The 4th quarter is at least the start of the second half of the course distance-wise. You’ve certainly gone over 10 miles by now. A Lo Hawk begins slowly although a bit faster than you would have. But you loosen up and begin to enjoy the look and feel of the trail. You appreciate having discarded your second top shirt. It’s almost odd how the air retains some iciness – you feel it in the ring of sweat around your head below your cap. And yet you feel the warmth of the sun too. Outstanding running conditions for both weather and scenery.
You enter into some heavier woods. The sun continues to splash through the leaves as you enter but soon becomes hidden above the canopy. You’ve warmed up and don’t need the sun but you experience a new level of fatigue. Your running form is fine, but your mind is now wandering as much as it would if you were running alone. You allow gaps between you and A Lo Hawk to develop larger than those in the 3rd quarter. You even lose sight of him at times around bends. The trees are thick enough to obscure A Lo Hawk at a distance, yet roomy enough to walk through. The trail has changed.
You begin to imagine creatures. Not squirrels or rabbits. You’re brain is beginning to bake and you’re thinking about trolls and mystical leprechauns. The setting really is magical and combined with your numb mind supports mild hallucinations. If there were such things as two foot tall creatures with size 12 hairy feet, this is where you’ll see them – miles deep in the forest of the Colorado Trail. You scan the trees ahead, prepared for Hobbit-like characters or Charlie Sheen to appear from behind a tree and accost you for your tiger blood. As you round a bend, you catch a glimpse of A Lo Hawk before he disappears again around the next curve in the trail. Feeling alone, your thoughts are illusory. You quicken your pace.
You’re running stronger now, or the hills have slowed A Lo Hawk, or perhaps he has even stopped to wait for you, and you are now running close behind him. This has been a long quarter and you now expect this trail is headed to extra innings. A Lo Hawk is still running the downhills strong, but your pace is close enough to his now that you leave behind the fantasies to begin thinking about finishing. It occurs to you that you should eat some food.
You’re not interested in your sandwich at the next rest period. Rob offers you something he calls a pancake. You have yet to find any manufactured trail energy food that you find palatable, but you like this. Yes, you’re super hungry but you suspect you like this anyway. You make note of it as something you’ll provide a link to in your blog. It’s earned honorable mention. And so do your shoes. Your La Sportiva trail shoes lead you up a glacier and have gripped this entire trail with confidence. Likewise, A Lo Hawk is pleased with his Adidas trail shoes. Smart gear and smart gear choices today. You’ve got that going for you.
The rest spot was impressive – on a large boulder that you used your hands in order to climb up. With a view that justified pictures and should have rationalized sitting for a good hour. But knowing you’re nearing the end, you don’t hang out too long and you begin the last leg of this trail run.