By Steve Graepel
I remember running the 50K and getting off course but fighting back into third place, and I remember that it was hot... hotter than hell. And then... and then nothing...
I don’t remember collapsing. I have no memories of kicking off good-Samaritan runners who pinned me down to the Prairie floor. I have no recollection of coolers of ice poured over my torso... packed around my groin, armpits and neck. I don’t remember soiling myself. No memories of my clothes being cut from my body in front of dozens of strangers. No memories of the ambulance ride to the local clinic or the life-flight to the Mayo Clinic. I don’t remember any of it.
Three days later I woke with a plastic tube shoved down my throat. “What the...” I tried to spit out, but the words slipped out as a groan.
“Cough it out. Cough it out!” shouted a blue silhouette as the corrugated tube ripped across my vocal cords. I chased the tube with vomit and then heard the familiar voice of my wife, calming my anxiety.
Above: Mike James in Hells Canyon, Idaho. All photos by Steve Graepel