Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The fertile muck (& brush with death #2)

I wanted to call these next two pictures "the fertile muck". But, as I told that to SR, he looked at me, clearly thinking "what is that supposed to mean?" Ok, I really don't know what it is supposed to mean, but I know the kind of feeling it evokes. And I like it.

These are pictures taken immediately following the 50 miler, which again was the day after the 50k at Three Days of Syllamo. I had no clue how dehydrated I was at the time and that within the hour, I'd be blind and nearly puking from dehydration, laying on the shower floor. Thank God the body has these automatic mechanims to keep us alive- while our loved ones run for water. And thank God water did the trick. I was so scared. I even thought I should utter my farewell to SR.

Writing about the myriad other injuries I suffered from and the 16 falls over the three days, two of which involved hitting my head on a rock, seem trite now. And who on earth would complain after a race like this? It was, as I said on Facebook, perhaps my favorite vacation to date. Maybe my favorite race, too. Not because I think I deserve to be tortured (see Danni's blog post) but because this is absolutely the way to experience life.

I just wish it could be more or a whole family experience.

Here we are arriving in Blanchard Springs, AR, not really knowing what to expect.

But by the next day the weather was sunny and perfect.

Below I momentarily accomplish a move that belongs in a Devo or Daft Punk video, at around mile 27 of the 50 miler.

The Lorax, in the meantime, was having quite a picnic with a ham & mayo sandwich, yogurt, and I am not going to get angry about the cola (and assume he said "no thank you" to it). The Lorax and I had a bit of a falling out on the trip, where he told me I should probably just stay at the hotel in Chillicothe, MO, while he drive home with SR and my mom. But I have subsequently gotten two "I love you Mommy"'s, one because I checked out Diego in the Snow for him at the library and the other because I took him to his violin lessons.
Here is my mom, who perpetually looks younger and happier than me (I).
But one must admit, that despite these experiences being immensely enjoyable, they take a big toll on the body. It would be nice to find a Three Days of Syllamo lifestyle that was more compatible with longterm survival.The day after the race, I had a half an hour crying spell for no reason and I hurt so badly everywhere that I couldn't walk. The next day, I broke out into a cold sweat at the library alone with the two boys. I rushed home with them before the real deal hit, and shook on the couch for two hours with what is the highest, scariest fever I can remember (again, I was close to calling 911), while the boys cried in fear and evetually both fell asleep. I would say it was the flu, but I was fine the next day. So I don't know what it was. But I don't think it can be chalked up to The Ides of March.

The next day (yesterday), we had a great day.

SR and I bought road bikes (ours are still in Denmark - they are hard to ship as Mmmonyka knows). I am thrilled with this used "Litespeed" which I got for $999. I would love to have the cheapest bike at the High Cliff half iron man, but I guess that is unlikely. I have also now entered the world of click-in pedals.

Natali joined us for a bike ride in this amazing weather we're having. And she informed me that all of her friends have at least 300 followers on their blogs - and they don't even write anything. (I am clearly doing something wrong)

But even if no one is reading this, I will always be able to look back and smile.

Now go wish Piccola Pinecone congrats on her baby girl!!

Poem of the day

The Fertile Muck by Irving Layton
(just one stanza, but the whole poem is great)

How to dominate reality? Love is one way;
imagination another. Sit here
beside me, sweet; take my hard hand in yours.
We’ll mark the butterflies disappearing over the hedge
with tiny wristwatches on their wings:
our fingers touching the earth, like two Buddhas.

Running song of the day (fellow Canadians of Piccolo and Irving)
SR and I don't usually agree on literature or music, but we do agree on Tegan & Sara
"I Know I Know I Know" by Tegan and Sara

Happy 5 year anniversary, SR!!!!


Mapp said...

Can I be your mum for just a second, and say you worry me a bit with your cold sweats, fevers and so on... look after yourself, hey?

As for Natali's comment, very pourd to say I am doing slightly better than you : I may have only 8 followers (and that includes... me... for some reason!), but at least, I don't write much... cleraly I am on the right track (pun not intended when it was written)!

mmmonyka said...

Post-race sounds scary. Why exactly do you do things like that to yourself? But you did not know that fever, cold sweats etc would happen so I am not going to tell you off. Unless you do that again!
But the race experience sounds awesome, seems you really had a great time! And so did SR (I read it on his blog).

