Guest Post by Martin Schneekloth, FYA 2012 100k Finisher - FYA 2012 100k Race Report
[caption id="attachment_2163" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Un-Focused Fotografia"][/caption]...This next section was just as challenging as the last 5 miles, but a lot different. We would crawl along an exposed section of "slick rock" with really no trail to speak of, but we had to make our way across this section anyway. The blue markers indicated as much. Sometimes, there was really no way to go, expect you would notice a marker a short distance ahead and you knew, dang I am supposed to go this way, but there is nowhere to go. That's how it felt numerous times during this section. Once I made it across this part I started to climb out of the crater and onto the ridge. This section is probably the most famous section of the entire race. It's referred to as the "jungle gym" for good reason. This was not only the rootiest section (is that even a word?) but also the muddiest section of the day. I passed another runner who appeared to still be trying, in vain, to keep his feet try. I had long given up on that. As I passed him I took a step across a big log and as my foot made contact with what I assumed to be the ground, it just kept sinking and sinking in mud, until it reached just below my knee. Wow, this was insane! Oh heck, I just started to enjoy it. I used to love this as a kid, now I got to do it again, how cool is that?
As I continued to wade through the mud, the roots became thicker and thicker and the term "walking" no longer described what I was doing. I was now in full on scramble mode. I was scrambling and climbing through the roots, sucking in my gut to squeeze through roots, using both hands and feet to make it another foot ahead. This was cool. I continued to slowly make my way along the ridge. I remember looking down at one point while climbing on some massive roots only to see no ground below me, nothing, nada, other than some tree roots that were stretching across this massive gap in the ridge. At this point you just stop thinking "what if" and you keep going. This was no longer an ultra marathon, this was an all out adventure. It wasn't a race, I just wasn't moving fast enough to call it a race at this point, it was a good old adventure. Once I completed this section, it was time to make my way down the volcano.
I slowly started heading down the volcano. It was as steep down as it was up and I had not figured out yet how to get down. I literally had to head down almost as slowly as I climbed up. There were sections so steep, I wasn't sure how to get down. My legs, although not short by any means, seemed too short to reach down and there was nothing to hold on to. This happened multiple times. Other times, I just tried to literally swing from tree to tree. I would dive for the next tree downhill and grab it with one hand, using my forward momentum to swing me down towards the next tree, and so on. It was crazy. Apparently, Christian was doing slightly better than me as he caught me about half way down the mountain. ------------------- ...Excerpt, read the whole thing here