See, what did I tell you about who would win?? The last post I predicted Chris Downie would beat me. I can see into the future and it was there I saw Chris winning the race. I really have to start using this gift in other ways besides predictiing race winners. Okay, I admit I slowed down enough so that at mile 35 he passed me and stayed ahead until the finish. I knew how bad he wanted to win so what was I supposed to do?
Anyways, the real race report (and what really happened):
The support crew, Carrie and the kids, and I drove up to Whistler last Friday, checked into the hotel, picked up the race package from RD Ron Adams, had dinner, went back to the room, and got stuff ready for the race. At 9:30 Carrie realized she forgot to bring her contact solution so not wanting to wear her glasses the whole next day we walked to the store and bought some stuff priced like there was an impending hurricane coming our way. Unfortunately it didn't come with the little contact holders that you put them in whilst in the solution. That would have been the box with the impending Apocalypse pricing I guess. Got back to the room, now 10pm, and I finished with my gear and went to brush my teeth. Finished that, went to have a glass of water, filled said glass with water, noticed all the foamy bubbles in the water, said, "Oh that's nice (thinking it was soap or something), and proceeded to dump the mixture down the drain before Carrie could yell, "NOOOOO!!" Figured it out yet? Yes, I dumped her contact down the drain. Taking apart the pipe under the sink only proved that, even if her contact was retrieved from said pipe, it would not want to be something one would want to insert in one's eye afterwards. Glasses anyone?
Race day came early like most of 'em. 4:30, out the door at 5:15 to the Conference Centre to get the timing chip and check in. Saw a lot of familiar faces: Barb Owen from Badwater and fellow crewmate Tracey, Nicola Gilersleeve, Hassan Lofti-Pour, and Wendy Montgomery, former RD of the Stormy trail race. Good to catch up with those guys.
We walked outside to the start in the cold and the dark, not wanting to look each other in the eyes as we'd be blinded by the headlights. As we were about to start I asked Nicola if she knew which way to go and she said no. I looked to my right and asked the guy beside me if he knew, but he was tuned into his tunes and didn't hear me. Turns out it was Chris Downie (the guy I let win, remember?). Not quite sure why people wear headphones in the dark, especially in bear country where they haven't gone hibernating yet.
We were off at 6am to run the first of four loops in the dark. Loop one was 21km, and the final three were 17kms. Doing the first one in the dark was a bonus because by the time it was light enough to ditch my headlamp it was like a new run with everything looking different. I was behind Chris, Hassan, and Jenn Segger for most of the first lap until the aid station at about 16k when suddenly I was in the lead. I didn't realize this until I caught up to the cyclist leading us around and as he wasn't going much ahead of me, figured Chris and the rest must have stopped at the aid station to access their bags. Luckily for me my superstar crew was there to hand me a new bottle on the fly.
So once it was light I could see how beautiful the course actually was. The snowy mountains, the sunlight streaming through the trees, the freakin' hills from 8km to 16km of the loops. This whole section was all hard-packed snow but the running was fairly easy, other than the rolling hills which, by the fourth lap, felt like mountains. I almost wished I was back in Haney because at least those hills were closer to sea level and I wouldn't have been sucking wind as bad. I told myslef I'd run the steep section of hills the first and second lap and I could walk the bad ones after that. I didn't disappoint myself and did exactly that. I tried eating on those walk breaks but the air was so dry I had no spit to process the food. Lots of little sips from my bottle later I eventually got it down.
I lead from the 10 mile mark to the 35 mile mark and knew my time had come when on the golf cart path, which did basically an out and back, I saw Chris not far behind me. It actually took him longer to catch me than I thought and when he did he put about three minutes into me. We must have been running the same speed the last lap because I neither made up time or lost any. I couldn't have changed gears if I tried - there weren't any left. Not sure if it was the altitude or the cold but my legs felt heavy with no jump to pick up the pace. I felt that way from the halfway mark onwards. I honestly wouldn't even have done a sprint if Chris passed me with 50metres to go. I also didn't really care. It was good to be out running but it didn't have the excitement and rush that other races have had for me. It was good to see the junior crew members on the last two laps and with 4km to go I couldn't persuade them to join me to the finish line. Go figure.
One of the highlights was going through the start/finish onto the third lap and having none other than Steve King, wife Jean at his side, calling the race, bellowing out my accomplishments (all two of them), and treating me like royalty.
At the end Chris and I chatted for a bit and he thanked me for letting him win. Okay, he won fair and square.
I honestly wish H2H was still in existence and maybe next year I'll run a solo journey along the same route just because.
Thanks to Ron Adams who made the race as spectacular as I knew he would with the organization and route.