The race starts at 2pm tomorrow... that's just over 24hrs from now! I don't know if I'm more nervous or excited, but I do know I'm now ready to get out there and get started. There's just a few last minute decisions to make, and one final check and labelling of everything on my sled.
We have just had the race briefing - handing out of trackers and jackets and a lot of information about the checkpoints and the spot trackers. Mike has had to go off in search of a hardware store as it seems he will need to carry a small screwdriver to change the batteries in his tracker while on the trail. We do have to cross open water along the route, but hopefully it shouldn't be more than knee deep; there's also some glaciation we may need to go round as it on a slope and has open water at the bottom, it likely if we try to cross that our sled will pull us down the ice in to the water. Of course, as is always the case with these races, things can change quickly, so we just have to keep aware and react to whatever is there as we travel.
The time here in Anchorage has been spent preparing, exploring, eating and resting! Preparations have gone well - a few unexpected additions such as my watch battery giving up the day of arrival (sorted following a trip to 'quick fix'), and now Mike finding out he needs a screwdriver and additional lithium batteries. The eating has been going well - lots of very nice meals here, great breakfasts both the home made granola, yogurt and fruit and the eggs and hash browns type; also good evening meals including fresh Alaskan fish. Rest has been less easy, its always difficult adjusting to the time difference, so while trying to go to bed at 'normal' times, I'm always awake several times during the night and up early in the mornings.
The Fur Rendezvous is on in Anchorage at the moment, so we have been watching the dog sled teams set off and this morning we watched the frostbite 5k run set off; there's a lot of festivities today as its Saturday. All this is a welcome distraction from the race preparations, its great seeing the excitement of the dogs as they wait for the countdown and set off full of enthusiasm!
We have now met a number of other competitors - some of them who Mike met two years ago when he was here to do the 350mile race. Its great to chat to them and hear their stories - some of them have done this race a number of times before and have a lot of stories to tell... some including my brother Andy who has taken part multiple times over many years.
This will be my last post before tomorrows start, more when I return! You can track the race at www.trackleaders.com
28hours after leaving home early on Tuesday morning we arrived in Anchorage, Alaska. Snow was falling as we came in to land and the temperature was -10C. We arrived at the hotel just after 1am, exhausted!
Having had a good nights sleep we were having breakfast at the Snow City Café soon after 8am... and it was a fantastic breakfast, we'll be going back tomorrow! From there we set off to do the 'big shop' for food supplies, gas, batteries and other trail essentials, we walked out to REI and then on to Walmart, arriving back at the hotel. with a taxi full of shopping at 5pm, once again exhausted! The evening was spent sorting the contents of Mikes drop bags which he will need to post to the remote pick up locations tomorrow.
Although exhausted, sleep was not so easy and at 2am we were both up reading and making notes of things still to do. By 6am, having been lying awake for some time I decided to get up and put the time to better use, so I made the first batch of energy balls. (how many people go on holiday and buy mixing bowl, wooden spoon, measuring spoons and ingredients??). The first batch of 30 are now chilling on the balcony and our room has a strong aroma of peanut butter!
Now its time to head to Snow City Café again and get stoked up for the tasks on todays list... I already know what I'm having for breakfast as it was one of the many things I planned while lying awake last night!!
It seems like a long time since training began in September last year, the winter has been damp, grey and muddy a lot of the time, but training has gone pretty much to plan and now with 5 days to go before setting off its too late to worry about that aspect.
Preparation is a different story, so much to do and get ready, so much to think about and a few unexpected changes to think through and plan for...
See the ITI tab for more detail on my training and preparations for the race.
Marianne Heading discovered winter endurance racing in 2007, while working as a volunteer for the Yukon Arctic Ultra. This experience inspired her to take up running and go back to the Yukon as a competitor. Since 2007 she has been back to the YAU 6 times, completing both the 100 and 300mile versions. In 2011 she became the first European female to complete the 300mile YAU! Events are not a regular feature, but other races she has taken part in, include the Semi-Raid Reunion, Roveaneimi150, Four Inns and a number of LDWA and other local events - recoding those taken part in since 2015 here. Being outdoors and enjoying the countryside and wildlife are a higher priority than being fast... luckily! Training runs and walks are often prolonged by a break to do some foraging or to take in the scenery!