Liza Howard. Ultrarunning Mom.

Ultrarunning Mom

All night with Capt’n Karl

I spent last night at the Shoe, the last of the races in the Capt’n Karl’s Trail Series.  Asa still doesn’t allow for much racetime volunteering, so I was really looking forward to this Saturday night.  Eliot was in town and we planned a family-volunteering excursion.  I imagined heartwarming scenes of Asa handing runners electrolyte tabs along with encouraging words while Eliot flipped burgers on the grill.  (While I tended to the vomiting and bloodied.)  Then 108-degree temperatures were predicted.  Now we’re a camping family.  We love the camping.  Eliot and I are professional campers, in fact.    But when Eliot called on Friday afternoon suggesting we consider purchasing an air conditioning unit for the tent (“Now I don’t think it’d be morally unconscionable in this instance…”), I knew it’d be better if I played with the vomiting bloodied runners on my own.  (Come down and try to camp out down here right now before you cast tent air conditioning unit judgement.)

I drove up with my good friend Brian (and best pacer this side of the Mississippi) to the Mule Shoe Bend Recreation Area near Austin.  I kept him apprised of UTMB Twitter happenings along the way.  (Can’t wait for those race stories.  Brutal.)  We arrived around 5:30 and dove into the pre-race happenings.  I helped hand out race packets and chatted with folks I hadn’t seen since Nueces in March.  The Texas ultra running community is entirely welcoming and kind.  Like all ultra running communities, right?  But better.  ;)

I was content not to be racing in the heat.  It seemed like it was still above 100 when the 60k-ers started at 7pm.  And when the 30k-ers started at 7:15 and the 10k-ers started at 7:30.

After the race around 4am, my good friend Chris (and best pacer this side of the Pecos) asked if I’d been bored just sitting around and talking while the runners did their thing.  I assured him there was not all that much “just sitting” and talking.  There was course direction giving, watermelon cutting, Coke cup filling, trash bag emptying, wound cleaning, vomit bag holding, “Awesome job!” yelling, gnat wiping, more wound cleaning, leg massaging, sausage eating – and talking. It was an excellent night.  And I felt privileged to be able to help Joe and Joyce (best race directors and people this side of anywhere).  I’ve had the good fortune to meet people here in the Texas ultra running community who make sure I understand exactly what graciousness and compassion mean. Joe and Joyce are among the best of these.  (As are Brian and Chris, and Tony and John and Tom and and and) (You know who you are.)  I’m looking forward to being able to help out at Cactus Rose in October.  If you’re going be in town and you’re not going to run, you should come out to Bandera (HCSNA) and volunteer.  No experience necessary. I guarantee it’ll be a good day.

Right now I’m sitting in the Starbucks while Eliot rides his bike in Government Canyon. Eliot’s mom is in town for a few days and we’re taking advantage of some free Asa watching.  (Thanks Kate!)  All nighters and four year-olds are like oil and water.  Praise God for caffeine and large coffee cups.  I hope all you runners get good rest today.  Thanks for being impressive.  And congratulations to Tim for finishing his longest distance yet in style.


6 thoughts on “All night with Capt’n Karl

  1. Olga says:

    What’s you’re doing at cactus, which AS?
    Thanks for the gift, again, I am thrilled!
    Ultrarunners are the best any side of anywhere, no need to add more:)
    I wish I killed more bugs, but when a teenager tells you he wants to spend time with you, it is by far most important (and most rare) thing (more than when a toddler does, really, you’ll understand soon enough:)).
    Just a few more days of this craze, right? Right.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not sure where Joe and Joyce will stick me (and Eliot and Asa) at CR yet. Glad you could spend some time with an appreciative teenager. :)

  2. Paige says:

    I love volunteering at ultras. Always so much fun!

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