Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Birthday! And welcome to Stage 2 of TR!

Stage 2 - Vicksburg to Twin Lakes
Distance: 10 miles (16 km)
Total elevation gain: 3098 ft

I had an awful sleep after Stage 1 and our first night in the tent city. A cold front blew in overnight and the winds were pretty intense. The noise from a billion tents flapping in the wind was crazy...not to mention the several times when i did manage to fall back to sleep I would roll over on my side and then get woken up with a smack in the face from my wind blown tent. Lovely.

With maybe 4 hours of sleep that night, I woke up on the morning of Stage 2 and welcomed myself into my 30s :) Today was to be a fabulous day as I was doing the coolest thing I've ever done on my birthday...I get to run up to 12,600 ft today in a kick ass race!

Today we had to be up and ready to leave on the bus by 7:30 as it was about a half hour drive to the start in Vicksburg and we wanted some time to warm up. Unfortunately the bus ride was a bit of a pain in the ass for me as I get motion sickness fairly easily. So the whole school bus on a super bumpy dirt road got old pretty quick. I've never been on anything so bumpy and it was so bad that it actually made my head hurt...I felt like my brain was shaking around in there. Seriously. Aside from that, the bus driver missed the drop off for us and took us an additional couple of kilometres on this road before realizing and turning around. Ugh, I just wanted to get the hell off this thing. I remember saying to Steve...there's got to be other runners in the past that have puked on this drive to the race start...then I had flashbacks of myself as a kid in Florida throwing up on the metrobus...nice. Finally we got there with about 15 mins till race start.

It was a really cold morning and with asthma I find it really tough to breath when the air is cold so I wanted a good warm up first. Obviously this did not happen since we arrived so late to the start. Steve and I did a quick warm up run and then headed to the start.

Due to our late arrival and time spent warming up etc we ended up being stuck pretty far back at the start. So when the race started we spent the first 2 miles of flat road passing teams and trying to get ourselves in a good spot for when it became single track. I could tell right away Steve was feeling amazing today as he took off pretty quick from the line while I spent the first 2 miles struggling with my breathing. Finally we hit the single track and it got pretty steep pretty quick and most people had started some fast hiking. I have never been a good fast/power hiker but I still managed to pass some teams here and tried my best to keep up with Steve. He is a machine and could definitely hike that faster than I could run up it. This 2+ mile section of fast hiking up to the top of Hope Pass was quite comparable to scrambling in the Canadian rockies back home.

Finally we reach the top of Hope Pass...spend a brief few seconds at 12,600 ft to take in the view and grab a gel...then drop over the other side for some super fun and fast single track running all the way back down! I have yet to become super speedy on technical downhills but i'm definitely getting better. I was just loving this day and Steve and I were having a blast all the way down. We were so pumped at how good we were feeling and pretty much loved every second of the descent. Nicola and Pete passed us with a few km to go and while Steve was well ahead of me and could have likely kept up with them, I just did not have the speed on that technical stuff to keep up. Those NorthShore runners from Vancouver have got some serious skills...way to go guys!!

My quads definitely took a pounding on that long descent and when we hit the flats with a couple of km to go I just lost steam and instantly felt like crap. I ended up slowing right down but started to feel a little better after a couple of river crossings at the end. We finished pretty strong and were happy with our 5th place in a time of 2:07:06
Steve and I nearing the finish
PUMPED after today's awesome race!

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