Photo cred: Melanie Mcdaniels
Zook was always a master of guilting his friends into being better mountain athletes back when he lived in Alta. He might still be for all I know, but now he lives in California. And now I could only so much as guess as to how Dave goes about crushing the surf and the snow all day, and the numerous opportunities for guilt trips there. He can't help it; the man simply wants everyone to preform at their optimal level (you're the man, Dave!) So I made some coffee and ate some eggs and got going.
Around 10:45am the crowd had gathered at the base of LCC, lead by Ian, this years trusty organizer, who sported board shorts (same red ones, folks), a tank top and tinted ski goggles. His cohort consisted of collection of A-Lodge emps wearing a generous amount of neon. Other not-current-Alta- Lodge-employee racers included my roommate, Mel, who was a Zookers first-timer, Margo Wolf, and some athletic-looking, curly-haired Rustler employee. There was a bit of mingling, but only about 5 minutes worth, a picture at the sign, and then the race began.
I started out at a pathetic pace, watched most people scoot ahead of me, and continued to slow over the course of the 8 mile run. Ian ran beside me for a stretch to shoot the shit, quickly discovered I couldn't carry on any conversation while out of breath, and eventually bid me farewell, casually tearing ahead of most of the racers.
Here is what I recall from the rest of the race:
Aid station 1: A GODSEND. Thank you Shubes, RC, and other friendly A-Lodge employee! Shubes proclaimed "I'm already Drunk!" and I had to hand it to her. She had the better idea. I didn't spend much time there beyond a shot of gatorade and water (I had to forgo the whiskey shot) because I still thought I could catch up to Jamie (wrong).
Mile 2: I lost sight of all the racers in front of me. There were only 2 folks behind me.
Miles 3 - 6: I have literally no memory of these miles. I think I blacked out.
Aid station 2: I drank gatorade and it hurt.
Snowbird Entry 1: My insides were twisting and I began to believe I was internally bleeding. I tried to flag down the Aid Station Truck as it passed for medical assistance but they only heckled me and sped past.
Mile 7: Pain. Matt sped by me on his motorcycle and said something like, "RUN FASTER I HAVE DONUTS" and I responded "I'm tired. Leave me here." And he did.
Mile 8: Finish Line. All A-lodge employees beat me, but there was a fresh piece of ribbon for me to tear through. Various cheers for the slow girl. Matt, like an angel, had a box of donuts and PBR and orange juice and shared with some of the other races. (I ate part of a donut and wanted to vomit, but thank you, darling).
Well, that was this years Zookers Invitational from my point of view, which isn't saying much. I was third from last, which I believe was my same placement last year but managed a significantly worse time. That's what lack of hotshot training and library legs will do to you, and I guess I didn't stand a chance next to the high-altitude A-Lodge athletes.
Truthfully, this years invitational lacked the same level of organization that last years invitational had (Zook, what can we say, but that we still need you!) but Ian got it together pretty well considering he only had 3 days. I don't think anyone recorded the official results, which is why I could really only write about my own experience.
But it still rocked. And I'll be at the starting line again next year.