Once again, the Klondike Road Relay was fun. This surprises me a bit as I was worried about my leg of the race. I thought it was going to be really hard and I thought I was just too busy to bother making the trip to Skagway in order to run 14km, turn around and drive back to Whitehorse only to board an airplane for a wedding in Vancouver. Well, I was wrong. This event is super fun and it totally treated my FOMO disease (more on that shortly).
For some reason, our team started at 8:30pm, or in the 4th heat. I figured we should have been starting first as we expected to finish close to last, but regardless I got to run in the daylight, which was great. The race starter checked me in and he laughed at our team name (Moving at the Speed of Government), which made my day. I mean, we thought it was funny so it's nice that someone else did too. The race began (as it does every year) with a White Pass & Yukon Route steam engine whistle and cheers from the small, but enthusiastic crowd. The route follows the trail of the gold rush stampeders of 1898 who made their way from Skagway to Whitehorse over the White Pass. From the KRR website, this is a description of my leg:
* Total Distance - 14.0 km (8.8 miles)
* Total Elevation Gain - 454 m (1489 feet)
From the start, runners proceed north through town on Broadway Street, turning left on 7th Avenue, right on State Street and across the Skagway River Bridge where they will join their support vehicles. At Kilometre 4.1 the road begins to climb up into the White Pass, past both old and new U.S. Customs Checkpoints, to the check point at the White Pass Viewpoint at KM 14.1.
The hills, which I thought would kill me, weren't that bad. In fact, somewhere around kilometer 7 I was thinking "next year I am signing up for the 26km leg" I felt so great. Now, granted, that probably means I should have run faster since I was neither that tired at the end, nor particularly sore the next day. I was also not particularly fast since it took me 1:37 which placed me 99th/121 overall. But you know what? I don't care. I had one of those runs where I was in love with running. I don't usually listen to music and I spent my race listening to all the thoughts in my head which were about the gorgeous scenery, the sweet smelling air, the other race participants who cheered me on, and the fact that I felt great. The sun set while I was on the road and I was in a great headspace.
After supporting our leg 2 and 3 runners, I headed back to Whitehorse in order to grab a couple hours of sleep before heading to the airport. My first sighting of northern lights this fall took place during the drive home, which just made me ache even more about leaving the Yukon. The aurora was not particularly strong nor colourful that night, but it is still such a cool thing. I'm so glad I didn't back out of the event. I love doing things with a group of like-minded, fun people and the KRR certainly fits the bill. Last week a friend suggested that I suffer from FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out and it's totally true. It's kind of lame, but true. I love being part of the group and I can't wait for 2009. I really want to be one of the teams in an RV next year and I am going to start recruiting early. So, if you happen to be reading this, you happen to live in Alaska or the Yukon (or want to come up here to run), you are a recreational runner (I can't stress the recreational part enough), and you want to Move at the Speed of Government...then drop me a line.