Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fat Dog 120 - 9 Head Count at Heather

Tale 9 - Head count at Heather
If I thought the gentlemen puking up Trapper were bad, I had no idea what this next climb had in store for me. My stomach was okay, but by no means perfect. It was still trying to weather the storm of the day. Now it's past midnight and surprise, I'm still going! Shira and I play leap frog for a while with a man and his pacer. The guy must have puked at least three times, but he didn't stop moving. He was a machine. I kept trying to go faster to get away, I wasn't sure I could keep it all in if I kept listening to that. I also had a strange combination of gingerale and Starbucks Frappuccino in my stomach from Bonnevier that I don't think was helping my cause.
I had been feeling weirdly out of breath on a lot of the uphills, and I couldn't quite figure out why. It wasn't until we were most of the way up Bonnevier that I ditched my poles and found the feeling went away. Still not sure what was the cause, but it only happened when I was poling - so I gave up on that for the rest of the race!
We make it up the hill and to Heather aid station - which comes sooner than we thought it would - that's a first! Hitting aid stations at night with all the glorious glow sticks and people cheering is definitely one of my favourite things on course.
We walk into the aid station and it's lined with space blankets. It's like a runners graveyard up there. Me? I can finally breathe and eat and I'm feeling quite fantastic.
I bounce into the aid station and I hear this "Jenna - is that you? I'd recognize that laugh anywhere."
It's Brad snuggled up in a space blanket. Guess his stomach wasn't having a good day either.
This encounter was less of a titanic moment and more of an, oh no I'm the only one left - I have to finish!
Heather aid station was awesome. It was well stocked, and the nice volunteers gave us a ziploc full of mars bars! Which I am truly thankful for, because we didn't know what the next aid station would have in store, and let me tell you it wasn't much!
We filled our water bladders, and they had to use a little strainer to filter out the moss which was kind of fun.
We bounced back out onto the trail - I was desperate to get as far as I could while the air was still cool!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fat Dog 120 - 8 Bare all at Bonnevier

Tale 8 - Bare all at Bonnevier
Finally I get to the Pasayten River crossing - only two miles from my crew, and my pacer, and a change of clothes! I get to the river and watch someone struggle across it in front of me, arms and legs flailing as they hold on to the rope for dear life. Get out of my way would you, I've got somewhere to be! By the sounds of things I'm also a little hangry. The key to this crossing is - you have to pick your foot up out of the water when you lift it. If you don't it gets sucked downstream and makes it a hell of a lot harder!
I made it across the stream to a lovely little aid station where they ask if I need anything. A bit desperate at this point I say, with way more excitement than I should have in me at this point, "Nope - I've got to get to my Mommy, she's at Bonnevier!", and proceed to run away like I haven't been nearly dying all day.
I am far too excited to get to Bonnevier. I'm sure these are the fastest couple of miles I ran all race.
I finally roll into Bonnevier to a mass of people and a lot of blinding lights. I wander around going "mommy! mommy!". I didn't even consider the fact that there were likely a lot of other moms out there. I eventually found her, and it was the best part of the day! She was there with my first pacer, Shira, and Heather and Oliver were there too! I told them I left Chris on top of the mountain, and they said they saw Brad come through not too long ago.

You'd think by this point I wouldn't care, but even though I really needed a new set of clothes, changing was really awkward. I was sore and sweaty and there were people with lights everywhere and even though my crew was holding towels around me I still felt like I was standing naked in the middle of a field.

Now I've done two of four major climbs, the weather is cool, I've got a pacer, and I feel like a whole new person. I got this. Up we go again! Time for the uphill upchuck - part 2!
Beautiful sunset on day 1! Photo courtesy of Chris. He may have been dying, but he still takes great photos!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Fat Dog 120 - 7 Cruising through Calcite

Tale 7 - Cruising through Calcite
The source of smoke, seen from Flat Top.
It's dark now and I'm not even at Calcite. There is nobody around. It's finally cool enough outside that I'm starting to feel much better. Why is there nobody around? What kind of animals are out here again? Do I even have enough time to finish this race? Is there anyone else left out here? AHH BEAR. Oh, wait nope person. There is someone else out here - I'm not alone! What. A. Day.

At this point I have my music in. Really anything to help motivate me and keep me moving forward. I wait as long as I can to pull out my flashlight, I'm not ready to admit it's night time - I planned to be much further along by now.
Down and down and down we run...
Aha - Calcite! And they have food!! I slurp back pop and perogies and anything else I can get my grubby little hands on. But it's late, and I feel like I'm going to start missing cutoffs, and that my 100 mile dreams are slipping away.
Some of the people around me have running buddies. I'm flying solo, and a little bit jealous of those who've banded together, but I don't have time to wait. I just need to make it to Mom, and everything will be okay!

Leaving Calcite the trails are still mostly downhill, and by now it is very dark. I'm putting all my effort into trying not to get lost. I don't have time to get lost!
EEEEK! What is that!? Oh. Just a toad. Toad on the road! I don't remember this taking so long in training! I'M COMING MOMMMY!!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Fat Dog 120 - 6 Farewell on Flat Top

