Thursday night I sleep in a tent next to the graveyard. A test of bravery before an endurance event, you ask? No, I just had nowhere else to crash. The opening ceremony started at 5 AM so it was convenient to roll out of bed and be there. My parents arrived just as the ceremony started. Lori's sister sang beautiful songs in Penobscot. Blessings were asked for the athletes on our 100 mile journey. A young girl's shoes lit up as she walked around the circle, giving everyone a rock from the gravel road underfoot. I looked around at a circle of 30 people. 30 committed individuals, here in good spirits, seeking healing for their loved ones. What a unique community I have entered. I thought back on my year since my first Katahdin 100 experience. I had been healthy and happy at times. I have been free of major depression - depression that had threatened to end my life a few years ago. That was my silent triumph.
Our group was ready to begin the journey. It was Barry, Lori, Sikwani, her boyfriend Nate, and me. Nate wanted to run and walk a portion and road crew the rest of the time. We were setting out on a three day journey by foot. I was giddy with excitement, talking up a storm. As we passed graveyard after graveyard, Barry told me they take this route around Indian Island intentionally, to pass by their elders.
Three minutes of running, two minutes of walking - for three days. That was the plan that Barry told me beforehand. I was fit enough to run the hundred miles straight, but that wasn't the point. As much as I wanted to show off, run fast, and challenge myself, the experience for me was sharing the K100 with Barry and his family and their road crew.