Loren and I set off for Sunset Fields at the leisurely time of 10 am, stopping at the convenience store along the way to purchase the much appreciated ice and arriving around 11 am. With a 27 pound 2 year old at my side or riding on my shoulders, a cooler with sodas and a 10 pound bag of ice, a coffee can filled halfway with water and 2 wash cloths (for runners to soak their heads and rinse off sweat), and a backpack with a change of clothes for the 2 year old, some snack crackers for the runners, a towel, and a water bottle, we set off down the trail to the AT crossing. While it was just a third of a mile to the AT crossing, I felt as though I had trekked much further. Once we got to the crossing, we settled in to wait for the first runner.
Eric was the first to arrive, talking hurriedly about how he had heard that Troy had fallen and torn up his hands pretty badly. While I was planning to head back to Emory after this aid station, Eric thought I might need to stay longer in case Troy needed to be taken to a hospital. I assured Eric I would help in any way necessary and off he went. Just 10 minutes later, I heard Troy talking on the phone (no surprise there) and moving deftly along the path. He didn't seem that bad off, but one look at his hands and knee and I knew he must have been shaken up pretty badly by his fall. He indicated that he sees this kind of thing in urgent care all the time and he was quite certain that he needed stitches, but he was not stopping the stage. By the time he got to an urgent care center, he figured it would be too late to stitch the wound, so he was just planning to super glue it that night.
I'm not sure if the heat was causing Troy to hallucinate, but he told me that 6 nurses came to his aid after his fall. 6 female nurses out for a hike with antiseptic and steri-strips on hand to tend to their ailing comrade (Troy's a nurse). This seemed a little too mystical to me and when I told Eric about it, he said, "Only Troy. Only Troy." The nurses lifted Troy's spirits as we was pretty shaken up by the whole incident. By the time he got to my aid station, he was carrying a wadded up bit of cloth to cover his wound and indicated the steri-strips had fallen off after an hour. He lingered very little at my aid station and pressed on. It wasn't long before Rebekah appeared after having crewed for the runners a couple other times already that morning. She asked me to wait for Anne while she headed on to meet up with Eric and Troy down the trail. When Anne arrived, she seemed in good spirits and seemed to be moving along fairly well. I learned later that Anne had quite a low point between my aid station and the seven miles when she next saw Rebekah. At that point, with 10 miles remaining for the day, I heard that Anne was ready to throw in the towel. She had had enough. Somehow she pressed on and finished the stage at the James River. I was fortunate to get to talk with Rebekah Sunday night to hear how the stage finished out. She shared that Anne had talked with her husband, Mark Lundblad, and daughter, Ellie, that night, and they encouraged her to press on. I think 12 year old Ellie said something like "What would your fans think if you quit now?"
The last time I saw Eric and Troy today was at a point about 10 miles from the finish. When Eric arrived, I told him about seeing Troy and eased his mind about Troy's well being. I also told him Troy was only 10 minutes behind him to which Eric replied, "I don't want to take a man out while he's down." Eric took his time drinking a soda, refilling his pack with ice, and chatting with me and Rebekah. It wasn't long before Troy arrived. He dropped off his trekking poles figuring he could no longer carry them given his wound. He and Eric would finish out the day together, clocking in at 9 hours 7 minutes. Anne's time for Stage 8 was 11 hours 24 minutes.
|Rebekah helps Eric with a refill|
|Even a hand injury that needs stitches doesn't get Tory down|
|Troy gives Eric the lowdown on his injury|
(I don't have any pictures of Anne from today. I think I got some video when I saw her at the aid station though.)