Italy, day seven
I was impressed with Angela's attitude. She seemed so laid back in the midst of this effort that was burying me in much smaller doses, and she appeared to be truly enjoying herself. Anne unfortunately was hurting, and during our bakery excursion decided she should drop from the race to avoid cementing a reoccurring case of plantar faciitis. I walked with her back to the base as she explained to all of the departing racers that she was dropping out and they all enthusiastically encouraged her to sleep on it first. Amazing attitudes, all of them. I also saw my friends Steve and Harry just before we reached the life base. They seemed extremely out of it and initially reacted like they didn't even recognize me. I warned them about the rough climb ahead and Harry insisted that the trail to the first refugio "wasn't steep" because it didn't look that way on the elevation profile, even though I had just told him I was actually there two hours earlier and personally clocked it gaining 1,200 feet in three quarters of a mile. I didn't feel compelled to argue with him, because in a race like this, denial can be an effective strategy. I left my friends and began the long-way-around drive to the next life base and the long night ahead.