Friday, March 13, 2009

Wish You Were Here

As you are reading this Norma is off to compete in one of her most daunting races to date. She sent me an email to post it here for you to know what is going on in that part of the world. She has the company of Claudia an excellent photographer and they will try to keep us updated if there is a cyber cafe on her route thru the wilderness of the Artic Circle :). She is running the 6633 Ultra and fearing it. So as you may, or not, remember my name is Carlos and I am a tech blogger from Mexico and Norma's brother. Before I post It I must tell you that I received truncated because of the tech limitations of writing from that part of the world, but you can understand the spirit of what She is telling us, so here it is:

There are 9 competitors in total, all male except for me.

As it also turns out, I am the first Canadian to ever participate in the race, where the majority of the competitors are British and one American. This is the third year the race has been held, with the first year having only 3 finishers and last year only one. Both years won by a female, so overnight I went from being underdog to favourite. We had a long discussion on the reason why females historically perform better at this race even though they represent a very small number. I have said that to be successful on extreme ultras you need to have no common sense and short term memory.

The reason why the failure to finish the race is so high is the fact that is 100% self supported, I will be running pulling a sled with all my survival gear and isolation will be a major issue as well as the high wind, we will be running through Wright Pass where the highest winds in the world have been recorded.

There will be two check points in between of nothing more than a wind shelter and a couple of parked cars where we will be allowed to sit to escape the wind. I had to make my own sled since I couldn’t locate one of the specialised sled that are commonly used on this type of Artic races. That and the fact that they are almost as much as my mortgage payment to purchase, so I took a hard look at it and fabricated one with part of ice fishing sled, bike child carrier and plumbing pipes. I felt silly when I arrived with my home made sled , sort of like what a Rolling Stones cover band would feel if invited to perform with the real Rolling Stones, but after we took it for a test drive yesterday the guys where feeling a bit embarrassed to have handy woman on the team.

While I wouldn* t say I am looking forward to...(lost)This is the third year the race has been held, I Wish you were here

I arrived at the Yukon Monday for 6633 Ultra, after spending 3 days in Whitehorse for gear testing and course briefing we are made an overnight stop in Dawson City and finally to Eagle Plains for the start of the race.

If you ever find yourself in Dawson City, don* t miss the opportunity to try the Sourtoe Cocktail, where you drink a cocktail with a real mutilated toe in it, it was the worst thing I have ever done but being part of a hard core group is hard to set limits on how crazy you really are, crazy enough to run 120 miles in the artic while pulling a sled but not enough to try a drink with a mutilated body part, is an argument I lost for sure. The story on how this bizarre celebration can be found on Ripley* s Believe It Or Not.

There is less than two days to the start of the race and I am still overwhelmed with doubt, I am not going to lie, this is the only race that I am not looking forward to, there is absolutely nothing about this race that will motivate me enough to want to do it if I was not doing it for the reasons that I am.

Running ( or mostly power walking) 120 miles, pulling a sled half my weight, on extreme weather is enough to make me want to cry. But this race is also going to teach me a lot about courage, determination and overcoming fear.

The race will start Friday at 8am in Dawson City and finish Monday at 8am in Fort McPherson following predominately the Dempster Highway. Giving me 71 hours to finish since we loose and hour when we enter North West Territories. The race is mostly run on the Artic Circle giving the name 6633 after the latitude where the race takes place.

There are 2 categories in the race 120 miles and 350 miles. There is three of us in the 120 mile distance, and 6 on the 350 mile distance this race, I have made peace with the fact that I am here, it will be incredible hard and I have do this race since it will be one of the races that I will refer to if I am ever to speak about overcoming challenges and fear. And that was the biggest obstacle I had to overcome fear, Hans my son had a hard time letting me come to this race saying he was afraid that something might happened, he asked me why if I was afraid I was doing it, the truth is that even though I am afraid of this race, I am more afraid of watching my other son Karl go blind. What I am doing now might now mean a cure but I much rather live my life knowing I have done anything in my power to contribute. Motivation is temporary, inspiration is infinite.

high is the fact that is 100% s...(lost)d to have handy woman on the team.

While I wouldn...(lost)


Anonymous said...

Although we may not all post comments, there are so many of us reading your blog and following you around the world. You are unbelievable!! A read inspiration to so many women! Good luck! If anyone can do's you!

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of you and of how strong and brave you are. Is the stillness in the night powerful? I wish I could be there as well. The natural setting must be breathtaking. Norma, I know that you are taking in that adventure and I know you will find enjoyment in it. You truly are an inspiration to me and I am sure to all that are losing their sight as well.

Dagmar Jamieson

Lisa Kauffmann said...

Keep going!! You can do it! My boys and I are rooting for you...besos Lisa