Tale 6 - Farewell on Flat Top
Oh Flat Top. This section of the course is actually one of my favourites. It's a beautiful run around trapper lake, then a bit more of a climb over flat top mountain which has views for days!
I wouldn't say I was feeling much better, but I was at least moving forward. About half way up flat top I see this flash of orange in the trees ahead of me. That looks a lot like Chris' pack. Oh no, am I hallucinating already?! It's way too soon for that! Is it him? Man I could sure use a morale booster. But.. if that's him then he's clearly having a tough day. Well, I don't want that.
I round the corner at the top of flat top to find my husband hanging out underneath a tree with a couple other guys.
If you need some inspiration for a movie - I have a scene for you:
The sun is setting on a beautiful mountain top just outside Cathedral Provincial Park. There are gorgeous views into the valley below.  There is little shade to be found, but for a few stands up ahead.
After a full day of running, the sun still relentlessly beating down upon the runners, a wife is torn between excitement and sorrow at finding her husband hiding in the shade behind one small stand of trees. He's got a ghostly look on his face as though he's been lost in the bushes for days without food.
Wife: How are you doing?!
... No response...met with zombie like nods and eye rolls as if to say 'how the hell do you think I'm doing - you've been out here all day - you tell me how YOU'RE doing)
Wife: I feel like shit!
...Now we've got the crowd going. Don't. We. All.
Husband: I feel pretty bad, I haven't been able to keep food down.
Wife: I love you, Jack.
Husband: Don't you do that. Don't you say your goodbyes, not yet. Do you understand me?
Wife: I'm so warm.
Husband: Listen, Rose, you're gonna get outta here, you're gonna go on and you're gonna make lots of babies and you're gonna watch 'em grow. You're gonna die an old.. an old lady warm in her bed, not here. Not this night. Not like this, do you understand me?
Rose: I can't feel my body.
Jack: Trail running, Rose, was the best thing that ever happened to me.. it brought me to you and I'm thankful for that, Rose. I'm thankful. You must.. you must.. you must do me this honor, you must promise me that you'll survive. That you won't give up, no matter what happens, no matter how.. hopeless. Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise.

Oh no wait... that has already been done.
I do imagine our encounter much the same, except we aren't Jack and Rose, and we're on the top of a mountain roasting instead of in the ocean freezing. 
I tried to take him with me, hoping a running companion would help him through this rough patch, but he was too ill to go forward - and told me to go on and run my own race.
There's nothing quite like the feeling of leaving your husband on the top of a mountain, never to be seen again... DUN DUN DUNNNNN. What a great movie!
Okay okay I did see him again... or did I?
Looking back along the course from the top of Flat Top Mountain.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fat Dog 120 - 5 Uphill Upchuck

Tale 5 - The Uphill Upchuck
I was finally refueled and ready to fly! For a whole of about 10 minutes as I started up climb 2/4. Then I realized something wasn't quite right. I've been hydrating lots, I had eaten recently, but I had very little energy and didn't feel all that great. I tried eating some more, but it didn't seem to help. I continued to hike at a snails pace for a little while until it dawned on me. My stomach wasn't emptying. It was too hot and I was going too fast to digest. I couldn't do anything but continue to snail up the hill. This was made only slightly better (and somewhat worse) by the fact I was passing people who were clearly feeling very similar, and some who were evidently feeling much worse (refer to tale title). The distance to the next aid station was only four miles, so I climbed on and decided to re-evaluate at the top.
Running into the wall of smoke on Ashnola River Road!
When I got to the top I grabbed a seat at trapper aid station with a few others who look like the first 22 miles of the race might just be their last.
I also felt like shit. I had 98 miles left in this race. Calcite aid station was a short(?) 10k away, with a fair amount of downhill. My mom, and my first pacer Shira, were waiting for me at Bonnevier, so I had to at least make it to them at the 40 mile mark.
I start to tremble. It's definitely not cold out. I'm getting nervous and I don't know what to do. I seriously consider dropping out. I hydrate as best I can on electrolyte - this aid station seems to be sorely lacking supplies as well. Not a great day to be a back of the packer (but probably a great day for backpacking!). I decide to continue, how bad could it be? I have to make it to Mommy!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fat Dog 120 - 4 Oliver at Ashnola

Tale 4 - Oliver at Ashnola
Family tree!

In case you are unfamiliar with our family tree - Oliver is the boyfriend of my sister-in-law, who just happened to be running the relay leg from Ashnola to Trapper.
I like to think I'm a pretty nice person, and I like to see other people succeed, but as I was slow roasting on the way down to Ashnola I was really hoping his team mate was behind me. Ashnola is only 18 miles into the race, but it's 18 miles after which you could really use a familiar face.
I arrive to find he is still there (wahoo!). He kindly packed a bag of food (stuffed with pizza and bacon and candy and PB&J rolls... yummm) while I soaked in the river. The food was much needed since the last aid station was lacking.
Oliver gave me a report on Chris (who in classic Chris fashion ran off with a bag full of bacon) and Brad - and it sounded like everyone was doing well so far!
I happily trundled off down the road with my bag'o'bacon, and shortly after saw Oliver zoom by.... Boy is he fast!

Having conquered the first big climb, and with a belly full of bacon (did I mention bacon?? It's great!), I was ready to take on climb number two.... Or so I thought.
The first climb from the start of the race!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Fat Dog 120 - 3 Cache out at Cathedral

Tale 3 - Cache out at Cathedral

The first aid station is only 7.5 miles from the start. Easy, right?
Except the start is alllll uphill. Uphill to the point where the altitude starts to make you a little bit dizzy, and somewhat sleepy.
Now I'm a traditional middle of the packer - and I'd say I was holding true to my nature, except since we had relay runners in the mix I'd say I was likely closer to the back by the time I hit the first aid station. Time to re-fuel... but wait.. there's isn't really much to refuel with. I escaped with the last bit of gingerale and was thankful I had a good stash of food to start as there was only a few PB&J rolls left.

It was a pretty roasty day, thankfully I had practice at soaking in streams from Sinister, though the streams were much fewer in this stretch. The heat seemed bearable up through Cathedral, but as I dropped down to Ashlnola it felt like I was in a pre-heating oven! It just kept getting hotter and hotter!