Mount Taylor Quad. T: 3 days and counting.
I don't think I've ever been more nervous for a race. I am confident I can get up and down the mountain, but how long it'll take me is up for debate. How much hurt it'll inflict on me is an even bigger enigma. I sweat just thinking about it.
I have an 8.5-hour drive from Denver to Grants, New Mexico, on Friday. In other words, I have a whole freakin' day for all my neurosis to marinate and psyche me out and make me want to turn the old Odyssey north and bail. So this morning, I came up with this (not totally original) race plan.
I am devoting each of the race's 8 segments to somebody, thereby taking the pressure off of me.
Piece one: a 13-mile bike uphill.
Well, actually, this one goes to me. Here, I am going to catch my breath, not worry about everybody flying by me. This is where I reassure myself it's going to be a long day and that I'm strong enough to handle every step.
Piece two: a 5-mile run uphill.
This one is for the writer of this post. I have been in touch with her regularly, and am thrilled to report not only did she sign up for her first marathon, but her words were sent far and wide, and she has reached out to other victims who are considering running for healing. This is where I remember how powerful sweat is for the spirit.
Piece three: a 2-mile cross-country ski uphill.
This part has me freaked out the most--it's 1,200 feet of climbing, which I've never done on skis. So this is for Lookout Mountain, Deer Creek Canyon, the Holly Hills, the hill repeats under the chairlift, the Gauntlet at the gym, the incline button on the treadmill and all the other hills I've climbed in preparation for this race. This is where I'm not allowed to doubt myself.
Piece four: a 1-mile snowshoe uphill.
This has to be for my Grantie; he has been my own mountain/rock through this training. He's easily toasted 200 waffles for the kids' breakfasts while I was running or biking. More importantly, he has cheered me on even when I don't deserve it. This is when I forget when he asked, "Do you think you'll finish before dark?," and instead, just remember his love and support.
Piece five: a 1-mile snowshoe downhill.
This is for all of you, our awesome RLAM tribe. I'm going to open up my stride, and let it rip. This is where I remember that I--and we--simultaneously chose to challenge ourselves and to enjoy the ride.
Piece six: a 2-mile ski downhill.
This is for my mom, who enrolled me in ski school at age 4. This is where I am thankful I can do a killer pizza wedge.
Piece seven: a 5-mile run downhill.
This is for my dad, with whom I had a complicated relationship and who died in 1999 from, among other things, Lou Gehrig's disease. For some reason, he has been on my mind quite a bit during long workout sessions lately, so he gets to run with me. This is where I am grateful for my legs, my muscles, my body, my life.
Piece eight: a 13-mile bike downhill.
This for my kiddos, who would love the ride down as much as I think I will. This is where I coast and smile.
So I should be set, right? Pretty much, but if any of you happen to be climbing a hill on Saturday between the hours of 9 and 3 MST--please don't let me be climbing for more than six hours--I'll happily channel your vibes that help me defy gravity.