“Have you ever had any hallucinations?”
When a coworker or acquaintance hears that I have run a few 100 milers, one of their first questions is often “Have you had any hallucinations?” Although that question is usually proceeded by:
1) “Why do you do that? I don’t even like to drive that far.” (I have to justify all those cinnamon rolls somehow.)
2) “How can you be an ultrarunner without a long, flowing, Jesus-like beard?” (Why do you think I always finish toward the back of the pack!”)
But I digress. Hallucinations. Have I ever had any? Until recently, not really. I wish I had some cool story about Papa Smurf popping out of the woods to run a few miles with me. Or that a unicorn flew in riding a rainbow and offered me a bowl of Lucky Charms. (Unicorns smell like Lucky Charms and love.) Or that some Care Bears showed up with a big screen television and we watched Judge Judy together. Sadly, none of those things have happened.
Although at the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 last month I did have a moment where I felt like someone slipped some acid into my Mountain Dew. It was around mile 90 and my amazing pacer Jared Thorley had me running harder than I ever have that late in a race. I was feeling exhausted but pretty good. (“Pretty good” = I felt like I accidentally slipped off the Empire State Building. As opposed to “Pretty bad” which = feeling like I accidentally slipped off the Empire State Building, got ran over by a Greyhound Bus, and then vultures pecked at me like road kill.)
As I was running along the trail it felt like I floated outside my body. I just floated a foot above myself, watching this nerdy white boy run down the trail. I knew that feet were running below me but I couldn’t feel them. I heard myself saying things to Jared, but it sounded like someone far away yelling through a tunnel. It was beyond strange. I didn’t like it. It was way less enjoyable than running with Smurfs.
I heard myself say “I feel really weird. I think I’m going to pass out.” Jared’s response was exactly what I needed to hear. “You’re not going to pass out.” he said which a chuckle. “Just keep running.”
I didn’t, indeed, pass out. And I did, indeed, keep running. All the while thinking “I just want to sit down and watch Judge Judy with some Care Bears.” Just keep running my friends.