Climb And Punishment

June 20, 2016

Ladies and gentleman, I’m back, I’m alive and I made it all the way to the top of Mt. Washington. We all made it.¬†Waaaahooooo! This race, there are just no words to describe the brutality of it. It was climb and punishment from start to finish. There was no let up in the gradient. Never any kind of leveling out for even a few meters to take the burn and lactic of the out of your legs and back. With each mile it got steeper and steeper. To say it was emotional would be an understatement. I must have run the gamut of every kind of emotion from upbeat positivity between miles 1 – 3: “nice steady pace, legs feel good, still breathing, keep it up Shinks“. Mile 3 – 4 there was some cracking, sh*t was starting to get real and positive self talk was doing nothing to block out the body’s actual pain. So for mile 3 – 4 I did a combination run/walk. Mile 4 – 5 was just straight up anger. We were now entering into the steepest part of the race. You could see the summit, it looked near, but yet you knew it was still 2.6 more miles of mystery away. At this point the self talk was getting very abusive, “this is a bunch of bullsh*t. Who’s f*#king idea was this any way?? What the f*#king f*#k?? Oh wow, look at that view, stunning.” Yes, mile 5 – 6 and onwards to the top the views were spectacular. You literally felt like you were en route to the top of the world. At this point of the race I had reconnected with my friend Mike and another member of our team, Ashley. This was a huge turning pointing, from mile 6 – 7.6 we just kept each other running. Sharing the burden of pace and keeping each other digging in and fighting all the way to the finish. The last 200m or so to the finish line was just the cruelest. It was basically vertical. Like running up 4 flights of stairs. You could literally put your hand straight out in front of you and be touching the ground, thats how steep it was. But I promised myself that I would finish this race running, and even though all of the blood in my body was now pure lactic, I threw everything I had left into that final climb. With every ounce of me I managed to keep the legs turning over and fighting all the way to the line. Once I stopped the surge of pain was unreal. But the relief and joy of finally making it to the top kept any kind of projectile vomiting at bay, for now. The elevation we were at meant the temperature dropped severally at the summit, but every finishing runner received a blanket, thank god, otherwise hyperthermia was a definite possibility.

The 24 hours post race were torturous to the point that you didn’t even know what to do to help yourself. Nothing it seemed, was going to help. I didn’t try eating til almost 7.30pm (after having nothing since 7am that morning) cos I didn’t trust myself to be able to keep it down. There was no relief to be had. Sitting, standing, lying down, none of it seemed to help. If you’d to ask me in the midst of all that suffering if I’d do it again, I would have slapped you square across the face. Now, with a few days removed from the experience and the body beginning to feel some kind of normal again, I’d be more inclined to say “maybe”.

Oh, and I guess I forgot to mention my overall placing. I completed the course in 1hr 50mins, my goal was to do it in 2hrs, hooray for 10 minutes faster. I was 415th out of 1300 runners. And placed 21st in my age group. Booyay! Not sure if I deserve to feel so proud, but I do.

Couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful morning.

Ok people, this is our start line, and that highest peak you see there towards the upper right of the photo, is where our finish line is. Now you’re afraid for us.

But here we are, ignorantly happy, playfully excited yet fearful all at the same time.

This is our team. Alive and happy.

Now we are well into the race, halfway to be exact.

Just had to grab a shot of this, a river of people digging and working their way to the summit.

My friend Mike found a wee surge to move ahead and grab me a forever memory of my run.

Then I had to find a similar surge to grab his forever memory.

One by one each member of our amazing team made it to the top. Absolute heroes, each and every one of them. It would also be wrong not to give a shout out to the team members that didn’t do the actual run, but who without their support we would not have been able to participate. First of all Dinara’s Dad and her co-worker Tim, aka Le Driver, who got up at 6.30am to make sure they drove to the top of the mountain before the road was closed off to all cars, and waited there in the cold and wind for all of us to finish, just so they could drive us back down. To Grandma and Grandpa Doyle and Baba, who took on the job of watching our children while we ran off on our crazy mountain adventure. Big “Thank You” to all.

The view behind some of the finishing runners.

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