This is my journey from couch to athlete.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Canadian Death Race

I'm a little late posting this, but I needed some time to rest after DR weekend.

Grande Cache is a beautiful, but you tend not to notice when you're focused on having to climb the big mountains. Thankfully the drive and first day was uneventful (last year we witnessed a car accident that included a truck flipped in the ditch on the way to the DR.)

Package pick-up was scary; first it took them over 10 minutes to find the packages for my team, then there was no coin (the coin is the "baton", all team members must carry it on their leg and I had to give it to the gatekeeper in order to get the boat ride), they finally get the coin after making me wait another 15 mins, I checked the bags to ensure our bib numbers match the coin number and sure enough there are no bibs. After getting someone's attention and asking about the bibs, the first girl says that there isn't any bibs this year, I point out that everyone else has them, so she agrees that we need them and I get to wait another 10 minutes for them to find our bibs. Then they give me the wrong one for the girl that is running two legs. That was a major undertaking!!! It was only package pick-up. It made me afraid for the rest of the race. That kind of disorganization always scares me.

Race day - up before 7am to get Lawrence and my leg 1 runner off. We head to the race start. It's cold! I'm not sure what the temperature was but it wasn't much over 0. A little standing around, took a few pics and the race started. They had native drummers and an RCMP do the ceremonial start - it was pretty cool. The rest of my day was spent cheering for friends, supporting Lawrence (attempting a solo), and making sure everyone on my team was where they needed to be. I enjoyed supporting Lawrence even though it was a little stressful and lonely at times. He was much later than thought after leg 2.

Between legs 1 and 3, my team mate and I hung out at the hotel and had room service for breakfast. It was very relaxing and nice! Although the hotel was a lot more expensive than camping - it was all worth it! It was nice to lay on the bed and watch a little tv between transitions.

I didn't get to see my team mate finish leg 3 because I had just finished helping Lawrence after leg 2. Sounds like she had an awesome run though!! Lawrence just made the leg 3 cutoff by 10 minutes. He was exhausted after sprinting to make it in, but I was so proud of him for getting in. Helped him get off for the next leg, which was a challenge because he was too tired to really talk or make decisions so I just needed to keep asking him if he needed this or that. Once he was off, we started to drive back to town. Got to see him along the highway-I was glad to see he was with someone else. It's so nice to have someone keep you company, it takes your mind off of the pain and the everything that is still left to do. Then it starts raining. It just blew in, but it started raining really hard. Made for some fantastic rainbows, but I felt bad for all of the runners!

I tried to sleep for a while before my leg but I just couldn't seem to fall asleep even though I felt exhausted. I ate and drank as much as I could, but my own pre-race nerves were starting and I just didn't feel hungry. At 10:30 I go to meet my friends who are going to drive me to my transition and help support Lawrence. As we're walking to the parking lot, other friends pull up in their car and tell us that Lawrence is done - he missed the cutoff on leg 4 and was picked up by the quad. They assure me that he is fine, and is waiting for me at the transition. So, we don't bother loading all of the transition stuff for Lawrence in their car and just head off. Get to transition, and talk to Lawrence for a bit - he's disappointed but proud of how far he made it. We were only there about 20 minutes when my leg 4 runner comes in. Shocked me! She was about an hour earlier than expected! I'm not ready at all, so I get my headlamp on and grab the coin and timing chip - and head off. Start time - just after 11pm.

Leg 5 - you start on this small trail and go straight up! I wasn't running for very long. I hiked my way to the top and was really warm already, so I took off my fleece jacket and ran in a t-shirt/pants. It's completly dark but my headlamp is excellent and trail is really well marked with glow-in-the-dark dots on every few trees so your headlamp catches the dots and you just follow them. The trail was narrow and very technical - the rain had made the course muddy so there were points where I had to grab rocks and trees to get up the inclines because me feet were slipping in the mud. I got passed by 6 or 7 people, just a quick hello as they went by. Then I managed to pass 2 people - I'm not used to passing anyone when I run. I felt pretty good! Ran a fair bit but it was tough on this trail. Talked to one guy for a minute before running on. I didn't bring my garmin (which I regretted because I couldn't tell how far I'd gone) but did have my watch so I was keeping an eye on how long I was out there. As I'm coming out of the trail there is an aide station with about 20-30 people there. I come out of the trail to the call of CDR....GO DEATH RACER!!!! It was great (my favourite part of the run!) I refused water/gatorade because I had my own water bottle, gel and cliff bar. Big mistake! I was taking in more water than I thought and actually ran out of water with about 4km to go. After the aide station you were on a dirt road with a really steep downhill. Some people were trying to make their way back up the hill, it was weird to see flashlights coming towards you. I joked with them about psyching out the runners by going to opposite way. At the bottom is a guy dressed like the grim reaper, asking for my coin. I give him the coin and comment on the fantastic weather! The sky was now clear so the stars were aewsome, and I was still in a t-shirt. The lights down there made the boat ride a little surreal. I go to get off the boat with my lifejacket on...hehe. They tell me everyone does that. I was warned by Lawrence that after the boat there is a lot of uphill. He's not kidding! You are way down at the river and the town of Grande Cache is way up there!! The climb just goes on and on, and with the headlamp you can only see about 5 feet in front of you so I had no idea how far I had left to go. I think ignorance was bliss!! Seeing the whole climb may have been tough. Instead I just climbed and climbed. At the top was 2 volunteers telling me I was done the climb and 10km. Crap! Only 10km done - I had been out here for over 2 hours. I still had 9km to go. Then you were on this trail that just went on and on forever. I tried to run but I was cramping up and having stomach issues again (dry heaving), plus there were tree roots everywhere so when you tried to run your feet slipped off the roots. So I hiked most of it and ran sometimes. Then I came out to a road and was glad to be out of the trail. The best part was the sign that said 5km to go! I'm walking along this road, no idea where I am and felt like I was in a horror movie and some guy with a chainsaw is going to jump out at every second. I haven't seen a person in over 2 hours. As I'm walking I hear footsteps behind me. At first I thought it was my own echo but I turned around and there was actually another runner behind me. He caught up to me, and we walked together for a while. It was so nice to have someone to talk to. We're walking up another big hill. It was surprising to actually see people at the top. We turn the corner and we're in town!! It's still uphill the whole way to the finish. We walk together for a couple of km. A girl is running and catches up to us - I praise her for still running at this point and she says that she is sooo glad to be out of those f(@&$ing bushes...hehe. She runs on and the guy I'm with decides to run to. I walk a little farther, cross the road and now I'm at the strip mall - only a block from the finish. I start to run - my legs are dead tired from all of the climbing but I feel good. As I turn the corner I hear all of my friends and team mates saying my name. Actually, I heard them say, "is that Kerry?". I run in and finish strong. After, I just drank about 4 glasses of gatorade.

We went to bed at 3:30am, and got back up at 7am to go and see the soloists finish. I was very proud to see my brother and a friend finish!!

It was a great experience.

Our team: Girls Just Wanna Have Run
Time: 18:54
Place: 10/19 all female teams and 96/164 overall

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  • At 3:49 PM, Blogger eastglen77 said…

    hey no matter how bad u had it...u didn't have to share a room with 2 girls!


  • At 10:39 PM, Blogger Deb said…

    wow, what an experience!

    great job kerry and team!

  • At 7:05 AM, Blogger Kelodie said…

    Congratulations Kerry! You look strong on that finish line picture!


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