87.5 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 29, 2022


My decision to become lean, mean machine several months ago has taken some real sacrifice and hard work. When my on again/off again Trainer, Niles Pearsall, (I am the off again/on again
part of that equation), asked me if I was "up" for the 8 Tuff Miles, I said sure! Luckily, this was posed to me on Thursday, the race on Saturday, so I did not have much time to dwell on the ramifications of my commitment.
The "Elysian gym" contingent was to meet at the Red Hook Ferry Dock at 6:15 a.m., about the time I usually go to sleep. So, Friday night, I set my alarm for 5:00 am, giving me ample time to consume at least an entire pot of coffee (energy), smoke a few cigarettes (yep), and try to eliminate as much of the coffee as possible. I carefully chose my tank top, sports bra, shorts and matching underwear (Mother always said you never know when you may make a trip to the hospital, and I felt the possibility certainly existed), my cleanest socks.
I found my spare set of truck keys, grabbed two $20s, my lip balm and a tube of spray vitamin B-12. Now the hard part…I climbed into bed at 9 p.m., set the air conditioner on cold! And snuggled under the covers, only to begin to worry if I could really do this. Brought out the boring book, and I was probably in la-la land before 10 p.m.
The alarm went off at 5 a.m., coffee pot went on and I began to dress. My mind was on red-alert.
Will I make a fool of myself? Will I make it? Do I have the nerve to not show up? I can do it!
No I can’t! Shut up BOTH of you! I tucked everything into my sports bra and took off in the dark to Red Hook. I immediately looked around for the gang, did not see them, so I went in search of more coffee. While en route to the Deli at AYH, I actually ran into some friends on their way home from a night out! That made me puff up a little when I informed them I was on my way to St. John to do a road race
Well, first of all, there were plenty of no-shows, in fact only seven of us showed up. As I departed the ferry, my first thought was "Will I make it to the restrooms?". Cruz Bay was abuzz with healthy, svelte people everywhere. Off to register. I decided to sign up as a walker, thinking that my time would not look so bad. Got my number, pinned it on, did some stretching, and off we were. I tried to keep up with some friends, but they are at least 6" taller than me and I could not keep up with their stride. I watch them disappear up the first hill. Did I say FIRST hill?, I should have said at the bottom of the five-and-a-half-mile hill. I realized quickly I needed to pace myself, it was hard to breathe. I could hear myself huffing and puffing, I checked everyone that passed me by for their breathing, but I seemed to be the loudest. Now I realize they didn’t hear me, only I did. Well, by the first mile mark, I just knew I wasn’t going to make it. It was just a matter of how I could drop out gracefully.
Next thing I know, I see the two-mile mark. Okay, that’s one-fourth, 25 percent of the course, if I don’t feel any better by mile three, I skip out. All of a sudden, I remember every cigarette I have ever smoked, every pat of butter I have ever spread, every Godiva chocolate I ever consumed. I will be better, I swear, just let me make it to mile four…that should be Bordeaux Mountain, and then it will be downhill from there! Well I made it mile four and Bordeaux Mountain was nowhere in sight. As a girl passed me she said we had another mile or so to Bordeaux, but the worse part was coming up ..from Reef Trail to Bordeaux. Now I started plotting, if I take the curves on the smaller part, I could shave off a few feet at each curve. Maybe I could stop to pee at Bordeaux and run downhill to make up the time. Maybe I could steal a donkey from the girl that gives rides at Bordeaux…Bordeaux, Bordeaux…that was my mantra. Finally, I rounded a corner, and by rounded, I mean I was bent over, forcing myself not to fall over backwards and the best sight I could imagine was before me!!! Bordeaux Mountain and a Rescue Truck. I figured they were waiting for me, but unconsciously, I waved to them as I passed by. I could see Coral Bay! I could look straight ahead and not see pavement!! I might make it.
About that time, Mardi Williamson caught up with me and we started the trek downhill. We could actually carry on a conversation. In fact, at one point I asked her if she had seen a mile six sign and she informed me we had passed it a while back! Next came mile seven and I thought I was home free, although going downhill so steeply is not much more fun than uphill. I did a little
"jog" of sorts, the rules state you have to walk or run, can’t do both. Next thing I know, Mardi was behind me and I was actually passing others.
Well, mile eight came up, and we were informed it was about another ½ mile to the flat. They lied!
I had set everything on that eight-mile mark only to find I had been duped! About that time a guy came by with two horses. Now I never, never go anywhere without my American Express card,
I would have bought a horse right then and there, but alas, it didn’t fit in my bra! So no horse,
no flyer miles, and onward I went. But I made it!
At the finish line, there was an inviting array of fruit and juices. I grabbed a cup of cold water and immediately headed over to Skinny Legs to get my prize..a T-shirt. I moseyed over the bar, with my head up high and ordered a Coke. Then I borrowed a cigarette from the guy next to me.
A couple at the bar mentioned they’d heard of people walking a mile for a Camel, but never anyone walking eight miles for a Marlboro….well.
My legs ached, otherwise the only thing I felt was homesick for my bed. I waited with others for a bus back to Cruz Bay, it was delayed by a funeral procession. A note here, one of the first things I saw was a black hearse upon entering Coral Bay….I thought Ha! Not this time! Since
the bus was late, we were really in a pinch to get to Cruz Bay in time for the 11 a.m. ferry. We
were stuck in traffic at the post office intersection, the driver informed me if I RAN I could still
make it and RUN I did, and I made it! After a two hour nap and a sandwich, I am ready to do it again!
A footnote here…Niles:, THANK YOU! To the KATS kids…congratulations, for
a well run race.

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