After running in Hellgate 2007 the runner inside me changed from distance to something better. I began running for challenge, for terrain, and for the community I feel in ultra marathons.
When the body suffers the spirit flowers.
The year of 2008 would bring new chances for suffering and flowering. The year of 2008 brought the Beast Series. The Beast is six races that would expose a runner to a new level of pain, a new level of growth and to their worst enemy themselves.
There has to be pain for growth.
The Beast Series brought me back to Hellgate. I feel that Hellgate could also be known as a soul-forge, because your spirit is hammered into a much more pure form. Hellgate would also be a forge because you slowly and laboriously work to find the finish line.
Hellgate comes at you from the very beginning. The time you start (although novel) is a play on your senses. The weather was cold with temperatures in the 20's. The creek levels were higher then last year, and in some places at the first creek crossing it was nearly knee high.
The first 24 miles brought one thing to my mind and it was the same thought that I had last year - I want to quit. Quitting is not an option. The feeling of wanting to quit is what the Beast Series is all about. You have to get yourself to that level and press threw it to know what the Beast Series, Hellgate, Grindstone, Masochist, Promise, Terrapin and Holiday are really teaching.
The footing at Hellgate to say the least is dangerous. The wind was strong enough to stand a runner upright and the howling of the wind really did sound like a beast. A beast that was hungry for failure. The moon was full and when you were not on the trails you could run with no headlamp, but the moon seemed to gaze at me like an animal playing with its kill.
Hellgate had me running for miles alone. It had me freezing. It had my backpack hydrator frozen and having to resort to slurping fluids from the pack's opening. It had me tired and afraid of failure, but not all of me had died by sunrise. The dawn brought a new hope of warmth and sight. I had reached AS6 by sunrise and was beginning to thaw both me and my hydrator.
I feel that the Glenwood Horse Trail was created by the Devil himself. The trail has horrible footing and is something that causes nightmare for weeks, but with AS7 comes the easier third of the race. The last third of the race.
From AS7 to the finish line I really only thought of the Beast trophy. The trails are easier then the rest of the course and the warmth of the sun is everywhere. This section to me was like that breath you take when you first sit down after the end of a long race. The breath you take when you realize that the fight is nearly over. I mean you only have to suffer a little longer. The worst is really behind you. In the last section I enjoyed community with other runners and nature. I also enjoyed looking at the ice that was growing out of my shoes (one good thing, I am glad that I do not change shoes because my laces where frozen and I could not get my shoes off). I know I said it was warmer but not that warm.
The last mile was only eight minutes and at the finish line was Dr. David Horton. The man who has challenged all of us to do our best, or should I say our Beast. I have heard Dr. Horton asking all year if I was tough enough. I can say now that yes I am tough enough.
Now I rest and admire my Beast trophy, and I prepare my soul to take on the Beast again in 2009.
let us dare
Res ipsa loquitur
the thing speaks for itself
Non ominus moriar
not all of me will die"
Until we share the same trail again-thanks
aka kent gallup