|Welcome by the Race Director|
|Getting Ready to Start|
Once the forest section was over I came to a tiny dirt trail and an open section to another forest trail, I was about to enter that forest when a woman behind me pointed out the ribbons we were to look for indicated a different way. Thankful for such a quick recovery which could have proven pretty costly, I tried to keep up a decent pace as I finished my first 6k loop. Richard and Hannah were there and after a quick conversation and a Gu another runner came by, read my name and told me to get back out there. With a quick good-bye to Richard and Hannah off I went, and quickly caught up with that runner as he power walked a huge hill. He and his dog, Tess, were running the 30k event, which meant he had to do each loop twice, as opposed to me who had to each loop 3 times and the 6k loop a fourth to equal 50k.
|Starting the second 9k loop|
|Walking a hill with Gordan and Tess|
I stuck with Gordan and Tess for the next loop and a half. At the end of the second 6k loop I had to hit the porta-john so he and Tess ran off ahead. As I started my second 9k loop I enjoyed the scenery that this small dirt trail offered and was thankful for having the time and support to be even out here on this crazy adventure. I ran along the trial, confirming where I was every few hundred feet by seeing a pink and black ribbon and watching the footprints of my fellow racers in the sandy dirt. All of a sudden I couldn't make out any footprints. Mild panic set in as I considered going back to the last ribbon, but I decided forward was better than backward so I continued on, watching for a ribbon or white chalk on the ground. After a few minutes I finally spotted another ribbon. Thank God I thought and continued on for another 1k before spotting the beaver dam that indicated a left turn was coming up, as was another round with the woods.
For all of its challenges I actually preferred the 9k forest section over the 6k. The 9k was more of a straight line, with its turns large and obvious. The 6k turns were bumpy and tight, causing you to twist and turn every few feet. The 9k forest section did have one huge obstacle-the water. What appeared to have been the original trail had flooded so running was only possible along the mossy sides of the newly made river. On this lap I tried to step over a well beaten tree that had been pushed well into the mud when my left foot slipped and the water was up to my knee. I grabbed onto the roots of the fallen tree and hauled myself out of the mud and water, trying desperately to keep my shoe on my foot. I grabbed a feet handfuls of long grass when I came to the next dry section and wiped the mass of muck off my leg. There wasn't much I could do for my water and mud-soaked shoe, so I continued on. Just after I crossed one of the last "bridges"-this one consisting of a bed frame with extra metal posts welded on-I caught up to my fellow runner and his dog. Tess had decided to start a game of catch so he was trying to coax her out of the woods when he spotted me. I slowed and we ran together back to the last few hills before the aid station. He was a bit too tired to keep running so he wished me a good day and let me go. Just as I finished grabbing more powerade at my drop bag he finished his 30k, running in with Tess. I was glad I was there to cheer him on. I grabbed my water pack and took off for my third loop of 6k.
By the end of the third 6k loop I was tired, sore and a bit lonely for company. I hoped that Richard my mother and Hannah would be back by the time I started my 9k but the timing didn't work out. I started the last 9k very thankful I hadn't been more ambitious to try the 80k. I was at about the half way point when I got a text message from Richard telling me they had made it back. Pumped for company and more water I tried to speed up as much as I could to meet them on the dirt road finishing the last 2.5k of the 9k loop.
|Hannah and I running up a hill in the 9k loop.|
|Hannah dancing and cheering at the aid station|
The company made me forget how tired and sore my legs were at that point. Showing Richard some of the trail that I had spent the day on made me more energized to finish. We leaped and skirted massive mud puddles and power walked the hills. I checked my time and figured if I kept up my pace I could finish in 7:45. We managed to do it in 7:43. Not the time I had hoped for, but I hadn't based that time on anything close to the conditions I had faced. I'm a bit disappointed, but the fact I finished my first 50k on that route makes me proud to say I accomplished the Waskally Wrabbit. I got it done.
|Hannah cheering for Richard and I|
Me and Richard coming up to the finish of the 50k!