24 hours from now the gun will go off at the 2012 North Face Canadian Death Race. And I’ll be at the start line as a soloist, about to take on 125km of mountain running, trail navigating, and mud-avoiding (or…mud-accepting).
I have two friends here with me who will be my crew – Laura and Lisa. I could not think of two more suitable people to support me through this, and am so grateful to have them here. Our drive up to Jasper last night was a combination of laughs and girl talk in the most beautiful, scenic setting (after we made it through the Apocolyptic rain). At one point our conversation turned to bears. There are certainly bears up in Grande Cache and there is a possibility that I may see one. I made a declaration that I would be ok with not seeing one bear all weekend. What happened 5 minutes later? A cute fluffy (but deadly!) bear on the side of the road picking berries and chowing down. So for the rest of the weekend I refuse to make any declarations out loud. Other than the declaration that I’m going to finish this damn race.
Trying to put into words how I feel right now seems like an insurmountable task. I have come so far in my ability to run, and my ability to believe I can run. Last December when I got the idea to run this race in my head, I think a small part of me believed it would not happen. I get an idea and I don’t follow through. I talk about what I want and I don’t take action. But this is different.
I was given a plan, I followed through, I trained my ass off. To consistently dedicate myself to this for the past 7 or so months has been so rewarding. Saying no to fun nights out and choosing sleep over partying was really tough at times (have I mentioned how awesome my friends are? They are fun people to hang out with, trust). All I can say is there will be a big celebration when this is over.
I owe so much to so many people who have helped me get to the start line. Regardless of how this race ends I feel so proud to have gotten here, so happy, and so calm. Ultrarunning has been a crazy fun and sometimes incredibly difficult way to discover what I’m really capable of. Tomorrow I’ll be thinking of my running mantra the whole way. Surrounded by cowbells, dancers, mountain climbs and slugfest mud trekking, I plan to keep it simple and do just one thing: run.