Regarding taking bikes on planes: you need to be witty and play your cards right. Be self-confident but play little dumb at the same time. Then once you confuse (or rather "outtrick" in this case) everyone at the check-in desk, then go back to being witty and voila, they take your bike on board with zero extra charges. And you probably also need to have a lot of luck in the mix. Unfortunatelly.

Lisa said...

Low blood sugar, Darling? Sounded scary! You worry me, you are elated during your endurance. However, after you vagal down twice? Maybe your blood volume shrank, water is not enuff....drink pickle juice, not kidding!

sea legs girl said...

Lisa, during the race I had 16 s caps and drank only energy drink (almost a bottle per 5 miles, until the last 10 where I couldn't drink as much). I ate a ton and low blood sugar does not cause this type of vasodilatory fainting in the shower. I also drank some more sports drink after I got the initial water. Sorry I didn't make it clear in this post. But good point - it deserved clarification!!

sea legs girl said...

Mmmonyka and Mapp - I do think there was a bug going around at the race because a bunch of people reported getting a fever two days afterwards. It's just odd that SR, The Lorax and Mattias haven't gotten anything yet.

Mmmonyka - thanks for the bike on plane tip. Sounds just about right in regards to how plane rules function: there is so much luck and charm involved.

Danni said...

I am still not recovered from Su. I also had a fever (only 100.5 though) and now a cold. It's weird because I recovered immediately from Slickrock. Sometimes our bodies just give us the finger I guess. Your kiddos are lookin' great.

SteveQ said...

Okay, I know the poetry was justto prove me wrong.

The Cows At Night
Hayden Carruth

The moon was like a full cup tonight,
too heavy, and sank in the mist
soon after dark, leaving for light
faint stars and the silver leaves
of milkweed beside the road,
gleaming before my car.
Yet I like driving at night
in summer and in Vermont:
the brown road through the mist
of mountain-dark, among farms
so quiet, and the roadside willows
opening out where I saw
the cows. Always a shock
to remember them there, those
great breathings close in the dark.
I stopped, and took my flashlight
to the pasture fence. They turned
to me where they lay, sad
and beautiful faces in the dark,
and I counted them–forty
near and far in the pasture,
turning to me, sad and beautiful
like girls very long ago
who were innocent, and sad
because they were innocent,
and beautiful because they were
sad. I switched off my light.
But I did not want to go,
not yet, nor knew what to do
if I should stay, for how
in that great darkness could I explain
anything, anything at all.
I stood by the fence. And then
very gently it began to rain.

DDitlev said...


'Fertile muck' .. makes perfect sense, but possibly in more ways than one! Which one is it that you like? And I don't really buy it when you write 'Ok, I really don't know what it is supposed to mean' .. 'cause I think you do!

All the best,
Me :)

sea legs girl said...

Interesting, Danni. There have been a number of studies showing our immune systems are affected by ultras. Wasn't that even part of the Western States study you were in? It makes me wonder, though, if despite being more susceptible to illness immediately following an ultra if we get stronger immune systems in the long run. I don't know how high my fever was; we don't have a thermometer. I remember having 102 a couple of years ago and it felt higher than that.

sea legs girl said...

Steve, that poem is wonderful! Thank you. The last line is amazing. My other favorite part was cows being called "great breathings", though it almost doesn't fit with the rest of the poem.

One would think I was trying to prove you wrong, but honestly this was a coincidence. I don't tend to be so obvious when attempting to prove people wrong :).

sea legs girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sea legs girl said...


I have to start out by saying I always have different (likely wrong) interpretations of poetry than others. The fertile muck is ostensibly a juxtaposition of a negative and a positive, but they are both part of nature. The gist in my mind, is that nature is both beautiful and terrible, and our interpretation and imagination make it so - but in the end, though we pretend to control and be in charge of nature, we aren't. Of course, I am saying this having read the whole poem. Now it's your turn.

DDitlev said...


I read the title saw the two pictures and thought .. Ahh, how strong, short and wonderful!

What I saw was a woman feeling like shit (by the looks of it) and still being able to nurture her child. Thus the fertile muck was you.

