August 19, 2010

East Coast Trail 220km, Countdown Is On

No Idea Why, But Blogger Not Allowing Picture Uploads Right Now?

It's hard to believe that I'm going to be initiating this run in a little over thirteen hours from now. The last four weeks of my life have been a bit of a blur and though I still haven't posted my West Coast Trail Tail it is about 40% complete.

To be completely honest about stuff right now, I'm nowhere near 100% for this thing, and if it were a genuine race I'd be really concerned about having to pull one outta the hat. Thankfully, though a speed attempt, I know I can suffer through it and still make this thing happen. It is rare that we are ever 100% heading into an event anyways, and with a distance this great it ends up being way more mental than physical.

All I have to do is look back to 2007 when I ran the 130km West Coast Trail + Juan De Fuca back to back. I hadn't run more than 67km in distance or nine hours in time prior to that day. Though I wasn't properly trained for that endeavor my mind was locked in and it wasn't about to let a small thing like inadequate training come between me and my stated goal of a sub 24hr completion time. (23h40m)

On that note, unless things go way better than expected, this will be the first time I've gone over the 24hr barrier while strictly running. My adventure racing background will serve me well on this one.

A Bit About The Trail

If this trail were hard packed and well marked I'd wager to say it could be doable in under 24hr...but that's not the type of terrain I'll be dealing with here in Newfoundland. Though the scenery will be stunning, with sea stacks, sheer cliff side drops, lighthouses, blow holes, and even possible ice bergs and as of late Killer Whales! This will be a true adventure.

Having spoken with Ray Zahab himself and doing some online searching I've been told to expect sections of 'no distinguishable trail', mud and bog potentially thigh deep, and moose paths that often appear as running trails. Hopefully I don't end up running in circles once the sun sets. I've also decided to delay the start by two hours till 6am, as a pre sunlight start might end up being more of a hindrance than a help.

All in all, it's amazing to be sharing this one with my family. My mother has never seen me run before and she's so excited she's been cooking non stop all day long...just in case I decide to stop for a buffet style feed along the way. Dad has already poured over the maps and listed all the best and worst case scenarios, and my brother is nervously awaiting his pacing duties, which will involve joining me for the last 20-30km...he has never run longer than 9km before. My fourteen year old niece is looking forward to trying to stay awake for 30+ hours for the very first time, and my brother's girlfriend is just as worried about him as she is about me!

With support like this, there is simply no possible way that I can't and won't succeed on this journey. Sure I would have liked a few more days to prepare properly, sure I have some injuries that will likely act up, sure I'm about to tackle something I've never even attempted before, but in the end, that's really what it's all about?

It's about pushing your boundaries and exploring your own limitless human potential. For no matter what the obstacles before you may appear to be, they are never quite as difficult or as daunting you can make them out to be in your own head.

I am ready. I am excited. Let's get this thing started!

(please don't forget to click on the smiling child in the top right corner of this blog to help support the third challenge in my Conquer The Coasts attempt)



Anonymous said...

good luck and go get it, Gary!

Sue said...

Best of luck Gary! We'll be waiting to hear all about it. Enjoy!

Ryan said...

Man, you are my hero. I'll be thinking about you as I attempt to bang out 6km slow jog this afternoon.

HollyV said...

If anyone can do it, it's you! Good luck and try not to get trampled by an angry moose! :)

Heidi said...

So excited to hear how it goes, Gary! Go kill it!

Vicky said...

Enjoy the trail! Are you doing the St. John's to Cappahayden section and, if so, are you working your way north? You will likely find the trail in better repair than you believe. This particular section is Appalachian Trail-standard. The more northern chunks are more variable.

Best of luck! The weather looks nice a cool for you!

Anonymous said...

Will keep watching and cheering for you again deeeeeeep into the night!
Go, Gary, go !!!!!!

Will Thomas said...

I love how you finished this post. This sums up why I do adventure running.