2018-05-19 - MMT Pacer for Sirisha

~9.2 mi @ ~25 min/mi

sunrise over Shenandoah ridge"Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will!" As Sirisha Golla climbs the 12%-grade Habron Gap Trail an Eastern Whippoorwill shouts its name. The sun has just set at mile 54 of her first Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 miler, on a super-hilly course that this year features heavy rains, flood-stage stream crossings, shoe-sucking mud, and treacherous rocky slopes. Sirisha meets her husband Ramesh at Aid Station #9. It's my honor to accompany her for the next stage of the race.

"Hey! Mr. Tambourine man, play a song for me / I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to." Sirisha sets a brisk pace; I stumble along behind. After a few miles she reminds me of a foolish promise to sing Classic Rock songs to help keep her awake and lift her spirits. Somehow every one that comes to mind relates perfectly to our current situation: "Let's Dance" ("If you say 'run' / I'll run with you"); "A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall" ("I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains"); "Bad Moon Rising" ("I fear rivers overflowing"); "Red Rubber Ball" ("And I think it's gonna be all right / Yeah, the worst is over now"); "The Times They Are A-Changin'" ("And admit that the waters / Around you have grown"); "Close Your Eyes" ("Well the sun is surely sinking down / But the moon is slowly rising"); "Here Comes the Sun" ("... and I say / It's all right"); and many more. Sirisha kindly forgives an off-key voice and frequently-garbled lyrics.

At 12:16am we reach mile ~64, Camp Roosevelt, where we exchange fist-bump salutes and Sirisha's next pacer, Elsa Araujo, takes over. After showering off mud and changing clothes it's time to proceed to Aid Station #14 (mile ~88) and help Jon Jester and his crew of energetic volunteers for a few hours. On the way home a superheroic sunrise heralds the awesome new day. Whatever happens: It's All Right!

(trackfile) - ^z - 2018-06-02