Wednesday, August 14, 2013

the reasons why

i've had a lot of time recently to think really hard about WHY i am doing this race, the bitter pill.

you get a lot of time to think while you are out training, and a lot of time to consider it when you are practicing with all your gear.

i think i have written before about the feeling of mastery in this world, and how we all need to feel that. we all need to feel that we can manage in an emergency, that we are prepared for whatever comes, that we are resourceful and capable.

this is a fundamental need, but it manifests in us in different ways.

for me, it manifests in ways that echo survival skills. i like to forage wild foods and i like to do a lot of things old style and when i make jams with wild fruit old-style with no packaged pectin i think "this is how they used to do it." and wen my egg lady shows me her crock of "winter eggs" she says 'this is how they used to do it" and i am all full of admiration because i love my modern conveniences, but by golly i NEED to know that i could survive without them.

i need to be able to find my way outside. i need to be able to find things. i need to know what i can eat, where to find water, how to make shelter. i need to know that i can travel from place to place under stress and carrying gear.

so this race, a skills-based race, is a lovely recreational way to do that. we don't know what the course will be, or how long it will be. we only know that we will travel by land and water, on foot, on bike, and by boat. we know that sometimes there will be trails or roads we can use and sometimes not.

it is going into the unknown and meeting whatever challenges come.

so for me it's less a race and more just an opportunity to go out and meet surprise challenges. my favorite part when people see me training or preparing and ask about the race is not when they ask what activities are involved, but when they ask what distance will be covered.

because we don't know.

i have formed some guesses about where the race will go, but they are only guesses based on what terrain features i think the organizers are likely to use and how they might connect.

my guesses sound like well, first it'll go down the cross vermont trail into jonesville by bike and then up to gillett pond for the swim and then somehow to beaudry's store and across to honey hollow road and then down to the river to return to wiliston by boat and either bike or foot travel. or maybe it goes up the BVAR and over ricker and down cotton brook to the reservoir with a swim to the boats and a paddle down to little river state park.

go ahead. get out your map. i'm not showing you mine. if you want to play course sleuth, that's your lookout, but you get to do your own darn homework.

today is a light day for me.

it is wednesday of race week, and i am resting my knees.

today i will practice my basic trig, my map reading, some knot tying, and caramelize a mess of onions because i am the team provisioner. i have made the teams breads and cookies designed for nutrition and portability. i am making the team lunches.

my teammate is in charge of the gels and energy things and i'm in charge of the actual food.

later on i will tell you what's on the menu, because while we don't know how far this race will take us, we can be pretty sure it will take about twelve hours which means we will be burning insane amounts of calories and when you do that you have to stay topped up.

speaking of which, the sun is rising and it's time for snack because i've been up for two hours and i get like that.

maybe i will put on water for the eggs. maybe i will start cooking the onions.
the day is young and there are a lot of possibilities.

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