Week 3 turned out to be a very sleepy, slow build up with only two fun short shakeouts and a lot of what felt like rest being awake. I found that a princess needs her beauty sleep to be a true statement. Sort of like sleeping beauty. Or Snow White. Although Snow White didn't sleep for a long time, I sometimes wish I had some sort of fruit to make me go to sleep earlier in the evenings. Or maybe some chocolate.
Western States training weekend where I got to run on the actual course started out with a long drive including a wrong turn, some scenic drive out in the country and a lot of traffic to Auburn. I am a calm and somewhat composed person but when it comes to driving, I tend to use language and volume not suited for young ears when bad driving is in my way or slowing me down. Not very typical princess-like but as I like to say, I'm perfect every day. It's the level of perfection that varies.
Perfect was also the morning of day 1. We didn't get to run from Robinson Flat but got dropped off at a little lower altitude because there was still so much snow. So instead of 32 miles, most of us "only" covered 28 that day. But what a run it was. I had been told that the canyons would be tough but I did not expect them to be THAT tough. And it was only 28 miles. At the bottom of the first canyon I had already killed my quads half way and the uphill didn't let me be the little kid who needs to burp so badly. I so know why babies cry when they can't let go that extra air from their stomach. I felt the same way. And I ran out of water. Not oh-so perfect at that time. After the aidstation at mile 14, I had a great moment of really loud sounds working their way up my chest and the rest of the run became a burpfest like I have never experienced it before. Even beer hasn't done the same to me yet.
Jim and Tom, my companions on the second half of the distance talked a lot about the interesting historical facts of the area and gave me the same advice everyone has been giving me: hike the uphills, jog the rest and be prepared for the heat (up to 40°C/104°F). I keep realizing that 7 weeks is not a lot of time to prepare for such an adventure but that someone like me probably would be better prepared even if I had more time for training in the heat and other aspects of this race. My life is an adventure as it is and WS is going to be a volume of that book "life".
I was staying with Brian, another WS runner from Australia in Auburn and he wanted to experience some "real" American food. We ended up at Denny's and Taco Bell, two fine choices for our budget and within walking distance. And I do like Taco Bell, I admit it. It sometimes, no at all times doesn't like me back. The effects of that lack of love I usually experience the next day.
And sure enough, day two turned out to be another airy day. Beautiful sunshine, lots of happy faces and another 20 mile trail run. I did announce once or twice a gas alarm to the runners behind me and did some more serious burping similar to the day before. It all sounds funny but preceeding the bliss of a good and loud belch there's a lot of suffering and nausea. Nothing to worry about but it did slow me down a bit.
The most fun of the day was the little dip in the river that will have to be crossed at about mile 78 in the race. We either walk across or are taken to the other side by boat, all depending on the snow melt in the next few weeks and the water level of the river. I really hope we'll get to walk through the water. It will be dark by the time I get to that point and it would definitely add more fun to the adventure.
I will only hear the river on race day because it'll be dark once I get there
Some pleople only cooled down their legs in the really cold water but I semi-intentionally lost balance walking in between the rocks and ended up completely in the water. The swim was really refreshing for the last 3 warm miles uphill where more food and drinks were served in the shade.
I took many pictures these two days but the real beauty of the world is captured by the eyes and stored in the heart. I can only encourage everyone to go and see it for themselves on a hike or run.
even this princess needs a break sometimes