Sunday, February 19, 2012

Are We Doing This Again?

So as I started the text for this post, Yvonne says "hey, that's almost the same as my race album on Facebook- We are out here again" Funny. Same thoughts. And so, it's the start of Susitna 100, another dark drive on Pt Mac Road, another pre-race smile. Dave is smiling because he always smiles. I am smiling because I'm not running the 100. Yvonne is sacrificing herself and pacing me on the 50K this year. THAT'S how good of a friend she is. All year long we are up in no man's land, aka Willow, so we love to see all of our friends at these races. I think I actually enjoy that more than the race itself. We've looked at Ed and Christine with envy now for two years on their bikes. Ah, one day. One last group photo- Dave, Mike, Ed and Christine. Notice this year, Dave is right up front just behind the bikers, because he's going solo, and fast. As everybody fusses with gear, Laura, my ultrarunning hero, hones in on who she's gonna take down this year:
And they're off- by the time two of my favorite runners, Kevin Vig and Jane Ballwin rounded the corner, the bikers were almost to Flathorn. At this point, Jane is also thinking- are we doing this again?
Dave, just finishing Ayrshire, says- Does this Joe guy know that we have 97 more miles to go? He must be fooled by how nice Ayrshire was this year:
After we saw Dave off down the road, we checked out the end of Ayrshire. We brought our skis with us and I was undecided (per the norm) about what we were going to do. Of the two choices, running or skiing, I have been walking, actually, this winter. With my trusty sled Jiggs II and my poles, I've covered all the trails around Willow, walking. I like walking. Well, the trail looked a lot firmer than we thought so I signed an "F" next to my name.
With my typical multiple clothes change-out, we headed up to the start. Lo and behold, a guy with a skirt who wanted to take our picture. See, he talked the skirt lady in Anchorage into giving him a free skirt, for male-marketing purposes. He was very quick to add "oh, but I'm not running in mine". Personally, I think the skirt suits you, Andy. Oh, and DeeDee- we love our skirts!
And, then we were off. I couldn't believe how good Ayrshire was this year. Gorgeous day. Trotted along-side Jay Liggett for a while. Looking forward to seeing him at Hatcher Pass Marathon this year.
"Ooooverflow" she says. I was happy about my waterproof shoes:
I think this is what they call the Tunnel of Love. I call it the Tunnel Where My Camelbag Drenched Me Last Year. No such problems this go-round . But speaking of Problems. Vonnie and I were very efficient with problem solving. All sorts of things. Boys. Jobs. World Peace. All solved. Except the Boys.
About 6 miles before this, I was ready to go home. Really. It always happens 10 miles into one of these endeavors. I always tell myself, Self, stick to half-marathons. Anyway, this is the halfway point on Flathorn Lake for the 50K. All those sorry 100-miler souls have to go around behind me and to the right to the first checkpoint, where the warmth and food suck you in. Gnomeo and Juliet and the two Harley-Davidson/redneck gnomes pointed us left, to....the gasline.
Vonnie and I, taking a break on The Gasline. As an shoutout to JD, let's again go over the gasline. It is a straight, never-ending trail. The only reason you can't see the end of it is because the earth is a f**king sphere. Thanks, JD. We missed you this year.
Then there was a whole bunch of walking, solved World Hunger issues and the like, yada, yada, and we're finished. Now let me again say that Vonnie is awesome- she came up for the weekend to visit and ran the whole race with me. Who does that?
We picked up Mekong take-out (Mmm, garlic chicken) and went to bed. I was really nervous about missing Dave's finish, so I kept setting my alarm to check the updates. Around 6am, I panicked a bit, stopped Vonnie mid-toast and said "we gotta go". I had been adding up his times and was worried he'd be in already, sleeping in his wet clothes in the cabin. So we sped to Pt Mac, again in the dark, almost hit a moose south of Willow (thanks, Vonnie) and then I ran into the cabin. Mary, calming as ever, said Oh, you're just in time. You even have time for breakfast. Biscuits and gravy later, we drove down Ayrshire, and there he was! Still Smiling!
After a kiss and a hug, he said "I just wanna go home". I know how he felt.
I was so proud of him at this moment. I know what training's been like this winter. There's been a lot of cold, sadness and snow in Willow and to see him push through it, with no food for 50 miles...
Davey, running his Dad into the finish-
Don't let the smile fool ya. This is how you really feel:
Dave, finished his 4th Susitna 100, winning his third in 24:11.
Six more for the 1049 award?
Time to start saving for a bike, babe.


  1. You're so right on, including world hunger and all that. Thanks for showing me a good time on the trail, and another great weekend in the life of the Willow runner gals.

  2. Andrea, i teared up when i saw you with 3 miles to go. Thanks for being there and for helping me in and out of the car afterwards. I love you so much and am so proud of you!
    David J