Due to a lack of internet access recently, I have been unable to post anything. This has caused a large backlog of posts and so I am going to split them up into two longer posts.
In the past week I have experienced more extreme weather than in the previous 22 years of my life. We travelled from Socorro, New Mexico to Brownfield, Texas, seemingly desert-ish areas but experienced snow and sub-freezing temperatures for over a week straight. We did not see the sun for over a week, and being from California, I noticed its absence. This week we were in Roswell, stayed for three nights in a hotel and another two in a middle school gym. We arrived in Roswell on the 24th of February, and I was immediately struck by how the city really embraced the alien theme. Almost every window had an alien sticker or an alien looking out at the street and every other store was an alien/UFO souvenir shop.
The next day, most of the group went to the UFO Museum that had so much information about the different theories of what happened in 1947 in Roswell. There were also many displays about other conspiracy theories and UFOs and IFOs (identified flying objects) and alien stories going back to ancient civilizations. It was a very unique place and I learned so much about alien-lore and what many people believe to be true about our universe. After spending some time in the museum, my boys (Bryce, Rob, and Alex) were hungry and so we went to Buffalo Wild Wings to pick up some grub for them. While waiting for the food, Bryce offered to buy me a beer as thanks for driving them around all day. However, when I was asked for my ID, the bartender claimed they could not accept it because it is a vertical ID and in New Mexico those only belong to people under 21. Even after speaking with a manager and showing how obvious it was that I was turning 23 in a few days, they continued to refuse to serve me, stating a New Mexico Buffalo Wild Wings policy. Needless to say, that was my first and last time ever in a Buffalo Wild Wings.
Thursday, February 26, 2015 dawned very cold. Freezing rain pummeled the runners all 26 miles, immediately forming sheets of ice on the fronts their jackets and pants. Several runners had to stop for at least 20 minutes in the truck to warm up enough to prevent any hypothermia from developing. It was incredible to watch them all finally finish, beating the elements and rightfully looking extremely proud of tackling the weather head on and coming out very successfully.
Fortunately, that night we were still staying in the Holiday Inn Roswell and when we got back to the hotel the runners all made a beeline for the hot tub. That night was colder than the previous day, turning the precipitation into snow, which filled up the empty bed of the truck. Unfortunately, we also had to pack up that morning, so I was out at six in the morning shoveling snow out of the truck bed with my little cooking pot. That was not really how I expected to spend the beginning of my first snow day ever. The runners ran through Roswell that day and were supposed to have a huge school visit with up to a couple thousand elementary age kids, but they had a snow day, unlike us. With the fresh powder blanketing every road and Roswell not being very prepared for the snow, I quickly learned how to drive over snow and ice. Fortunately, Bryce, who rides shotgun, is from Michigan and offered much great advice and felt very free to let me know whenever he thought I was doing something wrong (which I appreciated). After my morning shoveling snow in the 15 degree cold, I was very disenchanted with it and didn’t really want to enjoy it, but aid station one was located at a very large parking lot covered in a few inches of untouched beauty. I had the time of my life running around, spinning in circles, making snowballs and generally romping around in the snow. Although it wasn’t more than 20 degrees, I was sweating after 15 minutes. It was really truly incredible. Unfortunately, because of the amount of snowfall and how quickly it turned to ice on the roads, HWY 380 (the road we are on for about 400 miles) was closed from Roswell to the New Mexico/Texas border. The road was closed at about mile 19 for that day and in the end, the race director decided the best decision was to call it at mile 19 and make up the remaining 7 miles in the consecutive days. At this point, it was 7 degrees with the windchill and I saw many cars sliding around on the ice. Rob said he saw a truck try to pass another car and spin out into a ditch only about 100 yards in front of him. I was driving very slowly and very cautiously, don’t worry Robin, your truck is in great hands! Because the day was called early, there was more time that afternoon to explore and Garrett, Andrea and I went into downtown and discovered an awesome game shop where you can test play board games before you decide to buy them. We also visited a very homey café, Stellar Café that was recommended to us by some friends, Shacky and Vanessa Runs. They are crewing for Pat and Jup, who began the run with us but then decided to continue their journey independently. Anyways, Stellar Café was so cozy with great couches to relax on and I had a wonderful mocha. Garrett was also delighted to find an acoustic guitar he could play.
The next morning, we awoke to continued road closures at the New Mexico Department of Transportation worked to salt the roads enough to melt the large amounts of ice that had refrozen over night. Adding to that, race director Sandy and Darren Van Soye’s car had been broken into with a rock thrown through the window. Nothing of major value was taken, but two windows were broken adding another burden to an already frustrating day. Eventually they were able to get the windows covered and the roads opened up at 12:30 so the runners were able to get in another 19 miles that day.
With only two days remaining in New Mexico, the runners now needed to complete 60 miles. These miles were split amongst the two days, essentially creating two 50ks to finish off New Mexico. The first day was March 1st. As usual, I was in charge of aid station 2 and decided to give the runners a little distraction to take their mind off of the distance for a few minutes. Because there was still an enormous amount of snow on the side of the road, I spent about half an hour making snowballs and I found an empty water bottle to place on top of a fence that was about 30 yards off the road. Each runner was given five snowballs to knock the water bottle off the fence. If they were successful, I would make them any baked good of their choice. I also found a bucket on the side of the road and added to the game an option to throw a snowball into the bucket placed across the road. At the end of the day, the impressive shooters turned out to be Newton and Jessica, who both made snowballs into the bucket. No one hit the water bottle off the fence (other than me) and Bryce hit the fence pole on his first try, but he came through my aid station before I had created the water bottle game.
March 2nd, the last day in New Mexico, was also my birthday! Another 30-mile day for the runners, but with a rest day in sight to ease the distance. There was a wind, but it was a tailwind, helping the runners but still freezing the support team. I was honored with the chance to wear the birthday boa and tiara that Nancy had gotten for her birthday in February. The tiara was made for a small child and there was no way it was fitting on my head, but I wore the boa while assisting the runners at aid station 2. The wind caused it to blow every which way, but it brought a smile to the runners’ faces as they came through mile 14 of 30, which I am always ecstatic to be able to accomplish.
Since it was the last day of New Mexico, the core team went to dinner to celebrate the state as well as my birthday. I had the opportunity to pick the restaurant, although there are not many choices in Brownfield, Texas. We ended up going to a place called Italian Garden that had good pasta and awesome garlic rolls. At the end of dinner, my family surprised me with a cake that Andrea had helped coordinate the purchase of for them. It was a wonderful surprise and reminded me how lucky I am to have my family. This was also my first birthday away from my entire family; I’ve always at least had either my mom or my sister Montana in Los Angeles with me. So this cake was a nice reminder of the incredible and loving family I have back in California. Therefore I would like to end this post with a shout out to them, thank you mom, Mo and Cody for supporting me through this adventure and for being there for me when I need you. I really appreciate you guys.