Twas two nights before the Vermont Spartan Beast World Championships,
And all through the internet…
Everyone was freaking out.
I can’t write poems at 8:29 am before the caffeine has kicked in.
Course cut off times. Where to find those single serving mustard packets (never mind the fact that 90% of these people have never actually tried the mustard during a race setting. Nothing new on race day, RIGHT GUYS?). The Ultra Beaster’s are freaking out that the “regular” athletes are going to get in their way. The “regular” Beaster’s are afraid the Ultra athletes are going to be assholes. There is so much anticipation, excitement, and fear (mostly fear) running through the obstacle racing community right now that you guys are starting to freak ME out, and I’ve done this before.
To be 100% honest, the never ending climbs up Killington mountain nor the painful 60+ lb sandbag carries up said mountain don’t phase me. Now don’t get me wrong, I respect the hell out of that mountain; I am fully aware that it is going to be ridiculously difficult and it will hurt. But I’m not scared. I’m not worried about cut off times.
(And I’m not eating mustard.)
But what I am starting to freak out about is the weather, mainly because daily there seems to be 18 different posts with different forecasts on my facebook feed.
(Brace yourself I’m going to spill my guts. AKA whine for a minute).
The current prediction for Saturday is a high of 66 degrees and mostly cloudy…which means mostly NOT SUNNY. And that’s at the base of the 4,000+ foot mountain, never mind the summit. As I may have mentioned no short of 9,351 times here on this very blog, I really suck at being cold. (Keep in mind during this race, we will likely be soaking wet within the first few miles). It’s not a case of mental fortitude, or in this scenario, the ability to “STFU” (the “S” stands for “Spartan”, in case you didn’t know). My body simply does NOT respond well to being cold, never mind cold and wet, and instead shuts down. I shivered my way through the 2013 Beast. Earlier that summer, I worked my way right down the list of stages of hypothermia while on a river trip with friends, going from miserable to delirious, where I actually stopped shivering and blacked out a large part of the trip. This year they convinced me to wear a wetsuit, which worked out swimmingly (pun totally intended).
But a wetsuit for a 14 miles/7+ hour course just seems like a bad idea.
I sit here in my Snuggie and winter beanie (don’t judge me) realizing that part of my lack of enthusiasm about the weekend is surely connected to the fact that it’s currently 46 degrees and cloudy (both outside and inside, we’ve refused to turn on the heat yet. SUMMER ISN’T OVER DAMNIT!)
But the bigger misgiving is that my heart isn’t where it once was with this race. I hate to be cryptic, but out of respect for the community I love so much, I’ll just leave it at that. If it wasn’t for that damn trifecta pie piece (motivated by bling, completely unashamed…) I probably wouldn’t race this weekend.
And I can’t let the Blerch win.
I feel bad admitting all of that. I feel bad whining about the weather. I feel bad saying “I’m not really looking forward to this” when SO many of my OCR friends are stoked beyond their wildest dreams. Sometimes I have to remind myself that despite the fact that people often look up to me for advice or inspiration (which still boggles my mind, but I digress)...I’m only human.
And maybe, just maybe, my lack of enthusiasm is secretly a ton of nerves. This is part of what puts the Vermont Beast course light years above the rest: it is unpredictable. It is brutal. It is never a walk in the park, even for the experienced racers.
And it gets in your head.
So now that I’ve put the “I’M NOT REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS” vibe out into the universe, I’m going to “STFU” (this time the “S” stands for “shut your mouth, Heather”) and follow these simple rules:
2) Don’t stop moving.
3) Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot in your plethora of warm clothing and the space blanket I’m totally bringing on course. Cold isn’t cool. Warm is the new awesome.
***4) Enjoy the fact that I’m out on a beautiful mountain in a beautiful state with some of the most fantastic, amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. ***
To those of you about to tackle Killington this weekend, I’m sending a virtual high five your way. Let’s do this, my friends.