Another meaning could be that the fertile muck was the trail on which you had spent the last three days. Meaning that this trip had given you something you needed.

and maybe even both..

In otherwords I really liked the title and thought it fitted perfectly.

All the best,
Me :)

sea legs girl said...

Daniel, I will also add that I think writing an interpretation of a poem detracts from the actual poem, which I think should be up to the individual to interpret in their mind. But it is still sort of a fun game to see what people think.

sea legs girl said...

Daniel, I thought of both of those meanings, too! Totally agree. I just decided to write the more overarching meaning :). And my above comment was written while you were writing.

Lisa said...

Ah, thanks! Background on why I said that: Once, when I was traveling, I vagaled down while in a seated position, my head got stuck between the tub & toilet, so now you all know where I was. . I took my first and only meat wagon ( ambulance ) ride to Fort Myers hospital. Evidently, I was very dehydrated and they lectured me on anorexia & running (????). I weighed 100#, perfectly fine for 5' tall. I had to defend myself & protest I ate like a pig, but didnt drink enough. Then, I had gastro issues from traveling. Blood went to gut, abandonded the brain, so down I went. Weird experience! Hope you are feeling better, now. Being ill is no fun.

sea legs girl said...

Lisa, this is a really good point you bring up! It is quite common for young women to have vaso-vagal fainting, especially if they are a little dehydrated and low on blood sugar. It happened to me once at Sonic Youth concert in high school when I weighed a good 25 lbs more than I weigh now and it was hot and sweaty; I hadn't drunk enough, etc. or eaten dinner. I was unaware fo the anorexia runner phenotype causing vasovagal fainting.

What I am trying to say is- what happened to me after the second day of the race was not vaso-vagal and was due to serious dehydration, as far as SR and I can tell.

sea legs girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olga said...

I fainted (or nearly so) after a few races, varied from heat exhaustion, calorie deficit, dehydration, and sheer exertion level. Doesn't phase me one bit. You do look like death:) I agree that there are numerous studies about immune system going down after an ultra (especially if you put effort into it and not slogged half-walking and when you get older). The boys are awesome, and who cares about followers (I am not officially one of them, but I do read what you have to say:)). Happy anniversary! And, btw, Meghan got sick after Ozarks too.

Saraisbarefoot said...

Hello SLG,

I read Angie B's blog and found a link to your blog there. After 3 days I just finished reading your entire missive and wanted to say hello and thank you so much for sharing your life with us. It isn't always easy to follow your instincts particularly in the public eye.

I am a sidelined (PF) runner and look forward to following what you share as SLG. Thanks - Sara

Lisa said...

Sonic Youth, you lucky dog! Who is the troglodyte whose comments must be deleted?

I see the difference, now you've explained. My problem was more gut vs. brain demand for blood pressure.

Looking forward to reading of the next adventure!

sea legs girl said...

Olga, yeah, I have been chatting with Meghan on Facebook daily. And Ashley Nordell was sick, too. But we all had pretty different symptoms. It was just a joke about the followers, by the way. If I had thousands of followers I'd know my blog was too generic or too much like a business. I like it the way it is.

sea legs girl said...


Nice to meet you! My first instict is to feel bad for you spending all of that time reading my writing - but I love the fact you called it a "missive". That's a pretty underused word. I really appreciate that you took the time to comment and let me know you were here.

sea legs girl said...

Lisa- wow a fellow Sonic Youth fan. Sadly I fainted during the first song and was rushed out to an ambulance, so I'll never know how good the concert was.

The troglodyte is just me making mistakes. What is a troglodyte, exactly?

Lisa said...

Ohhhhhh, craaap. I thought you were deleting someone elses rude remarks on your blog. I said to myself 'oh, we are back to this, I see.' I probably spelled it wrong, but it is a cave-dwelling creature. Many apologies!

I was thinking......let me know, everyone if this sounds reasonable...I wondered if your low BMI could have been your body processing 'evolution' to continue to adapt to very long distance running. Cut the wind better? Slim down. Fight gravity on tough trails, scree, rocks? Slim down. Drop unneccesary luggage? Slim down. Specialized adaptation could be applied, certainly. You are not built like a body builder, as you dont body build, and so on. Other women have chimed in in agreement, even citing their own examples. Eh, what do I know, I work in accounting and never made it past 7.2 miles.