Now that all the negativity over trail running seems to have settled down we have entered into an era of peace in the wilderness. Gone are the harsh taunts man. Now we can let our hair down and groove to our own vibrations. Never let the man take you down right? I say roll up a home grown power bar, take a hit off your gel flask and check it out....
Dig it, this year's Wakely started out like every other Wakely in recent years - with a week long camp out at the dam. The major difference is that in previous years we were camping in the summer. This year seemed more like spring dude... I mean cool temps and loads of black flies. It was kind of a bummer, but not really. I mean rain threatened all week but only fell during the night time. It's like the rain knew.
Cousin Chris hiked the entire course on Monday and Tuesday with his live- in chick and reported back that the trail wasn't in that bad of shape. But when Friday night brought buckets of the wet stuff I worried. Normally the sound of rain on the tent would put me to sleep, but the thought of starting the run in the rain brought me down.
I counted every half hour until 3:30AM when my alarm went off. I went through my normal pre-race ritual - nipple protection, contact lenses, Hai-Karate, Vaseline - Hmm, sounds like the same ritual I used to go through before a hot date, save the potato (the potato goes in the front). When 4:25AM rolled around and the bus still had not arrived I began a mild panic. Major flashback dude... 2003, 40 runners, no bus! At 4:33AM the bus rolled in but the damage was done - totally spoiled my buzz. I was cranky. So much for free love.
By the time we got to the Piseco start I was feeling a bit better as the trip went quickly, even the bus arrived in plenty of time. Rain still threatened so we got the run off quickly... I think... time goes by so slowly....
My strategy this year was to lighten my load and get out faster than in the past few years when I would hang out in the back of the pack for far too long. I only carried 60 ounces of Gatorade and a small hand held. I would fill in the streams twice and drink the Gatorade while my water was treated. Seeing that I had zero hill training this year I took advantage of the level sections and ran hard down the hills. For three quarters of the run I felt as though I could do no wrong if only I was given the chance to run on a smooth level or downhill course... right.
For most of the run I played tag with Christine Lallier. I could put some distance on her during the down hills and hold it, but she would always catch me on the up hills. This was a great motivation for me and eventually I thought for sure I had seen the last of that Canadian hill climber. But I had picked up a shoe full of mud earlier which had worked its way to the ball of my foot and I was forced to stop and clean my feet. Christine passed me as I sat and though I caught up with her on the grassy road the final hills did me in and I gave up the will to live... well lets just say I could live with having been beaten and adopted a sub 8 hour run as my new goal. Ah yes, the mental games we play.
In the end I was happy with my sub 8 hour time and the fact that the day had turned sunny once again. When I arrived at the Headquarters clearing I was glad it was over and even managed to squeeze out some what of a smile crossing the dam.
Thanks to all of the runners for coming out and making the trip worth while. A special thanks to the Professional Crew who make it all possible.
year will be our 10th and final Damn Wakely Dam Ultra so mark your calendars for July
24th, 2010 - the second to last Saturday
Nothing to see down here.
What part about "nothing" didn't you understand?