Gale Walker aka Granny Gale we featured last year on I Am OCR profile. She sent us this short story about an experience at a recent Spartan Race. Sometimes we all need a Trail Angel to help us through.
Just got back from a Spartan Race in Pala, California. Brutal heat, unforgiving climbs (starting with a whopper 5-mile mountain climb for warm-ups…), no shade or wind…all around Beast and 12 miles of it!
I learned my lesson a year and a half ago racing a Spartan near Vegas. Desert conditions, a mountain climb to start, and I wasn’t nutritioned up enough for the job. The real culprit for me was salt, oddly enough. I blacked out briefly several times. Didn’t feel stable until a few hours post race. And it was only an 8-mile competition.
So when I ventured off to Pala Raceway venue, (my 43rd career Spartan Race), I came prepared. Hydrated, armed with electrolytes, water, chews, protein bar, and salt, of course. To no avail.
I fell victim, as numerous racers did, to the elements. At mile 9 (with only 3 miles left to go) I considered dropping out. This would have been a FIRST. I was dizzy, blacking out, nauseous, was in the throes of heat exhaustion, and that was the pretty side of it. I had been “touched by the devil”…. Although several racers chose to drop out (and it was the right decision for them), I knew I had to continue.
And then I met my angel.
Anna (a 49 year old racer and mom) asked me if I was running alone. Yes, I replied and she replied the same. We decided to be each other’s partner until hell turned into heaven at the finish line.
She stood by me (as I fought passing out ). I gently encouraged her (as she threw up her guts on the rocks beside the dusty, sun-parched path).
Without my angel, I would have had a really tough time getting to the finish. Although I’m certain I would have, it was so much better with a new friend. I’m sure she feels the same.
I was touched by the devil, for sure, in that California race. I even drove myself to the hospital two hours after the race because I was still hyperventilating, and blacking out. (I don’t recommend driving that way, folks…). But I had a smile on my face, knowing that Anna was my angel and new friend, and that we had helped each other through to the end. That finish line told a story of a journey I may not want to repeat, but wouldn’t trade for anything because of my new friend and angel.
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