Wheezing at Whistler

5 Peaks Whistler Saturday Aug 21, 2010 (Trail Race-10.6km)

A trail race on top of Whistler mountain! Why not I though? Stepping out from the Gondola and into the cold, thin air I knew this trail race was not going to be a walk in the park. Despite the deceptively sounding Enduro event which was a distance of only 10.6km. The course started and finished in the upper alpine area near The Round House Lodge.  The race organisers promised some steep climbs, sharp descents and craggy wilderness trails. With the trails rocky and technical in some sections and passing through patches of snow. Wow, did I underestimate how tough this run was going to be. The profile showed a number of steep climbs with a total ascent of 760m with the largest climb occurring around the 7km mark. The first climb – in the first kilometre- looked innocuous on the profile. Boy was I mistaken. My lungs left like they were being scraped by a wire brush trying to get enough air into my body. As I tried to keep moving uphill my heart was pounding like a drum against my ears. This was supposed to be the easy climb. The descent was even harder – dusty, steep and very slippery. Hard on the knees constantly braking to stop myself from falling. I soon started to regret my foolish decision. When I could stop wheezing and look around me, the scenery was stunning. Snow covered mountain peaks with a steep green valley dropping away and a line of runners snaking their way ahead of me through flower covered alpine meadows.  The last climb on the course was nothing short of murderous. This was followed by what appeared to be an almost vertical descent in sections, through shale and rocky scree material which brought a few people undone. The male winner finished the run in a record setting 53:29 and the first female in 68:34. Hammer finished in 82:10 and I was home in 96:52, finishing in the middle of the field.  Very pleased to stop and get some air into what remained of my lungs. I was even happier and very surprised to find that I won my age group. Who would have thought?