I was invited to the Carrara family gathering next door for Christmas Eve. This included many generations of the family and reminded me of my own paison family gatherings. Lots of food, drink and good company. A great opportunity to carb up for my adventure. There were plenty of different pasta dishes to choose from as well as numerous other dishes. (No squid for me though). It was hard not to over eat but I had to be somewhat careful as at midnight I would start my adventure. And desserts too including Joe's homemade bread with his special ingredients. And of course wine with dinner followed up with after dinner drinks of some very tasty tequila. By now it was around 8:00 PM so time to go home and prepare for Christmas. My run was to start at Midnight and go possibly for 24 hours or til I could go no further. I mapped out 4 loops all starting and finishing from my home so I could refuel and get a change of dry clothes. A huge challenge in the winter is to stay warm and dry. Even with the best technical clothing you do sweat some and that sweat then freezes cooling the body quickly. Temps were looking chilly, around 10 degrees to start and maybe warming to the high teens. I had clothes layed out and food on the counter ready to go. Peanut butter and jelly, chicken soup, chocolate bars, etc. By the time I got myself together, there was really no time for a nap so I would have to forgo sleep. Been there done that before. Just before midnight I got my pack together. This was a brand new back from Santa, a Gregory Wasatch pack from their new active trail series designed for fastpacking. Thanks Santa!
|Gregory Wasatch Pack
Midnight, Christmas is here, time to go. With headlamp on I was out the door. As soon as I walked out the moon was shining brightly. Clear skies and a 3/4 moon, no need for the headlamp to be on. Loop number 1 consisted of mostly rolling back dirt roads of Charlotte, Hinesburg, Monkton and Ferrisburg through farmland. A 25 miler. The temps were in the low teens but falling. One thing I noticed quickly was on the downhills you created your own windchill but on the uphills you warmed up. So to regulate body temps I would unzip on the uphills and zip back up for the downhills. My goal today was also to have a nice steady pace. This was not a race but rather a fun unsupported ultrarun. It was very quiet with almost no activity except I did see someone delivering papers back on Dorset St. around 1:00 AM. On these longer runs I can just zone out and go and have no concept of time. All I know is that I will be runnng for the day. Everything is going well but about halfway I notice my hands getting very cold. Not unusual for me which is why I wear full on winter mitts for running in the cold temps. But still, I was losing feeling and when that happens my fingers don't function which was starting to occur. Even my arms were really cold. For clothing I had on a short sleeve base layer along with a long sleeve zip top under a shell. Maybe I should have had on a long sleeve base layer. At one point I had a difficult time operating my zipper and soon I discovered even that wasn't working Not a big deal as only about 2 hours to go before I would get home to refuel. Been there before. But the bigger problem was I couldn't drink or eat as my hands were useless. Not usually a huge deal for this loop but not eating and drinking early on could effect you more in the later miles of a long run. Finally I arrived home. Quickly I was trying to get out of my wet clothes while getting a cup of hot tea going and eating. I got on some nice warm clothes including a long sleeve base layer this time. All of a sudden I could feel my body going downhill fast. I was getting dizzy and lost all energy. I could barely function and still had a long way to go. The only hope was to sleep. Still plenty of time to go. I set my alarm for 2 hours, dove under my down comforter with still frozen hands and arms and passed out. Awaken by my alarm I noticed my arms and hands were back to normal. I got a quick snack in me, repacked my pack and back out for loop 2. It's amazing what a little sleep can do for you.
Loop Number 2
|Milk truck hard at work