Great Bear Chase has become the final test of my skiing talents each season — cumulative (since January 2014) and newly acquired (with each passing season/session) alike. And it’s a test — a long running and well established, managed and reputed one at that — in my home area that comes with the added benefits of near-zero traveling, sleeping in my own
2014 Ragnar Relay Great River, and I don’t remember being disappointed at my inability to find it.
Carrie suggested that I should consider partaking in one of the events at the Noquemanon Ski Marathon (referred to hereafter as just Noque — somewhat for the purposes of brevity but mostly to sound cool). The aforementioned maiden ski attempt had taken over an hour to cover less than one mile on relatively flat trails. More so than skiing, it was a battle between yours truly and formidable laws of gravity and friction that the latter two won in a merciless beatdown. Given the sheer lack of information, expertise and/or experience, the chances of me surviving the wild and presumably treacherous Noque trails let alone making it out alive were very very slim … if not non-existent. So, it didn’t happen in 2014.
It was the Spring of 2015. If you know where I am local and the weather therein, italicized Spring should be self explanatory. Teaching responsibilities for the academic year 2014-15 had long been wrapped up, and the preparations for the then upcoming Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon were about being wrapped up too. With qualifying for and participating in Boston Marathon being far too distant and far too difficult to even dream about (sub 3:10:00 finish, 7:15 min/mile or faster) and with over a dozen half marathons in the rear view mirror, I started doing some literature search (read: google-ing around) for Boston’s equivalent of half marathons: a race that didn’t just let me in for fun but expected a little more by requiring qualifying standards in spite of having to pay the registration fee. Several days and many combinations of keywords and phrases later, Google led me to exactly what I was looking for: Race Raves‘ article on an inaugural qualifiers only half marathon event … in November … in San Diego!
the highest peak in the entire state, 1,500 ft doesn’t sound all that bad. Unlike the real mountains elsewhere, this one (with a handful of its siblings/cousins) is right in our own backyard. And quite importantly, it (and each of one its siblings/cousins) offers the same lessons my favorite wilderness prophet talks/writes about in his 1901 book.
Haven’t you done enough half marathons? Are you ever going to do a full? If so, when?
Seven (one each in Detroit, Marquette, Porcupine Mountains, and two apiece in Green Bay and Madison) of the 17 half marathons I have had the good fortune of participating in so far since 2013 had featured a full marathon as part of their festivities. The course for many of these seven aforementioned half marathons had partly, if not entirely, overlapped with that of the corresponding full marathon. The often interesting and inspiring but always entertaining and hilarious signs that people held along the side for the marathoners, as such, were quite hard to miss. And so were the aforementioned questions that many a friend, in and outside of my community, frequently and caringly put forth over the past many months to put me outside of my comfort zone, and in turn, make me better — a whole lot better.
All of my familiarity with the Swedetown Tails, at least until the beginning of this Summer, had to do with cross country skiing as part of the The Great Bear Chase festivities. And by skiing, I mean my desperate attempts to stay upright and minimize the number of falls/wipeouts. With 25+ falls/wipeouts in 2014 (2:13:26 for 10k) and 7-8 more in 2015 (1:22:18 for 10k), it’s safe to say I have been on my behind and back more on these trails than I have standing up on my feet.
It was about a year ago that I had the first opportunity to be actually a part of Copperman Triathlon festivities, as a (slow running) member of Two Wolverines and a Badger, from inside rather than just looking on in from the outside. And if you have been fortunate enough to be in the start (or transition or finish) area, you would be quick to know that there is more than just the colloquial meaning to the previous sentence. It was quite the experience, a memorable one at that, and it did motivate me to some day do it all by myself. I’d be completely lying if claimed that I knew that that some day would be during the very next edition of the event.