So Thursday, September 17 comes along. Stuff is packed. Warm clothes, rain jacket, gear, shoes, tape, bottles, everything I could need. Hats, gloves, socks, everything in dropped bags that would be distributed from Mackinaw to Gaylord along the North Central State trail. Andrew and I headed north. Our first stop was in Gaylord. We dropped a few bags under a pine tree. My bag contained sweatshirts, new cottons, tech shirts, and some duct tape. We hit the road. Out next notable stop was north of Vanderbilt. An older gentleman met us, wondering what we were doing. I don't think he believed us. Nice enough old guy though. This chance meeting would matter a lot later in the day...We made the rest of our drops headed north without incident, got to Mackinaw, ate some pizza at the hotel, set the alarm for 5:15 and got ready for bed.
We planned to start at 6:00 am Friday morning. Got up a little early, got dressed, taped up. Shoes on, psyched up, it was a nice morning. We headed to the trail head, looked at the watch, it was 5:53. looked at the sky, and headed out. We headed out too fast, and in order to keep on our schedule, walked for a few miles into Cheboygan, which was 16.9 miles in. Felt good. Took care of some biological issues, and moved on.
|Rat and Rainbow Dash in line|
|Taking a break in Wolverine|
A few miles later, the sun set, and energy faded. Andrew was struck with a case of the low-points. It was very sad. I did for him what he would have to do for me a few short hours later; kicked him in the ass, and told him to quit crying. This is what we trained for. You have the energy, recognize this for what it is. A temporary low stretch. He already knew that though. We made in to Gaylord about 2.5 hours later than we had planned. That really took it's toll on my mind. I entered my low point at the same time my shoes blew out. They were the ones I brought to the dance though, and we were going to dance.
|Duct tape! Good as new|
Andrew talked me out of my low point as we left Gaylord. The key words there were left Gaylord. We left Gaylord without looking at the radar, without bringing sweatshirts, hats, gloves, or new shirts. This would prove to be a fatal mistake.
We arrived back in Vanderbilt, approximately mile 70, took our aid, and left. Andrew saw someone on top of a building at what we thought was a rave in a warehouse. It may have been a rave in a warehouse, but no one was on the roof. Hallucinations were in full effect!
At 1:19 am, the rain started to fall. Hard. Did my rain coat in, and soaked me to the bone. Andrew stayed dry, but got very cold. We fought through the driving rain as best we could, but the temperatures dropped to 50 degrees F, and the wind kicked up. I began to see the next aid station in the trees, and it turned out it was just bushes. My shaking was so violent, I couldn't speak, and I couldn't do so in more than broken sentences. I began to think about curling up under a pine tree to get out of the rain. This was turning into a serious medical issue. I suspected hypothermia was setting in. We had to get out of the rain, fairly quickly. We finally got to the aid station, and mustered enough focus to attempt to find the lean-to. It turned out to be a barn, with a door that opened just enough to get in out of the rain.
|This is what Heaven looks like|
I called my wife Jessica, who arranged for a cab to pick us up and take us to the hotel.
Next Rail-to-trail adventure is tentatively scheduled for June 2016. Anyone up for a 200k?
Important points / Learnings
1.) Max training week - 60 miles
2.) Taper length 3 weeks
3.) I felt like training was sufficient, no significant issues were encountered
4.) Self supported adventures take longer! Plan on it, build time in for aid station stops
5.) A 2:1 ratio of running to speed walking works well for long flat events.
6.) Plan, and then execute the plan. The best plan is worth nothing if it is not well executed
7.) Run adventures with a friend (or multiple friends in this case, Andrew, Rat, and Rainbow Dash), it is far more enjoyable