If the miles behind me could be put into words before you, you would feel my efforts, my struggles, my desires. Most of all you would see my joy. Watch me from afar run the trails and hills and miles upon miles and you will see ...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pre-Death Race

Just a last quick thought on the Knee Knacker:
I think the year was 2001 and I was up at Penticton to watch the Ironman and ultimately sign up for '02. We were waiting in line to get a table at a breakfast eatery after the athletes left on their bikes. There was a guy in front of us wearing a shirt with all these sharp, jagged lines on the back and upon closer inspection I read that it was the Knee Knacker trail run elevation profile. It was with the utmost awe and respect I stared at its 8000' of climbing and descending and although I didn't talk with the owner of the shirt, I commented to those I was with to look at the dude's legs. Dropping below his shorts line were skinny, knobby knees and below those were huge calves that screamed out years of development on the trails. Below THOSE were the most prominent achilles tendons I've ever seen. It was as though the ridges of the tendons reached the middle of his foot. I thought again with the utmost awe and respect what it must take to develop such running attributes. All I had were skinny, knobby knees with no calves and your average, waiting to be pulled any time, achilles'. It was a moment when I realized how "crazy" someone must be to attempt such a race and I never would have believed that I would compete in it one day, my aspirations being triathlons. Even when my friend Evelyn did Chuckanut a few years before me, after hearing about it, I believed that only those schooled in masochism would do an event such as that. I guess it's all relative. When I started running, a marathon seemed as far as the moon. At the finish line of my first triathlon, I was like a baby in terms of knowledge in the sport of triathlon. An Ironman (me not even aware there was such a thing as an Ultraman) was but a dream years in the future. Subsequently the Canadian Death Race has loomed on my radar for more years than an Ironman did but there was always interference not allowing me to enter. Maybe the lure of it was the trails beckoning me. It seemed again like an impossibly difficult and ambitious race, something to be feared just at the mention of the name. After years of conditioning and thousands of miles, a marathon, Ironman, Ultraman, 100 km, and 100 mile all fell before me. Of course there are further distances than that. Those I've done mere sprints in the overall scheme of things. Whether I do things that are "crazy" in terms of distance to almost everyone who inquires is yet to be determined. I had to walk/run 100 miles before I attempt 152, just as a half-iron preceded a full. The Death Race to me represents a test of endurance but also speed and I hope to not only complete this but to actually race it like I never have before. That's not to say I'll do as well as I want (have I ever?), but I only want to feel that I gave it my all and hope things come together in this last long run before Greece.

Now, again, how not to taper for a race is spend three days in Las Vegas in 40 degree heat eating too much and drinking too much (only one night, really). This was first time there and it was mind-blowing in terms of the size and decadence of the hotels and casinos. Those who've been there know what I'm talking about. I planned to run while there but when it's 30 degrees at 8am I didn't think it would be very beneficial. I would step outside from the air-conditioned casinos and love to feel the heat but then five minutes later it felt like I was standing beside an idling bus engine wondering why my scalp felt on fire. I don't know how anybody could live there. Anyways, after my massage today I have to say my legs have felt the best in weeks, mostly due to the three day layoff. I did a small 40 minute road run today and I'll go out in Alberta (no worries about heat there!!) on Thursday and Friday before the race. My only desire is to feel fast and if it turns out I go fast then that's all the more better. I have a time goal as usual but will keep it to myself for now.

I got the official email invite to attend the World 100km Championships in Italy this November. More to follow later on that. I'll post Vegas pics of the wedding reception we attended one night there (the drunken one) if they end up being suitable for publishing. 12 hours of driving, here we come!!


Gary Robbins said...

Right on Darin, good luck in Grand Cache, kick some ass...and don't eat yellow grass...that makes no sense!

Anonymous said...

hi D;
We wish you all the best. Remember to pull the crusts off the pb&j's, change your socks often and for goodness sake try and pee occasionally ;)

alisa said...

Darin- just wanted to say I'm totally thinking of you & wishing you a great race! It was soooo amazing to see you guys in Vegas! Also just reminding you that we're friends when you are carefully choosing which photos to post! haha...Cheers! or should I say: wp & bp!