Thursday, August 28, 2014

fatdawg 53


wow!  what an adventure!  it all started in 2010 when i decided to train for the fatdog 100 - which was actually 120 - but that's another story.   i worked my ass off (or according to my friend sera, my lack of ass) off.   i was good.  i went to alaska for a 5 day training camp, i did a 50 miler in new york which almost killed me, and i did a ton of crossfit.  i was ready.  and then 5 days before the race, it was cancelled due to snow on the course.  i was crushed.   i didn't even think about it for the next couple of years.

i was playing with an injury for most of 2013 so i didn't do a lot.  finally in the spring of 2014 i figured i'd make another attempt at fatdog.  i initially signed up for the 70 miler, but on a whim put my name on the wait list for the 120.   big mistake as it would turn out.  not near enough time to prepare for a race of this magnitude.  it was, after all, billed as one of the 9 toughest ultras!  me and derrick did our best with the time we had, but it ultimately wasn't enough.

i arranged everything with my usual lack of intent, but managed to pull it all together.  i found a place to stay thanks to my new hyper buddy oliver - this gorgeous log cabin up on a mountain right near the finish line.   i enlisted the help of my super amazing 'mountain girl' friend leslie to crew and pace me - she's my hero!   i booked my flight just 3 weeks out, and was ready to go.   and yes, i was an annoying mess off and on for about a month.  why the fuck do i do these things ...

i flew into kelowna on the tuesday and stayed with the redhead for the night.  leslie came in wednesday, and after getting some groceries and renting a car, we headed for manning park.    we stopped at this huge fruit stand in keremeos and bought more food, and a milk shake - yes - i actually ate a milkshake.  and other than a bit of gas, i was fine!  haha!  leslie was totally enthralled with the monster zucchini for 75 cents, so she bought a couple. 

we arrived at the cabin around 4 where we met my newest bestest buddy ken niemimaa - labelled 'skinny white boy' by leslie ...

and oliver,  both were ontario boys.    we all got along great, and were joined by a couple of guys from the vancouver area. 
thursday morning was spent putting together all our drop bags - excellent distraction!   once that was done we drove over to race headquarters where we got registered and met race director heather.  after that, we went back to the cabin for a big feast.    the nervous energy in the room was incredible.

race day:  my biggest regret was leaving my camera in the car by mistake - i am a fucking idiot!  oh ya, back to race day.   the temp was perfect - not too hot and a bit of cloud.

oh ya!!! i met up with super fast incredible runner chris gt downie - another client of derrick's and the winner of the sinister 7 when i ran it in 2009!

we all congregated on this bridge and then somebody fired off a shotgun.  away we went - climbing, climbing, climbing - for about 3 hours.  it was amazing.  when we finally broke the tree line the view was breathtaking - too bad i forgot my camera !  

it would take forever to write down all i saw and did so i'll make it brief.  i climbed up a mountain, i ran down a mountain, i climbed up a mountain, i ran down a mountain, etc.  one of the best sections was the burnt out forest.  a fire had gone thru a few years back so all the trees were black and covered in soot.  the whole area had these really kool greyish white rocks, and the new growth was a bright emerald green.  top it all off with thousands of pink flowers and it was almost surreal.  i just stood there like a slack jawed yokel taking in the beauty of it.   i was lucky enough to meet this guy kevin from massachusetts.  he had a classic boston accent and sounded a lot like fat tony off the simpsons!  he was great!  we ran together for a long time and were able to share the sunset as we ran along one of the many ridges.  i actually did get a shot of this ...

we managed to survive not getting soaked on the river crossing and after a short run down the road we made it to the aid station where leslie was waiting.  i felt okay at this point and i think it was around midnight.  but it was from here that i started to fade.  leslie was awesome - encouraging me, feeding me these NASTY instant mashed potatoes from a sandwich bag which i squeezed into my mouth from a whole in the bottom!  argh!   kevin was a bit slow getting out of the aid station but he managed to catch up.  the three of us chatted and trudged through the night.  it seemed like all we did was climb.  i think it was at this point that my mental toughness jumped ship.  my feet hurt, but prolly no more than any other race.  i just wasn't able to suck it up.  and it think this was when i realized i wasn't going to make it.  but not giving up totally, i pushed as hard as i could to the next check point - which was on top of another mountain ridge.  i actually got us there with only two seconds to spare!   it was 20 hours.  we could have gone on, but i made the call to stop.  i was pretty upset but still, pretty sure of my decision.   the volunteers were incredible.  they fed us quesadillas and gave leslie a good stiff scotch before showing us the way out to the road - a six kilometer hike!  and all i can say about that is leslie and kevin were soooo patient with me and my whining!   thanks guys!

so now that i'm home and have had time to think about stuff, the only bad things were that i didn't complete the race, and that i forgot my camera.  the good things - shit - so many!  i ran 53 miles on some of the most beautiful single track in BC.   i climbed a total of over 14,000 feet to see this stuff!  i saw so many beautiful things that one would never see sitting on the couch.  i met a ton of new people - amazing people!  i realized that it didn't matter that i didn't finish because i did as much as i was physically and mentally capable of at this particular time. and most of all - I HAD FUN!!! 

and will i try again - who knows ...

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