Saturday, January 8, 2011

Yukon Do It! Race Day!!!

Forgive my overuse of exclamation mark but I'm supers excited!  All my grammar buddies are cringing to see my overzealous use of shift 1. 

December 31st- You had finally arrived. 

Getting supplies ready to load

One of many boxes to be loaded pre-race

My alarm sounded at 5:15 a.m. and I was instantly alert, something that rarely happens to me.  I love the mornings but they don't love me.  Yes the sunrise is georgeous and the earth is hushed, awaiting the possibilities of TODAY, the air fresh and the birds sing.  But my body and brain have a hard time shutting off at night, making the mornings appear too rapidly and I don't appreciate all that mornings offer.  My racings friends have no idea what forces are at play for me to get up early and to the start line on time.  Some of you are roosters crowing to wake others while I am more like a coyote keeping you awake at night.  We all have our place.

My heartrate was skyrocketing as I thought about what was about to take place.  The night before, I threw a multitude of racing clothes in a pile and hoped there was something in there to wear for today's weather.  I creaked open my front door to see the weather Real Time.  Brrr!  Frost and ice covered everything and I quickly closed the door.  18 degrees.  You thought I would use an exclamation mark, didn't you?

The forecast called for a clear day so I knew snow was not going to cause any issues.  I did worry about ice and my runners getting hurt.  Since I have zero control over the weather, I continued to get ready and said a quick prayer that everything would be okay and the runners had a fun day.

With my family packed in two cars, it was time to face the day.  I stopped at a restroom along the way for fear that I wouldn't have a chance to use one before the race.  When we arrived, there were numerous people ready to help unload all the race supplies.  My fingers were going numb as the Torpedo House at Manchester State Park was being filled with volunteers and runners.  Word came to us that the little league gate had not been opened.  With approximately 60 parking spaces in the park and 266 registered runners, this was not good news.  The field parking was big enough to contain all the runners' vehicles.  Finally at 8:30 a.m., news came back to us that the gate had been opened.  I found out later that a neighbor had unlocked it after being convinced that we did have authorization to use their land. 

Heat!  We need heat!  Thank you, Jeff!
A fire was started in the fireplace and coals were also lit in the barbeques.  Runners huddled around the blazing coals trying to dethaw their fingers.  Volunteers were sent out to their aid stations or road crossings after helping prepare food for after the race.

Sisters and volunteers

Ruth like a deer in headlights...sorry! 

Tony Seabolt and I going over last minute details
 A few volunteers didn't make it, unfortunately, and this left two people to handle the food preparation, one of them my younger daughter, Jessica, and a friend, Ruth.  Thank you both!

I snuck off to the restroom minutes before race start.  As I exited the bathroom, groups of runners were walking up a hill and I realized I didn't know where we were starting.  Tony and I worked out the course together but he had finalized the details to make the course 26.2 miles. 

I walked up the hill with my husband, Jeff, and he commented on how most race directors don't actually run the race.  Ha-ha.  The whole reason I started this was so I could get one more marathon for the year.  So there.  I know a couple of things would have gone smoother if I had stayed during the run and I should have at least had my cell phone with me to answer questions from volunteers.  I have learned my lesson.

Walking to the start with my husband, Jeff, and running friend and eventual Overall Winner, Terry Fritz

Almost time to start

At the starting line of the Yukon Do It Marathon and Half Marathon

As I approached the start, the reality set in.  I was in awe of all the runners and thrilled to see so many happy runners.  Familiar faces surrounded me and I was able to get my picture at the start line.  Jeff from Route 16 Running and Tony Seabolt made some announcements and the countdown began...3, 2, 1...GO!