Friday, February 18, 2011

Su, Su scared

Well, this week has been surprisingly busy and I never got around to writing the pre-race post I was hoping to write. We made it to Anchorage with smidgens of optimism about the Susitna 100, only to have our hubris dashed by nearly a foot of new snow on Friday (such are the reports from my friends in the Mat-Su Valley.) New snow is just a set-back, not a deterrent, but it does mean softer, more strenuous and possibly impassable conditions even for people on foot. No use worrying about it. Since this is my first 100-mile ultramarathon, I feel happy to just try my best and if that's not good enough, well — either way, it will be a memorable experience. I actually get a little excited, even giddy, when I think about the ways the trail conditions might be insanely hard, even for a 100-mile foot race, which already seemed insanely hard. I tell Beat this, and he just shakes his head and says, "You're in for a rude awakening."

Steve, Beat and I all arrived in Seattle from different airports and shared a row on the way to Anchorage, where most of the time was spent nervously updating weather reports on in-flight wireless and gazing longingly out the window at the incredible landscape disappearing below us.

It's rare to see a clear day in Southeast Alaska. This is the volcano near Sitka, Mount Edgecombe.

Chugach! As we flew over the mountains Beat said, "Why don't we just go there instead?"

The Cook Inlet. Just across this icy strait lies the key to our demise.

The first thing we did when we arrived in Anchorage was turn the home where we are staying into a veritable gear tornado. (Sorry Kate.)

Brooks, the Susitna 100 race director, was all about spreading the pessimism. I guess there's something to be said about keeping people mentally prepared, but I for one would rather hear subtle words of encouragement than blatant gloom and doom.

Weighing the gear to ensures it weighs the mandatory 15 pounds. My gear weighed in at 19.9 pounds. My complete kit, including the sled, all of my food (around 8,000 calories including 3,000 emergency calories), and two liters of water weighed 30.8 pounds. Not terrible.

Enjoying pre-race carbo-loading at Romanos with fellow racers. Yeah, it was technically two nights before the race, but you really can't get enough carbs for something like this.

Testing out the completely packed sleds.

Posing with the sleds with Steve, Danni and Beat. Steve has a humorous post about our different sleds on his blog. We're as ready as we can be, which is to say, not much. I'll be dragging my SPOT along on this slog. You can check out the tracking page at this link. Also visit for race updates. By grace go I ...

My SPOT tracking page
Danni's SPOT tracking page
Steve's SPOT tracking page


  1. Hard conditions are hard for everyone - diesel engine that you are, maybe it'll be an advantage for you. Knock 'em dead!

  2. Good luck to you all! Can't wait to hear about it.

  3. Best wishes to all of you...what an adventure!!! We'll be following you closely. (Be safe)

  4. Nice to see Mt. E again! Good luck and can't wait to read about it.

  5. Up up Jill, we are rooting for you.

  6. Hi Jill,
    Well, by now, you must be on your way, but I'll send you well-wishes anyway. You will undoubtedly read this after you FINISH, but know that I am sending positive energy to you in your efforts.

    Regarding your comment: ["I feel happy to just try my best and if that's not good enough..."]
    I know you meant not good enough "to be an official finisher," but, in the spirit of adventure, I think it should be "I feel happy to just try my best" PERIOD.
    THAT is "good enough." So, congrats to you for having the courage to train for, start, and do your best at this amazing challenge.

    Oh, and BTW, I have run several trail races in CA, mostly PCTR. Although I don't know Beat personally, he has been in at least a few of the same ones I have done. In fact, he came in right after me in one of the Redwood Park events in 2009 when it was scorching out) probably why he wasn't WAY ahead of me).
    Also, I am a life member of Adventure Cycling and have visited the Missoula Headquarters with my hubby more than a few times in the past. We are looking to move west at some point, and have considered and are still leaving the door open to move to the Missoula area. So, hopefully, I will meet you at some point when we visit MT or at a CA trail race...who knows--but I am finding out that, in this blogger-world, we live in an amazingly "small one!"
    Best wishes to you and Beat and can't wait to read all about it. You are a talented writer.

  7. I admire your spirit and determination. Good luck to you and all competitors!!!!

  8. Watching the spots now--looking good so far--keep it up!!

    Jill in the pic your sled is ready, ha I will withhold comment on the other 3

  9. Good luck! I hope it went well...=-)

  10. Run Jill Run!!

    Wishing you and your friends a safe and fun adventure. Watching the results page and your spot from time to time over the weekend. I always look forward to your races. Like everyone else who reads your blog, can't wait to read about the run and your return to Alaska.

    Best regards,

  11. Go jill Go!!

    Following you from just 4,451,76 miles distance!

    The Netherlands,

  12. Nervous for you but we've seen what you can do on your own, never mind with such amazing company.

  13. Congrats on your and Beat's finish (if I read the list correctly from the race link)!! I find what you do amazing and love to follow your adventures.

  14. Congratulations Jill & Beat - you did it, Jill. I knew you would..


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