Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Inception: Greenland Trail Races

Last year, Team Colorado's Neil "Big McD" McDonagh and Peter "The Prez" Maksimow ran the Greenland Trail Races (25K and 50K, respectively) and both took course records. As we get closer to this year's race, we were able to get in the heads of these two during REM sleep to find out what their recollections were. We call it: Inception: Greenland Trail Races. Where you never really know who was dreaming what. You decide!

May the 4th (be with you) 2013
I shook the sleep from my eyes an hour before dawn and stepped outside of my house in Manitou Springs. I always play “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC at full volume on the cassette player before dawn of a big race, Manitou Springs loves it! The weather seemed refreshingly brisk, which I took as a good omen for the Greenland race. The weather looks nice, I muse to myself, but, then again, it always looks nice and turns out to be a giant wind tunnel at the Greenland Open Space, so I shouldn’t really concern myself with how nice it looks until an hour INTO the race. My training had been relatively unprepared for the step up in distance. I really wish I could have trained more, this seems like an awful long way to race when feeling like a wounded duck. After a quick mid-week jaunt up to Larkspur for a course preview, my gaps in fitness seemed inconsequential. Well, Roger Bannister didn’t run 5 days prior to breaking 4 minutes in the mile for the first time, so if I am doing the math correctly that means…uhhhh, three weeks off before this race is a perfect amount of down time! Team Colorado decided to carpool for the race, meaning our chauffeur  Nora, allowed a few last minute zzz’s before hitting the trails. On the ride to the race, the seats were making me itchy, “what are these things made of, CACTUS!!??”, I wonder. The rolling hills of Larkspur were teaming with all manner of Lycra and hydration system festooned ultra competitors. As I pull the last couple of cacti needles out of my arse, I use all of my warm up time to prepare my spandex and hydration gels packs of salt sticks, and even some NoDoz in case I get sleepy a few miles in, so that I am well lubricated during the race. Both races appeared ripe for fast times. ”Wow, this is going to be so slow”, I tell the race director Derek Griffiths at the start line. Even with numerous countdown reminders, the crack of the starter’s pistol felt rushed. Rush…I love that band and I think as I am caught off-guard when the blerch of the starter’s weird magafone horn-thingie goes off. Antsy to get in a good groove I made my way to the front of the lead pack. Pack mentality is how I run my races, stalk and attack in a group…sounds cruel, doesn’t it? Quickly finding myself gapping the field, I offered some mental diversion therapy. Whoa, there is I-25, I wonder if they can see me flipping the bird from here!? I looked off to the right and saw some grassy hills. All I see is blue and yellow-purple hills, I think I need some calories. Over to the left was Interstate 25. Yeah, definitely seeing the bird, I am getting some attention from people in cars now! I focused in on a lone tree way off in the distance, but it didn’t really seem to be moving any closer and it was depressing me, so I switched to the ground ten feet in front of me. I realize there is someone at my side and he has been there the whole time, it wasn’t just the noise of the car horns that have kept me company for half of the race. About a quarter of the way in to the race I felt a strange gurgle in my stomach, unfortunately all too familiar to me. All I can think of is that line from the Shakespere “boil and bubble…toil and trouble”…it’s probably not the direct quote but it paraphrasing…I’m in the middle of a race, what do you expect!? Being open prairie land, tree coverage was quite the commodity. It’s like I am getting vibes from some entity on the course. I looked left then right and deftly hopped behind a thicket to make a quick biomass deposit. Wow, this is the first year there has not been gale force winds on this course…wait, what is that wretched smell!? Relieved, in more than one sense, I was back on the course making up for lost time. I lost some time because I couldn’t brethe for about a minute there, I think something died! A zeroed in sense of directed drive pushed me through the halfway point. Am I only at the three-quarters point of this reace--this is really going to take a long time? Roughly two-thirds of the way in to the race, again my innards expressed discontent. Why does this guy at the aid station keep heckeling me and calling me a “wanker”? A significantly less camouflaged leafless tree provided the scantest of privacy for a second bowel evacuation. You really have a lot of time to think when you are in a race this long, maybe that is why I keep asking myself so many questions? Brow sweating from stress more so than effort. Am I halucinating, did I just see a Gnome?—I definitely need some energy gels. Frustration capped as not five minutes passed before a final fully digested elimination behind a hedge the size of a garden gnome. OK…almost there…keep moving…hips are tightening, buttocks is involuntarily clenching…but this guy is still at my side like flies were on that gnome back there. Convinced my internal root cellar empty, I proceeded to bomb back down the course. I wish a bomb would fall on my head right now, that’s how much I hurt—but NORAD could intercept it before it hit the ground, DANG IT! Amazed that I had somehow held my lead throughout the ordeal, I figured surging over the last quarter of the course only made sense. I am definitely hallucinating now because I was running with someone the whole race and now he has vanished without a trace. I finished the race looking peaked. This is like a dream and there is the finishd line…but why won’t my legs move…it’s like they are in wet concrete. I washed my hands promptly after crossing the line. I cross the finish line to a cheering crowd and I bow to the roaring crowd. I won the race. I won the race…I thiink? I somehow set a course record. I somehow set a…uh oh, I think I just pooped myself as I bowed.

May the 3rd be with you in 2014!

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