I was a little nervous for the Craftsbury Marathon, because I had never done a classic race longer than 30km. The four-loop course we did for this year’s marathon totaled around 44km, so I wasn’t sure how I would fare in the final third of the race. My two concerns were food and kick wax (but mostly food).
There were two feed stations on the 11km loop, and my plan was to drink at every one and to eat a gel (does one eat a gel? take? slurp? imbibe? gag?) at least once per lap. I had a somewhat unpleasant product testing experience with the Montana Huckleberry Hammer Gel during an interval workout the week before the marathon, and I was apprehensive that it might be even harder to get down in a race than in practice. But I am glad to report that the opposite turned out to be true. With my adrenaline pumping, I easily gulped the goo and washed it down with a surprise mixture of coffee, flat Coke, and “magnesium fuzzy pill”. As much as I hate to perpetuate Pepa’s gypsy remedies, I may have to subscribe to this one.
So I avoided bonking, but I did have to stop and re-wax my skis! Since all of the women started in the second wave, I passed a lot of men on my first lap. Getting in and out of the tracks on the icy trail wore down my klister, so as I skied by Pepa after completing my first lap, I told her I would need to stop for more wax after my second one. I spent my whole second lap fairly anxious, because Robyn Anderson (who finished second) was using a snazzy pair of Atomic fish scale skis which would of course not need to be re-waxed. When I came in from my second lap, Pepa and Jeremy were ready with the klister, a cork, and the Coke. As I was pulled over, messily globbing on klister, Robyn took the lead! I hastily set out after her, only to fall on my face, thanks to my poor klister corking job. Once on course again, I felt the boost of the Coke and was delighted to have solid kick under foot again. I caught Robyn within a few kilometers, passed her, and never looked back! It was a pleasant second half of the race. When I race the Birkie in less than a month, I will be hanging on to the pack rather than leading the way, which will make it a very different experience. Still, it feels great to have a marathon under my belt…and a win!