When I registered for the Hatcher Pass Marathon the description was that we would be climbing up for about 25 miles to the summit of Hatcher Pass, and then head down for 1.5 miles into Independence Mine. I wondered: Gee, why don’t they run that in the other direction? Turns out many other people thought the same thing, and this year the Archangel Marathon was born. Note on the name: the Valley into which you descend is the Archangel Valley).
I arrived to Anchorage at 1am and picked up the rental car. I started driving toward Palmer where the race starts, but was super tired. I hadn’t slept properly since Thursday night so the little amount of sleep I was getting on plans and in cars was going to have to do. I took a nap near Eagle River, but was awoken by the guy who runs the gas station I stopped at. Apparently he didn’t like the cut of my jib so it was time to move along. Closer to Palmer I found a park and ride lot that pulled into for a brief shut eye.
I had hoped to start with the early starters at 7am, but I was too tired and kept sleeping until 7:30 when I started to the start line at Independence Mine for the regular start at 9am. Once I got there stiff from the drive and the marathon in Washington the day before I hobbled over to the table to get my things. I cleared my throat and chest because I’d been suffering from some chest congestion and sinus drainage and Eric, one of the couple who direct the race said “I assume you’re not running today.”
“Running is probably putting it charitably, but I plan to.” Plans, unfortunately would change. Once I got prepared to run and headed to the start we lined up for a photo and it became clear this inaugural event had far fewer people than the Hatcher Pass marathon in the previous month. There were about 25 people in the regular start. We began and I quickly fell to the back of the pack while we ascended the one major hill of this event. I told myself I’d be able to make up the time lost once we got to the downhill, but once we crested the hill at about 1.5 miles and headed downhill it quickly became clear that 13 minute miles were about as fast as I was able to go. I wasn’t limited by oxygen or heart rate. It was a cool, mostly overcast day. I wouldn’t be overheating. I was just beat up, sick and tired (literally).
Doing the math in my head I knew I was going to be around 6 hours. I also knew it would take two hours for the van to drop people at the start and return to pick up another load. All I could think about was how EVERYONE was going to have to wait for me to finish, probably a good hour behind the last finisher. What kind of selfish prick does that?
Here we go. This is Dick. Dick is the voice in my head that tells me how terrible I am. How much I don’t belong here. How awful I am in every single way. Maybe you don’t have a Dick like me, and if so count yourself lucky, but for me once Dick starts talking what he says makes total sense, and goes around in my head over and over shredding my psyche. Dick found me tired, pushed me out of the driver’s seat and into the trunk and we were off to Terribletown.
By 13 I knew how far behind I was and quit. I joined the support van that was helping people out, and Crystal, the nice volunteer lady, without passing judgement picked me up. I felt broken, again. This is happening a lot lately. Some of it is me probably doing too much. I haven’t had a weekend off since April, and I haven’t successfully completed a double since March. I tried seeing a therapist but he didn’t seem to want to engage on this topic. Maybe I should see a sports psychiatrist? Is that a thing? I don’t know. I kind of think I’m just being a baby. I guess time will tell. I’ll be back in Alaska for Anchorage Runfest 49k, so I’ll get a do over on Alaska this year.