So when I left off, I was being attacked by a giant glowing-eyed monster thing. Turns out, monster thing was a horse. Also, said horse was apparently in a totally separate paddock from us. Awks. Despite realizing that we weren’t about to be trampled by a rouge beast-creature, we were all still terrified. It was STILL pitch black and foggy, and dead cars and barbed wire surrounded us. ‘Twas a bit dodgy to say the least. Finally, though, we hopped one last barbed wire fence (Dom ended up slicing his hand open, but the boy’s a champ and ran through it) and made it to the road where we booked it for about four kilometers before deciding no serial killers were after us and slowing to a walk. It was only 6am and the sky was still dark.
We continued walking/ running for the next, oh, hour or so. It was fairly uneventful until the sun began to rise. Fog still surrounded us, but the sky shifted from black-blue to this gentle, soft peach color that spread throughout the fog. Sun glinted off spiderwebs and droplets of water gleamed like jewels. It was like walking in fairy-land. I have no pictures of it, and to be honest, I doubt a photograph could capture even one-eighth the beauty of that sunrise. Ben, Dom, Conor, and I were all overcome by the sense of serenity. Its a sunrise I will never forget. Words fail me.
We continued running and walking for the next five and a half hours. It was, not uneventful, but eventful in small ways that do not translate well to word. The phrase “You had to be there” is extremely apt. Suffice to say, those hours were filled with extreme laughter over jokes both silly and bawdy, excruciating pain, gossip, GUs, terrible singing, and lots and lots of running. I talked about trees. My teammates talked about things other than trees. We missed a turn and did a short back track. I accidentally peed in someone’s lawn. Dom saved my life with some Burger Rings (I desperately needed some salt). We ran some more.
The thing with an event like this is its hours of the same thing which can be endlessly interesting to the runner but…less so to those reading. If I’m failing your desire for obscene detail, let me know and I will be glad to talk to you and fill your ears with EVERY LITTLE THING. Including details about my chafing. For the time being, I shall just say that it was in a place you never, EVER want chafing. EVER.
Finally, 10-ish hours after we were dropped off, Bruce Hall Division Two finished IB. And what a finish it was. Just as we reached endpoint, we saw another team so we SPRINTED to the finish. I thought I was going to die. I’m not a strong sprinter to begin with, so this was extra painful. The team we beat wasn’t even in our division, but it was worth it.
Finishing IB was one of the best experiences of my life. We sprinted down a long line of screaming, cheering people, and when I finally stopped and got to take off my shoes (OMG SO AMAZING), there were some of my best friends screaming my name, just as ecstatic as I was that I had made it. It was glorious.
However, reaching endpoint did not mean I could just relax. I mean, I could, and everyone was more than happy to do absolutely ANYTHING for me, including finding Dom, Ben, Conor, and I a tub filled with ice water to soak our feet…or rather, dunk our feet in and the pull them out screaming about the cold. I think the record was two minutes by yours truly. A large portion of my endpoint experience can be better explained through pictures, so prepare yourself for PICTURE OVERLOAD. Well, okay, five or six pictures since they take FOREVER to find and upload and I am lazy.
My team had a fairly easy time compared to the other Bruce teams. Most teams (from all colleges/residence halls) didn’t finish and had to be picked up. Waiting for other teams was one of the most nerve-wracking times of my life. I cried when the final teams came. Our Div 3 was the last Bruce team to come in and I basically almost sobbed as I hugged my fellow Brucies. I was so nervous that something had happened and someone had gotten permanently injured. However, all ended well and everyone made it back, relatively safe and sound. I eneded up with one very, VERY sore knee, massive oozing sores on my back from my pack (still have faint scars), and a rather sore body overall. However, I can safely say that Inward Bound was one of the best, most rewarding experiences of my life. And I can’t wait to do another ultramarathon, much to my parents’ chagrin.