So, I knew I had my work cut out for me in trying to catch the girl in blue. I knew if I ran too fast at this point in the race, I would burn out and lose any lead I gained late in the race. So now the plan was to keep her in sight and try to make small gains on the hills if I could.
I knew I couldn't fly on the downhills which is often a strategy in my races because I'm pretty good staying in control during high speed downhills. But fast downhills are horrible for your knees. So I knew I couldn't use that weapon in this race.
Luckily, there was a hefty hill climbing away from the last rest stop. I noticed the girl in blue slows on the hills. So I tried to see if I could gain some feet on her there. As luck would have it, she stopped to retie her shoe at the top of the hill. Yeah! Oh, that didn't take her long. She's off again and I barely gained anything on her!
How far in are we? Halfway? Almost. Six and a half miles is a long way to go to keep her in sight without making a mistake on pacing and lose her all together. But that also meant there was a long time to reel her in slowly and, if she doesn't pace herself right, I had a good chance she'll slow down in the end giving me a chance to over take her as long as I don't use up all my juice before then.
And it's getting hot! Why is it so hot in Alaska? It's near the North Pole for godness sakes! That can sap my energy. But it's likely to sap hers too. So maybe that isn't such a factor, unless she is visiting from Arizona or some other place where heat is the norm. I hope that wasn't the case and tried to hold on to my current pace.
Soon we made a 90 degree turn directly into a head wind! Ahhh it felt so good. This may be the only time I've been happy to be running into a head wind! It felt great. However, we weren't running into a head wind for long as the route turned again into a wooded area.
Which got me thinking about the mosquitos. And when I ran passed the next rest stop and a volunteer was wearing a beekeepers hat with netting completely covering her head and neck, I knew I was in hostile mosquito territory.
I fished the herbal insect repellant I had bought after Kris and my first trek into the Alaska wilderness out of my fuel belt and sprayed it over every inch of exposed skin I could reach while running. I know Mosquitos sometimes bite through clothes and didn't know what to do about that. I just hoped the smell of the repellent would be enough to keep them away from me.
I did really well over this piece as we were now running on trail and fire road. I usually do well on dirt. So I tried to make up a little distance here since I had actually lost sight of the girl in blue. She was no where to be seen.