Sorry to my three regular readers for the lack of posting. It's been a busy time.
Work was crazy, and a couple of weekends ago I classic skied 51 km in this kind of race thingy, then more work, then I got sick.
Plus, blogging is HARD.
A bunch of people have asked about the race. So I'm about to describe how it went and it will sound like A VOYAGE THROUGH HELL, but I still somehow enjoyed it. I'll use Jabberwocky sort of the way E. Annie Proulx used that book of knots in The Shipping News. And I'll throw in an uncalled for counterpointal comparison of phases of the ski with phases of growing up in this hard, hard world.
PART I: TWAS BRILLIG AND THE SLITHEY TOVES DID GYRE AND GIMBLE IN THE WABE
My sister and her boyfriend, both good skiers who came down from Whitehorse to go in the skate-ski event the next day, were FANTASTIC support. They did a professional wax job on my skis the night before, got up early with me and drove me to the race, lent me warmer clothes when we realized I didn't have enough layers for the wind that was howling and threatening frostbite to internal organs.
I started out feeling fine, as most do. I had a perfectly respectable (though not exactly record breaking) pace of 10km/hr for the first 25 km, and really felt that this was perfectly sustainable for the duration (going on the evidence of earlier training skis), and expected to finish in about 5 or so hours.
This was the happy childhood part of the ski.
PART II: BEWARE THE JABBERWOCK MY SON THE JAWS THAT BITE THE CLAWS THAT CATCH
Then I realized I didn't eat enough. I realized this when I suddenly and dramatically bonked in the third loop at about 35km, which made me think that maybe things would be better if I just curled up in that snowbank over there and slept til spring, or maybe just died.
Bonking is not a euphemism for sex. Bonking is suddenly being overwhelmed by a sense of complete physical depletion and fatigue. My pace slowed to about 6km/hr, a slog. Looking at the check point times, it's abundantly evident that I completely crashed and lost a lot of time.
This was the first adolescent breakup part of the ski, complete with bad acne, braces, and weight gain.
PART III: HE TOOK HIS VORPAL SWORD IN HAND
I ate a bunch more at the next two stations, but not eating enough earlier in the race was deadly and too late to really recover from. I just simply ran out of juice. I was/am pretty disappointed about this because I should have known better, it was preventable, and I should have been able to make it to at least 40 km without any kind of crash.
This was the discussing the heartbreak with friends and eating a lot of chocolate part of the ski.
PART VI: LONG TIME THE MANXOME FOE HE SOUGHT
We had a windchill of -30. I had grease on my face to prevent frostbite. We had to cross this 1 km stretch across an open field four times. Each time as I made my way across with the 50km/hr gusts blasting me from the side, I would bend my head down, growl cuss words, and otherwise silently contemplate how badly my sight would be damaged if my contacts froze to my corneas.
This was the first year of university part of the ski.
PART V: THE JABBERWOCK WITH EYES AFLAME CAME WHIFFLING THROUGH THE TULGEY WOOD AND BURBLED AS IT CAME
I had just started my period the day before. The second day is usually the worst. If you don't know what constitutes "worst", I am reluctant to enlighten your ignorance. It's just better not knowing.
I hadn't taken any "Vitamin I" because I really wanted to pay attention to one of my shoulders (i.e. to not reinjure) and had hoped that the exercise would diminish the menstrual cramping... alas, not the case.
So by km 35, my lower back was in searing pain (a typical side effect of both my period AND of going for long classic skis, so compounded by each other in this case), my uterus was cramping intensely like what I'd imagine pre-labour to be like (and if I'd been home I would have been in a ball on the sofa). Then when I pulled over to pee, I had the pleasure of discovering that I'd leaked. A lot. And there was no place to change or deal with it. So like, whatever.
This was the "I've graduated and have a degree but a hard-core drug addiction certainly looks better than having a challenging and fulfilling career right now" part of the ski.
PART V: THE VORPAL BLADE WENT SNICKER-SNACK, HE LEFT IT DEAD AND WITH ITS HEAD, HE WENT GALUMPHING BACK
What seemed like an eternity later, I finished alive and without injury.
This was the first time you have really really really really good sex part of the ski.
PART VI: OH FRABJOUS DAY! CALLOOH! CALLAY! HE CHORTLED IN HIS JOY
One thing I'm really proud of is that even when it was clear that the whole event was going straight to the fifth or sixth circle of hell for me (I've been to the seventh, and it was not quite as bad as that), I didn't let my head get into negative thoughts.
Negative thoughts being the ones that start "This is hard / This is not working out very well" and ride the slippery slope of self-indulgence to "I can't do this / I can't do anything / Nothing ever works out for me / Nothing will EVER work out for me / Why didn't I win the Science Fair in Grade 5, WHY GOD WHY!?!? / BWAAAAAHHHH!!!"
All the horror of it actually kind of stripped it down to a kind of Zen-like simplicity. I just kept going.
Also, only 17% of participants were female (only 62 in total), so that's kind of cool. Plus my heart rate monitor said that I burned almost FOUR THOUSAND CALORIES.
This was the eat a huge plate of whole wheat pasta with meat sauce and then have seconds and two helpings of dessert and half a bottle of wine part of the ski.
No wait, I really did that.