We arrived on Friday around 4pm. Our team went to register and settle in at the orientation supper. The take away was that this is the wettest race in the 12 years of doing it. Awesome, we will run in the mud. And we did.
Steph started with Leg 1, Louise boarded the bus to Leg 2. They both finished in good time giving me as much extra as possible. Shane totally expended himself on Leg 3, leaving the rest to me.
I started Leg 4 around 4:30 in the afternoon and it was a tough, slow climb up a mountain before heading west from Blairmore to past Coleman. The weather was pretty good all around, except for the 30 minute downpour when I was running out in the open. At the transition I changed my shoes, socks, hat and shirt. I wanted to do Leg 5 lite, so I kept my marathon pack on that had minimal room for anything but water and food. Off I went for Leg 5 at 8:30.
Tough going with the mud and huge lakes of water on the trails. At night you don’t see them until you are close, so I was constantly running from side to side to get around the water. I managed to fall into one of the dirty ponds on the road, shorted out my main headlamp, used my spare not so bright light. I took longer than I expected, more exhaustion. At this point, no injuries, no real pains actually. Just tired legs. I came into the transition at 2:30 in the morning. It was hard to muster the drive to go on, but I was only half way, and I had time to walk it out.
After changing out my shirt to a warmer one, change my pack to my larger pack and changing my socks again I headed out on Leg 6.
The race organizers describe Leg 6 as “some of the most remote terrain on the course as they make their way to the evil climb north of Seven Sisters Mountain.” And an evil climb it was. Climbing that elevation in the mud was brutal. My legs were already tired, I was exhausted and my feet were getting sore from being wet for so long. All I could think about was getting to the top, taking a picture, and running down the other side so I could do it without injury. I did all that, but I had to push myself to do any running. I managed to come in at 10:30. I had cell coverage and texted my team how far I was away. Based on that information my team calculated that I might not finish the last leg in the allotted time. I wanted to finish what I started but there was a chance I might not do that. Steph offered to run the last leg. I will always tell the story that Steph then ripped off his tear-away pants, grabbed a water bottle and tore up Leg 7. In reality he already planned to run the leg just in case, and just removed his pants like a normal person, revealing his running shorts. We finished in time, got the medal, got the picture. My team came through again.
It is the day after the race, I have gone to physio and the podiatrist. My legs are tight, I’m tired, my feet are a bit sore, but mechanically everything is good.