but my adventures scheduled still hang in the balance.