The Last Aid Station

The story of Jup and Pat to me has been like the story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady vs sleek and fast. They each finished in their own style and ultimately they both made it to the end.

It has been a huge inspiration to watch Jup cover the same mileage, only self-supported and carrying an additional 30-lbs of gear. It was also inspiring to watch Pat run a marathon on his rest day and place third.

There is no right or wrong way to finish a Transcon, though I personally relate best to Jup’s style. I need to take my time and be as self-sufficient as possible. I’ve learned a lot from both Jup and Pat’s successes and mistakes. Pat has been a constant friend, and it’s obvious that Jup will be a lifelong friend as well.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled this thing is almost over. The last month has been really hard on me and at one point there was a conversation between Shacky and I about whether we should suck it up or just bail. We didn’t think Pat could finish without us, so we stuck around. This is hard, hard shit.

I’m slowly composing a (hopefully not whiny but realistic) post about the realities of crewing. It’s challenging because I’ve felt pretty whiny lately. Shacky even set a new rule for me: I’m not allowed to speak in the morning until I’ve finished my coffee. And I’d appreciate it if nobody else speaks to me either.

Part of being a good crew is staying positive and shielding your runner from any negativity or stress. This creates a misconception to anyone watching on social media about what crewing truly entails. You can’t really be truly honest while the event is on. We’ve had some volunteer crew who assumed our lives were unicorns and rainbows and were sorely disappointed by our shitty duties when they showed up for work.

No, we don’t get the privilege or glory of running. If you actually have energy to run, you’re not crewing right. If your runner thinks you aren’t doing anything while they’re gone and wonders why you don’t have more energy to play… that’s damn fine crewing. We were damn fine crew.

Anyhoo.

Next week it’s back to our old uneventful life of trails and books and music and not ever knowing what time it is. And politely declining anyone’s request to crew their Transcon (two so far). We’re on #crewtirement for at least a year, folks. #youdon’tknowwhatyou’reasking

I kind of wish I were coming to the finish line with more energy and well-wishes and celebratory tones, like Pat at the end of the day when he still wants to run but we’re like, please God no more.

I’m just staggering in with the last ounce of hoorah I can muster. It’s not much, but a couple of stupid grins at least. Then this introvert will need months and months of alone time in the woods to fully recover my old goofy self.

I confessed to Jup that I don’t even really want to be at the finish. I just want to bail yesterday and run for the hills. It doesn’t feel like my triumph or anything to do with me. It feels like a one-man show and I’m happy enough to disappear into the shadow of the closest mountain.

I keep saying that Jup and Pat are finishing, but as Jup reminds me—WE are finishing. We are all finishing. We did it together. We were a team.

I guess he’s right.

WE DID IT!

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What’s It Like to Quit Your Job and Travel?

Why We Need Nomads

Are You There Running? It’s Me, Vanessa

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Check out my books:

Daughters of Distance 

The Summit Seeker

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