So tomorrow will be my third running of Eastern Divide 50k! I was peer-pressured on race day eve into running it the inaugural year (2012) under the guise of Scotty Dwyer. I’ve never met Scotty Dwyer, but if he’s anything like his brother Dennett, then I am sure that he is a laugh-and-a-half. I had a blast that year, and even finished in 5:24 (?) on post-Highland Sky 40 miler legs. I then raced under my proper name the next year and managed to squeeze into 2nd place for the women’s field in 5:01. If I’d had a watch I would have actually run the last mile and finish under 5 hours!
In Kirby’s words, “Rachel has been laying low on the race scene for the last year…” Yeah I haven’t raced since October 2014. Wow. That was a while ago! But I swear I’ve been doin’ trail stuff. For example, I somehow walked from Mexico to Canada last year. Thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail has been a dream of mine since I was a small child (some may say that I am still a small child), and after graduating from Virginia Tech in December ’14, Gravy and I decided that we needed to get out and see the sights.
I haven’t written anything on here about hiking the PCT, but I really can’t figure out a way to write about it in a blog-fashion. It’s a totally different animal than racing a 50k or something. Thru-hiking is a lifestyle. You don't go at it for 5 or 10 hours and then go home and watch TV, shower, and eat some tacos. You are doing it for every single second of those 5 months. From May 3rd, 2015, to October 2nd, 2015, I was thru-hiking. Even on the off-days, it's what I was doing. Sleeping, breathing, eating, drinking the PCT. I miss it every single day.
And I don’t want to abbreviate that experience into a few dinky posts.
|UGH so perfect. Fording a low creek, Kings Canyon NP, California.|
|Walking across the Mojave, California.|
|Deep in the Cascade Range, Washington.|
What I’m most curious about tomorrow is my reaction to racing after turning myself into a thru-hiker. Walking for five months definitely changed me, and I really don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. My nutrition plan is something along the lines of: “….Eat?” and I just bought a new pair of Altra’s that got here…yesterday…haha.
So maybe I’ll finish 1st, or 2nd, or 3rd, or last. Maybe the stars will align and my stomach will stay settled (I can eat a footlong sub while walking, but the jostling motion of running has been sending my lunch flying). Should I wear my desert sun shirt and wide-brimmed hat? Will I bring my trekking poles? I know that I’ve gotten in about 8 solid long-runs, and have been on my feet a lot since I am currently paying the bills via waitressing. It’s actually a good part-time job for a thru-hiker. It keeps you walking all night and there’s sometimes left-over pizza. Yum!
No matter how things go tomorrow, I am really just excited to be running again! I miss the PCT every day, and long distance backpacking is truly my obsession right now. But I know that it’s hard to sustain financially, and I am super lucky to live in such a great outdoorsy town as Blacksburg with an awesome trail community.
Anyways, that’s all. I’m STOKED. But BYOB? C’mon, son :) Just kidding.
As always with Eastern Divide, THANK YOU, KIRBY!